Saturday, June 21, 2008

Chapter 27 is a pretty heavy chapter because of our Lord's death and crucifixion.

As the chief priests and elders were leading Jesus through that hall to take Him to Pilate, here comes Judas to address the religious rulers.

They tell him, “You did the job, and it’s over with. We have the One we were after. We have paid you off, and we have no need of you any farther”. This man leaves the Temple area, goes out and hangs himself.

The significant thing is that Jesus was present when Judas returned with his thirty pieces of silver. In fact, Jesus was on His way to die...even for Judas. Our Lord had given him an opportunity to come back to Him there in the Garden of Gethsemane, and He had said, “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” And even at this eleventh hour, Judas could have turned to the Lord Jesus and would have been forgiven.

The next section is Jesus going before Pilate. You see, the religious rulers wanted to get rid of Jesus because of what they considered blasphemy. You remember that when the high priest put Him on oath and asked Him if He was the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus said that He was.

To the religious rulers that was blasphemy, and they would have stoned Him on that charge, but Rome did not allow the Jews to carry out the death penalty. So they had to deliver Jesus to Pilate with a charge that would stick in a Roman court. Treason would be one that would stick, and so Jesus was charged with claiming to be the King of the Jews.

The answer of Jesus to the charge was, “Thou sayest”...or...“It is as you say.” He didn't answer because He was the Lamb of God. Matthew simply states the bare facts.
Obviously, Pilate felt that the religious rulers had no basis for requesting the death penalty. He wanted to please the religious leaders in order to maintain peace in Jerusalem, but he felt that he could not arbitrarily sentence the Lord Jesus to death.

So he hit upon a solution to the problem. Since it was his habit to release a Jewish prisoner during the Passover celebration, he would offer the crowd a choice: Jesus; or a very notorious prisoner called Barabbas, who was guilty of murder, robbery, and treason.

Pilate was a clever politician. He could see what was taking place, and he was sure that the crowd would ask for Barabbas to be crucified and Jesus to be released. This would give him a happy “out” to this situation. While the religious rulers were clever politicians themselves. They circulated among the crowd asking the opposite.

Pilate tried to wash his hands of the matter, but "crucified under Pontius Pilate will stick for eternity!

The crucifixion is hard for me to write about. Our Lord was put on the cross at the third hour, which would be nine o’clock in the morning. By twelve noon, man had done all he could to the Son of God. Then at the noon hour, darkness settled down, and that cross became an altar on which the Lamb who taketh away the sin of the world was offered.

Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? We find the answer to that question in Psalm 22, verse 3: “But thou art holy …” (Ps. 22:1, 3, italics mine). When my sin is put upon Jesus, God has to withdraw. Our Savior had to be executed if He were going to take my sin and yours.

Monday, June 02, 2008

To better understand the customs in Israel during the New Testament period, we refer to the Peshitta, which is a Syriac version of the Bible. Although it is not a text to be recommended, it does shed light on some of the customs of the day. The Peshitta translation indicates that the virgins went forth to meet the bridegroom and the bride, which means that the bridegroom is coming from the marriage to the marriage supper.

Although the marriage of Christ and the church takes place in heaven, the marriage supper takes place on this earth. A passage in the Gospel of Luke substantiates this. Our Lord is giving warnings and parables, in the Book of (Luke 12:35–36).

You see, the wedding has taken place, and the bride is with him. Obviously, if he is coming from the wedding, the bride is with him; no man ever went on a honeymoon by himself—if he did, it wasn’t a honeymoon!

In the parable of the ten virgins, Christ is the bridegroom, and bringing the bride with Him. The believers on earth are waiting for Him. While the Great Tribulation has been going on upon the earth, Christ has been yonder in heaven with His bride, the church. At the conclusion of the seven years of Tribulation, He comes back to earth with the church.

This, now, is the attitude toward His coming on the part of those on the earth—Oil is symbolic of the Spirit of God. In that day I think there will be phonies as there were at His first coming. Jesus called them hypocrites. They will have lamps but no oil.
Notice both the wise and the foolish virgins slept. The difference was that some had the Holy Spirit ( the oil) and some did not, because they were not genuine believers.

Our Lord concludes this parable with a warning—Notice that it is “the day nor the hour” rather than the century or the year, as it is from our perspective. The attitude for His own during this future period is to watch. That is the important thing for them to do.

The parable of the Talents is another parable for that future generation that will be waiting for our Lord’s return to earth. Notice that the master gave to his servants responsibilities according to their individual abilities.

Notice that the “talents” were sums of money. They do not represent talents in the sense of the natural endowments of a person such as a musical talent. The application to us is that whatever God has given to us, we are to use for Him.

All were given a certain sum of money and told to use it profitably. But one buried the talent he had been given. He was not faithful to his master.

The response of his master was this...the one who buried his talent, so that he would have it for the master was considered slothful and wicked!

There is a great principle in this parable for us. And it was given in the light of the fact that all of us—you and I included—are going to have to stand in the presence of God and give an account of how we have used what He has given to us. The Lord is not going to ask us how much we have done for Him but how faithful we have been to that which He wanted us to do.

For the child of God there are two important things: (1) Find out what God wants us to do; that is, determine what the talent is that He has given us, and then (2) be faithful in the use of it. To some of us God gives a very small ministry, and that may be upsetting to us; but if we are one—talent people, God expects us to be faithful with that.

Sorry, no pictures....Blogger is being a booger!