Thursday, May 29, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 27 part 1

Chapter 27 of the book of Matthew represents the absolute worst day in the history of mankind. Throughout human history there have been some bad days, but nothing compares to this day when mankind rejected the very Son of God and put Him to death on the cross. Jesus' crucifixion is the result of anger, cowardice, jealousy, and human greed. All three elements are seen here as we have the greed of Judas, the jealousy of Caiaphas, the cowardice of Pilate, and the anger of the Jews. Today we will look only at the first half of this chapter, dealing with the trial and flogging of Jesus.

3When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned; he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."
      "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility."

 5So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

 6The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." 7So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. - -Matthew 27:3-7

I wanted to highlight this section because it points out the absurdity of those responsible for condemning Jesus. The very money they had paid Judas was taken from the temple treasury. It was plenty good enough to give to him in order to condemn an innocent man, yet now they didn't want it back. They followed the law that they treasured so highly in this instance by not accepting blood money. What they conveniently ignored, however, was the part of the law that said murder was wrong. Apparently to them the law could be broken as long as it served their needs.

24When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!" – Matthew 27:24

While the Jews could be condemned for their jealousy, greed, and anger, Pilate had a chance to save Jesus. As the Roman governor, Pilate was the highest local authority. He had the power to stop this trial, but took the cowards way out by not getting involved. His role is expanded in the other four gospels, but here his authority is plainly ignored. The Jews refused to answer his questions concerning the nature of this trial, and he even ignored his own wife. Speaking frankly, he disobeyed the first rule of marriage: always listen to your wife.

It is also earlier in this section that we jealousy and envy come into play. The Pharisees and Caiaphas in particular were jealous of the power and following Jesus had gained. These are the people that had waited for centuries for the Messiah to come. They had studied the prophesies and should have recognized Him instantly. When Jesus finally came, He began fulfilling these prophesies, but not in the way the Pharisees wanted Him to. The Pharisees had a certain view of what the Messiah should be. They felt He would elevate them on His way to becoming a conquering king. When Jesus spoke against them, they became enraged. Their own human perception got in the way of what Jesus was trying to accomplish. Essentially, Jesus was killed because He wasn't quite what they were looking for in a Savior.

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