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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - Luke 22:39-23:1

Skip Heitzig - Luke 22:39-23:1

Skip Heitzig - Luke 22:39-23:1
Skip Heitzig - Luke 22:39-23:1
TOPICS: The Bible from 30.000 Feet, Gospel of Luke, Bible Study, Gethsemane, Betrayal

History began in a garden. Human history began in a garden. Human sin began in a garden. And according to the last chapters of the Bible, human history will culminate in a gardenesque city prepared by God that comes toward the new earth. We're given a description of that in the last book of the Bible where a pure river of life, as clear as crystal, proceeds from the throne of God. And the tree of life is large and a centerpiece spanning both sides of the street and sidewalks of that river that runs right through the middle of our new town. History began in a garden; it will culminate in a garden city. Between those two gardens is a third garden, the garden of Gethsemane. There's where we left off last time in the gospel of Luke.

The garden of Gethsemane is a garden where the battle was fought for you and I. It's where the battle was decided upon by our Lord Jesus Christ. What would be our fate, it was decided there in that battle, in that garden. In between the first garden and the last garden is that garden. Life began in the garden of Eden; new life began in the garden of Gethsemane. In the first garden, Adam failed with his sin. In the garden of Gethsemane, the second Adam, Jesus is called, succeeded in that battle and reclaimed what was lost by the first Adam. In the first garden, the garden of Eden, Adam fled, ran, hid from God. But in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus presented himself to the will of the Father, not running, not hiding, not shrinking, but saying, "Nevertheless not as I will, but as you will."

So we begin in verse 40-something. I'm going to take it back to verse 39. But let me tell you that whenever I would take tours to Israel and we would go to Jerusalem, we would usually get there in the afternoon of whatever day it was we entered Jerusalem and we would go to our hotel. And I always wanted to get a hotel that was close enough to the Old City that you could walk to the city of Jerusalem, like through the Jaffa gate. And so what I would often do is take a group of guys and say, "Let's go for a walk. Put your walking shoes on. We're going to be gone a while. You are going to walk with me quite a while." And so I would walk them through the Jaffa gate, down David Street, take the little right and then a left and then another right, and climb a few stairs.

And then suddenly before you is the Western Wall, the Wailing Wall that used to be called of Jerusalem, that famous shot of that retaining wall of the temple. And after they were oohed and aahed by that sight, I would take them out a gate to the right called the Dung gate and take them out into the dark, down a valley, and across that valley into a little place, and I would climb a wall. You'd have to climb the wall, 'cause the gate was locked. So I would climb the wall and they would climb that wall with me. And we would sit among the olive trees, and I would say, "Do you guys know where you are?" They hadn't been there before, so they didn't know. And there's just a group of us and I said, "You are sitting at night in the garden of Gethsemane."

And we would just spend the next few moments in prayer together just soaking in the moment, and reliving and recapturing the moments that we're about to read in this section, in this chapter. Now, before we begin, and I know I'm still giving you introductory thoughts, but I thought it would be good the insert this here, so that you get the flavor of the outline of this book. We have been in the gospel of Luke now for some time, for a long time. Some of you a long, long time. But there is a verse of the gospel of Luke that encapsulates the entire message of the book of Luke, and I'll quote it to you. You will remember it. We read it a few weeks ago. That's Luke chapter 19 verse 10, it says, Jesus saying, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those who are lost."

And that, interestingly, is an outline of the entire book of Luke. "For the Son of Man," and that is the old term that Daniel used in the vision of the Old Testament, the glory of God and the Son of Man being worshiped and receiving a kingdom. It's the old messianic title. "The Son of Man," and that is what Luke emphasizes is his book, the humanity of Christ. "The Son of Man came." Chapters 1 through 4 show how the Son of Man came. That's why we are told about his birth at length in the gospel of Luke. We are told about his presentation to the nation, the fulfillment of certain prophecies. "The Son of man came," that's chapters 1 through 4. And then it says, "to seek." In chapters 5 through 21 is Jesus seeking people. He seeks his disciples and chooses them. He trains them.

