Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first twenty-five verses of the twenty-third chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the Passover supper which Jesus partook of with His disciples in the upper room having drawn to a close. As you approach the words within this set of verses you will find satan having already entered into Judas in order that he might incite him to betray Jesus into the hands of the scribes, the chief priests and those who vehemently opposed and hated Him. You will find Jesus’ time I’m the garden having drawn to a close as He prayed before and unto His Father concerning the will and work of the cross within His life. Staying on that subject of Jesus praying unto the Father in the garden I have to admit that I have always thought and assumed that ideas entering into the garden with the captains, guards and soldiers armed with swords and staves interrupted Jesus’ praying unto the Father who was in heaven. I have often thought and even believed that Judas entered into the garden while Jesus was still praying unto and before His Father who was in heaven. In fact, it might have been incredibly interesting and intriguing to think about and consider the fact that while Jesus was praying before and unto His Father concerning the work of the cross, Judas came with his company of armed men who would seize Jesus after receiving the signal from Judas. It would have been in the interesting to think about and consider the fact that Judas and the guards who accompanied him somehow broke into and broke through Jesus’ time in prayer before the Father and somehow managed to interrupt Him as He wrestled with the will of the Father. The real crux of the matter is that if you read the words which are written and found within this passage of a routine you will notice that Judas and the guards and soldiers who accompanied him into the garden did not somehow manage to interrupt Jesus’ prayer and petition before and unto the Heavenly Father who sat upon the throne in heaven. A careful and deliberate reading of each of the four gospels will point to and reveal the tremendous fact that Jesus has finished and concluded His prayer before and unto the Father before Judas and those who accompanied him into the garden ever even entered.
In all reality, I happen to find it incredibly intriguing and interesting to think about and consider the fact that Jesus has already finished His prayer and intercession before the Father prior to Judas even entering into the garden where Jesus and His disciples were. This is actually white significant when you take the time to think about it, for before the one who would betray Him unto the hands of His enemies even entered into the garden, Jesus has already wrestled with God in prayer through and concerning what was going to happen that night. As you read the words which are found within the four gospels written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will discover that Jesus did in fact pray before and pray unto the Father that if it were possible that the cup before Him could and should pass, and yet even if the cup could and would not pass, He would submit and surrender Himself to the divine will and purpose of the Heavenly Father for His life. Jesus has worked through and had worked out in prayer before the Father who was in heaven concerning the events which would take place that night, and had already resolved to submit and surrender Himself to the divine will and purpose of the father. This is actually quite the thought when you consider the possibility that for the longest time I thought and considered the fact that Judas and his counterparts had somehow entered into the garden at such a time to interrupt Jesus in prayer and break His resolve in prayer concerning that which would take place on that night. The truth of the matter is that if you read the words which are found within these verses you will find and discover that Jesus has begun praying before and unto the Father concerning that which would unfold that night, and would rise from His place of prayer and return to the disciples to find them sleeping. After awaking then from their slumber and warning them to be watchful and pray lest they enter into temptation, Jesus would return to the place where He was praying before and unto the Father in heaven. This would happen two more times where Jesus would return to the place and posture of prayer before His Father in heaven, and would pray the exact same thing before again returning to His disciples and finding them sleeping. After returning to the place of prayer the third time, and after returning to His disciples three times, Jesus had not only resolved and purposes within His heart, mind and soul that He would submit to the divine will of the Father, but He would also speak unto His disciples concerning the hour which was at hand.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider this reality of Jesus in the garden with His disciples, and how it was there in the garden where Jesus prayed before and unto His Father who was in heaven concerning the cup which was before Him. It would be there in the garden where Jesus would wrestle with the will of the Father—not only concerning the suffering He would experience, but also concerning the cross itself, for the cross would be the instrument of His torture and death. The cross would be the instrument and tool in the hand of the Father to not only redeem mankind and break the curse which was handed down in the garden, but it would also be the instrument which would be used in the life of Jesus to bring about the defeat of principalities, rulers of darkness, spiritual wickedness and the powers of darkness. What’s interesting is that in this twenty-second chapter of the New Testament gospel written by Luke you will find Jesus speaking unto His those who had