CHAPTER the home of Caiaphas, the current High Priest,

CHAPTER
1

Plotting
to kill Jesus ( Matthew 26 : 1-5 ; Mark 3 : 1-6 and Luke 22 : 1-2 ) :

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The plot to kill Jesus, in my view, put into motion the
suffering and death that Jesus would endure in our place. Fortunately for
humankind everything did not end with Jesus’ death. No, Jesus was raised to
life by God and in so doing forever defeated Satan and sin. Jesus also promised
that He  one day He will return in glory
to judge the living and the dead and to rule as eternal King over His kingdom
that will have no end  ( Revelation 22 :
12-13 : “”Behold, I am coming soon ! My reward is with Me, and I will give to
everyone according to what He has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First
and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” ).

The plot to kill Jesus was orchastrated by the chief
priests and elders under the leadership of Caiaphas the current High Priest. As
the Passover was approaching the Jewish religious leaders gathered in the home
of Caiaphas, the current High Priest, and under his leadership started to plot
to arrest Jesus and have Him executed. What was it that infuriated the Jewish
religious leaders to such an extent that they hated Jesus so much that they started
to plot to have Jesus, the Son of God, executed ?

To answer this question :

1.Jesus did not adhere to their rules and regulations
regarding the Law ( Ten              Commandments ) because they were
man-made and was added to the original Law, as given by God to Moses. Jesus by
no means disrespected the Law that God gave to Moses. He , however, had no time
for all these manmade rules and regulations that the Jewish leaders created and
added to the Law because it obscured what 
God had in mind when He gave the Jews the Law. Jesus Himself declared :
” I have not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets ; I  have not come to abolish them but to fulfill
them. ” ( Matthew 5 : 17 ).

2.The Jewish leaders were also particularly incensed by
the fact that Jesus did not adhere to their own manmade rules and regulations
regarding the observance of the Sabbath.As far as the Jewish leaders were
concerned  Jesus showed a total disregard
for the obsevance of the Sabbath because He did not abide by their manmade
rules and regulations governing the observance of the Sabbath.These Jewish
religious leaders were so preoccupied with their manmade rules and regulations governing
the observance of the Sabbath that they lost sight of the true meaning of the
Sabbath as intended by God. Jesus wanted to restore the Sabbath to what God
originally intended the Sabbath to be. God wanted the Sabbath to be day on
which people would rest from their labours and worship God. So when Jesus
healed people on the Sabbath the Jewish religious leaders were furious because
healing people on the sabbath did not fit in with the way they decided that the
Sabbath should be observed, despite the fact that Jesus, the Son Of God, told
them that it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath ( Matthew 12 : 12 ).

  3. What made these Jewish religious leaders
see even more red when it came to Jesus was that Jesus proclaimed that God’s
salvation was available to everyone who believes in Him,that is Jesus, and
serve Him. This meant that God’s salvation was not only for the Jews but was
also available to all Gentile believers. This was just too much for the Jewish
religious leaders to swallow as they believed  Gentiles to be unlean and therefore inferior
to them. Because they did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God they failed
to understand that Jesus came to save  all sinners throughout the world. Because they
did not understand Jesus’ true mission of bringing forgiveness of sins and
eternal life to all humanity , they could not understand why Jesus offered
God’s salvation to Gentiles as well. Jesus came to save not only the Jews but the
whole world.

4. A big affront to the Jewis religious leaders was the
fact that Jesus associated with sinners. The Jewish religious leaders actually
thought of themselves as superior to sinners and therefore did not associate
with them. Again the failure of the Jewish leaders to accept Jesus as the Son
of God and therefore not understanding that He came to save sinners led them to
detest Jesus for associating with sinners, the very people He came to save.
Jesus made the fact that He came to save sinners from their bondage to sin very
clear to the Jewish religious leaders when He said  in Matthew 9 : 12-13 : ” It is not the
healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means : ” I
desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but
sinners. ”