He dispatches them on a short-term mission around the Sea of Galilee. He commissions seventy others that are following him to do the same. He seeks certain ones, and he heals certain ones, and he teaches certain ones. He is seeking. And then chapter 22, 23, and 24 is about him saving. "For the Son of Man came," 1 through 4; "to seek," 5 through 21; "and to save those who are lost," 22 through 24. You have the entire gospel of Luke in one verse. We are on the "saving" part right now where Jesus presents himself in the garden of Gethsemane to the will of the Father and the trial of his enemies. Verse 39, "Coming out, he went to the Mount of Olives," that very precipitous hill just east of the city of Jerusalem, the Old City.

Now, I say "precipitous" very carefully, because I once went to Israel with a bicycle and it was my aim to tour the country. And I did okay, but one thing I could never do is climb the Mount of Olives on a bicycle in the lowest possible gear of a mountain bike. Impossible. It is just so steep the front wheel comes off and you'll just endo every time you try. It's very steep to go up and to go down. At the base of the Mount of Olives just next to a valley called the Kidron Valley, that separates the Old City of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and Bethany and the route that goes eastward, was one of Jesus' favorite places. It's become one of my favorite places, the garden of Gethsemane. And that's why I still like to hang out there a lot whenever I go there.

And notice that it says, "When he came to the place," I like it that it's called that, "the place." You know, it's "the place." Jesus had a lot of places to hang out in the city of Jerusalem, like staying with Mary and Martha and Lazarus in Bethany. He often did that, but "the place," his digs, his hang, he loved the garden of Gethsemane. I think he loved it because of the view you get of the Old City. It's a very great vantage point to pray, and Jesus does that here in this narrative. "When he came to the place, he said to them, 'Pray that you may not enter into temptation.'" Now we are not told the name of "the place" in the gospel of Luke, but we are told the name of "the place" in John, chapter 18. It's the garden of... Gethsemane.

We all know that word, right, Gethsemane? But did you know that Gethsemane is simply the English rendering of a Hebrew word that just tells you the function of what that place was. The Hebrew word is GatSh'manim. Comes from two Hebrew words: gath/gat, which means the press; shemem/shmanin, is the masculine plural Hebrew word for olives. So now you know what that place was. It was an olive factory. It was the olive press. It's the place where olives were harvested and oil was extracted. Now, an olive press was basically two stones: a heavy stone on top of a stone on the bottom that crushed the olives. And, by the way, olive oil doesn't come from the skins or the meat of the olives; it comes from the pit of the olive.

So the olives were crushed and the oil went into a channel where it would then, it was then brought through a sieve and it was collected. And olive oil was used for everything from fuel, lighting lamps, refreshing oneself, eating. It's a staple. So it was the olive factory. It was the place where the olives were pressed. It is significant that Jesus goes to the garden of Gethsemane, the olive press, for his final pressing, his trial. Because the value of an olive, the greatest value of an olive, though they're good for eating and they're great for seasoning, the greatest value of an olive was the oil. And you can only extract the oil when you crush it. So the greatest value of an olive is when it is crushed then it's most productive. I think you could get the hinting of where I'm going with this.

Isaiah, chapter 53 predicts, "He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed." It is in that place, that intermediate garden where Jesus produces the most value. He is crushed with the temptation and the trial as the sins of the world are being laid on him. And he is accepting that burden of going to the cross and he wins that battle for us. Gethsemane. Some of you have never been to the garden of Gethsemane. I hope you get to go there, but if not, I'll say this: you'll have your own Gethsemanes. You know what I'm talking about? You have your own scary places, your own dark seasons, dark experiences. You walk into them and you don't like them. You dislike them. It's painful.

You pray that God would deliver you from it. David, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...", you have those times. You're being crushed. Some of you right now this week you're living out that experience of what it means to be crushed, and you go, "God, why?" Because he wants your life to be of greatest possible value, that's why. So Jesus went there. He told his disciples to pray. "And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw." Now, that's an interesting way to measure space, right? Because one person can throw a stone farther than another person. I used to have a great arm and throw pretty far, and I've been, when I toss rocks out of my yard to clear the grass or whatever, it's like, man, my grandson can do better than that.

But the idea of "a stone's throw" is simply a very short space, a short distance. It was just euphemistic for "not very far," "a stone's throw." He had withdrawn from them just a little ways. "And he knelt down and prayed." There's Jesus praying. We get a little bit of his prayer, a snippet of it. "Saying, 'Father if it is your will, take this cup away from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.'" Would you please notice how Jesus phrases his prayer: "If it is your will." I have read the teachings of certain faith teachers who tell Christians, "Never pray that prayer, 'If you will.' You should know what God's will is and you should name it and claim it. You just come in and you take authority and you speak with your words, words of faith and confidence, and it will be done."

