God Is In Control




Matthew 27:62-66

On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise.' Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first."

Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard. (Matthew 27:62-66)

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It was Saturday.

It was the Passover Sabbath.

It was the holiest day of all the Jewish calendar.

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The chief priests and the Pharisees wanted to make sure they eliminated the movement around the Lord Jesus Christ.

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It wasn’t enough to have Him dead.

They weren’t done yet.

They were afraid of one more thing.

They were afraid that the disciples might come and steal the body of the Lord Jesus Christ!

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And so they got together in a small group.

They came to Pilate.

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They had such contempt for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Their hostility, hatred, and brutality extended even beyond His death.

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They were afraid that the disciples would fabricate a resurrection to keep the movement alive.

So to prevent that, they went to Pilate.

They wanted to make the grave secure.

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Pilate answered their request.

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They made the grave secure, sealing the stone.

They set in front of the grave a group of Roman soldiers.

It was very secure.

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It was all the work of the chief priests and the Pharisees.

It was all the work of Pilate and the soldiers.

But it was the work of providence.

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God made sure that those who rejected and hated the Lord Jesus Christ set it up so that there was no way possible for the disciples to steal the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The only way He could have come out of there was a resurrection!

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God used the wrath of men to praise Him.

The unbelieving world made sure that there was no other explanation for the absent body of the Lord Jesus Christ except a resurrection.

If there were no seal and no guard, the resurrection could have been explained as a grave robbery.

But the wrath of these Christ haters had led them to secure that grave to the extent that there was no other explanation than a resurrection.

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God used the chief priests and the Pharisees providentially to give forceful proof that the Lord Jesus Christ indeed rose from the dead!

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All things are indeed controlled by God to work together to fulfill His eternal purpose.

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God is in control.

No matter what...


The Crucifixion of Jesus




Matthew 27:31-37

And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. (Matthew 27:31)

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The Romans used crucifixion extensively.

It was carried out along the highway to warn people of what happened to someone who violated Roman law.

Crucifixion was a vivid illustration of the consequences of going against Rome.

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Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. (Matthew 27:32)

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Executions had to take place outside the city because the Jews didn’t want it to be defiled.

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As the procession came out of the city, it was apparent that the Lord Jesus Christ’ strength was giving out.

His blood was draining away.

He had no sleep since the night before.

He had been betrayed by Judas Iscariot.

He had witnessed the defection of His disciples.

He had undergone the injustice of His trials.

He had endured the humiliations that followed.

The scourgings and beatings had taxed His strength.

And there were no angels to strengthen Him.

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As the Lord Jesus Christ came out of the city, Simon was coming out of the country.

As he walked by the procession, he was conscripted by the Roman soldiers to carry the cross of Jesus.

No Roman would carry a criminal’s cross, and certainly not that of a Jewish criminal.

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And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink. (Matthew 27:33-34)

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The lord Jesus Christ wouldn’t drink the mixture of wine and myrrh.

He was not going to allow any of His senses to be dulled.

He was committed to enduring the full pain of the cross.

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Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: "They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots." (Matthew 27:35)

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A Jewish man usually wore five pieces of clothing: shoes, an inner garment, a headpiece, belt, and outer cloak.

The soldiers each took one piece.

Since there were four soldiers, they decided to gamble for the inner garment by casting lots.

How indifferent the soldiers were!

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Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. (Matthew 27:36)

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With cruel mockery they stayed on their guard to make sure nothing happened beyond what had already happened.

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And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (Matthew 27:37)

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Pilate was mocking the Jewish leaders.

He wanted the people to look at that claim and laugh at both the Lord Jesus Christ and the Jewish nation.

He even had it written in three languages: Greek, the universal language; Aramaic, the language of the area; and Latin, the language of the Romans.

Pilate remained sarcastic to the very end.

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The world is full of people who are like the soldiers.

There are many people who laugh at even the thought of the Lord Jesus Christ, seeing Him as a joke.

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The world is full of ignorant people who are callous toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

They don’t know who it is they are rejecting.

Unless they awaken to Him, they’ll spend an eternity with the same kind of remorse these soldiers were experiencing.

The Unfair Trial




Matthew 26:62-68

The religious leaders were in a hurry to convict the Lord Jesus Christ before dawn.

They were afraid of His popularity with the people.

They were afraid of what might happen if the people found out what they were trying to do to Him.

They wanted to finish the trial so they could celebrate the Passover.

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And the high priest arose and said to Him, "Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?" (Matthew 26:62)

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Frustration reached its peak in Caiaphas.

Many false witnesses paraded before the Sanhedrin.

But none of whom could concoct successful lies about the Lord Jesus Christ.

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But Jesus kept silent. (Matthew 26:63a)

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The Lord Jesus Christ said nothing because there was nothing to say.

The law made provision for Him to stay silent.

He had to be accused by others and proven guilty by them.

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And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" (Matthew 26:63b)

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Caiaphas was trying to get the Lord Jesus Christ to blaspheme.

If he was successful, they would have their reason for executing Him.

So the crime they attached to Christ was that He said He was God.

But that wasn’t a crime because it happened to be the truth.

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Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matthew 26:64)

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The Lord Jesus Christ affirmed before the Sanhedrin that He was God, and that soon they would see Him exalted to the right hand of God and coming in the clouds of heaven.

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Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! (Matthew 26:65)

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Was Jesus’ claim to be God blasphemy?

No, because what He said was true.

But the high priest didn’t want to know the truth.

