The Temptation to Accept Religion’s Silver & the Empire’s Sword

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses fifty-seven through seventy-five of the twenty-sixth chapter. “And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’ palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his pace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee” (Matthew 26:57-68).

            “Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a whilecame unto him they thou art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:69-75).

            SIT HERE, WHILE I GO AND PRAY YONDER! BEGAN TO BE SORROWFUL AND VERY HEAVY! MY SOUL EXCEEDING SORROWFUL, EVEN UNTO DEATH! TARRY YE HERE, AND WATCH WITH ME! HE WENT A LITTLE FURTHER, AND FELL ON HIS FACE, AND PRAYED! O MY FATHER, IF IT BE POSSIBLE, LET THIS CUP PASS FROM ME! NEVERTHELESS NOT AS I WILL, BUT AS THOU WILT! HE COMETH UNTO THE DISCIPLES, AND FINDETH THEM ASLEEP! 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! O MY FATHER, IF THIS CUP MAY NOT PASS AWAY FROM ME, EXCEPT I DRINK IT, THY WILL BE DONE! HE CAME AND FOUND THEM ASLEEP AGAIN! THEIR EYES WERE HEAVY! HE LEFT THEM, AND WENT AWAY AGAIN, AND PRAYED THE THIRD TIME, SAYING THE SAME WORDS! BEHOLD, THE HOUR IS AT HAND, AND THE SON OF MAN IS BETRAYED INTO THE HANDS OF SINNERS! 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! FORTHWITH HE CAME TO JESUS, AND SAID, HAIL, MASTER; AND KISSED HIM! FRIEND, WHEREFORE ART THOU COME! THEN CAME THEY, 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!

            PUT UP AGAIN THY SWORD UNTO HIS PLACE! FOR ALL THEY THAT TAKE THE SWORD SHALL PERISH WITH THE SWORD! THINKEST THOU THAT I CANNOT NOW 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!

            ARE YE COME OUT AS AGAINST A THIEF WITH SWORDS AND STAVES FOR TO TAKE ME? I SAT DAILY WITH YOU TEACHIN 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, AND FLED!

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the beginning of the suffering of Jesus and those events which would ultimately lead to His being delivered into the hands of Pontius Pilate where He would be tried before the Gentiles. The twenty-sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew brings us face to face with Jesus partaking of and participating in the Passover meal with His disciples just before He would lead them unto the garden of Gethsemane—a place where He had undoubtedly been with the disciples in times past. What makes the events which are found within this passage of Scripture so incredibly unique and powerful is when you think about and consider the fact that Jesus had spent a considerable amount of time teaching the disciples concerning those things He must needs suffer—and not only how He must needs suffer, but also how He must needs be killed and crucified. As early as the encounter the disciples had with Jesus at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus asked them who men said that He the Son of man was, followed it up with asking them who they said that He the Son of man was, and Simon called Peter responding by declaring that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God we find Jesus teaching and revealing unto His disciples how He must needs suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, scribes and the elders of the people. In chapters sixteen, seventeen, twenty and twenty-six we find Jesus describing unto the disciples how He needed to journey unto Jerusalem, for it was there in Jerusalem where Jesus would suffer at the hands of the religious elite which were present in the midst of the city—those who had previously conspired together against Him to kill Him. Jesus held absolutely nothing back from the disciples and was sure to prepare them for His suffering which He would face and experience within this life in the physical and natural flesh. What makes this truly intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that when Jesus spoke of His suffering and His death—not only would He include the religious elite who would be involved in and partake of that suffering, but He also spoke of the Gentiles who themselves would participate in the suffering which He would endure.

            As you come to the twenty-sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus once more describing unto the disciples how He must needs be betrayed, and how as a direct result of that betrayal He would ultimately be crucified. It’s actually quite interesting to think about the fact that Judas’ betrayal would not only lead to the suffering which Jesus would face and experience within the flesh, but it would also be Judas’ betrayal of Jesus that would lead to His death. The question I can’t help but ask myself and wonder is what Judas expected would happen if he chose to betray Jesus into the hands of the religious elite. We know that the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people covenanted with Judas to give him thirty pieces of silver for betraying Jesus into their hands, however, we must needs ask ourselves what Judas personally felt he would gain from and by betraying the Son of man into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. What would and what could have possibly gone through the heart and mind of Judas that would cause him to betray the Son of man into the hands of His enemies and adversaries? At the very least Scripture reveals unto us that when Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries he did not do so alone and independent of any outside forces, for Scripture not only reveals how Satan had put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus, but Scripture actually reveals how after Judas had taken the sup from the hand of Jesus Satan would enter his heart. Scripture makes it perfectly clear that when it comes to the betrayal of Jesus Judas did not act alone, nor was the idea to betray Him into the hands of His enemies and adversaries his own idea. We must needs realize that Judas was indeed directly influenced and impacted by Satan himself, for when we think about and consider the betrayal of Judas we must needs realize and recognize that Satan himself had a hand and direct role in that betrayal.