Well, I find Jesus praying "If it's your will." So I would rather take his instruction over the books that cost $20.95 that tell me not to do what Jesus tells me. He did. So instead of "name it and claim it," his method is "request it and rest in it." I'm going to bring it before the Lord. I'm going to make a request, but I am submitting my will to an alien will, another will, a greater will. And, really, that's the heart of the Christian faith. If you're a Christian, you're stating that your life is governed by an alien will, another will, one that is not your will. You have surrendered your agenda and your will to what God's will is as expressed in his Word. That's why we study the Bible, to discover week by week what his will is for our lives, to extract those principles and apply them to our lives and for our lives.

It says, "Father, if it's your will, take this cup away from me." What does that mean, the "cup"? That's a metaphor that speaks of the trial he's going to undergo. Drinking the cup of suffering is a metaphor in the Bible. But also more often than a cup of suffering, it's a cup of wrath. Did you know that? Book of Revelation talks about the cup of the indignation of the Lord. That harkens back to Jeremiah and Isaiah, "the cup of the fury" of almighty God. And what you have to understand is that when Jesus went to the cross, it wasn't just a little trial he went through. It wasn't just that he was dying and he'd be physically tortured. He is accepting the cup of the wrath of God on all of sin committed on his body. That's what Isaiah meant, "He was crushed for our iniquities," etcetera.

Now, the very next day he will drink the cup. The very next day he will hang on a cross. The very next day he will feel what it's like to be separated from the Father and be abandoned by God because of sin for a moment when he cries out, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" "If it's your will, let that cup pass away; nevertheless not my will, not as I want, not as I wish, but your will be done." Let me boil this down further, if I may, to its irreducible minimum. Jesus is saying this: "If there is any other possible means by which humanity could be saved, let's do that. If mankind can be saved by being religious, if mankind can be saved by being nice, if mankind can be saved by being very sincere, if mankind can be saved by committing to recycle, great.

But if this the only way that mankind can be saved, my death on a cross, not as I will, but as you will." There is that resignation after the wrestling. "Then an angel appeared to him from heaven, strengthening him." Luke is the only one that mentions that. "And being in", agónizomai, agónizomai, "being in agony," and very intense torment, "he prayed more earnestly. Then his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." Now some believe that all this means is Jesus was sweating profusely and that his sweat was dripping. And it was so profuse it was like blood clots coming down from his forehead, just great drops of sweat like clotting blood. But others believe, and I am among them, that Jesus was experiencing what is known in the medical community as hematidrosis.

There is an intense physiological condition brought on by a heightened psychological condition. And when a person has that condition of being highly alert and intense pressure and emotionally high strung, at that intense moment it is possible and it is recorded that the tiny capillaries that feed the sweat glands burst and blood is emitted into the sweat glands. So that what comes out looks like blood coming out of the pores of your forehead, showing the intensity of suffering that Jesus is experiencing as he is understanding what is he walking into as he goes to the cross. "When he rose from prayer, and had come to his disciples, he found them sleeping from sorrow." Sorrow will do that to you, won't it? It tires you out. When you lose somebody or you're going through a period of grief, it wears you out.

They fell asleep. Now I am not going to be hard on these guys. It's tempting, right? They should be watching and praying, but they're sleeping. Okay, I know what it's like, because I have good intentions. But I've notice something, whenever I commit myself to prayer or hearing from God's voice in his Word, I just notice that something weird always happens. I don't know what it is, but it's like my thoughts suddenly become more distracted and jumbled than ever before; the phone starts ringing randomly. Now why is that? Well, one, because we're human; but, two, because we have an enemy. Have we figured this out yet? We have an enemy named the Devil, who knows there are two powerful things in your life, and he'll do anything to keep you from them; and that's prayer and the Word.

There's power in prayer and there's profit in pondering the Word. And because there's power and because there's profit, Satan will do anything to take away the power in your life and the profit from your life, so he'll distract you. Now, you understand why it's difficult to pray. And with that, let me just challenge all of us to develop a habit of praying more. Just begin praying, even if it's a few times a day, just five minutes at a time perhaps, or call somebody and pray with them, or meet with somebody to pray with them. If you're waiting to find the right time, you'll never do it. If you're waiting until you have the time, you'll never do it. That's something you just need to do. I'm going to make the time. I'm going to do this. He said to them, 'Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.'

