Kay Arthur — The Betrayal and Arrest
Sometimes, when you just open the Bible, Beloved, and you begin to read, you don’t sense the reality of what you’re reading. So I want you to come with me and catch a vision of what it’s like here in the land of Israel where God has put His name.
Behind me, picture the Valley of Gehenna. It was the valley that was likened to the [lake of fire, where the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched], because fires were there all day. (PARAPHRASE, Mark 9:44, 46, 48)
The Valley of Gehenna then intersects the Kidron Valley, and those two valleys coming together then give us the point of the City of David. So as we look at this place and this time, I want us to catch a vision of what it was like on the night when they took Jesus from the Mount of Olives, from the Garden of Gethsemane, across the Kidron Valley and up the steps leading to the house of Caiaphas. (See Matthew 26:36, 50, 57)
Do you know that those very steps are here today? Come with me to Jerusalem, the city where God has put His Name. (See Deuteronomy 12:5)
It’s the second millennium since Jesus Christ was crucified, and yet, Precious One, when you come to the land of Israel, there are still many of the same places where Jesus walked.
You can stand on the steps where He walked into the Temple. You can stand on the steps that led to the house of Caiaphas. This is a land that is full of the Word of God, and it takes you back in time, and although as I teach you’re going to hear all sorts of sounds of life going on, I want you to know that this is a very, very special land.
I’ll never forget the first time I came to Israel, and when I got off the plane and I stood on the ground I thought, “Lord, Lord, I am home.” And I’m not the only one that feels that way. People will tell you, from all over the world, that when they came here they felt like they were home. And you know why? Because someday this is going to be home, someday, this is where Jesus Christ the Messiah is going to rule as King of Kings. (See 1 Timothy 6:13-16; Revelation 19:6)
He’s going to have His headquarters for His kingdom here in Jerusalem. (See Revelation 21:2-4)
As a matter of fact, as you look at the topography of Jerusalem, what you see is, you see the name of God right in the topography. You see the “Sheme,” and the “Sheme” is made up of valleys that are created by the Valley of Gehenna and the Kidron Valley. It’s the Kidron Valley that goes between the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount. And it’s the Kidron Valley that’s someday going to be filled with blood when Jesus Christ comes back. You read about it in Joel, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision…! (Joel 3:14)
Well between these two valleys, there’s a third one, and that third valley is the Tyropoeon Valley, it’s the “Valley of the Cheesemakers,” and those three make up the “Sheme.” And where the Kidron Valley and the Valley of Gehenna come together right down here is where the City of David begins. Now when David came, God eventually brought him here to the city of Jebus, and the city of Jebus was conquered by David and it became the City of Jerusalem. (See 1 Chronicles 11:4-7)
And at long last the children of Israel knew that this is where God was going to put His name forever. This was going to be the Mount Zion, the Holy City of God. This is where He would rule and all the nations of the earth would come, someday, as Zechariah says, to celebrate the Feast of Booths. (See Zechariah 14:16)
Well as we look at these two valleys and as they come together, then what we have is the City of David that leads on the slopes up to the Temple Mount. Now the wall that you see there is not the wall of Jesus’ time. The wall of Jesus’ time encompassed far more than what you can see. As a matter of fact, the house of Caiaphas was within the ancient walls in the time of Jesus.
So we’re not looking at the walls that are from that time except for the Temple Mount, and when you see the Temple Mount that is the original place where the temple was. Well as we look at this place, what I want you to do is, I want you to get a perspective, Precious One, of what happened on that night when they arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. (See Matthew 26:36, 50)
Gethsemane means “an olive press.” It was where Jesus Christ was pressed out. It was where He wrestled with the will of God. It was where three times He had to go and He had to cry out to God, [“Father, if it’s possible, take this cup from Me, nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.”] (PARAPHRASE, Matthew 26:39, 42, 44)
Remember how [He woke up the disciples and He said, “Can you not watch and pray?] (PARAPHRASE, Matthew 26:40) “Keep watching and praying…[for] the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
And what I want you to understand is, Jesus, the Son of God, was the Son of Man. He was in a body of flesh, and so He would feel the things that you and I would feel. He would experience the things that you and I experience. So that night when He left the Upper Room, He came down past the Temple Mount, and as He passed the Temple Mount, He went down the Kidron Valley and up to the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane.