            If and as you read the narratives which are found within these passages of Scripture you will encounter and come face to face with the fact that when Judas sought to betray Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel—he did not do so of his own will, nor even of his own volition. Scripture makes it perfectly clear that not only had Satan put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus, but Scripture also reveals how Satan actually entered into Judas at the table where Jesus and His disciples partook of the Last Supper together. Pause for a moment and think about that which is contained within these two statements, for within them we find Satan putting it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus—and not only putting it into Judas’ heart to betray Jesus, but also entering into Judas. In other words, when Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries he was not acting alone, nor was he even acting independently of his own volition and accord. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the fact that when we read the narrative found in this passage of Scripture that not only did Satan put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus, and not only did Satan enter into Judas thus bringing him to the place where he would and could betray Jesus, but even within this passage when and as Judas entered into the garden—I would dare say that it wasn’t merely Judas who entered into the garden. The more I have read the narrative of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries the more I am brought face to face with the fact that when Judas entered into the garden—not only did he lead a small band armed with swords and staves against Jesus, but so also would he bring the snake and serpent into the garden once more. We know from the Old Testament book of Genesis that the LORD God did indeed plant a garden eastward in the land of Eden, and how the LORD placed man in the midst of the garden to care after and tend for the garden. We know that the LORD placed many trees in the midst of the garden, however, there was one specific tree of which Adam could not eat, nor partake of the fruit thereon—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The LORD God declared unto man that he could freely eat of all the trees in the garden of Eden—including the tree of life which was present in the midst of it—and could eat as often and as frequently as he chose. There was, however, one tree from which Adam could not eat, nor partake of the fruit thereof, for in the day that he ate of the fruit of that tree he would surely die—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

            Upon reading the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find Moses writing concerning the serpent and how the serpent was more subtle than all the other beasts which the LORD God had made. Moses writes and records how the serpent came unto Eve one day in the midst of the garden and sought to tempt her to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The text clearly reveals how the serpent first spoke unto Eve and asked a very specific and pointed question, yet one that was intended to cast doubt upon that which the LORD had said—and not only that which the LORD had said, but also what the LORD meant when He had spoken. The serpent asked Eve if God really said that they ought not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—to which Eve responded by declaring that the LORD declared unto them that they ought not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, nor even touch it, for in the day that they do they would surely die. It would be upon hearing these words spoken by Eve the serpent would speak unto Eve and essentially cast even further doubt upon that which the LORD had spoken, for the serpent not only declared that they would not surely die, but he would also go on to declare that God knew that in the day they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil their eyes would be opened and they would be like God. We must needs recognize and pay close and careful attention to what took place in the garden, for not only did the serpent question that which God had spoken, and not only did the serpent cast doubt upon that which God had spoken, but the serpent also caused Eve to enter into the place where she would feel as though God was somehow withholding something from her and Adam. As a direct result of this Scripture reveals how Eve saw the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and saw that it was pleasant to the eyes, how it was good for food, and how it was desirable to make one wise. It would be because of this she would not only take and eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but she would also give of that fruit to her husband Adam who was with her, and he too did eat. Immediately after eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Scripture reveals how both their eyes were opened and how they realized they were naked. In direct response to their nakedness they would sew for themselves fig trees to cover their nakedness. What’s more is that they would also hide themselves among the very trees that were meant to provide for and unto them life and sustenance.

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which is found within this passage of Scripture, for it calls and brings our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that when the first Adam was placed in the garden of Eden which the LORD Himself had planted in Eden the serpent would enter into the garden. Not only would the serpent enter into the garden, but the serpent would also seek to tempt, deceive and beguile the first man and first woman into transgressing and sinning against the commandment of the LORD. In fact, the apostle Paul—when writing unto the Corinthian saints—would write unto them warning them that just as the serpent beguiled Eve, so also they themselves would and could be beguiled into transitioning away from the simplicity that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture is very clear concerning that which took place in the garden of Eden, for it was there in the garden of Eden the serpent would enter, and it would be there in the garden the serpent would target and beguile the woman that she might eat and partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The LORD God had planted that garden eastward in Eden, and the LORD had placed Adam in the garden, and it would be in the garden the LORD would create for and unto man one who would be a helpmate in that which he had been called to do. It would be that helpmate which the LORD had taken from man and formed specifically for him that the serpent would target that he might deceive and beguile her. Scripture is unclear how long Adam and Eve had been in the garden before the serpent would enter into the midst of it, nor even how long it would be before the serpent would beguile Eve into eating and partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The only thing we know for sure is that the serpent did indeed and did in fact enter into the garden, and it would be in the garden where the serpent would tempt Eve concerning the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