entered into the garden that their hour had come, and the hour of the power of darkness. If and as you read the words which are found within the twenty-second chapter of the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus as written by Luke you will find that on this particular night the powers of darkness were given authority and power over the Son of man in order that they might do unto Him what they wanted. It’s actually interesting to think about and consider the fact that although Jesus declares that the powers of darkness had been given authority and power on this particular night, it would be the following day when Jesus would triumph over them on the cross, and it would be three days later when Jesus would ultimately triumph after and upon rising from the grave. What I so love about the work which Jesus did—not only on the cross, but also in the grave, and while rising from the grave—is that through each of these manifestations within and upon the earth He triumphed gloriously and publicly over the powers of darkness, and even over death, hell and the grave. What’s more, is that it would be through Jesus’ death upon the cross, His burial in the grave, as well as His resurrection from the grave that He would triumph openly over and upon the powers of darkness—the same powers which were manifested within and upon the earth at the time He was betrayed into the hands of His enemies and adversaries by His enemy and adversary. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss and lose sight of the tremendous and glorious work Jesus the Christ did while on the cross, as well as in the grave. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that there was not only an open and public work which was done while on the cross before those who watched and stood by, but there was also a personal and private work which would take place in the grave—away from the eyes of men, and where only the Heavenly Father, the eternal Spirit and even the forces and powers of darkness would themselves be aware.
With all of this being said, it’s absolutely and incredibly intriguing to me to think about and consider the fact that before Jesus’ betrayer—one of His own disciples—ever entered into the garden accompanied by soldiers and guards, Jesus had already finished and concluded His prayer before and unto his Father who was in heaven. If you read the words and language which is found in the four gospels you will quickly find and discover the tremendous and incredible reality that Jesus had finished, completed, and concluded His wrestling in prayer before the Father in heaven while there in the garden of Gethsemane. As you read each of the accounts of Jesus’ time spent in the garden with his disciples you will quickly come to the understanding that it was in the garden where Jesus would wrestle with the Father in prayer, and would wrestle to carry out and complete the will which the Father had planned and intended for Him to be sent to and upon the earth. In all reality, Jesus knew and understood that He was sent to the earth in the form and likeness of human flesh in order that He might fulfill and complete the work and will of the Father by carrying out the work on the cross. What we find and what we read concerning Jesus in the garden was that part of Him that was in the form of human flesh that wrestled and struggled with what was about to happen that night, and even on the next day. The entire experience we find and read about in the garden was the human side of Jesus the Christ wrestling with the divine will, plan and purpose of the Father for His life concerning the suffering He was about to face, and concerning the cross upon which He was going to suffer and die upon. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this tremendous and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss out on that which Jesus actually did while in the garden that night, for there in the garden Jesus would truly wrestle before the Father in heaven concerning the will and purpose for His life through the suffering, as well as through the cross. What’s more, is that Jesus would go to a particular place in the garden away from His disciples in order that He would pray before and unto His Father who was in heaven concerning the suffering He would face, and concerning the cross upon which He would die. Here again, it would be easy to think and consider that Judas somehow entered into the garden and managed to interrupt His time in prayer before the Father, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. Before Judas ever entered into the garden—before the serpent entered into the garden once more—Jesus had already wrestled with the Father in prayer, and had already purposed and resolved to fully submit and surrender to the divine will and purpose of the Father. Consider if you will each of the accounts of Jesus in the garden, beginning with the account which the apostle Matthew wrote, and continuing through to the account which the apostle John wrote:
“The cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, If this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh He to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. 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. Now he that betrayed Him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He: hold Him fast. And forthwith He came to Jesus, and said, Hal, master; and kissed Him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then they came, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him. 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. 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. Thinkest thou that I cannot not pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 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. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him” (Matthew 26:36-56).
