We've studied the first three parts of the trial of Jesus. The ruling "religious body" known as the Sanhedrin, had declared Jesus guilty of blasphemy. The penalty was death but they could not legally carry out the sentence. They needed Rome to carry out their dirty work and as the Apostles' Creed says, Jesus "suffered under Pontius Pilate."
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This is a sad text but the content of the Bible is more than "Chicken Soup for the Soul." Its writers did not set out to protect us from some of the harsh realities of a broken world. Rather, they remind us that through Jesus Christ we are given hope in these harsh realities. Judas had a tragic end; we don't have to end the same way.
Peter joined John in the courtyard of the high priest. Jesus was in the palace being "convicted" in a kangaroo court. Peter was in no state of mind (or heart) to be this close to such danger but he had disregarded Jesus' words and put himself in a precarious situation.
This may seem far removed from our lives in 2016...but this is a lot closer to where we live than we may recognize on the surface.
Perhaps there is no more infamous betrayel than the one before us today. The term, "the Judas kiss" has become synonymous with despicable, traitorous actions. We learned in previous studies that Judas had made arrangements in advance in exchange for money. He knew where Jesus would be praying that evening and led the "great multitude" to Gethsemane. The events that took place there are not what we would expect...unless we remember Jesus' purpose.
Have you ever heard "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat?" Defeat hurts. In some things it's really minor and we should "grow up" and "get over it." But in big things it matters. But defeat isn't the only reality in life with God. There is victory. And when we allow God to give us the victory it is truly thrilling. David recounts one of those moments. As David remembered God's victory in his life so we may in ours as well.
Dr. Timothy Gombis (Associate Professor of New Testamet at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary) preaches from Philippians 2 and 3 about Paul's Radical Reversal.
Once a year we take a Sunday to highlight the ministries of our church and take some time to consider where we might best serve the King for His Kingdom. We have learned from our study in Matthew that serving equals greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven. We have learned that even Jesus took on the form of a servant and that He did not come to be served but to serve.
The church in Corinth had a hard time dealing with the diversity among God's servants. Thankfully the Holy Spirit preserved the instructions!
The text before us this morning is of incredible importance, from it we derive the beginning of what we call "the Eucharist," "Communion," or "The Lord's Table." Those who participate in this ordinance with a tender heart and ears to hear will strengthen their faith and their love for the Lord Jesus will grow. Jesus is the Passover Lamb that took away the sins of the world.
The contrasts in this text are understated but as profound as any contrast of any literature. There is love and hate, death and life, compassion and agitation.
Matthew "turns the corner" in this chapter and takes us down the road to the cross and resurrection. There is much to learn in these rich texts. May the Lord help us to see all He intends for us in these chapters.
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