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The Plot To Kill Jesus

 

 


"And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus *said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?"

At that time Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets." Then all the disciples left Him and fled."
 
Good Morning my beloved,
 
We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We're glad to have
you here with us today. As I had mentioned before, we are extremely blessed to be able to partner with Vanessa Taylor at  Go Ye Kids children's ministry in providing printable biblical resources for children, many of them free. Please be sure to thank her and let her know that you heard about her here. 
 
Charles Spurgeon once said, "Let it be as God wills, and God will will that it shall be for the best." Jesus had gone into the garden of Gethsemane, struggling with what was in the cup, the punishment for all the sins of the world is about to be poured out on Him, He knew that He was about to suffer so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Even though He knew what was coming, as He moved closer to the cross, the anticipation of it became  almost unbearable. Experiencing an anguish He had never felt before, He prayed. Jesus expressed His own desire, then He submitted His desires to the Father's will. 
 
That's what prayer is, communicating our thoughts and desires to the Heavenly Father, and then ultimately submitting our will to His direction. Jesus went into the garden sorrowful and He emerged strengthened.  Something really special happens when we go to God in prayer expressing our desires and submitting to His will, believing He will give us the strength needed to face whatever challenges we face. I am always astonished by Jesus' poise and composure in the way He faced difficult situations, in which I would want to react very differently, even to retaliate. And regrettably, at times have, especially in my youth. I suppose that's why I can relate to Simon Peter, he is impulsive. Jesus takes advantage of Simon Peter's impulsive behavior and turns it into yet another teachable moment, and concludes that what was about to happen, must happen to fulfill what was prophesied in the Scriptures. 
 
We call all learn from Peter's weakness of his emotions and the reality of Jesus' dependency in prayer, trusting in the will of the Father. When we pour out our sorrow to the Father openly, honestly, and submit to His will, we are sure to find strength and spiritual maturity, even in the midst of our trials.   
 
Let us pray
 
Heavenly Father,
 
Father, we thank You for Your Word. We are again reminded of the weakness of our humanity and the need of our dependency to be in prayer. Only in prayer, can we find the strength to respond patiently, acting in Your will. Lord, hear our cry for help that we would be faithful to study and apply Your Word to our lives. Open the eyes of those who blind, awaken spiritually dead hearts as only You can and bring them to the knowledge of the truth, and deliver their souls from hell. O Lord, grant them mercy, all for Your glory.
In Christ's name we ask and pray
Amen
 
 
Today's Message: The Plot To Kill Jesus
 
 
Open your Bibles with me if you will, to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter twenty-six. Matthew 26:51-56. I invite you to follow along with me as I read to set the text in our minds, as we look at today's text through the eyes of Matthew, inspired by the Holy Spirit. So, let's open our hearts and our minds to see what the Spirit of God has to say us today. Matthew 26:51-56.
 

"And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus *said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?"

At that time Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets." Then all the disciples left Him and fled."
 
It's interesting, that the religious leaders who wanted Jesus to be killed, were able to somehow convince the Roman authorities that Jesus posed a threat to Rome, considering they really had no issues with Jesus being a threat or an insurrectionist. The stench of satanic influence was everywhere you look, yet simultaneously, we see God's divine plan of redemption unfolding, according to His perfect timing, for His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ.

Genesis 50:20 tells us, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."
 
We can never assume that there isn't a valid reason for the circumstances we sometimes find ourselves in, just because we can't seem to see a need for it and God has not revealed to us why. God doesn't allow anything without a divine purpose in mind. God is behind everything, those involved are merely participants in His plan. Satan is not sovereign, he can only operate within the divine perimeters of God, with permission. Satan cannot do anything to anyone by his own volition. 
 
Remember Job? God said you can take anything from him, but you can’t take his life. Satan did everything he could to destroy Job, but he couldn't destroy his faith. True saving faith cannot be destroyed no matter what Satan does. And, later Satan demanded permission to sift Peter like wheat? Jesus said but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. He couldn’t touch Peter without divine permission. Everything must first pass through the hand of God. I've heard a number of Christians claim that you can't stop Satan unless you bind him, you have to claim it. That's pure heresy! If you believe that, your faith is defective. God is sovereign over all, nothing happens outside of His will. If God allows something, it's for His divine purpose.
 