“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and He saith to His disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And He taketh with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; and saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. And He cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepiest thou? Couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch your and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. And again He went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer Him. And He cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand. And immediately, while He yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. And he that betrayed Him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He; take Him, and lead Him away safely. And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to Him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. And they laid their hands on Him, and took Him. And one of them that stood by drew a a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. And they all forsook him and fled. And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked” (Mark 14:43-52).
“And He came out, and went, as He wont, to the mountain of Olives; and His disciples also followed Him. And when He was at the place, He said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when He rose up from prayer, and was come to His disciples, He found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. And while He yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? When they which were about Him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And He touched His ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to Him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:39-53).
“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed Him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am He. And Judas also, which betrayed Him, stood with them. As soon then as He had said unto them, I am He, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked He them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: that the saying might be fulfilled, which He spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none. 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. 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?” (John 18:1-11).
Each of these passages brings us face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that it was while in the garden of Gethsemane that Jesus prayed before and prayed unto his Father three times concerning the cup that was placed and set before Him. It was while there in the garden that Jesus wrestled with the divine will and plan of the Father concerning the suffering and the cross, and it was there in the garden where each time He prayed He resolved that He would completely and fully submit to the divine will and plan of the Father. Before the betrayer and those who accompanied Him would ever enter into the garden, Jesus had already resolved to fully surrender and submit to the divine will and purpose of the Father. Before the serpent ever entered into the garden armed with weapons and men who sought to lay hold on Jesus, He had already fully and completely resolved to complete the will of the Father, and would not allow the human side to give into the temptation to somehow avoid the cross. I absolutely love that the apostle Matthew, the physician Luke, and even John Mark each wrote concerning Jesus’ time in the garden concerning His prayer before and unto the Father, and each presented us with the awesome and incredible reality that Jesus not only prayed before and unto His Father who was in heaven, but Jesus also purposed and resolved within His heart and mind that He would fulfill and complete the divine will of the Father who was in heaven. Jesus would give Himself fully and completely to that which was before Him on this particular night, and would give Himself to the betrayal, He would give Himself over to the suffering, he would give Himself over to the torture, and He would give Himself over to the cross and the death which would follow and ensue. Jesus would wholeheartedly give Himself fully and completely to everything the cup which was before Him represented—even if it meant suffering, torture, and even death. Jesus would not seek to avoid the suffering, nor would He seek to avoid the torture, nor would He seek to avoid the cross itself, but would embrace them all as the perfect will of the Father who was in heaven. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for when you read the events which took place on this evening concerning Jesus being betrayed in the garden, and concerning Jesus being brought into the house of Caiaphas the high priest, and concerning Jesus being mocked, spit upon and slapped, and concerning Jesus standing trial before Pontius Pilate, as well as Herod, you must read it through the lens that He not only knew where He had come from, He not only knew where He was going, but He also resolved to give Himself over to everything that would take place that night. Jesus would fully and completely give Himself over to the suffering which would take place that night knowing how cruel and hateful men would fulfill their sadistic pleasures and natures upon His human flesh, and would care absolutely nothing about ripping His flesh to shreds, and spilling His blood the following day.