            I am absolutely and completely convinced that it is necessary for us to have this background of what took place in the garden of Eden towards the beginning of creation, for it helps shed some much needed light and insight on to what we find in the New Testament gospel  narratives which were written concerning the life and ministry of the LORD Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament book of Genesis we find and discover how the serpent was present in the garden with Adam and Eve, and how the serpent would come unto Eve that he might beguile, deceive and tempt her to eat and partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When we think about and consider Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon we must needs realize that the activity of Satan within his life was actually two-fold. As you read the words which are found in the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ we find that not only did Satan put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus, but also at the Last Supper—in the place of fellowship and relationship—Satan would actually enter into Judas. In the place of intimacy, fellowship and relationship the serpent would enter into Judas, and would do so after he had taken the sup from the hand of Jesus. Pause for a moment and think about this, for not only had Judas been present in the upper room and at the table during the Passover meal which Jesus would share with His disciples, but Judas would also take the sup from the hand of Jesus. It’s important to realize and understand that at this time Satan had already put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. When Judas sat at the table together with Jesus and the other eleven disciples he did so already having within his heart the idea that he would deliver Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel. In fact, if you read the twenty-sixth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find that Judas conspired together and covenanted together with the chief priests, the scribes and elders of Israel before he had entered into the upper room to partake of and participated in the Last Supper with Jesus and the other disciples.

            JUDAS HAD THE MONEY! THE MONEY WAS AT THE TABLE! Oh I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the course of events which took place within this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that towards the beginning of this chapter we find the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people conspiring together with and among each other how they might take Jesus quietly and privately that they might kill and put Him to death. Shortly thereafter we find Judas coming unto the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel asking them what they would give him if he betrayed Jesus into their hands. Scripture reveals how they covenanted together with him to give unto him thirty pieces of silver of he was willing to betray Jesus into their hands. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of just how significant this truly is, for within this chapter we find Judas’ hands taking and laying hold of two different things. On the one hand (no pun intended) we find Judas taking with his hands thirty pieces of silver from the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel that he might betray Jesus into their hands. On the other hand (again no pun intended) we find Judas taking the sup which Jesus would give unto and offer him there at the Last Supper. What makes this truly astonishing and remarkable is when you think about the fact that noy only did Judas take and accept money from the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, but so also would Judas take and accept the sup from the hand of Jesus. Remember that which Jesus had previously spoken when delivering the Sermon on the Mount, and how Jesus declared that we cannot serve two masters, and would go on to declare that we cannot serve both God and mammon. We must needs realize and understand just how significant this truly is when you truly take the time to consider it, for what we find within the life of Judas is not only loving money, but also agreeing to take the sup from the hand of Jesus.

            Scripture is very clear concerning Judas and how he was a thief who would regularly steal and take from the purse which Jesus and the disciples would have and would keep. Undoubtedly Judas was a lover of money, and it was that love of money which the apostle Paul would write is the root of all evil. There is not a doubt in my mind that the avenue and means whereby Satan was able to access Judas was centered upon and around the concept of money. This reality is expressed even more in this particular chapter, for in between the conspiracy of the religious leaders and Judas covenanting with them to betray Jesus into their hands for thirty pieces of silver we find a woman bringing an alabaster box filled with precious ointment into the presence of Jesus. This woman would not only break the alabaster box, but she would also pour out the contents of the alabaster box upon the feet of Jesus. What we find within this passage of Scripture is quite astonishing and remarkable, for Scripture reveals how the disciples grew indignant with the actions of the woman, for they viewed this breaking of the alabaster box and the pouring out of its contents as a waste. What’s more, is they actually went so far as to declare that this could have been sold for a great sum of money, and the money given unto the poor. I find it worth noting and pointing out that in between the conspiracy of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, and the covenant which Judas would enter into and make with them we find this narrative of the woman who brought her alabaster box with costly perfume contained inside, and would break the box and pour out the contents upon the feet of Judas. In all reality, I would dare say that this event and this act of this woman was perhaps one of—if not the last and final straw that would essentially break the back of Judas. Judas would watch and behold this woman’s actions and how Jesus expressed appreciation for what she had done, and it would and perhaps could have essentially been that which finally caused Judas to snap and to break within his heart and mind.

            The more I read and consider the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and this narrative the more I am brought face to face with the fact that not only would Judas take the thirty pieces of silver from the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, but so also would Judas take the sup from the hand of Jesus. It’s interesting to think about and consider that Judas could take with one hand that which would be his payment for betraying Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, and he could with the other hand take the sup from the hand of Jesus. Scripture reveals how when Judas took and accepted the sup from the hand of Jesus Satan immediately entered him. Undoubtedly Jesus recognized Satan having entered into Judas, and undoubtedly Jesus was well aware of the presence of Satan there in the upper room. It’s actually something worth thinking about and considering how Satan would initially begin by placing and putting into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, and it would be there in the upper room and at the last supper Satan would actually enter into Judas. What adds even more weight to this is when you read and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and how immediately after Judas had taken the sup Jesus instructed him to do what he had in his heart and mind to do quickly. Scripture indicates how the disciples thought that the disciples did not understand and missed the significance of what had taken place there in the upper room, for when Jesus had given the sup unto Judas—it was at that moment Satan would enter him. When Jesus recognized that Satan had entered into Judas He immediately instructed Judas to go and do what he was going to do quickly. The disciples thought this was somehow some language and some instruction given unto Judas that he might go and buy that which was needed for the Passover. None of the disciples would understand the significance of what took place at that table, nor even of Jesus’ words until Judas would show up in the garden with a small contingent of men armed with swords and staves.