Let's look at verse 51, "And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear."
 
It's interesting that neither Matthew, Mark or Luke tell us who it was. Only John, whose Gospel was written many years after this, tells us. I believe that since John's was the last gospel written, it was finally safe to say who it was then. I believe that given his track record, most of us already knew it had to be Peter cutting off a man’s ear. However, Peter's impulsive reaction is so important that all four Gospel include it. It's not hard to imagine what Peter must have been feeling here as the moment of truth Jesus warned him about had finally come.
 
Not unlike many of us, Peter acted on impulse, I believe Peter had to maintain his boast, he wanted to show Jesus that he was not afraid to die defending Him. As Christians, our involuntary and our responses to verbal attacks and insults should be godly, rather than our emotions, but we cannot do that unless we allow ourselves to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. You have to fill your mind with Scripture, and allow it saturate your mind. When you understand the strategy of Satan is to lead you into temptation, to compromise your Christian integrity, to rely upon your fleshly weapons, you realize that you have to prepare yourself for his unexpected relentless attacks. If Jesus had not healed this man's ear, there may well have been four crosses on Calvary.
 
Verse 52, "Then Jesus *said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword."
 
Jesus' message to Peter is the same for all of us today; "Stop it!! Put your sword away, for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword." Aggression and violence are not the answer for those of us who are in Christ. What post-modern Christians seem to miss, is Jesus is advocating capital punishment. If you take someone's life, the government has the God given right to take yours. Capital punishment is God’s law. I hasten to say, no Christian, has the right to ever take someone's life, for personal vengeance, under any circumstances. That's different from defending yourself or your family from someone who’s trying to kill you.

Peter was not meant to die by the sword tonight. John adds that Jesus said, "The cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?" I'd like you to notice that Jesus told him to put the sword away, not throw it away, because there is going be a time when Peter will need to defend his life. We’ve had our swords drawn figuratively in this country for quite some time, it's gotten even worse in the last several years. Cutting off people ears with our words, hurling insults and accusations toward one another. In Christianity, fleshly weapons aren't our warfare, our weapons are spiritual weapons. Fighting is not the way we are to influence the world around us, we influence them by being different. If the Lord wants to deliver us a hostile situation, He can. But keep in mind, nothing advances the kingdom of God like persecution. When Christians when rather die than deny the Lord, people want to find out more. And, if they kill us, we immediately go into the arms of our Lord.
  
Luke adds after having told Peter to put away his sword, "He touched his ear and healed him. By the way, when Jesus healed Malchus' ear, there is no mention of Malchus having faith and that is the only miracle recorded in Scripture where Jesus heals a fresh wound. In John 18:36, Jesus said to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."
 
Jesus eventually broke Peter's arrogance and self-reliance and turned his life around, by strengthening his dependency on God, Peter was able to strengthen others. If you will submit your life to His control, He will yours too.
 
Verse 53, "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" 
 
Peter's reaction was not only foolish, it was dangerous. Jesus didn't need Peter's help, anymore than He needs ours. A legion of angels is six thousand, so twelve legion is seventy-two thousand. Jesus is saying He has more than twelve legions of angels at His disposal, how foolish is it for Peter to try to defend Him by himself? In 2 Kings 19:35, the Lord's angel went out and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in the camp. When the Judeans got up early in the morning, they saw all the corpses. That's one angel, just imagine the damage more than 72,000 can do! God has an enormous amount of resources at His immediate disposal, He certainly doesn't require our puny little contribution. God will conquer our enemies by His own power, in His own time, our involvement isn't needed because of Who God is. Our sword is His Word, and prayer, that's how we fight our battles!
 
In verse 54, Jesus then says, "How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?"  
 
He had to be betrayed, taken captive, and led like a sheep to slaughter in order to fulfill what Scripture says must happen, in all the events leading up to the crucifixion. It has to happen this way, according to God's plan of redemption, innocent blood must be shed for the forgiveness of sin. All the other blood sacrifices, which had to be repeated, were all leading up to this final ultimate sacrifice. Jesus wasn't taken because of weakness, He accepted God's plan and was completely surrendered to God's control. His trust in the Father enabled Him to go to the cross.
 
