Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: Iscariot

Agape Bible Study text – Good Friday – “Ear” today and gone tomorrow


Agape Bible Study text – Good Friday – “Ear” today and gone tomorrow – 03/25/2016

Last supper has just happened, remind the folks of what was spoken about last year.

John 18:1 (ESV) When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Main points from this text…

  • Verse 1) Jesus made it easy to be captured, he retreated to a place that Jesus “often met with disciples” (verse 2)
  • Judas procured a “band of soldiers” Here is how a Roman Army detachment was made up

Roman Army definitions
Centurion – Was in charge of at least 100 soldiers
Legion – Reserves would count a Legion of 500 conscripts or 600 soldiers in times of conflict, bear in mind the time or revolutions and revolts (such as the revolt of the Maccabees) and the nature of the uneasy Government in Israel at that time it is fair to say that that number would have been 600.
Band – a tenth of a legion, Legions were assembled in battle into bands that were ten across.

Judas brought up to 60 soldiers of the empire that was so highly trained that it conquered most of Southern Europe, the Middle East and much of the Northern Coast of Africa. They were taking no chances having the following group marching into the garden some 60 soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and Pharisees. I think that it’s fair to say they would be noticed.

The reason for this is simple, this is not the first time Jesus was close to arrest, they sought to arrest him in John chapter 10 chapter 39 but that was while he was teaching so that would have been during the day, so they are taking no chances now doing this away from the crowd with excessive force.

In the UK it is quite often for children to say “you and whose Army?” if they believe that they are quite superior to their opponent or “come back with all your friends and we will make it a fair fight?” if they are boasting, Jesus was showing that in both those scenarios he was mightier Because Judas was flanked by the might of Rome, can you imagine how proud he must have been having been able to muster up that kind of back up? There are times when we rally and rally and think we are on the right side, this is one of those times! Can you think when you have done this?

• They asked for “Jesus of Nazareth” Jesus said “I am he” twice (verse 6 & 8) the He is italicized so it was not in the original transcript and was added later by the translators. So Jesus was saying I am.

• Jesus says “I am” and the excessive force brigade fall backwards – In a pretty humble declaration of who had all the power in this scenario, what a declaration that you can come with your mighty army but you have nothing on Jesus Christ and for me it is a foreshadow of the final battle in Revelation.

• Despite having all the power, Jesus submits to his father’s plan – The following phrases let me know that Jesus knew this was his time “if you seek me, let these men go” and “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

• Peter cuts off Malchus ear, this is important in the next part of scripture…

John 18:15 (ESV) Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

John 18:25 (ESV) Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

Jesus told Peter that despite his boasting he would deny that he even knew him before the end of that day (see John 13)

John 13:36 (ESV) Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

Peter was not under major duress when he did this, but he was scared because the guy he believed was the Son of God had just been arrested and all of his friends scattered in various directions. From Peter’s situation this was as grim as it got, he was brave enough to follow to see where they took Jesus but he stood out with the door far away to not be pulled in and easily enough to escape if the situation got too hot, but close enough to hear what was going on.

Many of us live our Christian lives like Peter, brave with a sword (in the church assembly and often the loudest voices where they can get “Christian kudos”) but cowards where it really matters, when it is not popular to stand with Jesus, and in Peters case a coward before a servant girl (v18) who was sent out to collect Peter to draw him in to where Jesus was.

Peter is scared and tries to blend in at this point and uses the fire to warm himself and to merge into the background, unfortunately the fire lights up his face and the guys who had been in the garden with him (who made the fire in verse 18) less than a few hours previously ask him if he was there. (Remember Peter had cut one of their ears off so they are gonna remember him!) and Peter denies a second time.

Then lastly a relative of the “earectomy” who in all likelihood was right next to him when it happened and certainly would have heard about this because in those days if you lost an ear in battle, if they were able to reattach it we know there would be a mark of some kind. Jesus fixed it whole so that in itself is noteworthy.

Peter relies on himself and his courage fails for a third time and immediately the rooster crows (like Jesus said it would) and Peter cries because of his love for the Lord and he knows he blew it! Just like Peter, we have blown it in so many ways and again just like Peter we have been redeemed, some of us have not taken up that gift of salvation and others are not living according to God will in our lives. As we take communion please think about confessions, things that you need to change in your life and if you need to then beg Jesus for forgiveness of your sins.