            I sit here thinking about and considering these words and I am brought face to face with the fact that not only did Judas take and accept the thirty pieces of silver from the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, but Judas would also take and accept the sup from the hand of Jesus. Oh it is truly astonishing to think about and consider this, for you almost get the sense that Judas could have made a decision between the sup and the silver. CHOOSING BETWEEN THE SUP AND THE SILVER! Judas had already conspired together with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel to betray Jesus into their hands, and he had already accepted the thirty pieces of silver which they had given unto him. Scripture reveals how after Jesus was sentenced to death Judas would take the thirty pieces of silver and bring it back unto the chief priests, the scribes and elders of Israel, and would essentially try and return it, for he realized he had betrayed innocent blood. This is something we must needs realize and understand, for there were two distinct options Judas had when it came to accepting this money and this silver from the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel. The first option Judas could have chosen and participated in was refusing the thirty pieces of silver which the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel had offered him. Judas could have chosen not to accept the money which was offered unto him, and could have left the company and presence of the religious elite within Jerusalem and returned unto Jesus and the other disciples. The second option Judas had when it comes to this money and accepting it is that even after he had taken the money from them, and even after he had covenanted with them to betray Jesus into their hands, he could have returned and given the money back. There is not a doubt in my mind that when Judas sat at the table in the upper room with Jesus and His disciples he had the thirty pieces of silver with him and on his person. Whether it was before he entered into the upper room, or even after he had departed from the upper room, it is possible Judas could have returned the money unto the religious elite, and chosen not to betray the Son of man into their hands.

            RETURNING THE MONEY TOO LATE! RETURNING THE SILVER AFTER THE DEED WAS ALREADY DONE! Oh this concept is quite remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it, for Judas could have returned the money unto the chief priests, the scribes and elders of Israel immediately after he had accepted it and taken it from their hands. Judas could have returned the money unto the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel before he had entered into the upper room to partake of the Last Supper with Jesus and the other disciples. In all reality, I am convinced that once Judas entered into the upper room with the silver, and once he had taken the sup from the hand of Jesus it might very well have been too late. Scripture seems to provide no clear indication on whether or not Judas could have returned the money unto the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel after he had participated in the Last Supper, and after he had taken the sup from the hand of Jesus, and we know with absolutely certainty that after Judas had taken and accepted the sup from the hand of Jesus, Satan would enter into him. I would dare say that at that moment it might very well have been entirely and altogether too late for Judas to return the silver he had taken from the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel. Once Satan had put it into his heart to betray Jesus, once Judas had covenanted with the religious elite to betray Jesus into their hands, once Judas had taken the sup from the hand of Jesus—it was at that moment that Satan entered into him. What makes this truly interesting is why before the Last Supper you find and read how Satan merely placed it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus, and yet it wasn’t until Judas was at the table in the upper room together with Jesus and the other disciples, and it wasn’t until after Judas had taken and accepted the sup from the hand of Jesus that Satan would enter into him.

            THE SILVER, THE SUPER & THE SWORD! In all reality, I find the words which are found within this passage of Scripture to be entirely and altogether intriguing when you take the time to think about it, for within this passage of Scripture you will find two disciples essentially at the forefront of the events which took place. Of course the main disciple who would be at the forefront would be Judas who would betray Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, however, there is another disciple who would also be at the forefront of the events which would take place on this night. While I am not yet going to get into the events surrounding this second disciple it should be worth noting that the apostle Peter was also at the forefront of the events which took place this evening, for it was the apostle Peter who emphatically declared that although all would be offended, yet he himself would never be offended. The apostle Peter would also go on to boldly declare that he was ready, willing and able to not only go to prison with Jesus the Christ, but also to die with Him—a statement which all the disciples would likewise echo. Of course we know that Jesus would declare unto Peter that before the rooster would crow in the morning he would deny Jesus three times. What’s more, is that within this passage you will find Peter as the one who would draw his sword in the garden of Gethsemane when Judas entered into the garden with the contingent of men armed with staves and swords. Not only this, but within this passage you will also find that it was Simon called Peter who would indeed deny Jesus three times exactly as Jesus had foretold and predicted. We dare not miss and lose sight this tremendous and incredible truth, for it helps us truly understand the events which took place—not only on this night, but also there in the garden when Judas entered with a small contingent of men armed with swords and staves. There is within this particular chapter two distinct narratives surrounding two of the disciples of Jesus—namely, Judas who would betray Jesus, and Simon called Peter who would deny Jesus three times in the company and presence of others.