If you begin reading within and from the final portion of the twenty-second chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke you will find that after Judas betrayed Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, He was carried away and brought unto the house of the high priest. It would be there at the house of the high priest that the suffering would begin, for Luke writes and records how the men which led Jesus mocked Him, and smote Him. Furthermore, they blindfolded Him, and struck Him on the faced, and demanded that He prophesy unto them who it was that smote Him. What’s more, is that those who were present on that night spoke further blasphemous words and railings against Him while He was present within the house of the high priest. CURSING JESUS WHILE IN THE HOUSE OF RELIGION! It’s actually quite an interesting thought and concept to think that it was possible to be in the house of religion, and yet despite being in the house of religion, those who held Jesus still mocked Him, spat upon Him, and struck Him with their fists. This is actually quite astonishing and remarkable when you think about and consider the fact that it’s possible to be in the house of religion, and yet still mock, ridicule, and scorn the Son of God. Those who held Jesus on this night were present in the house of religion, for they were in the house of the high priest, and yet they cared absolutely nothing for Jesus the Christ, and persisted in mocking, ridiculing, spitting upon, and even striking Him with their fists and hands. With that in mind, it’s actually quite remarkable and astonishing to think about and consider that which was asked concerning Jesus as He stood trial before those who not only sought to accuse Him, but also those who were His staunchest adversaries and enemies. If you begin reading with and from the sixty-third verse of the twenty-second chapter you will find and discover that as soon as it was day the elders of the people, and the chief priests, and the scribes came together, and led Jesus into their council, and asked and demanded of Him very specific information. Once within their chambers, and once within their council, the entire religious community asked Jesus one single and one incredibly important question—namely, whether or not He was the Christ. In the sixty-seventh verse of the twenty-second chapter we find and discover how the entire religious community gathered together before Jesus in order that they might ask Him whether or not He was indeed and was in fact the Christ. What’s more, is that if you continue reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, you will find that also in that same council and in those same chambers they would also ask Jesus whether or not He was the Son of God. Please don’t miss the incredible significance and importance of these two questions, for not only was the subject of Jesus being the Son of God, and Jesus being the Christ a strong matter of contention before the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel, built it was also something that He never truly answered in their company and in their presence.
If you read and study the four gospels you will find that the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel all asked Jesus and wondered whether or not He was the Christ, and the Son of God, and such thoughts were strong matters of contention and dissension between and among them. What’s more, is when you consider that the religious community persisted in asking Jesus whether or not He was the Son of God, and whether or not He was the Christ, and they did so because of the absence and lack of revelation from the Father who was in heaven. IN order to understand this fully and completely it is absolutely necessary to turn and direct your attention back to the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus as written and recorded by the apostle Matthew, for it is within this particular chapter where we read of Jesus and His disciples entering into the region of Caeseara Philippi where He would ask them two very important, and two distinct questions—the first question asking them who men said that He the Son of man was, and the second question was who they His disciples said that He the Son of man was. It is on this particular occasion where the apostle Peter spoke up in the midst of and among the disciples and boldly and emphatically declared who He believed, and who He knew Jesus the Christ to be. Consider the events which unfolded on this particular occasion in the region of Caesera Philippi as it is written and recorded in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew:
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caeseara Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto Him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That you art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the Keyes of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged He His disciples that they should tell no man that He was the Christ” (Matthew 16:13-20).
It’s quite interesting to consider the questions which the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel asked Jesus the Christ while in their council, for they asked Him concerning the very thing the apostle Peter confidently asserted and boldly declared in His presence, and in the company of the disciples. While in the region of Caeseara Philippi, Jesus asked the disciples who men said that He the Son of man was, and then who they said that He the Son of man was, and Simon also called Peter spoke up in the midst of the disciples and emphatically and boldly proclaimed and declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Both of these statements were answers to the very questions which the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel asked Jesus while He was standing within their council. Both realities concerning Jesus—the reality that He was indeed the Christ, and the reality that He was the Son of God—were emphatically proclaimed by Simon also called Peter because of personal revelation from the Father who was in heaven. It’s worth noting that Jesus emphatically declared considering Simon Peter that He was able to confidently assert and boldly declare that Jesus was in fact the Christ, and the Son of the living God because of a personal revelation from His Father who was in heaven. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for it shines a great deal of light on to the questions which the chief priests, the scribes and elders of Israel asked Jesus while He stood before them in their council. In all reality, the questions which the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel asked Jesus the day after his arrest are the same questions which men and women have been asking and wondering concerning Jesus throughout the centuries and ages. If you read and study human history from the time of Jesus until present you will come to the strong conclusion that men and women have long wondered and asked concerning Jesus, whether or not He was and is in fact the Christ, and the Son of the living God. Men and women have long asked concerning Jesus, and have long wondered whether or not Jesus was and is in fact the Christ, and the Son of the living God, and the truth of the matter is that such knowledge can only come as a direct result of personal and private revelation from the Father who is in heaven, for Jesus emphatically declared unto Simon Peter that it was not flesh and blood which revealed that He was the Christ, and the Son of the living God, but His Father in heaven. In all reality, this was precisely why and how the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel missed understanding and recognizing who Jesus the Christ truly was, for they did not have the personal and private revelation from the Father who was in heaven. With Jesus in their chambers, and with Jesus in their council, they asked concerning Jesus whether He was indeed and was in fact the Christ, and the Son of God, and even while standing trial before them, and even while being accused before them, He gave no definitive answer to their question, nor did He come right out and declare that He was indeed and was in fact the Christ, and the Son of God.
