As we move through the Book of Matthew we now come to the passages where the Lamb is examined. What do I mean by this?
The final plague God sent on Egypt was the plague of the Passover. Egypt would not release God’s people. So God decreed to Israel:
Exodus 12:3-7 (KJV) Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house: 4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
It was the Blood of the Lamb without spot or blemish that God would look for. Not just any Blood, but a pure Lamb. God told His people:
Exodus 12:13-14 (KJV) And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
The Lamb slain must be without spot or blemish. This is why the Lamb was taken into the home on the Tenth day of the month and was held until the Fourteenth day of the month. The Lamb was thoroughly examined those 4 days. The Lamb was to be without spot or blemish both inside and out. The Lamb might look good on the outside, but it might be possessed of an epilepsy, or some staggering disease, or some diarrhea or something else not immediately evident to the eyes. So the Lamb was examined.
The Lamb was taken into the home on the Tenth day. That is a significant number. Ten symbolizes the coming withdrawal of the judgment of God. When Noah and his family were on the Ark the Bible says:
Genesis 8:5 (KJV) … the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
The water was not gone for another fifty four days, but Noah and his family could see that God’s judgment was withdrawing. Ten is the tithe that God’s people return to their Lord. God gives us everything by Grace, but expects His children not to be selfish, but giving. As Jacob swore before God:
Genesis 28:22 (KJV)22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
The Lamb was examined thoroughly. Christ – the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). This Sunday morning we will look at the Garden of Gethsemane – that is a good Gospel message for a Sunday morning crowd. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will break a heart and bring a soul from damnation to eternal through His Word. Tonight we examine the Lamb in distress. Jesus has finished praying at Gethsemane. What happens? Let’s read this together. I’ll lead us.
Matthew 26:47-56 (KJV) And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
I want to start at the end of this examination. Why did this all occur? The Word tells us in
But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.
Not ONE Scripture was quoted here, but we are told that what happened was so that “the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled”. The Scriptures are a testament to Christ. All that was written in the Old Testament spoke to the Coming Christ. The great Preacher Martin Luther said:
“The Scriptures are Christ’s swaddling clothes”
Jesus declared to those who would hear:
John 5:39 (NKJV) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
John 5:46-47 (NKJV) For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
It was through Moses that God revealed the Passover. It was through Moses that the covering of Adam and Eve was revealed. It was through Moses that the sacrifice of the Lamb was given. Jesus is the Lamb “slain before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). Jesus Christ is the Lamb without spot and blemish. Jesus came to do the will of the Father.
Jesus Would Do The Will Of His Father Though BETRAYED
It is easy to do the will of God when His will is comfortable, but much harder to do His will when even your closest associates betray you. We read:
Matthew 26:47-50 (KJV) And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come?
Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve that were closest to Jesus as He ministered on this earth. Judas was a coward, and his cowardice and hypocrisy is seen in what he did. Judas was a false apostle. His heart was not given to Christ, but to the things of this world. We are told in
Luke 22:3-5 (KJV) Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. 5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
We find out in Matthew that Judas decided to betray Jesus after a woman anointed our Lord with an Alabaster Box of very precious ointment (Matthew 26:7). The Scripture says:
Matthew 26:14-15 (KJV) Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
Thirty pieces of silver was the price of a slave in Jesus’ day, not much more than a few hundred dollars today. Jesus was sold for the price of a slave. Judas did not have the courage to point Jesus out to the Temple guards who would come and take Him. He was such a coward that he said:
Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast
A kiss on the cheek was a common greeting in Christ’s day, a sign of respect and brotherly love.
Romans 16:16 (ESV) Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.
2 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV) Greet one another with a holy kiss.
1 Thessalonians 5:26 (ESV) Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
1 Peter 5:14 (ESV) Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
The “Holy Kiss” was not delivered on the lips, but on the cheek. The student would kiss his Rabbi on the cheek as a sign of loving submission. As Judas kissed Jesus, he perverted what that kiss meant. To “kiss the Son” is to believe in Him. The Scripture tells us
Psalms 2:11-12 (KJV) Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
By “kissing the Son” Judas was saying “I believe in Christ”, even as he was possessed by Satan in his heart. Judas is the perfect picture of the unconverted professor. Outwardly he kisses the Son, but inwardly he betrays Him, mocks Him, uses Christ. Is there any wonder there is a hell?
As Judas betrays Christ I want you to see how our Master responds to this betrays. Jesus says:
Friend, wherefore art thou come?