"And while he was still speaking, behold", "behold" is always one of those Bible words that is meant to get your attention. Whenever there's a "behold," I've told you it means check it out. But really it's a word of shock or startling. It's like, "All of a sudden..." And here is the "all of a sudden," here's the shock, "a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to give him a kiss," of greeting. The betrayer has come using the emblem of friendship in his betrayal, the kiss. So, "Behold, a multitude." We are given different descriptions of this, but basically Judas tipped off the religious leaders who got their temple police, along with the Roman swat team, and they're all coming in the garden.

They're going to get enough firepower to arrest Jesus, which shows you Judas really didn't know Jesus very well. If (a) he thinks that Jesus is going to fight and put up a ruckus and defend himself; number two, he doesn't know that Jesus could just at a word annihilate the entire Roman government all the way to Rome at a second's notice. In another gospel it says, "Don't you know, Peter, that I can call down twelve le, 144,000 angels now to deal with this?" So Judas didn't know Jesus very well. He tipped off the elite. The Roman temple guards, the temple guards, the Jewish temple guards, the Roman army, in part, is there. And Judas kissed him. "Jesus said to him, 'Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?'"

Now, do you remember what the wonderful name of Judas means? Praise, praise. Imagine when Judas was born. His parents were so proud to have that baby boy. And they thought, "Let's name this baby Praise baby. This baby will be born and live to praise God." Judas, what a beautiful name. But Jesus gave him another name. You know Jesus liked to rename people, right? He called Simon, Peter. He called James and John, "Sons of Thunder." You know what he called Judas? "Son of perdition." "Son of perdition" means son of damnation. Very, very strong name change. And he used it when he prayed to the Father in John 17. He said, "All that you gave me I kept; and I have lost none except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled." Son of perdition.

Whatever Judas touched, he defiled. He was a betrayer. He was a hypocrite. So he defiled his church. That's the disciple gang. He defiled them by just being around them in their midst. He defiled the woman's gift when that woman went to pour the oil on Jesus. Judas said, "That money could have been sold and given to the poor." John says he said that because he was a thief. So he defiled her gift. Now, he defiles a prayer meeting. Wherever he goes, he just, whatever he touches he defiles. "When those around him saw what was going to happen, they said to him, 'Lord, shall we strike with a sword?'" Now we know who that is, right? We're told in other gospel accounts (John), it's Peter. Peter got the sword, took it out, and you'll see part of that here.

"And one of them [Peter] struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear." Why does Luke mention "right ear"? Why not just "ear"? Well, he's a doctor. So a doctor would notice anatomically which ear fell off. He would have made reference to the hematidrosis account, sweat like drops of blood. That's what doctors do. It's what they notice. It's what they write. I just find it fascinating to find these medical terms in the gospel of Luke. So the right ear; he got the right ear. I just think honestly that Peter was, well, he was a fisherman; he wasn't a swordsman. Thank God. He was aiming for his head. That's as close as he got. "But Jesus answered and said," Amazingly, "'[Allow this] or permit even this.' And he touched his ear and healed him."

Now what was Peter doing essentially? What was Peter doing by taking out the sword? Peter was trying to disprove what Jesus predicted about him. "You're going to deny me, Peter." "I'll prove to you that I'll die with you and loyal to you. Give me that sword! I'll disprove that your assessment of me, Jesus, is incorrect. Watch this." Yikes! FYI, good thing to remember: this is the last recorded healing of Jesus in the Gospels. The last recorded healing of Jesus in his earthly ministry is Jesus healing a man that his disciple hurt. I believe it is the miracle Jesus does most often today, cleaning up after our mess, healing those people that the servants of God hurt. I know a lot of Christians that love to use their swords. "We got the Bible, sword of the Spirit. I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E."

But we like to slice and dice other believers, and leave the bride of Christ bloodied up, ears flopping everywhere, all in the name of discernment. Now we need Jesus to fix that one, don't we? If that's the way you use the Bible, by the way, put away your sword. "Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to him, 'Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.' Having arrested him, they led him and brought him in the high priest's house. But Peter followed at a distance." Okay, allow me to explain, in part, the high priesthood. Do you mind? Okay, okay. 'Cause you gave me a look like, "Kinda."

