by Mike Ratliff
1 When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, 2 “ You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.”
3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; 4 and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him. 5 But they were saying, “Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people.” (Matthew 26:1-5 NASB)
This ministry is geared primarily around presenting God’s Truth from His Word succinctly and in context to all professing Christians. That would include both genuine Christians and those who are Christians in name only. The purpose in this is to present God’s Truth as THE TRUTH. All else is incomplete or false. Within God’s Truth are the absolute doctrines of Christianity. These are indisputable. Therefore, when a Christian leader changes the focus of his ministry by departing from these doctrines or embracing as a fellow Christian leader one whose doctrinal believes are contrary to these doctrines calling that person “doctrinally sound” we have the responsibility, within the godly discernment given to us by God, to call all this into question and make the proper examinations to determine the soundness of all those in question. We do not do this to persecute anyone. We can do this correctly, however, because God’s Truth is absolute and objective not subjective like man’s truth.
In this post we will look at the first five verses of Mathew 26. Our Lord had just finished speaking several parables referring to His return in judgment. Now, He is preparing His disciples for His departure. Carefully read Matthew 25:1-5, which I placed at the top of this post.
Here it is from the Greek text and my personal translation.
1 Καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε ἐτέλεσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς πάντας τοὺς λόγους τούτους, εἶπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ· 2 οἴδατε ὅτι μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας τὸ πάσχα γίνεται, καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται εἰς τὸ σταυρωθῆναι.
3 Τότε συνήχθησαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τοῦ ἀρχιερέως τοῦ λεγομένου Καϊάφα 4 καὶ συνεβουλεύσαντο ἵνα τὸν Ἰησοῦν δόλῳ κρατήσωσιν καὶ ἀποκτείνωσιν· 5 ἔλεγον δέ· μὴ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ, ἵνα μὴ θόρυβος γένηται ἐν τῷ λαῷ. (Matthew 26:1-5 NA28)
1 And it came about when Jesus finished all these words; He said to His disciples, 2 “You know that after two days the Passover takes place and the Son of man is handed over to be crucified.”
3 Then were assembled the Chief Priests and the Elders of the people in the Palace of the High Priest, the one being called Caiaphas. 4 And they took counsel together that they might arrest Jesus by a trap and might kill Him. 5 But they were saying not during the feast, lest a disturbance occurs among the people. (Matthew 26:1-5 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
First, let’s look at our Lord’s statement in vv1-2. He had just finished speaking several parables about His return in judgment now He tells them something totally different. The words the NASB and I rendered as “handed over” translate one Greek word, παραδίδοται the present, indicative, passive form of the verb παραδίδωμι or paradidōmi, “to hand over, deliver over, betray, pass down.” Our Lord’s betrayal into the hands of Judas was God handing Him over to Judas and Judas over to the Jewish Religious Leaders who handed Him over to the Romans. On the other hand, this word is also used of God giving sinners over to their sin (Romans 1:24). Paul also delivered men over to Satan (1 Corinthians 5:5). In any case, what our Lord is saying is that His betrayal into the hands of Judas and those following is according to the sovereign will of God. Notice that this betrayal will be unto crucifixion. Our Lord knew all about how He was going to die and why.
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1 NASB)
Never think that our Lord was taken by surprise by what happened. He knew what was happening and why. He knew that the reason He was going to the Cross was to purchase with His death a people for Himself by atoning for their sin. At the Cross all their sins were imputed to His account and He paid the price for them that they could never pay. These same people, when they believe the Gospel by Faith, a faith that is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:1-10) are justified by God and have the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to their account.
The plot to kill our Lord was evil and made by evil men, but it was used within the Sovereignty of God to accomplish this. We now have the Gospel, the Good News which we are to proclaim to all people everywhere. We are to make disciples from every nation teaching them to observe all things that Christ taught. That is the Great Commission.
On the other hand, all these add-ons that the neo-liberal visible church in our time is trying to do are utterly useless and a waste of time. The Purpose Driven paradigm is works righteousness. Some “Christian leaders” are trying to change churches in the so-called reformed circles with a concoction based upon a combination of a “missional” focus and a “Federal Vision” and mysticism or quasi-Pentecostalism that is very dangerous because it calls for a personal message from God. All of this to focus on making the world a better place rather than obeying the Great Commission. If Christians stand against these things then they become marginalized and ostracized within their local churches.
The persecution of Christians in these last days will most probably be at the hands of professing christians. This is nothing new. Just look at what happened to those who led the way into the Protestant Reformation. In any case, be encouraged my brethren. Stay focused on our Lord and doing His will in all things. Forget about following men. Seek our Lord’s will and do it. Never forget, God is Sovereign and no matter how difficult or hard our travail, He is there with us in the midst.
Soli Deo Gloria!