Saying Nothing: Matthew 26:57-68

Focus Passage: Matthew 26:57-68 (NCV)

57 Those people who arrested Jesus led him to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders were gathered. 58 Peter followed far behind to the courtyard of the high priest’s house, and he sat down with the guards to see what would happen to Jesus.

59 The leading priests and the whole Jewish council tried to find something false against Jesus so they could kill him. 60 Many people came and told lies about him, but the council could find no real reason to kill him. Then two people came and said, 61 “This man said, ‘I can destroy the Temple of God and build it again in three days.’”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Aren’t you going to answer? Don’t you have something to say about their charges against you?” 63 But Jesus said nothing.

Again the high priest said to Jesus, “I command you by the power of the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

64 Jesus answered, “Those are your words. But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God, the Powerful One, and coming on clouds in the sky.”

65 When the high priest heard this, he tore his clothes and said, “This man has said things that are against God! We don’t need any more witnesses; you all heard him say these things against God. 66 What do you think?”

The people answered, “He should die.”

67 Then the people there spat in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. Others slapped him. 68 They said, “Prove to us that you are a prophet, you Christ! Tell us who hit you!”

Read Matthew 26:57-68 in context and/or in other translations on!

During the trial Jesus faced on the night of His arrest, three words that open up one of the verses in our passage jump off the page as an amazing example that Jesus sets for all of us.

When faced with all the accusations, false witnesses telling lies, a crowd that is filled with anger and hate, and a high priest who has already sentenced Jesus to death before the trial even began, three simple words describe Jesus’ response: “Jesus said nothing.” (v. 63a)

All the accusations and the lies were contradicting each other. The lies worst enemy was not the truth, but other lies. Nothing that was coming to light was death-worthy, and the high priest knew this – and he had a problem: the high priest had already sentenced Jesus to death in his mind. This trial was simply to uncover a reason.

The longer Jesus said nothing, the more the case against Him would fall apart. By saying nothing, Jesus made it infinitely more difficult for the high priest and other leaders to actually find some fault with Him. If the high priest had not directly challenged Jesus in God’s name and position, the case against Jesus would have fallen completely apart.

The big thing I learn from this is that when facing trials and opposition, sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. In cases where the minds of those accusing are already made up, then there is really nothing to say. Jesus models this exceptionally well. Jesus stays silent when there is nothing to say, and He has an answer ready when challenged to speak.

While Jesus’ answer opened the door for His death, it also paved the way for humanity’s salvation – for all who accept His gift.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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Restoring a Special Relationship: Luke 7:11-17

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Continuing moving through Luke’s gospel detailing Jesus’ life and miracles, we arrive at an event that only Luke included. However, far from being insignificant, this event and miracle might be one of the most significant miracles Jesus did prior to raising Lazarus from the dead and prior to His own resurrection. If Jesus had simply been a good healer in people’s minds before, this miracle would be enough to elevate their thinking.

Let’s read our passage and discover what happened. Our passage is found in Luke’s gospel, chapter 7, and we will read from the New International Reader’s Version. Starting in verse 11, Luke tells us that:

11 Some time later, Jesus went to a town called Nain. His disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 He approached the town gate. Just then, a dead person was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother. She was a widow. A large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, he felt sorry for her. So he said, “Don’t cry.”

14 Then he went up and touched the coffin. Those carrying it stood still. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk. Then Jesus gave him back to his mother.

16 The people were all filled with wonder and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread all through Judea and the whole country.

In all the gospels, this event might be one of the most amazing miracles Jesus ever did. When reading this event, in my mind, it is worth looking for the faith behind this miracle and the reason Jesus chose to do it.

From the many miracles Jesus did healing people, in most cases we see a clear picture of where the faith came from. In many cases, the faith was from the one who was healed, and on several occasions, the faith necessary wasn’t from the one healed, but from those who brought the person to be healed.

However, in this event, we don’t find any evidence of faith present from any of the disciples or any in the funeral procession. Prior to this miracle, Jesus had not resurrected someone from the dead before, so there was no precedent.

Instead, the key phrase is found in verse 13, where Luke tells us, “When the Lord saw her, he felt sorry for her.” This statement not only shows us a glimpse of Jesus’ heart, it also directs us to this being a miracle Jesus did because He wanted to help someone who was hurting. If faith is necessary for a miracle, then the faith needed for this miracle came from Jesus Himself!

I cannot imagine a more special reunion than between the widow and her only son.