As you read the words which are found and contained within the final portion of the twenty-second chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke, as well as the twenty-third chapter of the same New Testament gospel you will find Jesus not only standing trial in the house of religion concerning His being the Christ and the Son of God, but you will also find Him standing trial before Pilate and Herod as those who vehemently hated and opposed Him hurled accusations against Him in their presence. The incredible truth I can’t help but consider when thinking about Jesus on trial before Pilate, and even Herod is not only whether or not we believe that Jesus is in fact the Christ, and the Son of God, but whether or not we wish and desire to put Jesus on trial. As I sit here this morning, I can’t help but wonder how many of us have put Jesus on trial based on things He has spoken to us, and even concerning things He has done, and have found Him guilty in our eyes and in our presence. The concluding verses of the twenty-second chapter, and the first twenty-five verses of the twenty-third chapter bring us face to face with Jesus standing trial—not only before religion, but also before sinners—and determining whether or not the claims which He made concerning Himself were true, and whether or not there was any fault found within Him. It’s worth noting and pointing out that when Jesus stood trial before Pontius Pilate—not once, but twice—Pontius Pilate found no fault within Jesus, and found Jesus guilty of absolutely nothing. What’s more, is that even Herod found Jesus guilty of absolutely nothing, and upon finding Jesus guilty of absolutely nothing, sent Jesus back to Pilate in order that Pilate might further try Him according to Roman law. What I so absolutely love is that even though Pontius Pilate finally consented and agreed to release Barabas instead of Jesus, and crucify Jesus the Christ instead, he found no fault or guilt in Jesus the Christ. Despite and regardless of what the chief priests, the scribes and elders of Israel spoke concerning Jesus, and despite their accusations concerning Jesus the Christ, Pilate found absolutely no fault, nor did he find any wrong having been committed by Jesus the Christ, and found Him to be completely and entirely innocent in all matters for which He was being accused. In other words, not only was Jesus sinless and innocent before the Father, but He was also found to be innocent and guilty of absolutely nothing warranting death according to Roman law. What’s more, is that Pilate only agreed to crucify Jesus because it was determined by the Father in heaven, and because He sought to please and appease the crowd who were crying out for the blood of Jesus to be spilt, and for Him to be crucified and put to death. How absolutely remarkable and wonderful it is to think about and consider the fact that not only was Jesus pure and spotless before the Father in heaven, but Jesus was also found to have committed no offense that was worthy of death according to Roman law. Despite these two realities, a condemned murderer guilty of sedition and rebellion was released instead of Jesus the Christ, as the first one to experience the pardon of God, and the first one to experience the manifestation and reality of the cross was Barabas who himself was guilty, and yet was released and given freedom. By all rights and for all intents and purposes Barabas should have been crucified on the cross instead of Jesus the Christ, and yet according to the divine will of the Father the guilty was set free, and the innocent was condemned to die upon the cross. This particular portion within the twenty-fifth chapter concludes with a wonderful and powerful picture of redemption, for he who was guilty was set free and released instead of Jesus the Christ, and He who was innocent was condemned to death in the place of that one who was innocent. Oh that we would recognize and understand this and see in the natural realm a wonderful picture and reality of exactly what the cross was meant to accomplish—namely, the release and deliverance of the guilty, and the condemnation and death of the innocent in order that that freedom and redemption might be purchased by Jesus the Christ who was in fact the sinless and spotless Lamb of God.