THE LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last lesson, we examined Matthew 25. Now, I want to remind you that the events we have been looking at all took place on Tuesday during the last week of Jesus’ life on this earth. In this lesson, most of our time will be spent in the Book of John, but first we have a few verses to look at from Matthew and Luke.
Matthew 26:1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, 2 "You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified."
Jesus is very specific here. He knows that in two days that he will be delivered up to be crucified for all mankind. As we will see in future lessons, Jesus knew what He was talking about as we know that He was crucified just as predicted. However, He would get to participate in one last Passover meal with His disciples.
Luke’s account says:
Lk. 21:37 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. 38 Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.
This does not give us a lot details, but it does tell us that Jesus would teach in the temple starting early in morning, but when night came he would stay on the mountain called Olivet. Since it was Jesus who was teaching, all the people would show up to hear what he had to say. Next, John gives us more details:
12:20 Now there were certain Greeks
among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who
John is the only one that records this event. These Greeks would have been Gentile proselytes who had accepted the Jewish religion. We do not know if they had honorable intentions or not, but they wanted to see Jesus. First, they talked to Philip, and Philip told Andrew, then Andrew and Philip told Jesus. We are not told if these Greeks got to see Jesus or not, but notice Jesus’ response:
John 12:23 But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 "He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
Jesus knew His death was approaching when He would be glorified. His death would be a blessing for the Jews and Gentiles. He illustrates this by comparing His death to a grain of wheat. Since farming was a way of life for the 1st century people, this example would have meant a lot to them. The grain of wheat must die before it can produce more wheat, which is exactly what had to happen to Jesus. He had to die before those in the world could live and be saved.
When Jesus said the grain of wheat remains alone, it seems like He is referring to how He would be abandoned and left alone when the Jews took Him at the Garden of Gethsemane as prophesied by Jesus in:
Matt. 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:`I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
Back in verse 25, Jesus has made this statement several times throughout His ministry. He is saying that if a person loves their life more than they love God, they will be lost because a person like that will live his life for himself. However, when Jesus said, “He who hates is life in this world will keep it for eternal life,” He was saying those who are willing to deny themselves and seek God first in their lives will have eternal life. Paul put it this way:
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16).
So, if people serve themselves or the world, they will lose their souls to the devil, but those that are willing to serve God and follow Jesus will save their souls and be honored by the Father.
John 12:27 " Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 "Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." 29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him." 30 Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
Jesus’ humanity is showing in that His soul was troubled about His pending death. The word “troubled” means: “To cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind … to render anxious or distressed” (Thayer). Even though this was bothering Jesus, He was not going to avoid His death because He knew that all humanity would be lost without the shedding of His blood, which was His purpose for coming to the earth.
When Jesus prayed to the Father, He asked Him to glorify His own name. Notice Jesus did not pray for Himself, but for glory of the Father. The Father spoke from heaven saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” Every time the Father keeps the promises He has made, and His name is glorified. The Father would glorify His name again when He raised Jesus from the dead. In the New Testament, this is the third time the Father has spoken out from heaven. The first time was at Jesus’ baptism and the second was at the transfiguration.
When these people heard God speak from heaven, some thought it was thunder and others thought it was an angel that spoke to Him. Some people only want to hear what they want to hear, which is true today as well. God does not speak to us directly from heaven today, but He does speak to us loud and clear through His Word. Unfortunately, many today are not willing to hear what the Word of God says. Instead, they listen to what others teach and continue to live in sin because they have closed their eyes and ears to God’s Word. When the Father spoke from heaven, it was for the benefit of those who heard it because Jesus knew the Father was always with Him and heard His prayers.
When Jesus died on the cross, the power of the devil would be overcome. His head would be bruised as predicted in Genesis 3:15. His power was sin because sin separates us from God, and Jesus gave us the power over sin through His blood as can be seen in:
Heb. 2:14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
When we choose to become Christians and serve God, we have the power to send the devil packing as James said:
Jas. 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
This does not mean that he will not try to tempt us today because Peter said:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
He is tricky because he can even appear to be an angel of light as Paul said:
2 Cor. 11:12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
As Christians, we need to understand that he cannot force us to do anything. He can only tempt us through things that are common to man. If we look hard enough, we will find a way to avoid temptation, which is provided by God. As Paul said:
1 Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
The best way we can prevent the devil from getting into our lives is by putting on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:11). When we do that, the devil will have hard time bringing us down. The wonderful thing about being a Christian is if the devil does tempt us and we sin, he has not defeated us because we can repent and confess that sin to God and that sin will be gone.
John 12: 32 "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.
Once again, Jesus is predicting His death and how it would be done. He made this prediction several times in His ministry (Jn. 3:14; 8:28). Not only did Jesus know He was going to die, He knew how He was going to die. His death would draw all peoples, which included Jews and Gentiles. The way people will be drawn to Christ is by the Word of God as John said earlier:
Jn. 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 "It is written in the prophets,`And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned2 from the Father comes to Me.
Next we read in:
John 12:34 The people answered Him, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"
These Jews and even Jesus’ disciples were confused about the kingdom of God that the Messiah would establish. There are several passages from the Old Testament they may have had in mind (Ps. 110:4ff; Isa. 9:7; Ezek. 37:25; Dan. 7:14). These verses imply or state that the Messiah’s reign will last forever, which is true, but He will reign from heaven over His spiritual kingdom, which is the church. Even though Jesus called Himself the Son of man on many occasions, they wanted to know who this man was, and why he had to be lifted up. Jesus responds:
John 12:35 Then Jesus said to them, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. 36 "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.