5. Although all the reasons mentioned above contributed
to the fact that the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus dead,the main reason for the
determination of the Jewish leaders to have Jesus killed was the fact that He
claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of of the living  God. This they could not accept because
acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God would mean that they would have to submit
to His authotity because as the Son of God Jesus’  authority would supersede theirs. Caught in
their pride and arrogance they were  not
prepared to give up their authority and status in Jewish society. To them their
authority and status in Jewish society 
was so important to them that they were blind to the fact that Jesus was
their long awaited Messiah, the Son of God  Further the Jewish religious leaders expected
the Messiah to be an all conquering hero that would overthrow the hated Roman
oppressors. Because Jesus did not fit  their
 preconveived ideas of what their Messiah
would be like, they rejected His claims as the Messiah and accused Him of
blasphemy because He claimed the truth that He is the Son of God. In their eyes
it was blasphemy for anyone to equate themselves with God and by claiming that
He was the Son of God Jesus did exactly that. The Jewish leaders  could not or would not accept that Jesus was
truly the Son of God because of what they could lose ( their authority and
their high standing in Jewish society ) by accepting Jesus as the Son of God
and bow to His authority.

From the reasons stated above it is clear that the Jewish
religious leaders was not interested in justice at all. They just wanted Jesus
dead and they would do just about anything to achieve this. Their motives for
wanting Jesus dead had nothing to do with justice but was based purely on
jealousy, hatred, pride and the refusal to believe that Jesus was who He
claimed to be, the Son of God.

Judas
Iscariot’s agreement to betray Jesus (Matthew 26 : 14-16 ; Mark14 : 10-11 and
Luke 22 : 3-6 ) :

In Luke 22 : 3 it is recorded that Satan entered Judas
Iscariot. Under the control of Satan Judas went to the chief priests and struck
a deal with them. He would betray Jesus into their hands in exchange for
money.The price agreed upon was thirty silver coins  ( Matthew 26 : 15 ), the price of a slave (
Exodus 31 : 32 ). How tragic that Judas was prepared to betray the Son of God,
the Saviour of the world for the price of a slave. The chief priests were
obviously delighted with this turn of events. They wanted to arrest Jesus and
have Him executed but they were afraid that the people might riot. Judas could
solve this problem for them because, being a disciple of Jesus, he would know
when Jesus would be alone with His disciples with no crowd present which would
create creating the perfect opportunity for Judas to hand Jesus over to them
wthout fear of a crowd that might cause a riot.

Why did Judas despite being called by Jesus to be one of
His disciples and were with Jesus throughout His ministry on earth prepared to
betray Jesus ? In my opinion there were two main motives why Judas chose this
cause of action. The first one was obviously greed ( his love for money ). He
agreed to betray Jesus in exchange for thirty silver coins.We also  know that Judas was a thief. In the gospel of
John in capter 12 :1-11  is recorded the
anointing, with expensive perfume , of Jesus by a woman. In this passage in
verses 4-6 we read the following ” 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.” Don’t we also
betray Jesus by chasing after money, ambition  and status in life to such an extent that we
forget to focus on Jesus and our commitment toHim? Jesus need to remain the
center of our focus everyday of our lives. Nothing must become more important
to us than our commitment to Jesus.

 The second
probable motive why Judas betrayed Jesus could be the fact that he became
disillussioned with Jesus. Like the other disciples he believed that Jesus was
the long awaited Messiah. He saw Jesus’ miracles, he saw Jesus driving out
demons demonstrating His authority over Satan and his demons and he also heard
how Jesus taught with absolute authority about God, the kingdom of heaven and
how to go about living lives that are pleasing to God.Despite all of this Judas
was unable to understand Jesus’ mission. Judas believed that Jesus, as the long
awaited Messiah, came to overthrow and drive the hated Roman oppressors from
Israel and restore the kingdom of Israel to it’s former glory , as it was
during the reigns of David and Solomon. I believe that Judas followed Jesus
because he was power hungry. He wanted an important position in this new
kingdom of Israel that he believed Jesus was going to establish. When he
realised Jesus was not going to do this he became disillussioned with Jesus. It
was this disillussionment that gave Satan the opportunity to enter him, driving
him to betray Jesus. Don’t we also betray Jesus and our commitment to Him  when we desire power in this world so much
that our efforts to gain that power in this world become more important than
Jesus and our commitment to Him?

We need to be very vigilant ,watchfull and persistant in prayer
and the study of God’s Word so that Satan cannot use money, power, ambition and
status or any other wordly things to lure us away from focusing on Jesus and
our commitment to Him. I do not say it is wrong to want to have thse things it
but we must never let it become more important than our devotion to Jesus and
our commitment to Him. Jesus and our
commitment to Him must remain our first priority in life.