By Leke Alder
It’s virtually impossible to appreciate the full ramification of the New Testament without recourse to the legal construct undergirding it. The New Testament is resolutely mounted on a tripod of commercial law, criminal law and constitutional law.
There are other legal dimensions but those are the major three. Without those legal authorities the New Testament will not be efficacious in heaven, on earth or under the earth. It will just be history.
That’s not to say only lawyers can appreciate the New Testament. It’s the Holy Spirit that unveils the word. But there’s a way and manner a Paul would read the scriptures that Peter can’t.
Paul had formal training in Mosaic law. His dean was Gamaliel. Acts 22:3. Peter on the other hand was an ordinary fisherman, and you can see the difference in their writings.
It’s like those first few verses in the book of Genesis. A cosmologist or quantum physicist would salivate over them. He has a technical grasp of the issues.
When he reads, Let there be light, he’s thinking photons, we’re thinking light projection like in a dark movie theater. He’s probably thinking of the speed of light as well – 299,792 kilometers per second. We won’t.
Every major terminology in the New Testament is a legal terminology. Redemption is a clear example. Redemption is a commercial law principle. It speaks of the right to regain ownership of property by freeing it from a debt, charge or lien.
Colossians 2:14 says God “cancelled the record of debt that stood against us WITH ITS LEGAL DEMANDS, set it aside and nailed it to the cross.” That’s “the redemption of the purchased possession”. Ephesians 1:14. We were bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:20.
We were then sealed with the Holy Spirit as a first installment on God’s promises to us, a reminder we’ll get everything God planned for us. The Holy Spirit is thus a down payment on God’s promises. Ephesians 1:14 MSG. Salvation is a commercial law transaction.
There are two other legal fields at play in the New Testament. They are criminal law and constitutional law. The death of Jesus is largely based on criminal law whereas his resurrection, ascension and session in heaven are constitutional law matters.
He would devolve certain rights to us after his ascension. Those rights are inalienable, meaning they cannot be taken from us. We can’t surrender them even if we want to. It’s one of the reasons we can’t lose our salvation.
Indeed, the very phrase, “New Testament” is itself a legal term. There are two senses in which the Bible uses the phrase. In the first sense the New Testament is talking about a will. Jesus left us a will after his death.
A will is a legal instrument apportioning assets after death. It’s why the King James bible in Hebrews 9:16 uses the word, “testator.” That word is used to this day in the drafting of wills. A testator is the person who dies, leaving a will or testament.
It is this idea of will the book of Hebrews was elucidating on: “Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove the person who made it is dead. The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is alive, the will cannot be put into effect.” Hebrews 9:16-17 NLT. It says the proof of the death of Jesus is his blood, and because of that proof of death his will went into effect. It’s how we got our spiritual inheritance.
The death of Jesus “marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, cancelling the old obligations and its sins, and summoning the heirs to receive an inheritance that was promised them.” Hebrews 9:16-17 MSG. But then that passage says Jesus “brought together God and his people in this new way.” Hebrews 9:17 MSG.
That leads us to the second sense in which the phrase, New Testament is used. The second sense in which the phrase is used is constitutionally. It is a social compact. God made an agreement with mankind.
Nothing captures this better than the words of Jeremiah: “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33.
Referring to this passage, Hebrews 8:7 tells us that “if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.”
The relationship between God and mankind under the old agreement was adversarial and very toxic to say the least; whereas under the new agreement the relationship is conciliatory. There’s rapprochement.
In 2 Corinthians 5:19 we’re told that God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s sins against them. It is for this reason angels announced goodwill towards ALL men at the birth of Jesus – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward humankind.” Luke 2:14. God was extending the olive branch.
The arduous nature of the relationship between God and humanity was why the provisions of the law of Moses were severe. It was an impossible situation. You could never please God by obeying the Ten Commandments. You still can’t.
“No one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” Romans 3:20 NLT. The King James translation of that passage used the term “justified” – “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” That word is a legal terminology.
