Immediately after his baptism, Jesus withdrew to the wilderness to fast and pray. That’s why he probably thought he was going there, anyway. Scripture says the Holy Spirit led him there explicitly to be tempted by the devil.
Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness prepared him for his ministry. In this post, I’d like to explore how they prepared him for the events of Holy Week.
A friend of mine once counted all the verses in the gospels and determined that 40% of them deal with Holy Week. That is, the gospels describe the period between the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his appearances to his disciples on Easter in more detail than any other part of Jesus’ life.… Read the rest
I wrote of Jesus’ trial before Pilate a couple of years ago and noted that Jesus had to work very hard to keep from being acquitted. Studying the Last Supper and events leading up to it, I notice that Jesus had to work just as skillfully to orchestrate his betrayal.
Judas went secretly to the chief priests and offered to betray Jesus. Luke’s account (Luke 26:3) specifically says that Satan entered him. Once the conspirators agreed on the fee, He kept his eyes open for an opportunity.
He had to act at just the right time, without the rest of the disciples understanding what was happening, in order for the divine plan to work.… Read the rest
Pontius Pilate famously asked, “What is truth” and turned away without waiting for the answer. He had no inkling that Truth stood in front of him. He had no inkling that he was about to condemn Truth to crucifixion.
Fulfillment of Scripture demanded that Jesus be crucified. The ordinary way of executing prisoners under Jewish law was stoning. Only the Roman governor, Pilate, could authorize a crucifixion. He was initially unwilling.
Pilate thought he was in charge of the situation. He was wrong. Jesus was in charge. In the face of many obstacles, he had to ensure his own crucifixion. It turned out to be hard work.… Read the rest
Surely everyone knows that Judas, one of the Twelve, accepted 30 pieces of silver from the temple treasury to betray Jesus. He attended the Last Supper with the rest, left early, and led a large armed group to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was arrested. After Jesus was sentenced to death, Judas threw the money back at the priests and committed suicide.
For centuries, many in the church have regarded Judas simply as the most despicable traitor in history. Even today, some writers seem to assume that he was a hypocrite who intended to betray Jesus from the start, that he gained nothing from three years of following Jesus, and that he hid his hypocrisy from everyone but Jesus.… Read the rest