Jesus told His disciples – we who love Him – to …
Matthew 5:44-48 (KJV) … I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
The Lamb of God did not strike out at Judas. He received his kiss, and turned the other cheek. Jesus did as He bid we do. We are to love those that do wrong to us. Not emotionally – that would be impossible. We cannot control our emotions. But we are to do good to those who do bad, to pray for them, to pray that they will reach a higher level than they are now through Christ our Lord.
Jesus called Judas “Friend”
Not because Judas was a “Friend”
But because the love of Christ reaches out.
2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
If Judas had repented and come to Christ as his “Friend” then Christ could have saved even Him. Heaven will be filled with sinners who repented and came to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Hell will be filled with well intending people who rejected Christ, and instead followed the world. We are told in the next chapter that following this betrayal:
Matthew 27:3-5 (KJV) Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
Judas “repented HIMSELF”. He did not repent to God. He did not come to Christ seeking forgiveness. His faith was never in God, but “in Himself”. So Judas “repented HIMSELF” and went to the Chief Priests and Elders who colluded with him, seeking soothing salve for his conscience. Finding nothing there this coward “cast down the pieces of silver in the Temple, departed, and went and hung himself”. Would that he had turned to Christ!
But oh, the Lamb. Betrayed He called Judas “Friend”. His love extended even in betrayal.
Jesus Would Do The Will Of His Father Though EMPOWERED
Matthew 26:50-52 (KJV)…Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
As this armed guard roughly “laid hands on Jesus” we are told that one of those with Christ drew his sword and cut the ear off of one of the soldiers. We are told in:
John 18:10-11 (KJV) Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
Simon Peter had a sword on him. He had told Jesus earlier that he would not betray Him, and I suspect that Peter was still thinking of the vow he made. As the soldiers grabbed Jesus Peter pulled his sword and struck out, cutting the ear off of Malchus. Jesus said:
Put up thy sword into the sheath:
the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
Jesus must go to the Cross to drink the Cup of God’s wrath. I will speak of sin and God’s wrath this Sunday, and the Cup that Christ promised to drink. Pastor Steven Lee wrote:
“Key passages in the Bible connect God’s wrath with the imagery of a cup. Jeremiah 25:15 tells us, “Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: ‘Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.’” Then Isaiah 51:17 says, “O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.” In Revelation 14, an angel speaks, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger” (verses 9–10).”
The wrath of God will one day be poured out on all sin and sinners. What hope do we have before a Holy and Righteous Judge?
We have Jesus.
Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath on Calvary. He drained the Cup to the last dregs. Our sins were poured out on Him, and the wrath of God was poured out on Him. He paid our penalty in full.
The Lamb of God is confronted with an armed guard. Peter cuts the ear off of one soldier. Then Jesus says “Put up your sword Peter. I must drink the Cup which My Father has given Me”. Thank You, Jesus, for taking that Cup. Thank You Jesus for being the Lamb of God! Jesus told that armed crowd:
Matthew 26:53-54 (KJV)… Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
Jesus was not locked in to the Cross. He still had a choice. Unlike the Lambs of the Old Covenant who were dragged kicking and screaming to the altar of sacrifice, Jesus had a choice. Had He chose He could have prayed and the Father would “presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels”. How many is that?
I thought “twelve legions” was twelve thousand angels. I was wrong. A Roman Legion was around 6000 soldiers. Twelve Legions would be 72,000 angels. But Jesus said “If I asked, My Father would send MORE than twelve Legions of angels”.
If a single angel killed 185,000 people in one night (see Isaiah 37:36) then the combined strength on ONE Legion of angels could kill 1,110,000,000 (one BILLION one HUNDRED AND TEN MILLION) people in the same amount of time. If TWELVE LEGIONS of angels came they could have killed 13,320,000,000 (thirteen BILLION three hundred and twenty MILLION) people. The population of the earth in 2016 was 7.442 billion. If Jesus had called out to the Father the angels who came could have utterly destroyed ALL LIFE on the earth in but one day – and then some.
Jesus didn’t need Peter’s sword.
God doesn’t need us.
God loves us so very much.
Jesus didn’t have to go to that Cross, but He did.
Matthew 26:55-56 (KJV) In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
Jesus stood for us when no one would stand for Him. He died on Calvary for our sins. What a glorious Savior we have. What a wonderful Lord is our Jesus.