Don’t Let The Crowd Be Your Guide

“If You are the Son of God come down from the cross.” (Matthew 27:40)

Jesus had heard this very same phrase three years earlier, in His temptation in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry. Now He hears it again at the end: “If You are the Son of God …”. The first time, these words came from Satan himself; this time from one of the adversary’ favorite instruments: a crowd of ungodly people.   Continue reading

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We Are Barabbas

In Matthew 26:16-26, the character Barabbas is a living allegory of our spiritual condition, and of what Jesus did for us in His substitutionary death:

— Barabbas was “a notorious prisoner” (:16) He deserved to die for his crimes.

— Jesus on the other hand, was absolutely innocent (:23) “Why, what evil has he done?” Pilate cried, after much examination.

— Yet Jesus was taken in Barabbas’ place: the innocent suffered in the place of the guilty (:26) “Then he released Barabbas, but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.”

How poignant that even as He approached His impending death, Jesus lived out a picture of what He was doing for us. Continue reading

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“The Way You Talk Gives You Away”

“A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.'” (Matthew 26:73)

This verse describes what happened as Simon Peter denied Jesus for the 3rd time after His arrest. But it also leads to an ironic twist, with a piercing truth: Continue reading

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“His Only Begotten Son” (John 3:16 sermon)

In Matthew 26, the Bible describes how just before He went to the cross, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Facing the inconceivable agony of the wrath of God that was deserved for all the sins of world, Jesus asked that if there were any other way to bring about salvation, that God would let this torture pass by Him. He prayed this same thing three times, and it should be instructive to us that after He finished this prayer, He went ahead to the cross. What’s so important about this episode is that it demonstrates to us that there was indeed NO OTHER WAY of salvation than that God had to give His Son. Had there been any other alternative, in the face of the fervent pleading of Jesus, God the Father would have given it. But there was no other way, and Jesus went to the cross to die, bearing our sins in His body.

Last Sunday we saw how God loved the world so much “that He GAVE” — He didn’t merely “say” He loved us; He demonstrated it by giving the gift that would make us right with Him. All the sacrifices that mankind tries to make to put us right with God are not sufficient. There was only ONE sacrifice that would suffice, and that is what we are going to look at today, the one gift that would save: “His Only Begotten Son.” Just Who was this gift, and why did it have to be Him and Him only who could save us? Continue reading

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When A Change of Scenery Isn’t The Answer

“When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant girl saw him, and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ And again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.”” (Matthew 26:71-72)

Peter had been sitting outside in the courtyard of the high priest, when he was identified by a servant-girl as being a follower of Jesus. He denied it. Evidently he became uncomfortable sitting where he was (if you can imagine that!) so he decided to move out to the gateway instead. But there was no escaping it; in just a few moments he was asked basically the same question by another servant-girl, and he responded with yet another denial: “I do not know the man.” Changing his location didn’t help Peter any — because his problem was not in his geography! Continue reading

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Defective Discipleship

“But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome.” (Matthew 26:58)

Jesus calls us as His disciples to follow Him. But we often fall short of really living out that call. In the aftermath of Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see how Peter exhibited a “defective discipleship” in a number of ways:

— “Distant Discipleship”: It says he was “following Him AT A DISTANCE.” Why was he following “at a distance”? Undoubtedly because he didn’t want to be associated with Him too closely.  And sadly, many of us today adopt the same posture. Continue reading

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“Accept the Things I Cannot Change”

“How then will the scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” (Matthew 26:54)

The final words of Jesus’ sentence here were significant: “It must happen this way.” His arrest was going to happen. It had been prophesied in the scriptures. In fact it had to happen, in order that He could die on the cross for our sins. The redemption of mankind depended upon it. “It must happen this way.” Jesus knew that, and He did not resist His arrest — and He told His disciples to put down their swords and accept it as well.

This is not merely a historical fact; it also serves as a reminder that we may experience such occasions in our own lives as well. Continue reading

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