            Before I delve into the narrative surrounding Simon I find it absolutely necessary to continue calling and drawing your attention to the awesome and tremendous truth that within the life of Judas—not only do we find Satan putting into his heart to betray Jesus, but we also find Satan entering into the heart and mind of Judas. Scripture makes it very clear that Satan had put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus, and there is not a doubt in my mind that it was this incitement of Satan that was the foundation for Judas’ encounter with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel. It was this incitement and this temptation of Satan within the heart and mind of Judas that would cause him to make his way unto the chief priests, the scribes and elders of Israel, and to covenant with them to betray Jesus into their hands. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in these passages of Scripture that Judas not only had it in his heart to betray Jesus, but he also covenanted with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel as to how he would betray them into their hands. I continue to find it absolutely revealing when you read this narrative that Judas essentially held out two hands, and essentially had two distinct and two different responses. On the one hand Judas would hold out his hands to receive the silver which the religious elite would give him to betray Jesus into their hands, while on the other hand Judas would hold out his hands that he might take the sup from Jesus. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that Judas both accepted the silver from the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, and he also accepted the sup from the hand of the Lord Jesus. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it is truly astonishing and remarkable to think about and consider the fact that Judas was one who not only accepted the silver from the hands of the religious elite, but he was also one who accepted the sup from the hand of Jesus.

            ACCEPTING THE SILVER OF BETRAYAL AND THE SUP OF FELLOWSHIP! We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of what is presented before us within this chapter, for when we think about and consider the narrative surrounding Judas we essentially find him being one who would not only accept the silver of betrayal, but he would also accept the sup of fellowship. Oh I can’t help but went through the heart and mind of Judas when and as he accepted and took the silver which the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel had given him upon agreeing to betray Jesus into their hands. What did Judas think when and as he approached the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, and what was it like when he asked them what they would give him if he betrayed Jesus into their hands. We don’t know what went through Jesus’ heart and mind, however, we do know that Satan did indeed put it into his heart to betray Jesus, and that Satan would in fact enter into Judas. We know that initially Satan merely put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus into the hands of the religious elite, however, it wouldn’t be until after he had accepted the silver and after he had accepted the sup that Satan would actually be permitted to enter into him. I am absolutely and completely convinced that this is a powerful picture of a division that was present within the heart of Judas, for Judas was not only one that was willing to accept the silver of betrayal and the silver of religion, but Judas was also willing to accept the sup of relationship and fellowship. For Judas to accept the sup of fellowship was a direct affront to his having already having accepted the silver of betrayal, and the silver of religion, for Judas had already agreed to betray Jesus into the hands of His enemies and His adversaries. I find it absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that Judas was not only willing to covenant together with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, but Judas was also willing to accept the sup from the hand of Jesus there at the Last Supper in the company and presence of the disciples. Judas would have partaken of the bread, and Judas would have partaken of the wine, and yet even in the midst of all this Judas would also take the sup from the hand of Jesus. That which Jesus would offer unto him as a sign of fellowship and relationship Judas would accept knowing that he had already accepted the silver from the religious elite to betray Jesus into their hands.

            In all reality, I would dare say that Judas’ betrayal of Jesus began well before his entering into the garden, for his betrayal of Jesus would begin when he would secretly and privately meet with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel. Judas’ betrayal would ultimately be manifested within the garden when he would lead an insurrection and insurgence of men armed with swords and staves against Jesus, however, it would begin will before he would do so. The betrayal of Judas would begin when he conspired together with the religious elite to betray Jesus into their hands, and I am convinced that it would continue to be manifested when he accepted the silver from their hands. What’s more, is the betrayal of Judas would continue even further when he would enter into the upper room—perhaps even with the silver he had collected from the chief priests, scribes and elders of Israel—and partook of the bread and of the cup together with the other disciples. Pause and consider the fact that on the surface it would appear that Judas was in the upper room enjoying fellowship together with Jesus and His disciples, however—not only had Satan already put it into his heart to betray Jesus, but he had also already conspired together with the religious elite to betray the Son of man, and had collected the silver which they had given him in exchange for his services. Judas would sit at the table in the upper room together with the disciples and with Jesus, and he would partake of the bread and the cup together with Jesus and the disciples, and yet it is quite possible he had the silver of betrayal in a purse on his person. Scripture does not point to, nor does it confirm Judas had the silver on his person, however, I would dare say that if the religious elite had given him those thirty pieces of silver, he would not have let it out of his sight.

            The more I think about and consider this particular reality the more I can’t help but be brought face to face with the fact that when in the upper room together with Jesus and His disciples Judas could have undoubtedly brought the silver of betrayal into that place, while in the garden Judas would bring the insurrection and insurgent which was armed with swords and staves. It would be in the upper room Judas would bring the silver of his betrayal while at the same time accepting the sup from the hand of Jesus, and it would be in the garden Judas would bring men armed with swords and staves while betraying Jesus with a kiss. ACCEPTING THE SUP AND BETRAYING WITH A KISS! It’s even more intriguing to think about and consider the fact that not only would Judas betray Jesus with a kiss, but when coming unto Jesus he would also proclaim “Hail, Master.” We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely incredible this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that in the upper room Judas would accept the sup from the hand of Jesus, and in the garden he would come unto Jesus, would speak the language of relationship and submission, and yet would betray Jesus with a kiss. This is something that warrants strong and powerful consideration, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely remarkable and astonishing truth that not only did Judas accept the silver from the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, but Judas would also accept the sup from the hands of Jesus. Stop for a moment and think about what that must have been like for Judas and the tremendous division and conflict that would have been present within his heart and mind. Perhaps only hours earlier Judas would have broken away from the disciples and from the presence of Jesus that he might conspire together with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel. Please don’t miss this, for Judas would depart from the brethren, and would depart from the fellowship of Jesus and the disciples that he might conspire together with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel to betray Jesus into their hands.