2 Timothy 2:24-25, "The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth." Even if you think that something is a very important issue, it's okay to think that you're right, but that doesn't give you the right to speak harshly toward other people. Real power is not doing what you want but to use that power to do that which will glorify God and exalt Christ. God's kingdom is not served by worldly words or weapons.
 
Verse 55, "At that time Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me."
 
Jesus is saying, "You've had a number of opportunities, I used to sit in the temple teaching every day, why didn’t you take Me then if you had justification for it?" You couldn't because it is God who controls it all.
He is unmasking their evil. If they were not under the influence of Satan, they would have done it in public, but they were afraid of the people because what they were doing was unjustified. They’re no better than a robber, committing their evil deeds in the dark. He was completely innocent of their unmerited accusations. Luke says in chapter 22, "While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours." This is My hour, Satan fits into it, not because  Satan wanted Christ to die as a sacrifice for sin, rather he's trying to find anything and anybody that he can to stop the redemptive plan of God. 
 
The religious leaders wanted Jesus dead, they've been plotting it for some time, but they didn't want it to happen during the Passover, they were afraid the people would riot because of His popularity. That's probably what Satan thought, if the people would revolt against them killing Him, he could thwart the redemptive plan.
 
John 7:25-26, "So some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, "Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill? Look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they?" Then, in verse 30, "So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come." Satan cannot touch anyone without divine permission. Satan probably thought if he could get Jesus arrested, they would have to hold Him until after the Passover, in order to avoid the reaction of the crowd.

But this is the hour that God has chosen to bring His divine plan to fruition, Christ would die at precisely the moment the Passover lambs were being slain in Jerusalem, so this is their hour too. Incidentally, this all happened at the very hour they most wanted to avoid. All because God has made it to be so! God determined the exact moment His Lamb, the only sacrifice that ever could atone for the sins of all who would ever believe, would die. On God’s schedule, not theirs.
 
That brings us to verse 56, "But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets." Then all the disciples left Him and fled."
 
Even the disciples fleeing was part of God's plan, remember in verse 31 Jesus said, "You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, "‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.’" And that's exactly what happened, they all left Him and fled. They probably thought that if they're taking Him, they were going to be next. So in fear their life was going to be on the line, they ran. They must have forgotten saying "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You." Because it didn’t happen that way, they ran before anything that could happen.
 
It's interesting in Mark's account he writes "A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they *seized him. But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked."
That’s all Scriptures says about this young man, and this is the only place he’s ever mentioned. But whoever he is, they apparently seized him because Mark says "he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked." It doesn't mean he was literally naked, he had his under garment on, not unlike our underwear today. So why does Mark include it? I believe the Holy Spirit was making a point here, even if the disciples hadn't ran, if they would have stayed, God could have delivered them, just as He did this young man, if they had just been faithful.They were overconfident, so didn’t pray for courage, instead they slept. When the hour of testing arrived, they were unprepared. 
 
Even though they looked like the most unlikely group of men imaginable to take the message of the cross of Christ to the world, their time to die had not yet come. Who would preach the message? It didn't matter that Satan had a personal interest in Peter, he was overconfident, and he was weak, yet he became the leader. Jesus prayed his faith would not fail, that once he was restored, he would strengthen the brethren.
So, it's not surprising that Satan wanted Peter fail, on the Day of Pentecost, he was crucial in the early formation of the Church. Only genuine saving faith can withstand anything that Satan throws at a person.
 
In Closing..
 
There is so much pressure on us as Christians in today's society, and it's not just from non-Christian people, but other Christians, to give in to the demands of an ungodly culture. I have personally seen God show up in my trials these last ten years, like I never seen Him before, when Satan has given it his best shot to destroy my faith, to create doubt and fear. That's why we have an advocate! My faith did not fail, in fact, it only made it stronger, because Christ is faithful onto hold His own, even in their weakest hour, to proclaim the Gospel to strengthen the brethren and bring the lost and deceived to true saving faith.
 
Satan likes nothing more worldly preaching that doesn't confront sin and bring people to true saving faith, because it cannot advance the Kingdom of God. Genuine saving faith can only come by proclaiming the Truth of God. Unless you have saving faith, nothing else matters.
 
 
May it be so..
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen
 
 
 
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