That’s approximately, about one mile. So He walked that distance of going down and that distance of coming up. But then He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. They bound Him and the Bible tells us, and Matthew tells us this, and this is what I want you and I to see in Matthew chapter 26, in verse 55.
It says, “At that time Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Have you come… with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would…a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me.” (Matthew 26:55)
Now you know where it is. Now you know it’s opposite the Mount of Olives. Now you know that it looks down on the Kidron Valley, and this is where Jesus would sit within the Temple and He would teach there everyday. And He says, “ ‘But [that] all…has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.’ Then all the disciples left Him and fled. Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and elders were gathered together.” (Matthew 26:56-57)
Now why were they gathered together? They were gathered together because they were plotting His death. They were gathered together illegally. They were coming together as the Sanhedrin, as the Council, because they wanted to plot His death. So when they took Him out of the Garden of Gethsemane and took Him across the Kidron Valley, then they came up the steps to the house of Caiaphas. You can look at those steps. You can walk those steps.
Those are the very steps that Jesus walked up after saying to the Father, [“Father, not My will, but Yours be done.”] (PARAPHRASE, Matthew 26:42) He knew that He was about to be “…poured out….” (Psalms 22:14)
He knew that [He was the Lamb of God who was about to be slain, who would take away the sins of the world]. ( PARAPHRASE, John 1:29)
Your sins, Precious One, and my sins; You were on His heart, I was on His heart. In all of His omniscience, He knew it all. He knew you by name, and the Bible tells us that before God ever spoke and brought the world into existence that “…He chose us in [Christ Jesus] before the foundation of the world….” (Ephesians 1:4)
Why? So that you and I could “…be holy and blameless before Him.” (Ephesians 1:4) He came to the house of Caiaphas, and I’m going to teach you what happened in the house of Caiaphas,” but first of all I want you to understand that as He came to the house of Caiaphas, the first one that He would stand before, and it’s recorded for us in John chapter 18, is He would stand before Annas. (See John 18:13)
Now Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, and Caiaphas had been selected as the high priest that year. And you’ve got to remember that, in a sense, the priesthood had become very corrupt ever since the time of the Maccabean period. Ever since the time of Herod the Great putting in men for his own manipulation and putting them into the priesthood.
So the priesthood was bought and sold. So He went to Annas first. Then Annas sent Him to Caiaphas, and then Caiaphas was going to send Him to the Sanhedrin. (John 18:13, 19)
Because as I told you, it was an illegal gathering then, they were not allowed to try someone at night, and yet, this is what would happen in the house of Caiaphas. But then, in the morning, after Jesus had spent the night in the pit, and I will tell you about that later, but after Jesus spent the night in the pit, then He was released, and Matthew chapter 27, verse 1 tells us this:
Now when morning [had come], all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; and they bound Him, and [they] led Him away and [they] delivered Him to Pilate the governor. (Matthew 27:1)
Now if you’ll just look with me in your mind’s eye, if you can picture, if you can look at your study guide, if you can just picture the Temple Mount area. And then where you see the golden dome, that’s where you want to put the Temple because it was in that vicinity. But as we’re on the Mount of Olives, as we’re looking at the Temple Mount area, what you will see over to the right is you will see the Antonio Fortress, and that’s where Pilate was.
Now Pilate was normally in Caesarea. He didn’t like to be down here in this Holy City. He didn’t like the Jews. He preferred those beautiful breezes coming off of the Mediterranean Sea. It was like a little paradise, and that’s where he was.
As a matter of fact, in doing an archaeological dig, for the very first time they found a stone that had his name carved in that. And this, again, was a confirmation to the world that what the Word of God says is absolutely true.
Well they took Him to Pilate, and then from Pilate, as I said, He left Pilate, He left the area, the Antonio Fortress where the Governor’s Palace was, and He went, Pilate sent Him on up to Herod because, really, He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, and so since Herod was over the Galilee, he thought: Well I will let Herod dih-uh-uh try Him. But Herod just mocked Him and then sent Him back to Pilate.
Just so that you can have a perspective, just so that you know, Precious One, that all of this is not a fairy tale, it happened in time, and it happened in place, and as Jesus said, “the rocks can cry out and testify of that.” (See Luke 19:38-40)