            If there is one thing I find truly astonishing when reading the narrative of Judas and his betrayal of Jesus it’s that while it was true that Satan would put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus—it wouldn’t be until after he had accepted the silver from the scribes and Pharisees, and after he had accepted the sup from the hand of Jesus that Satan would actually enter him. It’s truly something unique and worth thinking about when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture, for the words found here present us with Satan actually entering into Judas at the table in the upper room during the Last Supper and the Passover meal after he had taken the sup from Jesus’ hand. Oh I can’t help but wonder what that might have been like for Judas as he had not only taken and accepted the silver from the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, but also as he had accepted and taken the sup from the hand of Jesus. Pause and consider what a tremendous decision that must have been for Judas, as not only would he have potentially had the silver on his person at the table at the Passover meal, but he would have also had the sup in his hand at the table. THE SILVER ON YOUR PERSON AND THE SUP IN YOUR HAND! It is truly something worth pointing out that there in the upper room with Jesus and the other disciples—not only had Judas already conspired and covenanted together with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel to betray Jesus into their hands, but he had also taken and accepted the silver they had given him. How absolutely intriguing and captivating this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for Judas could have chosen to reject the silver  which the scribes, the chief priests and the elders of Israel had given him, and yet he chose to accept it and leave their presence and company with it.

            TAKING THE SILVER AND ACCEPTING THE SUP! It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading this particular passage of Scripture, for not only would Judas take the silver from the hand of the chief priests, the scribes an elders of Israel, but Judas would also accept the sup from the hand of Jesus. Judas could have verily rejected the silver the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel had offered him, and yet he not only chose to accept it, but he also chose to depart from their presence with it. What’s more is that when you think about and consider this passage of Scripture you will find that even after Judas had accepted the silver from the hand of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel he would also accept the sup from the hand of Jesus. Judas could have chosen to accept and take the silver from the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel and rejected the sup which Jesus offered him, however, Judas chose to accept both the silver and the sup. Stop and think about the fact that Judas could have chosen to reject the silver and still take and accept the sup from the hand of Jesus, and one would have been a symbol of fellowship and relationship, while the other was a symbol of betrayal. THE SILVER OF BETRAYAL AND THE SUP OF FELLOWSHIP! We must needs think about and consider just how truly captivating this truly is, for within this narrative we find Judas first taking and accepting the silver of the scribes, the chief priests and the elders of Israel, and then also—however short a period of time after—taking and accepting the sup from the hand of Jesus. What’s more, is that not only had Satan put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus, and not only had Judas conspired and covenanted together with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel to betray Jesus, but he would also enter into the upper room together with the disciples and give the appearance that he was one who was still walking in fellowship together with the Lord Jesus Christ and with His disciples. Judas entered into the upper room and gave the appearance that he was still walking with fellowship with Jesus, and yet you cannot walk in fellowship with Jesus while you’re accepting the silver of betrayal and religion, and taking the sup of relationship and fellowship.

            If there is one thing we must needs realize, recognize and understand when thinking about and considering this particular passage of Scripture it’s that Judas entered into the upper room giving the appearance and impression that he was still walking in fellowship, relationship and communion with Jesus and the other disciples, and yet he had secretly and privately conspired together with the chief priests, scribes and elders of Israel, and had accepted the silver from their hand to betray Jesus. We cannot and must not overlook this, for in private Judas conspired together to betray Jesus with the religious elite, and yet in another private setting he would give the appearance that he was still walking in fellowship and relationship with Jesus. In one private setting Judas would take and accept religion’s silver, while in another private setting Judas would take and accept relationship’s sup. Judas would take and accept religion’s silver and would accept that silver as payment to betray Jesus into their hands, however, Judas would also accept relationship’s sup. It is truly something worth noting and pointing out that after Judas had already taken and accepted religion’s silver of betrayal—not only would he accept the cup and the bread from Jesus, but He would also accept relationship’s sup as well. I am absolutely and completely convinced that it was the combination of accepting religion’s silver and relationship’s sup that created this dichotomy, this turmoil, and this division within the heart and mind of Judas, and it was into this environment Satan was able to enter. It was this perfect storm of religion’s silver of betrayal and relationship’s sup of fellowship that would cause Judas to be so conflicted and so divided within himself that Satan would be able to capitalize on that setting within his heart and truly enter into in. Once Satan had entered into Judas there would essentially be no going back, for not only had Satan already put it into the heart to betray Jesus, and not only had Judas taken and accepted the silver of religion, but Judas had also taken and accepted the sup from relationship.

