Holy Week - Thursday Night to Friday Morning
Jesus’ Arrest and Trial
Matthew 26:47-27:26, Mark 14:43-15:15, Luke 22:47-23:25, John 18:2-19:16
I’ve always thought that the manner in which Christ’s arrest occurred was more evidence of the cowardice of the leaders of the church. It may also have been with an acknowledgement that they were doing something wrong. You know how we try to hide the things that we’re doing when we’re not sure if they really are the best things to do and then bring them out into the open after we’ve tested them. Arresting and trying Christ during the night kept the news from spreading until after the decision was made. Any outcry against what happened or how it happened would have been squashed amidst the emotion and fervor of the crucifixion.
I also find it interesting that false evidence had to be presented in order to find Him guilty. This is like the modern church culture where false teaching has to be presented in order for us to be comfortable with His presence and will for our lives. Just as the religious leaders of His day couldn’t handle the truth so they fabricated their own, we can’t handle His truth in our lives and fabricate lies so that we can be comfortable with our sin and with our own definition of Christ. Sadly, this never allows us to find the truth – the truth of who Jesus really is and the true consequences of our sin.
Christ shows compassion on us even in the midst of His arrest. Seeing that one of His own has caused harm to a soldier by cutting off his ear Christ reaches down and heals him. I’ve often wondered how great the ripples of the impact of that one sentence event spread throughout the Kingdom. I’m sure that Malchus’ life changed that moment. I’m sure that his family’s life changed. Are there still people somewhere telling the story of the day my great, great, great, great uncle’s ear was healed by the King of all Kings and everything changed?
Sandwiched into the account of the bogus trail that Christ was given is the account of Peter’s denial of Christ. It is understandable. There was great confusion, there was little information, rumors must have been flying, and anyone who is identified as an ally to a ruler that is being vanquished is at risk of being killed themselves. Self-preservation mode kicked in and the disciples fled. Peter, being passionate and outspoken, didn’t just hide. He went undercover but tried to remain close to the situation. I can just see how each of the disciples basked in the glory of the triumphant entry just a few days prior. They would have boldly, clearly, and extravagantly identified themselves with Christ on that day. Most of Jerusalem would have made the connection. Now that public knowledge worked against him as he tried to remain incognito.
His denial is a sobering prediction of what will happen as persecution intensifies in our culture. The shame of Peter’s denial will be shared by many who deny Christ to save their lives on earth only to find that their denial has separated themselves from Him for all eternity.
As Christ stands before Pilate he asks Jesus a question that I have heard other ask over and over again, “what is truth?” The interesting thing about that question is that only those who genuinely ask that question find the answer. So many ask that question, are confronted with truth, and run from it. The truth hurts. The truth is embarrassing to ourselves. Honestly understanding the truth changes us. So many hear the truth and hate what they hear so they surround themselves with others who want to replace the truth with lies. While being comfortable with believing these lies are truth they will never be able to accomplish anything significant for the Kingdom of God if they stand on lies.
Herod wasn’t interested in knowing Christ! He was interested in two things: seeing something amazing and then leveraging it for himself. Jesus wouldn’t give him either and he was sent from his presence with disgust and hatred.
James E. Bogoniewski, Jr.