Okay, so a high priest was a high priest for life in Judaism, just like Aaron was and his sons. It was a lifetime appointment. The high priest at this time, let's call him a high priest in situ, the one in place, in position was Caiaphas the high priest. But there was another high priest, though he wasn't officially sanctioned as the high priest, everybody saw him at the high priest, the big dog, the authority, the one who wielded more influence than Caiaphas. And that's a guy by the name of Annas, A-N-N-A-S. Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas. Annas had been placed as the high priest in AD 6 by a guy named Quirinius. Okay, does that ring a bell to any of you, Quirinius? You say that name every Christmas. Every Christmas you say Quirinius, you read that text.

When Jesus was born, Luke's gospel tells us, Caesar demanded a census be taken of the world and it says that's when Quirinius was governing Syria, Luke chapter 2 verse 2. It's the gospel account of the birth of Christ. Quirinius governed Syria. Quirinius appointed Annas as the high priest, but he was deposed later on by a guy named Valerius Gratus. Now you won't find his name in the text, but history tells us that. So, we have Annas, but he was deposed by Roman authority. However, all of the people looked up to him. Caiaphas was the guy that they sanctioned, but everybody looked up to Annas. He wielded the most power. So in reality there were two high priests. So Jesus comes to trial now before the Jews. What you need to understand about the trial of Jesus Christ is that it wasn't one trial, and it wasn't two trials.

He had no less than six, six trials. He's brought before Caiaphas, the standing high priest. He's brought before Annas, the one that has the influence. That's at night. The next morning he is brought, number three, before the entire ruling body. The Sanhedrin, meets, confers, drops judgment on Jesus. That's three trials so far. Then he is brought to the Praetorium before Pontius Pilate. Pilate tries him. That's trial number four, Pilate finds out Jesus is Galilean, sends him to Herod Antipas. That's trial number five. Herod goofs around a little bit, sends him back to Pilate for a final verdict. And that's trial number six. So this is the beginning of that. He's at the chief priest's house. The courtyard of the chief priest is where Peter is. He is "at a distance."

Something else you probably need to know about the high priesthood, Annas and his gang: Annas controlled the temple concession stands. Think of it as Isotope Stadium, and Annas is the guy that owns the hot dog, the beer places, the pizza place, all of it. All of those he gets the proceeds from. So in the temple there were buyers and sellers, right? All those tables and exchanges and doves and lambs. Annas and his family controlled that money stream, that income stream. Jesus had hit Annas where it counts, in his pocketbook, twice in his ministry, once at the beginning and once at the end. He overturned the tables, whipped them out, drove them out of the temple, and he's mad. He wants Jesus dead. "Peter followed at a distance," verse 54.

Verse 55, "Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, 'This man [pointing to Peter] was also with him.' But he denied him, saying, 'Woman, I do not know him.'" Strike one. That's once, one denial. "And after a little while another saw him and said, 'You also are of them.' But Peter said, 'Man, I am not!'" That's twice. "Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, 'Surely this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.'" How do we know, know did they know he was a Galilean? By his accent. In another gospel account, "You were with him, for your speech gives you away."

"You sound like a Galilean, you sound like uncultured", you know, I'm not going to name an accent. I always think of different ones. Ones go through my brain and I'll never tell you which ones they are. But you can have fun in your imagination of which ones would represent a less cultured United States accent that would, you could listen to and tell. And automatically those in Jerusalem would go, "Pfft! Yeah, he's not one of us. Not from around our parts. He's Galilean. Country boy." "But Peter said, 'Man, I do not know what you are saying!' Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed." What is significant is that all four gospels record Peter's denial. That's significant because all four gospels only record a few events that many times.

Usually you have an event here or event in the first three gospels, the Synoptics, and then others found in John. But Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all portray the denial of Peter. So poor Peter, you know, all of his buddies are writing about him. It's in the all the head, all the newspapers going on that day. Everybody knows. So whenever something is mentioned in the Bible four times, I don't know about you, but I just tend to think God really wants us to learn some lingering lessons about denying the Lord. So this didn't happen instantaneously, did it? It was a step-by-step process. First of all, Peter was self-confident. "I'll never deny you. The other guys will. But we always knew they would. But I never will." He was confident that he himself had the power to follow Jesus to death.