In criminal law, justification means to be exempted from criminal liability. Charges are dropped. What the Bible is saying is, God has dropped all legal charges against us. God is not holding your sin against you. It’s either you believe that or not. But you better do because it’s liberating.
The death of Jesus is what lawyers refer to as vicarious liability. Vicarious liability means someone took on the legal liabilities of another person. Jesus paid the price for our sins. Sin is a criminal offence. It’s why Jesus was subjected to capital punishment. The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23.
It’s a lack of understanding of biblical jurisprudence that makes us imagine we can do good to get saved. That’s like a murderer saying he should be absolved of his crime just because he gave alms to the poor, or because he helped a widow. You can’t pay for a capital offence by fulfilling a civil obligation. Sin is not a tort. A tort is a civil wrong. It’s why Jesus couldn’t pay for our sins with all those good he did. Acts 10:38. Or they would have saved us. He did a lot of good.
But he had to go to that cross. He was crucified as a common criminal with two robbers. Those weren’t petty thieves, they were violent robbers. They had murdered. It’s why the thief on the right side told the thief on the left THEIR crucifixion was justified, but Jesus was an innocent man. Luke 23:41. The charge of treason against him was as bogus as they come. It was the only lie that could stick.
The accusation about wanting to destroy the temple and rebuilding it within three days fell under religious law. That’s outside the purview of Roman authority, so they accused him of insurrection against Caesar instead. The Bible says Satan is THE accuser of the brethren. Revelation 12:10. That’s not gossip mongering it’s talking about, it’s real prosecutorial stuff, like in a court of law. Or we wouldn’t need a defense attorney. Jesus is our advocate. 1 John 2:1.
His omnibus defense is justification – “Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God that justifies.” Romans 8:33. The modern equivalence of justification is acquittal. You’re acquitted because Jesus has been judged on your behalf. In criminal law you can be discharged but not acquitted. Which means you can be tried for the offence again. Acquittal on the other hand means nobody can prosecute you for the same offence again. That’s the rule of double jeopardy.
Because some Christians don’t know they’ve been acquitted they keep begging God for forgiveness for the same sin. They don’t believe God has forgiven them. They keep responding to the memory of the sin and their bad conscience. Some resort to penance and restitution but that’s an affront to the sacrifice of Jesus. Once you’ve asked God for forgiveness your sin is forgiven, and forgotten. The blood of Jesus cleanses you from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7.
Because of guilty conscience some can’t claim their healing from God. They believe their sickness is a punishment from God. But if Jesus went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, why would the same Jesus be doing the rounds putting sickness on people? Is he schizophrenic? Doesn’t make sense. Acts 10:38.
And talking about righteousness, contrary to popular teaching it is NOT right standing with God. Right standing with God is the RESULT of righteousness FOR SINNERS. The contradiction comes when the definition is applied to God. God is righteous. He cannot be in right standing with himself. He’s not a sinner. He wasn’t alienated from himself.
Righteousness is in fact a constitutional principle. As enunciated in scriptures it is the totality of the sovereign rights of God, his essence, as well as his brand. Everything God does is righteous, just because he’s God and nothing else. You can’t judge what he does. What standard will you use? You can’t question God. Isaiah 45:11.
In the exercise of his sovereignty he chose to save the descendants of Abraham & not those fallen angels. Hebrews 2:16. Both species were fallen but he chose to save humans. And then he did something extraordinary – he devolved his rights to us having designated us his heirs.49. We became not only like him, we actually became him. He is in us, we are in him. Total identification. As he is so are we. 1 John 4:17, 2 Corinthians 5:21. We don’t have righteousness therefore, we ARE righteous. Our righteousness is existential. We can’t become unrighteous.50. Unlike in the Old Testament where they did righteousness to earn God’s approval, in the New Testament righteousness is a gift of grace.
