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The Crosses Before the Cross
It's the beginning of the end for Jesus, Who is the beginning and has no end. And what looks like the end of Him, is only the beginning of life for us!
In rapid fire succession we are about to study the arrest of Jesus, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection. We will see man at his very worst and God at His very best. This is the blackest page of human history...so darkly revealing the depravity of man, that if you only looked at these passages from a human perspective it would be very depressing.
But we have the privilege of seeing this from a divine perspective.
We see man at his worst as he rejects and kills His own Creator ... the One Who loves him the most. We see torture - and the taking of the life of the One Who IS life, and Who gives life. Man at his worst.
But we also see God at His best ... paying for sins which He did not commit, suffering a hell He does not deserve, and laying down His life, not for lovable people, but for wicked, depraved sinners.
And Jesus endured a couple of other crosses before He went to Calvary.
The treachery of Judas and the tragedy of Peter.
[read vv. 1-10]
v. 10 And so we got the saying, "Friends, Romans, lend me your ear!"
It's not hard to think of someone named after a disciple. Andrew, Peter, Philip, John, James...Judas? No, that name conjures up negative imagery in our minds. Betrayer - traitor - evil - liar - hypocrite - greedy - devil.
It was about 2,000 years ago a mother held an infant in her arms and named him Judas...a common name in those days.
But now it has a negative reputation. It's the same with Paul, who was persecuted by Nero. Today we name our kids Paul and our dogs Nero!
Judas walked with the Lord for 3 years, witnessed His miracles, even 3 resurrections which he witnessed with his own eyes. He heard the words Jesus spoke...like the sermon on the mount, which contained a strong warning against making a false profession of faith.
He did great works.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
You can put Judas' picture beside those verses. How about yours?
Judas didn't lose his salvation. He never had it. Jesus said he was a devil from the beginning.
On nine different occasions Judas heard Jesus say "I AM," taking upon Himself the great eternal name of Almighty God. [bread / water / door / way / resurrection / light of the world]
There's no way that Judas could have not known that Jesus was God. But he made a conscious choice, based on his value system. He loved money more than the truth, and in the end he sacrificed the eternal for the temporary.
v. 1 The brook Kidron in the Holy Land is the same one King David crossed in the OT while fleeing Jerusalem during Absalom's rebellion.
Kidron = dark waters.
It is located between the mountain Jerusalem is set upon and the Mount of Olives. History states that there was a man-made channel cut from the Temple down to the brook, for the purpose of draining blood from the temple. With so many animal sacrifices, there was a lot of blood to be disposed of, and it would flow down that channel into the brook.
This means that based on the time of Passover it was in our text, as Jesus stepped over this brook, it likely ran blood red! In that moment, did He think about how HE represented every spotless lamb who was ever sacrificed in that temple?
Stepping over that little brook was necessary for Jesus, in order to get to a little garden He often went to for refreshment...it was the garden of Gethsemane, possibly owned by a wealthy friend of our Lord's. He used it for relaxation and prayer. And Judas knew about this place. He had been there with Jesus on several occasions.
In our text, Judas has ALREADY done his dirty deed. Luke says that Judas 'communed' with the religious leaders for betrayal money. The word carries the idea of haggling, like you would negotiate over the price of a horse. They settled, finally, on 30 pieces of silver. Imagine, Jesus is about to pay the sin debt of the whole world, and Judas is haggling over HIS price like He was an animal.