            The more I read and the more I study that which is contained within this passage the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and tremendous truth that there is an inherent danger when we are not only willing to accept religion’s silver, but we are also willing to accept relationship’s sup. There is a great and present danger when we deliberately and intentionally choose to take and accept the silver of religion—particularly and especially when that silver incites us to betray the Son of God—and we then turn around some time shortly thereafter and present ourselves as though we are walking in fellowship and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The tremendous and inherent danger in that which Judas did was that he allowed his heart, his soul and his mind to be conflicted, to be divided and to be torn asunder within himself as he would choose to accept both religion’s silver and relationship’s sup. I can’t help but wonder what Judas thought when he not only accepted religion’s silver, and not only accepted relationship’s sup, but also when he betrayed Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel. Did Judas have any idea that they would hand Him over and delivering Him into the hands of the Romans to be killed and crucified? Did Judas truly and ultimately desire Jesus to be killed and crucified, or did he simply want Jesus removed from the equation? Why would Judas not only accept religion’s silver, but also deliberately and intentionally choose to betray Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries? Of course Scripture points to and reveals that Satan had put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus, however, there is not a doubt in my mind that when Satan put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus he was already capitalizing on thoughts and mindsets which were present within his heart and mind. I am absolutely and completely convinced that it was this division, this dichotomy, and this inner conflict and turmoil within the heart of Judas that ultimately caused him to be able to betray Jesus, and even opened the door for Satan to put it into his heart to betray Jesus.

            As you continue reading the words which are found within this chapter you will find that Judas was a man who was so divided within himself that he was not only willing to take and accept religion’s silver, but he was also willing to accept relationship’s sup. What’s more, is that the gospel narratives will point to and reveal the fact that Judas was the one who was entrusted with the purse which Jesus and the disciples had, and how he would actually steal from that purse. There is not a doubt in my mind that there was this love of money that was present within the heart of Judas, and it was this love of money which caused and produced within him a serious division within his heart—one that would enable him to not only accept religion’s silver, but also accept relationship’s sup. What makes this all the more alarming and disturbing is when you think about and consider the fact that even after Judas had accepted relationship’s sup he would still proceed to betray Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. Stop and think about this for a moment, for although Jesus would extend and offer the cup, the bread and the sup to Judas, he would still proceed to depart from the upper room with the sole intention of betraying Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the elders of the people and the scribes. Not only this, but it would be Judas himself who would lead a small contingent and insurrection in the garden—in that place of prayer, fellowship and relationship—that he might betray Jesus into the hands of those he had brought with him. What’s more, is that he had brought with him those who would seize and lay hold of Jesus before bringing Him secretly and privately unto the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people. Undoubtedly the scribes, the chief priests, and the elders of Israel were already assembled and waiting for Judas and those men whom he had brought with him into the garden to betray Jesus.

            It is something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that Judas would sit at the same table as the other disciples, would sit in the presence of Jesus, would partake in the supper with these men, and would even accept the sup from the hand of Jesus, and immediately after accepting the sup he would depart from the upper room and proceed with carrying out the betrayal of Jesus. Scripture paints a very clear picture that it was after Judas had accepted the sup from the hand of Jesus that Satan entered him—and not only would Satan enter  him, but Satan would enter him there in the upper room in the company and presence of the disciples and Jesus. It would be there in the company and presence of Jesus and the disciples Satan would enter Judas, which actually begs the question of what time and at what point Satan actually entered into the upper room. We know that Satan entered into Judas in the upper room after he had taken the sup from the hand of Jesus, which not only means that Satan was present in the upper room, but was also present in the garden as well. Stop and think about the tremendous ramifications and implications of this, for Scripture makes it very clear and obvious that it was after Judas had taken the sup from the hand of Jesus that Satan had entered into him. We know that before he conspired and covenanted together with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel Satan had put it into his heart to betray Jesus, however, what we find in the upper room is Satan taking it a step further as Satan would move beyond simply inciting Judas to betray Jesus, but would actually enter into him. In this place of division and dichotomy between religion’s silver and relationship’s sup Satan would be able to traffic his treachery and his betrayal, and would bring Judas into the place where he would and could actually betray Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. Satan was actually able to enter into Judas, and yet we find that he didn’t enter him after he had taken and accepted religion’s silver, but after he had taken and accepted relationship’s sup.

            What makes this narrative so incredibly important is when you think about the fact that not only did Satan put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus, and not only did Judas enter into the heart and mind of Judas after receiving religion’s silver and relationship’s sup, but we also know from the gospel written by Luke that Satan asked to have Simon called Peter that he might sift him as wheat. This takes on an entirely different meaning when you think about and consider the fact that Jesus not only informed Simon of Satan’s inquiry and request—almost similar to that which Satan presented unto the LORD in the company and presence of the sons of God—but He also declared unto him that He prayed for him that his faith would fail not. What’s more, is that Jesus also prayed that after Simon was converted he would comfort and encourage his brethren. This is important for us to consider, for when we look at and examine the life of Simon Peter on this particular night—not only do we find him as being the one who drew the sword and striking off the ear of the servant of the high priest, but we also find Simon Peter denying Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. In the same night Simon showed some signs of fight in the physical and natural sense, however, we must needs realize that while he was able to take the sword and strike off the ear of the servant of the high priest there in the garden—he would deny Jesus three times after Jesus had been taken and brought into the presence of the Sanhedrin. This same Simon who declared that even if all would be offended he would not be offended, and this same Simon who also declared that he was willing to not only be imprisoned with Christ, but also die with Christ would be the same Simon Peter who would also deny Him three times. This particular truth is worth noting and pointing out, for while it is true that Satan put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus, and while Satan entered into the heart and mind of Judas to actually carry out the betrayal—Satan would also desire that he might have Simon Peter to sift him as wheat.