And perhaps, in part, that's what the sword was about, to prove that. "I'm not like the other guys. Watch." You see, Jesus, I told you before, had paid Peter a compliment. He said, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, flesh and blood didn't reveal this, but my Father in heaven." Because Peter said, "I know who you are. You are the Messiah. You are the Christ. You are the Son of the living God." "Blessed are you, Peter," Jesus said, "you got it right. God revealed that to you." Immediately I'm sure Peter thought, "That's right! I'm the man." Jesus said, "You are Peter, rock." So he probably pulled out the sword thinking back to that time, "I am Rock Man! I am Blessed-One Man." And he's going after the guy. Self-confidence.

Second, though I told you I don't want to get too hard on the disciples, is their lack of devotion and Peter's lack of devotion. Jesus was praying, while he was sleeping. Peter was resisting, while Jesus was surrendering, submitting to the will of his Father. So self-confidence, slack off in his devotion. A third step is that Peter tried to cover his guilt by feverish service. Listen carefully. I find this with believers who come back from a bout with sin in the world. They've blown it, so they want to come back to the church. And, "I want to get involved now. I really want to get busy." Whoa, whoa, whoa... whoa. That'll come, but let's get you, let's get you back on the bench first. Let's get you back with the team first. Let's get you settled and discipled and focused first.

Don't just try to cover up with a feverish kind of a service. Let it come in time. And then, finally, he was ashamed to identify with Jesus. I don't even know who this guy is. But what I want you to walk away remembering tonight is this, because we've all failed the Lord some way, some place, some time. Was Jesus shocked when Peter did it? Of course not. He anticipated it. He expected it. He predicted it. "You're going to fall, Peter. You're going to blow it." But Jesus also predicted his restoration, and we've already addressed that in Luke. "You're going to be recovered. You're going to restore your brethren. Do that. That's your commission." So Jesus knew he would fall and fail. Jesus also anticipated his being restored and used again. So it's beautiful really.

One person said there's three stages to Peter's life: at the fire, under fire, and eventually on fire. But that won't come till later on. And after the rooster crowed, after the cock-a-doodle-doo, verse 61, "The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, 'before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.'" What do you think went through Peter's mind the rest of his life on earth every time he heard cock-a-doodle-doo? And he would have heard it a lot in those days. And every place he would have traveled, every morning he'd, cock-a-doodle-doo! He'd have heard it. What went through his mind? This, this went through his mind: the denial, the failure, but also the look of Jesus, the grace of Jesus.

And I also believe that cock-a-doodle-doo would forever be for Peter an encouragement, an encouragement, not just a sign of failure. "Ah, no, I remember that." But to him, more than that, encouragement. You know why? It showed Peter when that rooster crowed, that, early that morning, late that night, early that morning, it showed Peter that Jesus is in control of this. Even though he has been arrested and is in prison, he's in control of all the events of this evening. He predicted that would happen. He's been in control of everything so far that night, even the rooster. Now, I gotta say, I gotta think there's some kind of a miracle in here, 'cause usually when one rooster goes off, a lot of them go off. So the idea that there was one solitary rooster that sounded is pretty amazing, and it was amazing to Peter.

Because Peter then when he wakes up in the morning to that cock-a-doodle-doo, and he's thinking, "Oh, that's right," but he's thinking, "Ah, but Jesus was in control and he is still in control." He remembers a Lord who was in control of fish. "Throw your nets on the other side." They catch so much fish their nets start breaking. Jesus was in control of human disease, curing it. He was in control of demon spirits, and he's in control of roosters. He's in control of everything. That'd be an incredible encouragement for Peter to live with. "Now the man," verse 63, "who held Jesus, the men who held Jesus mocked him and beat him." Now he hasn't even been brought over to Pilate yet. This is his treatment by the Jewish authorities. They mocked him. They beat him.

"And having blindfolded him, they struck him on the face and asked him, saying, 'Prophesy! Who is the one who struck you?' And many other things they blasphemously spoke against him." There would be no justice at this trial. The entire trial is a sham. It is completely illegal. Let me explain. The Jewish writings known as the Mishnah outlined eighteen rules to be employed at a trial of a capital case or a capital offense, eighteen rules. Let me just give you four of them. I'll give you rule number one, rule number two, rule number three, and rule number twelve. Rule number one in the Mishnah: No trial for a capital offense can ever happen at night. It has to wait till the next morning, even if the offense is known at night, till the next day, after the morning sacrifice. That's rule number one.