Communion text

Explain relationship with Jesus and give a chance to repent of sins

1st Corinthians 11:23 (ESV) For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Let’s take a moment in prayer and let’s take the Communion together as a family

Take the bread

Take the cup

We come together to proclaim not just Christ’s death but also the resurrection of Jesus that we symbolically celebrate on Easter Sunday and make an invitation to church on Easter Sunday.

TTE Advent Calendar Day Fourteen – December 14th


TTE Advent Calendar Day Fourteen – December 14th

Thank you for reading our fourteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Yesterday we looked at the prophecy that the messianic was going to be betrayed,  from the scriptures that we read we discovered that the betrayer was one of Jesus hand picked disciples called Judas Iscariot. 

The prophecy spoke that the messiah would be betrayed, it also spoke of a potters field being bought for that same price, a slaves price of 30 pieces of silver. Let’s look again at the verse in Zechariah.

Zechariah 11:12 (ESV) Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter.

Let’s catch up with Judas

Judas is a troubled soul at this point, he took the money and betrayed the messiah. Let’s look at the verses that conform the prophecy in the twenty seventh chapter if the gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 27:3 (ESV)  Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

Whatever you win, whatever you lose

Verse three reminds me of the song by the British rock band called “Status Quo” called “Whatever you want” which has the lyrics…

“Whatever you want
Whatever you like
Whatever you say
You pay your money
You take your choice
Whatever you need
Whatever you use
Whatever you win
Whatever you lose”

Remorse or repentance?

We read that when “Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders” he seems more concerned with the consequences of his actions than the actual sin itself. Some translations have the word as “remorseful” this tells it’s own story.

His heart was guilty on what he had done, that is remorse as opposed to repentance.  He acted next out if self guilt, this is where sin turns to tragedy.

Judas the nobody

Judas really was a nobody until Jesus selected him, he had three years of being in the Inner sanctum of the messiah’s teaching, saw many miracles and heard Godly teaching direct from God himself and he still missed the point.

Judas was also keen for the mission to be accepted by men and the times we hear him speaking up were on the ways Jesus was different to the other holy leaders.

Judas suffered from wanting to be associated with the Godly things but perhaps not be holy himself. He solicited the people he looked up to (for he religious leaders) and tried to find a way in by being useful to them.

He also did this at a price. Judas wanted to he his being regarded as a partner in this enterprise. I have no idea what Judas thought was going to happen but I bet he did not think it would escalate as quickly as it did.

Atonement or regret?

We could finish the article there and it would be sufficient. However we read that Judas tries to undo the wrong by paying the money back. Perhaps in atonement but mainly in regret.

I have been there,  been rescued from my bad decisions but still had consequences due to my sins, I am overweight due to previous bad good and health choices,  I have been poor due to bad lending decisions in the past and had to pay back instead of build wealth. I am sure we all can think of ways we have been delivered but still had consequences.

Holy reasoning

He used the holy law to try to return the money. He wanted to give the money back saying it was wrong for him to take it, obviously Jesus captors had no interest either way whether Judas profited from his crime or not, they already had what they wanted.

Judas, even after all this actually tells the truth about Jesus “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” this shows me two things.

1) His remorseful heart – Judas of a week ago would have turned this into profit by having his testimony bought.
2) The profound effect that Jesus must have had on him, that he could not slander him and declared that the charges against him (Jesus) were false.

Judas at no point accused Christ of anything, when he betrayed him his question was “what’s the price to deliver him?” Not at any point was there a discussion regarding the guilt of Christ. (That did not exist)

Obviously he panics when he realizes what has been put in motion cannot be stopped, he tosses the money on the floor and comes to a sad end.

Judas sad demise

Judas goes and do what desperate people do, come to a desperate end. Between here (verse 5) and Acts 1:16-19 we get exactly what happened to him, let’s read what Peter says in Acts 1:16-19.

Acts 1:16 (ESV) Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

So he hangs himself, eventually either by decomposition or gravity taking hold the hung body falls from the tree and bursts open. They were in a Jewish holy time so I doubt anyone would defile themselves by handling a dead body so he could have been up there in the baking sun for several days. 

The field of blood

Aptly named huh? Sin always has it’s end results and this is unlike any other. Judas is recorded as being remembered to this day and having property named after him. I bet that it was not what he wanted to be known or remembered for.

The compound interest of sin

Judas caught himself in sin, he chose not to repent and compounded sin upon sin. He never resolved the issue with God and became that anguished that he ended up taking his own life when he tried to reconcile a load that he was never designed to bear.

Sin is like a high interest loan from a loan shark. Once you cash out,  you may the balance and then much more. Often times sin compounds on sin and this is eloquently shown in this passage of scripture.