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Caiaphas was happy because the Lord Jesus Christ could now be executed.

But he put on a show to appear grieved.

He ripped his clothes to appear as if he were defending the holiness of God.

But inwardly he was rejoicing at the prospect of getting rid of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.” (Matthew 26:66)

Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You? (Matthew 26:67-68)

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The high priest, elders, chief priests, and scribes abused Christ.

That’s frightening when considering whom they were dealing with!

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The table will be turned.

The judges who tried the Lord Jesus Christ will be justly condemned.

The One wrongly accused will one day become the Judge.

The damning sin is the sin of unbelief, which encompasses pride, impenitence, independence, and self-sufficiency.

It is the sin of thinking we can be right with God without the Lord Jesus Christ.


In The Garden of Gethsemane




Matthew 26:36-39

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there."

And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.

Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

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The Lord Jesus Christ was in the garden of Gethsemane, just prior to His capture, mock trial, and execution.

It was just after His prediction of the disciples’ denial and desertion.

And it was midnight on Thursday on the last week of His life.

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The Lord Jesus Christ asked His disciples to stay at the entrance of the garden.

He needed some seclusion.

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The Lord Jesus Christ told them that He was going to pray.

He wanted to pour out His heart to God.

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The Lord Jesus Christ took Peter, James, and John with Him.

They were the three leaders.

And the other disciples looked to them for leadership.

Whatever they learned would then be communicated to the rest.

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The Lord Jesus Christ agonized over going to the cross.

But He wanted to use His agony as a means for instruction.

He wanted to teach Peter, James, and John how to face temptation.

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The key to overcoming temptation is dependence on God through intense prayer.

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The Lord Jesus Christ was conscious of the weakness of His humanity.

Although He was perfect and sinless, He was human.

And He experienced those things on our behalf.

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The Lord Jesus Christ prepared Himself to go to the cross.

He experienced suffering, sorrow, and grief in the garden through the severe temptation of Satan.

And in the midst of that temptation, we can sense His dependence on God.

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The Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry began and ended with severe temptations.

At the beginning of His ministry, Satan tempted Him after He had fasted 40 days in the wilderness.

In the garden of Gethsemane, Satan tempted Him again.

But the Lord Jesus Christ was victorious on both occasions.

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In the course of the first encounter early in His ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ answered each temptation with Scripture.

Throughout the second, He responded to each temptation with prayer.

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When we face temptation, we have two weapons at our disposal.

Those weapons are the Word of God and prayer.

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After having gone some distance further into the garden with Peter, James, and John, the Lord Jesus Christ began to be sorrowful and very depressed.

Our Lord began to experience deep anguish.

He agonized over the reality of the cross.

He despised everything connected with it: guilt, sin, death, isolation, loneliness, and estrangement from God.

His horror of the cross so repulsed Him that it’s beyond our understanding.

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The pain of the cross was always with the Lord Jesus Christ.

But it was in the garden that it reached its apex.

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The Lord Jesus Christ said His soul (His inner being) was exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.

His sorrow was enough to kill Him.

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The Lord Jesus Christ said to the three disciples, "Stay here and watch with Me."

He wanted them to pray with Him.

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Every time the Lord Jesus Christ prayed to God, He called Him "Father".

There was only one exception: when God forsook Him while He hung on the cross bearing the sin of the world (Matt. 27:46).

But His prayer in Matthew 26:39 is the only record in Scripture of His referring to God as "My Father".

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"If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

That is a prayer of resolution and resignation to the will of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not try to avoid God’s redemptive work.

But the degree of such agony led Him to ask if there were another way to accomplish it.

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At the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ would endure the fury of God over sin, Satan, the power of death, and the guilt of iniquity.

Our Lord desired to avoid that part of God’s plan if there were another way.

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The Lord Jesus Christ’s supplication revealed His genuine agony.

However, it was followed by His commitment to do God’s will, no matter what the cost.

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That is the way we all should face temptation, with confident prayer and commitment to the will of God.

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Jesus trusted God.

The intensity of His struggle brought out the best in Him because He approached it correctly.

But it brought out the worst in the disciples because they approached it incorrectly, even though their trial was infinitely less severe than His.

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Oh! What a completely different experience in the garden of Gethsemane!



Judas Iscariot




Matthew 26:14-16:

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?"

And they counted out to him 30 pieces of silver.

So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

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Judas Iscariot knew the Lord Jesus Christ.

He was one of a very few who spent years working and traveling with Him.

And yet, after all his close experience with Him, he betrayed Him to death.

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Judas' greatest weakness was money.

He lacked honesty with money.

He was greedy.

And he was an outright thief.

And in the end, he betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ for the payment of 30 silver coins.

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Judas felt deep remorse after the Lord Jesus Christ was arrested.

He repented of his betrayal of Him.

But it was too late.

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The chief priests and elders refused to take back the money.

Judas Iscariot threw the money into The Temple.

He then went off and hanged himself.

He knew he had betrayed the very Son of God.

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The chief priests could not put the returned "blood money" into the treasury.

So they used it to buy the potter's field, to bury strangers in.

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The Lord Jesus Christ knew that Judas Iscariot would one day betray Him.

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Jesus Christ was born to die for our sins, not His own.

He was an absolutely innocent man Who was to be betrayed, falsely accused, unlawfully arrested, unjustly convicted, and brutally executed.

A naturally corrupt man was required for the role of betrayer.

And Judas Iscariot was the best available candidate.