Rule number two: No trial for a capital offense can happen on a Sabbath even or during a festival. What festival is going on in Jerusalem? The Passover. So they broke rule number one. They broke rule number two. Rule number three in the Mishnah: It can never be done in private, has to be done in the open, in a public place. They have sequestered Jesus away. No one is privy to this, only they are, only a few of them are, at night just a very few of them are until the next morning they're brought before the Sanhedrin. And then rule number twelve, rule number twelve in the eighteen, there's, I just said I'd give you four. No high priest shall interrogate the prisoner. Two high priests interrogate the prisoner... at night... during a festival... breaking the rules. This was a sham. They were illegal.

They were, they were just papering over this thing to get it through the office of the government to get him crucified. Even though the Mishnah says, here's the motto of the Sanhedrin, the motto of the Sanhedrin, the Sanhedrin is about saving life, not destroying life. Well, that was their motto, but it is not their method. They managed in all of their religious blindness to, in the name of God, go through an illegal trial and break the sixth commandment, "Thou shalt not murder," legally, religiously. Again, it shows you the blindness of religious fervor. "As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and the scribes, came together, led him into their council." Their council is the Sanhedrin. The night has passed.

Chief priest Annas and chief priest Caiaphas have interrogated the prisoner. They have condemned him to death. They have passed a sentence. Now they need to paper over it, get the Sanhedrin to sign off of it, and then take it to Pilate. Why to Pilate? Because the Jews, even the Sanhedrin, they've lost their right of capital punishment. They want capital punishment for a capital crime, so it has to go through Rome. That's why they'll bring it to Pilate. "As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, chief priests, scribes, came together, led him into their council, saying, 'If you are the Christ [the Mashiach, the Messiah], tell us.' But he said to them, 'If I tell you, you will by no means believe. And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer me or let me go. Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.'"

I hope you know what he's saying. I hope your mind goes back to Daniel 7. The vision Daniel had, unmistakably a messianic vision, of God enthroned in glory and the Son of Man seated at his right hand. It was unmistakably a claim of divine authority and being the Messiah. That's why it says, "Then they all said, 'Are you then the Son of God?' So he said to them, 'You rightly say that I am.' And they said, 'What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from his own mouth.'" So three trials: Caiaphas, Annas, Sanhedrin. Fourth trial begins in chapter 23, verse 1. Look at the first verse, "Then the whole multitude of them," Jewish leaders, Jewish Sanhedrin, after the judgment, "arose and led him to Pilate." Now it's early in the morning. It's about six in the morning, I believe.

And they come knocking on Pilate's door. Now Pilate wasn't far away. You know, Pontius Pilate hated Judea. I've told you that in our Sunday messages. He hated the Jewish religion. He hated Jerusalem. And his headquarters wasn't even in Jerusalem. Did you know it was on the ocean? It was some miles away in the town of Caesarea. Caesarea is beautiful. It had all the accoutrements of a Roman city. It had a beautiful harbor. It had a beautiful hippodrome. It had a wonderful theater there. He had a nice palace there. He had beautiful beach weather. Caesarea is nice. I've surfed Caesarea years ago. I thought, "I could live here." Jerusalem is the city of the great King. There's nothing like it, but it's crowded, it's noisy.

But Pilate felt that he had to not be in his headquarter in Caesarea by the sea, but had to go up to Jerusalem, because a riot may break out. This is Passover, and that has political implications. That has implications of being released from the bondage of a foreign government like in Egypt, and some of these rebels can get nuts. So Pilate and his men always were in Jerusalem for the festivals. Also, Herod Antipas, though he is the tetrarch of Galilee up north, being a Jewish leader, recognized as such, he built the temple effectively under his authority, he also is in town. So the powers that be are in town. So they come to Jesus, to Pilate early in the morning, about six in the morning. And John tells us they do not want to enter into his Praetorium, his palace, his courtyard, because, after all, he's a Gentile.

And if they go into a Gentile's house, they're going to, they're going to get cooties, man. They're going to be defiled, right? They want to eat the Passover later on that night. It's Friday morning. So not only do they wake him up early and demand to have a face-to-face meeting with him; they demand that he comes out to them, 'cause they will not go into his courtyard. He has to come out to them, so he's a little bit put off. That's how the day begins, and it gets worse from there. But because it's such an eventful day, we're going to have to wait till next time to finish it up. Especially since Luke is the one who gives us the three charges that they level against Jesus Christ, two of which are false charges, one is indeed a true charge. We'll discover that.