Looking at the details surrounding this miracle, I cannot escape a similarity between those present in this circumstance, and God. While God the Father is not a widow in any way this word is used, this event mirrors the emotion that would likely be present in heaven when Jesus, the Son, died on the cross. Even knowing that resurrection would happen less than 48 hours later wouldn’t change the feelings one would have if they were 100% focused on the present moment.

God knew the pain this widow was facing, and while they all could look forward to the future resurrection when Jesus returns, God’s heart reaches out to this widow who is facing emotional pain greater than most people know. However, God understands this widow’s pain and Jesus wants to turn her pain into joy! Jesus resurrects this child in advance of the resurrection that would happen when He returns because He wants this woman to experience joy and to know that God had not forgotten or turned His back on her.

I believe turning this sadness into joy is one of the big reasons Jesus did this miracle. In a subtle way, this miracle foreshadows Jesus’ own resurrection as a Son who dies before their parent who is ultimately resurrected. God wants to turn sadness into joy.

Another reason Jesus likely did this miracle was because the response He knew those present would give. In this passage, Jesus does not get the glory for this miracle. Instead, Jesus has the awkward role of stopping a funeral procession, telling a mourning widow not to cry, and then talking to a dead boy. Following the miracle, Luke tells us in verse 16 that, “The people were all filled with wonder and praised God.

Jesus did not get the credit for this miracle, at least not initially. Instead, this miracle prompted people to praise God. When reading the gospels, miracles that prompt people to praise God are easy to find. It is as though this is one other big reason Jesus did miracles.

Sometimes I wonder if Jesus did these God-praising miracles because He wanted the people to realize that God was not like the religious leaders present in the first century. While the religious leaders should have been a group of people working together to represent God to their broader culture and community, the picture they were painting of God was far from loving. Jesus came to show us what God is like, and helping people praise the Father likely brought joy to Jesus’ heart!

This idea is summarized in the response those present give at the end of verse 16. Luke tells us that these people exclaim that, “God has come to help his people.” The implication is that, prior to this miracle, these people were feeling forgotten by God. While it is easy to fall into the trap believing that God has forgotten us here on this planet, nothing could be further from the truth.

Instead, if we don’t see God actively working in the world today, this means not that God has abandoned us, but that He is instead working behind the scenes directing history to its ultimate conclusion, which could be summarized as Jesus’ return, the end of sin, and the recreation of earth.

Satan would love for humanity to forget God and to openly reject anything that would suggest His existence. However, when we open our eyes to the world around us, there are too many pieces of evidence to reject a Creator, and more than enough evidence that points towards God being our Creator, and Jesus’ mission to earth was a mission to redeem us from a sin-tainted, sin-filled world.

Everything Jesus predicted would happen in His ministry happened exactly like He said it would, including His death and resurrection. This gives us the assurance that even if Jesus’ return feels like it has been delayed, a postponed trip is not a cancelled trip. We can know and be assured that just like Jesus’ predictions of His earthly ministry took place exactly like He predicted, Jesus’ return will happen at the exact moment in time that it needs to for us to be assured that sin will never reappear in the newly recreated universe!

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As I always challenge you to do, continue intentionally seeking God first in your life and choose to trust in Jesus’ working in the world today, even if we cannot see it clearly. Trust that when God appears absent, He is instead working behind the scenes drawing history towards its conclusion.

While we wait for Jesus to return, continue praying and studying the Bible for yourself to learn what God is really like and to open your heart to Jesus. Through the pages of the Bible, discover just how much God was willing to give and how far Jesus was willing to go to open the way for you and I to be redeemed and saved from sin! Discover in the pages of the Bible what God means when He is described as being love!

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or abandon where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year in Luke – Episode 13: When Luke describes a visit to the small town of Nain, we discover Jesus likely went there at that exact moment in order to help someone who was hurting. Discover how this miracle reflects God’s love and what God would ultimately face as Jesus died on the cross!

Join the discussion. Share your thoughts on this passage.

Choose the Real Jesus: Luke 22:1-6

Focus Passage: Luke 22:1-6 (NCV)

 1 It was almost time for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover Feast. 2 The leading priests and teachers of the law were trying to find a way to kill Jesus, because they were afraid of the people.

 3 Satan entered Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. 4 Judas went to the leading priests and some of the soldiers who guarded the Temple and talked to them about a way to hand Jesus over to them. 5 They were pleased and agreed to give Judas money. 6 He agreed and watched for the best time to hand Jesus over to them when he was away from the crowd.

Read Luke 22:1-6 in context and/or in other translations on!