You don’t do anything to become righteous in the New Testament. You’re made righteous. Because of this righteousness we can boldly approach the throne of grace. Hebrews 4:16. So, stop being timid. Stop all the I’m unworthy religious stuff. 1 John 3:1. Sorosoke.
Exercise your constitutional rights. 2 Timothy 1:7. You are the righteousness of God in Christ. This has been a crash course in biblical jurisprudence. I want you to give your life to Jesus. Please pray this prayer: “Father I come to you in the name of Jesus. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead. I am saved. Amen.”
To read On Faith Part 6: Legal Matters go here
To understand the Christian walk from a contemporary perspective, read my book, Conversations of a 21st Century Saint. Order at:
© Leke Alder |
By Kalu Aja
In the Bible, we read an interesting story of Spiritualism, Economics and Trade.
God speaks to Egyptian President by giving him a strange dream of lean cows eating fat cows.
Alarmed the Egyptian President summoned his Intelligence Agencies, his Cabinet and Special Assistants on Religious Affairs, all his top Advisers, but noone could decipher the message in the dream.
Then an Adviser previously in EFCC custody remembered a former inmate who was very good in analysis of data. He tells Mr President who summons Joseph. Joseph shaves, wears a nice suit and goes before the President. Joseph hears the data from the President, & responds;
A. There will be an oil boom that will increase the wealth of the Egyptian Government. The Government will make a lot of money for 7 years.
B. Then after 7 years, the oil boom will end and the world will enter a recession.
At this point, Joseph is now giving his own advise to the President.
Joseph tells the President;
“Set up a Sovereign Wealth Fund, save 25% of the oil wealth for those 7 boom years. Look for a man, discrete & wise to act as Chief Economic Adviser to implement the plan”
What Joseph did here was to identify the problem, give a solution, and then offer himself a pathway to becoming a man “discrete and wise” to implement the solution he advised.
Pharaoh agreed, made Joseph Chief Economic Adviser of the Federation. As recession swept across the world, Egypt became the center of the world, all nations came to Egypt to trade, Egypt became richer, Joseph became a Super Minister
What is the lesson of this story?
1. President: You’re only as good as the Advisers your surround yourself with.
2. Pastors, its not enough to give prophesies, if God revels something to you, He will also give you an interpretation with clear dates & solutions, Prophecy without direction is useless.
3. Entrepreneur, referrals will make or break your business. Joseph was referred to the President by a client he “traded” with when he just a startup, treat your early customers like kings.
4. As a Person, Educate yourself. Joseph gave the “Spiritual”, but then followed up with the “Economic”. keep learning.
5. The Economy; every economic boom is followed by a recession, every recession creates opportunities for people that prepared during the recession.
In the Universe; there is no such thing as luck in wealth generation. it’s always planned. noone is lucky.
Egypt became wealthy because they stored grain for 7 years and became a trading post.
Dubai, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Singapore are today’s Egypt.
Most current leaders in the black race personify a notable class of people in the larger society that most profited from secular and spiritual corruption. Business men are successful because they are connected and got the most compelling undue advantage to enrich themselves. Clergymen would personify those that had become mythical in their every thought, speech and actions because of the prestige and respect they enjoy from the increasingly popularity of worshiping vague celestial divinities. It is globally the turn of black people to predominantly fear and revere everything termed sacred and the black race have since owned it, more than any other race or people before and now.
This divine slavery has advanced to such an extent that the state of superiority enjoyed by a revered deity is used only for personal advantage. Rogue tendency of being holy is currently more commonly exploited by all types among every brand of the darker races and their leaders. It is their turn to copy the old well tested antics of the white elite.
It goes to show why clergymen shouldn’t be secular politicians, no matter how many good men before had successfully done so. There are more harmful possibilities to it than there are good ones. The confessed faiths of clergymen can only be bias to their beliefs and where they must fairly administer over persons in a secular setting with competing diversely held beliefs, then they must be hypocritical in their desire to be fair, thereby failing to be true to their own faiths; the very basis for being considered ideal for public office in the first place.
