This is Episode #286 and today we’ll read Matthew chapter 26 together. Judas betrays Jesus to the Pharisees, and Peter denies his Lord…3 times.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #286 and today we’ll read Matthew chapter 26 together. Judas betrays Jesus to the Pharisees, and Peter denies his Lord…3 times.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Matthew Chapter 26
The Plot to Kill Jesus
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he told his disciples, “You know that the Passover takes place after two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the courtyard of the high priest, who was named Caiaphas, and they conspired to arrest Jesus in a treacherous way and kill him. “Not during the festival,” they said, “so there won’t be rioting among the people.”
The Anointing at Bethany
While Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman approached him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. She poured it on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw it, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This might have been sold for a great deal and given to the poor.”
Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a noble thing for me. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me. By pouring this perfume on my body, she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they weighed out thirty pieces of silver for him. And from that time he started looking for a good opportunity to betray him.
Betrayal at the Passover
On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
“Go into the city to a certain man,” he said, “and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time is near; I am celebrating the Passover at your place with my disciples.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. When evening came, he was reclining at the table with the Twelve. While they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed, each one began to say to him, “Surely not I, Lord?”
He replied, “The one who dipped his hand with me in the bowl — he will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for him if he had not been born.”
Judas, his betrayer, replied, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”
“You have said it,” he told him.
The First Lord’s Supper
As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. But I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Peter’s Denial Predicted
Then Jesus said to them, “Tonight all of you will fall away because of me, for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”
Peter told him, “Even if everyone falls away because of you, I will never fall away.”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”
“Even if I have to die with you,” Peter told him, “I will never deny you,” and all the disciples said the same thing.
The Prayer in the Garden
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He asked Peter, “So, couldn’t you stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Again, a second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And he came again and found them sleeping, because they could not keep their eyes open.
After leaving them, he went away again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? See, the time is near. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up; let’s go. See, my betrayer is near.”
Judas’s Betrayal of Jesus
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. A large mob with swords and clubs was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: “The one I kiss, he’s the one; arrest him.” So immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
“Friend,” Jesus asked him, “why have you come?”
Then they came up, took hold of Jesus, and arrested him. At that moment one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword. He struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his ear.
Then Jesus told him, “Put your sword back in its place because all who take up the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and he will provide me here and now with more than twelve legions of angels? How, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”
At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as if I were a criminal, to capture me? Every day I used to sit, teaching in the temple, and you didn’t arrest me. But all this has happened so that the writings of the prophets would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and ran away.
Jesus Faces the Sanhedrin
Those who had arrested Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had convened. Peter was following him at a distance right to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and was sitting with the servants to see the outcome.
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they could not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. Finally, two who came forward stated, “This man said, ‘I can destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
The high priest stood up and said to him, “Don’t you have an answer to what these men are testifying against you?” But Jesus kept silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
“You have said it,” Jesus told him. “But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? See, now you’ve heard the blasphemy. What is your decision?”
They answered, “He deserves death!” Then they spat in his face and beat him; others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah! Who was it that hit you?”
Peter Denies His Lord
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl approached him and said, “You were with Jesus the Galilean too.”
But he denied it in front of everyone: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
When he had gone out to the gateway, another woman saw him and told those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene!”
And again he denied it with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
After a little while those standing there approached and said to Peter, “You really are one of them, since even your accent gives you away.”
Then he started to curse and to swear with an oath, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
It’s hard to feel sorry for Judas. After all, the very name “Judas” has become synonymous with “traitor”, a slander for those who would double-cross their friends. Still, you can’t help but feel a little sorry for this pitiful soul, who realizes…too late…the magnitude of his choices.
I also feel a tremendous amount of sympathy for Peter, who denies Christ not once, not twice…but three times, just as Jesus had told him he would. Of course, Peter had boasted, “Even if everyone falls away because of you, I will never fall away.” But when it came time for Peter to put his money where his mouth was, he failed in a very big way.
Of course, Peter was worried for his own skin. He was probably concerned about what the rabble in the high priest’s courtyard would think of him if he admitted his affiliation with the fellow on trial. He failed his master, and he failed himself.
I find this passage oddly comforting. It is a reminder that all of us are human, far from perfect, and we make terribly human mistakes, sometimes tragic ones. We slip and we sin, we doubt ourselves and our faith, and each time we hope we can do better next time.
Of course, Peter does do better next time, but that is a story for another episode. Let’s pray.
Let’s pray. Father God, my heart breaks for Peter…he is so frail, such a reminder of how weak we all are when we lean on our own understanding and do not depend on You for our strength. I pray that I would hesitate before boasting and remember the example of Peter. I pray that for all of us! Give us strength to do what is right, and if we are ever put in the same situation as Peter, I pray You would give us the strength and courage to confess our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ before those who would persecute us. Amen.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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