Jesus does not specifically answer their questions, but He does call Himself the light because He is light of the world. He tells them to walk in that light lest darkness overtake them, which is talking about the evil way. As Christians today, we must always walk in the light of truth and stay away from the darkness of error. When we become Christians, we become sons of light, and we are to be a light for the world just as Jesus was during His life on the earth. After Jesus taught them this message, He left and hid from them.
John 12:37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?" 39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: 40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them." 41 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him. 42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
John writes this sad news. Even though these people had seen the great signs that Jesus did, which proved that He was the Messiah, they did not believe Him. Their disbelief was no surprise because Isaiah prophesied this would happen in Isaiah 53, which is also the same chapter that teaches about Jesus’ death. Isaiah tells us the reason they could not believe:
“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them” (Isa. 6:9-10).
How did God do this? It was the same way Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. The truth hardened their hearts. God did not force them to be blind to the truth; they chose not to see it. Since they had their preconceived ideas of what the Messiah was supposed to do and be like, they rejected all the evidence that Jesus is the Messiah.
Verse 41 says that Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus when He said these things, yet Isaiah 6:1-10 says that it was Jehovah that he saw, which shows Jesus pre-incarnate existence and that He is God. To show there is more than one person in the Godhead,
Isaiah 6:8 says, “And who will go for Us?”
The word ‘us’ means there is more than one person in the Godhead. Of course, we know that Isaiah says, Isa. 6:8 "Here am I! Send me." Many other verses could be given that show this same plurality of the Godhead.
Now, not everyone was blinded to the truth that Jesus was the Messiah. Even some of the rulers believed in Jesus, but they would not confess Him because of their fear of being kicked out of the synagogue. They were more concerned about the praise of men than the praise of God, which is great example that proves that faith alone will not save a person. These rulers believed, but their faith was empty because they would not confess or do anything else except believe. There have been many people who have lost their souls to the devil because they were more concerned about what others think about them instead of what God thinks about them. We have to be careful not to fall into this trap or we could lose our souls to the devil as well.
John 12:44 Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 "And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 "And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 "For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 "And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."
summarizes His teaching and points out when we believe in Him, we believe in
the Father who sent Him. When they saw Jesus, they were seeing the Father,
which is the same thing that Jesus told Philip in
Jn. 14:8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the
Father, and it is sufficient for us." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with
you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen
the Father; so how can you say,`Show us the Father '?
Jesus was the true representative of the Father, and He explained this many times throughout His ministry. He and His Father are one, and everything that Jesus did and said came from the Father. Whenever someone believed in Jesus, they believed in the Father, and when someone did harm to Jesus it was the same as if they did it to the Father.
Jesus was sent into the world to be its Savior and not its judge, but the words that Jesus spoke will be the words that we will be judged by on the last day:
Jn. 12:48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
We have control over our destination. We can choose to live according to God’s Word or we can live how we want to. One way will get us to heaven; the other way will get us sent to hell. There are not going to be any judgments made from a human perspective because they will all be based on the Word of God. If a person will take the time to learn the Word of God and live by it, there will not be any surprises on the Day of Judgment.
Jesus is teaching us that the words He spoke came from God and not from man, which is why He can claim that every word that came out of His mouth was by the authority of the Father. If we refuse to live by the doctrine Jesus has left us, then we will lose the Father and the Son according to:
2 Jn. 1:9 Whoever transgresses1 and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
It is also comforting to know that we have a similar relationship with God because when people do good or bad things to us when we are doing things in the name of God, it is just like they are doing it to Jesus. Jesus gives us this same idea in Matthew 25, as I talked about in our last lesson, and we should keep this in mind when it comes to how we treat our brethren.
1 Cor. 12:26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Next we read:
Matt. 26:3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. 5 But they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people."
Mk 14:1-2 says the same thing. While Luke’s account gives the same message, his is worded a bit different.
Luke 22:1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.
This was not a new plan because we already know that these men wanted Jesus dead a long time ago, but they had not been able to figure out how to accomplish this task. Since they were scared that people would rise up against them if they did something to Jesus openly, they knew they would have to find a sneaky way to take Him out. So, they had decided at this point that they would not try and take Him during the feast. Some believe this means they would not attack Him openly while people were actively celebrating the feast, which would leave open times during the night. Others believe this means they were planning on waiting until feast was over when many of the Jews and proselytes would leave Jerusalem to go back to their hometowns.
Whatever was meant by them specifically does not really matter because an opportunity came up that they could not resist as can be seen in:
Matt. 26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. 16 So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.
Mk. 14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.
Lk. 22:3 Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. 4 So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.
Throughout the 4 accounts of the gospel, Judas is said to be the one who betrayed Jesus and here we see the beginning of it. It is sad day when we see one of Jesus’ chosen 12 betray Him after everything He saw and did. However, it was prophesied that this would happen. Now this does not mean that Judas had no choice, but God knew the choice Judas would make.
He sold out Jesus for 30 silver coins, which was the price to be paid for a slave who had been killed by an animal (Ex. 21:32). Of course, this price for our Savior was predicted by Zechariah (Zech. 11:12-13). When Luke says Satan entered Judas, it was not by force, but he willingly allowed this happen as his lust for money drove him to it.
As you can imagine, the chief priest were excited about this, because who better could take down Jesus then one of his own. Not to mention the fact, it came at the cheap price of 30 silver coins. So, Judas took the money and like the devil, he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
One last thing I want to mention is that some would say that these last few verses happened on Wednesday based on Jewish time. If that is true, then this is the only recorded information we have of what happened on Wednesday because nothing else is said about that day. In fact, as we will see in our next lesson, we only learn of one event that took place on Thursday during the day because most of the focus is put on the events that happened just before the Passover meal and afterwards.
So, we come to the end of the events that took place on the last Tuesday of Jesus’ life here on earth.