Now, you know that in my study and in my mind I really thought we'd get through 22 and 23. I'm ready to go forth, because I always anticipate I'll pick up the pace. But then sometimes you just have to stop and plumb and dig a little bit deeper and see what's under the soil, like a good archaeologist, and then move a few feet and go down again. And so we'll take our time. We're almost done with the gospel of Luke though. Let's pray.

Father, amazing for us to think that our future, what is in store for us has in part a gardened city, a city of the great King, the new Jerusalem, a lavish, gorgeous Shangri-la, a real place with real activities, real rewards, real happiness, eternal joy, something that we get such a faint foretaste of here, just, just a little taste. But the reason that is coming our way is because we have a wonderful Christ who fought the battle in another garden. As the battle was lost by the first Adam, the battle was won by the second Adam, so that we could enjoy that third garden in the future. We're humbled, Lord, when we consider your plan.

Every time I study the Bible and we get the big picture, and we tie Scriptures together and see how they relate, we just are in awe of your mercy and your love, even in our failures that don't surprise you. You anticipate them, but you anticipate our restoration. I pray for those who might need to be restored tonight, especially those who have wandered away from the faith to some degree. Whatever the theological implications that could be wrestled with, rather than that, pushing them aside, we think of those who are not walking with the Lord tonight who are in our congregation, who are sitting here. They've come. They're visiting. They are watching. Some are very hungry. Some are very thirsty. Others are just coming to grips with that need. They never thought they needed anything until now. I pray, Lord, that you'd restore tonight, you'd rescue tonight, you'd reinstate tonight.

If you've come tonight, you've gathered with us in this auditorium, you've never met the Lord Jesus personally, you've never repented of your sins, you've never asked Jesus to come in and be your personal Savior and Lord. Or you look back to some religious experience, but in all honesty you are not walking with the Lord tonight, you are not living a life in obedience to him, or pleasing to him; you've walked away from him and you need to come back to him. So whether it's for the first time or you're coming back home, please come back home, or please come home to the God who loves you, who purchased you with the blood of his Son who won the battle for you. And all you have to do is believe that he did it for you and receive him as your Savior, and apply the work that he did for you to your life.

If you want to do that, as our heads are bowed, as our eyes are closed, before we leave this auditorium, I want you to raise your hand up just so I can acknowledge your hand, then you could put it down. Just put it up in the air high so I can see it. And you're saying, "I am going to give my life to Jesus," or "I'm coming back home is to him tonight." God bless you, ma'am, to my right; toward the back. Anyone else? Yes, sir, right here and right here. God bless both of you guys. Who else? Anyone else? God bless you; toward the back. Anyone else? Raise your hand up. Grab a hold of him. Let him save you. God bless you, ma'am, to my left.

Father, thank you. This is such a joy. We love how your Spirit moves in many ways invisible already tonight in our hearts, in so many different ways, answering different questions, settling different things, meeting us here. Thank you, especially for these who raised the hand, the acknowledgment of their need for you, the acknowledgment of their need of forgiveness, and to experience your great forgiving mercy and love. We pray that you would do an incredible transforming work in each of these lives, in Jesus' name, amen.

Let's all stand to our feet. We're going to sing a final song, and I'm going to ask those of you who raised your hand to get up from where you're standing, find the nearest aisle, and stand right up here where I'm going to lead you in a moment in a prayer to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Please don't walk away from this opportunity. If you raised our hand, please come stand right here. Jesus called people publicly. It's going to help you when you make that public decision to follow him.

You stand for him. I'll pray with you, and I'll pray for you, but you come and just stand right up here. I saw hands in the back, on the side, on the side over here. Come and give your life to Christ. Even if you didn't raise your hand, he's calling you. You come. Yeah, come on in. Come on in. Let that song be yours. Those of you who have walked forward, I'm going to lead you right now in a prayer. I'm going to ask you to pray this prayer out loud after me. Say these words from your heart, from the core of your being, and say them to God. You're asking Jesus to come in and take control of your life. So, let's pray. Say:

Lord, I give you my life. I'm a sinner and I know it, and I'm sorry for my sin. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that he died for my sin, and that he rose again from the grave, and that he's alive right now. I turn from my sin, I turn from my past, I receive Jesus as my Savior. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me power to live for you, in Jesus' name, amen.

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