Many years ago I wrote “THE MASTER’S BILL”; I concluded my mutterings about the lonesomeness of human existence with wondering on how patient and tolerant the good lord is & reasoned that it is a price He must pay.
How alone can one be?
Looking around, one can only see.
Life is one big school,
Lectures are missed by the fool.
Indeed the friend is in need,
Wisdom in the foe only bid.
The whole world could be wrong
And not hear a word in your song.
For fear hasn’t a say
Where bare hands cut hay.
The master’s wishes are His will
And only He writes down the Bill.
Religious conflict has a perception of sincere truth and righteousness that doesn’t circumvent its warring parties’ hypocritical egocentric desire to be perceived as simply being neighbourly. It instead forcibly and bluntly thrust the reality of the parties’ lustful differences on their pretentious faces, enforcing it on their neighbours in a manner that shows off what each faith wants as against what they claim to profess. It should be obvious that a religion that advocates peace needs to suffer for its submissive principle. It must pay a humiliating price it can’t even humbly mention. When a religion’s ideals and principles aren’t as principally evident as it advocates, it is actually only openly good natured for the sake of achieving its quest to be dominant.
Then it would have to result to violence to stress its misgivings or show off its disliked for other opposing religions that seek to be themselves and exist alongside it. Religions must co-exist because no religion ever exists alone, on its own. A religion that hides under the guise of peaceful co-existence to impose itself is thus quite superficial and only yearning for communal peace ahead of lasting personal inner peace that would ordinarily precede first.
Such a religion has not yet made a wraith of human trans-religious harmony feasible. It has instead rendered the most sacred personality of its loud attitudinal faiths nebulous. It turns each and every one of them to be more of wholesome fact-less histories, that can never be elucidated than the proven faiths that they each aspire to be accepted as. The fact that there is only one shared common principle the two main contesting religions of Islam and Christianity sensibly have in common, makes them ever more incompatible than compatible, and pushes rather than pulls them apart. Their common principle is expressed as a common faith in the existence of a single supreme deity.
Supremacy makes it a contestable divide and not an undeniable bond. The people argue and fight over their diverse beliefs in the archaic fate of a quite varied interpretation of the same original scriptural text and thereby murder the very essence of their religions’ being in doing so. They both miss the very point of having the single attribute they each ironically lay the most loudly admitted claim to.
It is so ludicrous and incongruous that the same dog barking aggressively is actually only chasing after its own tail in circles and not really going anywhere but racing against it own self.
Fever: The Appetite of Fever (Book III)
The Poet in the Poem
God is our refuge and strength,
An ever present help in trouble,
Therefore we will not fear breath;
Though earth gives way and rumble
And the mountains fall and bolt
Into the heart of the sea and tumble.
Though water roam and so foam,
Mountains quake with great surge;
There is a river whose streams hum
To make glad God’s city and age.
Holy a place and the most high home;
God is within and she wouldn’t plunge.
He lifts His voice, earth melts away.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall.
God will help her at break of day,
The Lord Almighty is with us all;
God of Jacob is our fortress and way,
Come and see His works stand tall.
The desolations He has brought to earth;
He makes wars cease to the ends of it.
He breaks the bow and spears He melts;
The shields He burns with His heat.
“Be still, and know that I AM THE GOD,
I will be exalted among the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth as GOD.”
The Lord Almighty is with us, all nations,
Our fortress is Jacob’s own GOD.
Backwards please do go to pry,
From view points of each do try
To source each as they did emerge
From crude history true to its age.
Found will be too separate two,
From one clan each is so true.
With different names they came
And linage as privy not same.
Each lifted above earthly peers;
One leaning on another it clears
The difference that voids a union
In humans’ quest for dominion.
The likeness so falsely sought
In the faiths’ mingled thought;
To knit a very cloth-able peace,
Stresses the difference not at ease.
These differences peace they sort;
For Ishmael’s gift isn’t Abram’s lot.