Today’s passage presents one of the most perplexing ideas I find when reading about Jesus’ life. In it, we read about how Judas, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, chose to betray Jesus.

A lot of ideas surround the story of Judas and his decision, but none really capture this decision more extremely than what we read in Luke 22, verse 3: “Satan entered Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ twelve apostles.”

This brings up many more questions in my mind, but the one that seems to stand out above the rest is this: How could someone so close to Jesus let Satan enter his life?

We could flip the question around and ask why Jesus would let this happen, but that question can be easily answered by saying that Jesus allows everyone the freedom to choose.

However, our main question remains: How could Judas let this happen?

The only answer that really makes sense is that Judas believed Jesus needed the push to become the military leader-messiah they were all promised. Judas had seen everything Jesus had done leading up to this, and could only see the path of a military leader, and realizing Jesus was very unlikely to choose that path, he allowed himself to be tempted by Satan to force Jesus onto this path.

Judas chose his picture of Jesus over the real Jesus.

Judas wanted a place in the inner circle of three disciples, not too different from Satan wanting a place within the inner circle of the Godhead. Within Judas, we find a representation of Satan at work within the perfect courtroom in heaven.

But the real perplexing idea I saw from this passage is this: Judas was stubbornly caught believing in a misdirected set of beliefs about the Messiah, and even being close to Jesus for all that time, he was not able to change his heart.

Maybe it is not enough to be near to Jesus. Perhaps we also have to let Jesus into our heart and mind, and let Him lead us into the life He created for us.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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Stumbling From Perspective: Luke 7:18-35

Focus Passage: Luke 7:18-35 (NCV)

18 John’s followers told him about all these things. He called for two of his followers 19 and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the One who is to come, or should we wait for someone else?”

20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you with this question: ‘Are you the One who is to come, or should we wait for someone else?’”

21 At that time, Jesus healed many people of their sicknesses, diseases, and evil spirits, and he gave sight to many blind people. 22 Then Jesus answered John’s followers, “Go tell John what you saw and heard here. The blind can see, the crippled can walk, and people with skin diseases are healed. The deaf can hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is preached to the poor. 23 Those who do not stumble in their faith because of me are blessed!”

24 When John’s followers left, Jesus began talking to the people about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed blown by the wind? 25 What did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, people who have fine clothes and much wealth live in kings’ palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, and I tell you, John is more than a prophet. 27 This was written about him:

‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare the way for you.’

28 I tell you, John is greater than any other person ever born, but even the least important person in the kingdom of God is greater than John.”

29 (When the people, including the tax collectors, heard this, they all agreed that God’s teaching was good, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and experts on the law refused to accept God’s plan for themselves; they did not let John baptize them.)

31 Then Jesus said, “What shall I say about the people of this time? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace, calling to one another and saying,

‘We played music for you, but you did not dance;
    we sang a sad song, but you did not cry.’

33 John the Baptist came and did not eat bread or drink wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon in him.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! He eats too much and drinks too much wine, and he is a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 But wisdom is proved to be right by what it does.”

Read Luke 7:18-35 in context and/or in other translations on!

In Jesus’ ministry, He helped a lot of people. He healed hundreds, if not thousands, He taught and preached to tens of thousands of people, and He launched a movement that in many ways has connected with billions of people.

But Jesus makes an interesting and perplexing statement while talking about John the Baptist. When finishing describing the message John’s followers should take back to him, Jesus says, “Those who do not stumble in their faith because of me are blessed!” (v. 23)

After all that Jesus did to help people, why might He have made this statement?

In some ways, John’s faith in Jesus was wavering; his question for Jesus is filled with doubt. On one level, John is asking Jesus, “Are you going to set up your kingdom already, or have you given up on that idea? Are you going to come and help your cousin who is in prison?”

Of all the people Jesus would/could help, we might think He would make an extra effort to help His cousin and forerunner in ministry, John the Baptist. But Jesus had something bigger in mind, and working to free John the Baptist would not benefit this larger mission.

This also tells us that sometimes God will work in a way that does not make sense to us. God’s perspective is different. But even if God does not send the type of help or encouragement we would want Him to send, we can still trust that He loves us and that in His bigger mission, we are loved for, cared, and that we will be saved for eternity.

Those who stumble in their faith because of Jesus are too focused in on the details of what Jesus didn’t do right for them. Focusing on the immediate answers will always cause people to stumble. Instead, Jesus called John the Baptist – and all of us as His followers – to look at life from a bigger, eternity perspective, because God’s decisions only really make sense with eternity in mind.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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