One of my first jobs as an adult was working in a bank and the idea of compund interest is that you earn interest on the interest on the borrowing, sin rarely pays back like for like.

Two deaths, two different outcomes

Two people in this section of scripture died this weekend, both had starkly different outcomes

1) Judas – died in his sins by his own hand with no peace with God.  Eternally he is separated from God.

Judas to me is an example that even if you are not following God,  he can still use you to fulfill the plan of God. The same could be said for the Pharisees and the Romans.

2) Jesus – died for the sins of the world a sinless, blameless man, at perfect peace with God. Rose again three days later and now eternally with God.

We all are going to end up either with or without God for eternity. Which outcome do you choose?

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.

TTE Advent Calendar Day Thirteen – December 13th


TTE Advent Calendar Day Thirteen – December 13th.

Thank you for reading our sixteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

This is a very hard article to write, the first twelve articles have been nice and easy to write as they have been about the birth and young life of the messiah, and now we will be look at his adult life, death and resurrection.

What makes this hard is that we know that Jesus hand-picked twelve men to disciple and feed into during his ministry time on earth. Today’s prophesy deals with the prediction that one of his trusted twelve will betray him. Let’s look at Psalm 41…

Psalm 41:9 (ESV) Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

This verse is quoted in the Gospel of John chapter thirteen:

John 13:18 (ESV) I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” 21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

We could close the article there and say “that proves it” but that has never been my style. I love that in the verse in Isaiah he speaks of his own circumstances before and after this verse and this small pearl of prophecy is hidden and spoken by our LORD to verify the validity of the prophecy. I think it is awesome and I am blown away by the inerrancy and infallibility of the bible.

In the passage in John, Jesus had just finished washing the disciple’s feet and had sat down to his final meal prior to the crucifixion that we now know as “The last supper”. Can you imagine the sorrow in his heart as he knows already that one of the twelve that he had chosen (v18) that he had washed his feet and that he was sharing a meal with had already taken money to send him to his death.

Don’t think for a second that Jesus was not tight with Judas, if you did a report card of the disciples Judas would score high. He said the right things, he looked after the money and he seemed like one of the most solid of them all. He had 3 years of training with the greatest biblical teacher the world has ever known and when it came down to it, Judas sold out his friend for a few silver coins.

Knowing Jesus, his troubled soul was not for himself, but compassion on his friend. The phrase “lifting up his heel” and “betray me” have similar meanings. He knew that the man sitting within touching distance was the one who was a fulfilled prophecy in the worst possible way. We read further prophecy in the book of Zechariah in chapter eleven…

Zechariah 11:12 (ESV) Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter.

Interestingly in the book of Zechariah, we have the price of the transaction which was thirty pieces of silver. This was the price of a slave. I find it remarkable that Judas could have sold out someone who was his kin for at least three years for the price of someone who you would buy to work in your field or vineyard. Such a small price for such a large amount of sin.

Because that is the point of all this. Jesus knew he was coming to this world to sacrifice and be a ransom for many. He knew that he would be doing this for those who would accept and those who would reject him. Not everyone would take him up on his offer.

A wee parable if you will indulge me…

I am a book guy, biographies, history and theology is my preferred reading materials, and recently I was gifted over 150 books, I was blessed because I took that person up on their offer. Now having those books in my possession will not make me more historically or theologically aware unless I actually pick them up and read them.

That is what it is like with Christianity, simply knowing about Jesus love for us and knowing that he died for us is practically useless unless you make your own individual commitment. You have to open that book and learn to live the life that God intended for you.  Don’t take that silver and sell out your savior, let’s look at how this all happened in the twenty sixth chapter of the book of Matthew…

Matthew 26:14 (ESV) Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

This is heartbreaking but glorious at the same time. This guy was hand-picked by Jesus, he served with him, saw miracles, saw dead raised, lame healed and the blind saw in his presence. He saw more than we would in ten lifetimes.

God used him to betray Jesus. Judas made that decision all by himself, he used his free will to ask that question “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” and those who wanted rid of Jesus offered him a slaves wages and Judas accepted the price.

Judas was paid on the spot (verse 15) and he began looking for an opportunity to betray the LORD. A lot has been made of Judas repenting after the fact and throwing the money down in the temple. These verses share with us that there was a time elapse between Judas being paid and Judas betraying Jesus. He had opportunity before the money became “blood money” to return it but he chose financial gain over spiritual.

Tomorrow we will look further at Judas (LORD Willing) and what happened afterwards.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.