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Spot The Rebel

Matthew 26:55-56 

Was Jesus a rebel? He kept the Roman law and He never offended Father God. Yes, He was not appreciated by the religious leaders because they assumed an authority and pomposity which God had never given to them. No, that was not rebellion against God … it was they who had rebelled through their pride and hunger for power in Israel. The crowd, people who had previously welcomed Jesus' miracles and teaching, had finally been incited by the clerics to rebel against the Son of God: but it was always in their nature.

Covert Cowards And Christ

Matthew 26:57-58 

It is common for cowardly bullies (and some of them appear as corporate managers in business) to distance themselves from shady circumstances so that they can appear to be reasonable people who are 'only doing their duty' – even though they have manipulated the circumstances to effect the downfall of somebody they do not like or who threatens them. Caiaphas, the High Priest was one of those.

False Witnesses Against Christ

Matthew 26:59-63a

It was a legal process. Even though the trial was not held under Roman law, the Chief Priests were still bound by the principles in the Old Testament law. The rules of evidence in Deuteronomy 19:15-21 demanded that an accusation should not be upheld against an accused person unless two or three independent witnesses gave the same evidence of the crime. Also the judge must make a thorough investigation of the accusation and the defendant was allowed to explain his case.

Who Is Jesus

Matthew 26: 63b-68

The Sanhedrin was the Jewish High Court of 70 leading Pharisees and Sadducees plus the High Priest who presided as the judge. These men had been hurriedly assembled in the middle of the night to hear the evidence against Jesus (Matthew 26:57). After a lot of conflicting evidence had been presented, Caiaphas asked Jesus if He was the Messiah, the Son of God. It was a question under oath; the judge knew that Jesus would reply.

The Triple Denial

Matthew 26: 69-75

Peter should never have been in that courtyard mixing with the soldiers and servant girls. His arrogance, pride or bravado took him there. Perhaps it was his misplaced sense of responsibility for Jesus. Whatever it was, he failed to live up to his own expectations that night. His accent (from Galilee in the north) gave him away, and many people would have seen the distinctive fisherman with Jesus.

The End Of Evil

Matthew 27:1-5

Two people were to die that day. The corrupt court condemned Jesus to death but could not carry out the sentence, because under Roman law only the Governor could authorise execution by crucifixion. So they sent Jesus to Pilate, even though they did not have a charge that warranted the death sentence. The other person was Judas Iscariot, the betrayer.

The Price Of A Slave

Matthew 27:6-10

Something very ugly happens when a human life is calculated in money. It turns people into a commodity to be traded. His or her value is the highest price anybody will pay for them, in anticipation of getting something out of them. Exploiting human beings is normal (but not right) in a sinful world where people are greedy for power or profit; however it is dressed up, it is slavery. And where people stand in their way, they may pay blood money to get rid of them.

The King Is Interrogated

Matthew 27:11-14

Pilate was not a nice man. He had previously been responsible for unnecessary bloodshed in Israel where he was much disliked; and had been in trouble with the Emperor in Rome for his mismanagement of public order offences in Israel. The last thing Pilate needed was to be politically trapped between the religious people in Israel and his masters in Rome.

Choosing A Substitute

Matthew 27:15-18

Pilate, the Roman Governor, had a poor reputation among the people in Israel. His violence against the people was savage and unpredictable: they did not trust him. So, more in the interests of politics than justice, Pilate offered a 'prisoner swap' once a year to appease the people who thought someone was being treated unfairly. It was a way for Pilate to win popularity

The Lonely Place Of Truth

Matthew 27:19-23 

Pilate had been woken early to deal with potential public disorder (Matthew 27:1-2). The Chief Priests took Jesus to the Roman Governor's palace accompanied by a mob calling for the death of Jesus. Pilate's attempt to offer Barabbas as a substitute was an attempt by the cowardly man to get Jesus released. But the pressure was against Pilate and against justice.