The famous old birth of aged Sarah’s
Hadn’t the convenience of lowly Hagar’s.
The trail of a footprint will form
Always a route headed and from.
A lion will never eat any grass
Or sheep eat meat so as to pass.
He reigns and reigns,
Now as had always.
He reigns and reigns,
Over all and always.
He reigns and reigns,
Every time in all ways.
Always He reigns;
He reigns always.
It says it has again erred
In learning lessons it knows
And had over a time tried
To live in its faith so loose.
Clasped handed, kneel or like;
It finds pleasure in saying them,
These words that should only milk
Its soul’s truth and not its claim.
Soliciting for rights it can call
To make tangible intangible breath.
As the dead are without fear all,
It tries to bring to safety its faith.
There is the hand of God in everything Judas was to do and the “Usual allowed” inspiration of evil in everything Judas finally did. Does this make Judas Iscariot’s part in the crucification and death of Jesus Christ sacred, evil or simply just both?
Jesus went up on a mountain side and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
These are the names of the twelve apostles. First, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Mathew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus; and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as Doves.”
They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
“Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the father enabled him.” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words to eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy one of God.” Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the twelve, was later to betray him.)
“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – the son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the Snake in the desert, so the son of man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loose in heaven.” Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ. From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “Never lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief. MATT 17:22-23
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
Six days before the Passover Jesus arrived at Bethany where Lazarus lived, who Jesus had raised from the dead.
Now the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, the chief priest and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. “But not during the feast,” they said “Or the people may riot.” While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Here a dinner was given in Jesus honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them anytime you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body before hand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away – and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified. MATT 26:1-2
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and high officials exercise authorities over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
They were on their way up to Jerusalem with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentile, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. LUKE 22:3-5
And asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins.
He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
On the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, “The Teacher asks; Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”’ The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
It was just before the Passover feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
When evening came Jesus arrived with the Twelve.
The evening meal was being served and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me – one who is eating with me.” MARK 14:18
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?” Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.” While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my father’s kingdom.”
After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.
“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture; ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’ I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him, but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the feast, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. JOHN 13:22-30
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” MATT 26:31-36
He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” MATT 26:40
He went away a second time and prayed, “My father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying touches, lanterns and weapons.
Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them. “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” MARK 14:44
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas, the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them. “Who is it you want?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” “I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. Then men seized Jesus and arrested him.
…but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, “‘Put you sword away.’ Shall I not drink the cup the father has given me?
“Do you think I cannot call on my father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way.” MATT 26:53-54
But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Everyday I was with you in the temple courts and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour – when darkness reigns.”
Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. MATT 26:50
Then everyone deserted him and fled. A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him. JOHN 18:12
Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.
And brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.
But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.
While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said. But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entry way. When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.”
A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.”
One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?”
He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this Man you’re talking about.”
Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him. “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking him and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him.
Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. MATT 27:1-2
“Are you the king of the Jews,” asked Pilate. “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” But Jesus made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here. On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. He piled him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends – before this they had been enemies.
Now it was the custom at the feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and release him. With one voice they cried out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!”
“What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion.
For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him. While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and have Jesus executed.
“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. “Crucify him!” They shouted. “Why? What crime has he committed,” asked Pilate. But they shout, “Crucify him!”
As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of preparation of Passover week, about the sixth hour. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified.
The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him and with him two others – one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The king of the Jews’, but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “For I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the Temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priest picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins; the price set on him by the people of Israel, and used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.” (Jeremiah 19:1-13) MATT 27:3-10
Star of every Testament
Chose him to his tenement,
To quietly be a lonely key
Whose shame is malarkey.
The Dove on the Distant Oak
Further than man would reach
Perch the Dove high on wood.
That old acorn time’s search
Created to fit man’s own hood.
In the air up and so distant;
Safe from man’s own filth,
The Oak hosts for an instant
That hatchling of man’s guilt.
Seen and called with a but,
Calm as it coos with love.
If faith and love shows not,
Then above remains the Dove.