            THE SILVER, THE SUP AND THE SWORD! The words we find within this passage of Scripture not only present us with religion’s silver and relationship’s sup, but they also present us with kingdom’s sword. Perhaps one of the greatest truths we must needs realize and understand when reading and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is that when Simon Peter drew the sword and used it to strike off the ear of the servant of the high priest, Jesus not only instructed him to put away the sword, but also emphatically declared that all those who take the sword shall perish by the sword. With these words Jesus was expressing a very powerful reality that those who draw the sword must inevitably live by the sword—and not only live by the sword, but also die by the sword. There is not a doubt in my mind that when Jesus instructed Simon to put away the sword—not only was He instructing him to put away the sword on this particular night, but He was also instructing Simon to leave the sword behind as he moved forward as one of His disciples and followers. When Jesus declared that those who live by the sword would die by the sword—we must recognize and understand that it doesn’t necessarily mean that one will die by the sword the very same time they first draw the sword, but that eventually down the line they will find themselves perishing by the same weapon they wielded. That which Jesus was doing within the heart and mind of Simon was bringing him into the place where he would not live by the sword, but would cast the sword down. What an incredible picture is found within this passage for Judas who chose to live by the silver, and Simon whom Jesus declared that all who live by the sword would perish by the sword. Oh there is are two fundamental principles that are present within this passage of Scripture—namely, those who would live by silver, which can ultimately be described as the love of money and is the root of all evil; and those who would choose to live by the sword and feel the need to continue using it. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth and reality for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and tremendous truth we must acknowledge within our heart whether we are going to be those who choose to live by the silver, and/or whether we are going to be those who live by the sword.

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary that we guard ourselves against the temptation of Judas and taking religion’s silver, and the temptation of Simon to take up empire’s sword. RELIGION’S SILVER AND EMPIRE’S SWORD! RELIGION’S SILVER AND KINGDOM’S SWORD! Please note that when I speak of kingdom and empire I am not speaking of the kingdom of heaven which Jesus came to establish in the midst of the earth, but rather the understanding of kingdom and empire which we know within our culture and society. When I speak of kingdom and empire I am speaking of it in terms of the kingdoms and empires of the earth—even the Roman Empire which would be present in the midst of the earth during those days and times. What we find within this passage is Judas choosing to live by and according to religion’s silver and accepting that silver as payment for betraying Jesus into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. What we also find within this passage is a powerful picture if Simon initially and originally taking up the sword and using to strike off the ear of the servant of the high priest, and how Jesus immediately instructed Simon to put the sword into its place. Jesus was not willing to allow His disciples to live by the sword, and the kingdom He came to set up and establish within the earth would not be one that would be characterized by violence, by force, by rebellion, and by the use of weapons. Those who would be disciples and followers of Jesus must lay down their desire to take up the sword, and their desire to defend themselves from the threats which are before and all around them. Jesus was not willing to allow Simon to live by the sword—particularly and especially because He instructed them to love their enemies, to bless those who cursed them, to pray for those who despitefully used and mistreated them.

            What I so absolutely love about this passage of Scripture is how the kingdom of heaven is ultimately manifested in the earth at this time, for the kingdom of heaven was manifested in falling swords and angels kept and held back in their place. Jesus emphatically declared that He could pray to His Father which was in heaven and His Father would grant unto Him more than twelve legions of angels. What we find within this passage of Scripture—and not only within this passage of Scripture, but even at Calvary where Jesus hung naked and bleeding is the Son of God holding the angels back and keeping them at bay within the halls and courts of heaven. I am sure all heaven was on the edge of eternity peering into time as they watched and witnessed the suffering of Jesus—and not only the suffering of Jesus, but also the crucifixion and death of Jesus—and when  Jesus could have prayed unto the Father for twelve legions of angels, He chose to keep those angels in heaven. This is what makes the temptation in the wilderness so incredibly unique and powerful, for the devil would bring Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple and tempt Him to cast Himself down, and would then declare from Scripture how the angles would not let him dash his foot against and upon a stone. We must needs recognize and understand the temptation in the wilderness, for the temptation in the wilderness was one to see if Jesus would indeed command the angels of heaven to minister unto and meet His needs. Even when Jesus was betrayed in the garden, even when Jesus was suffering at the hands of the religious elite, even when Jesus would being mocked and scourged by the Romans, and even when He was hanging there upon the cross HE would not allow the angels in heaven, nor would He command the angels in heaven to come to His rescue and His aid. This has even more weight and even more meaning when you think about and consider the fact that Jesus knew HE could pray to the Father and the Father would give unto Him more than twelve legions of angels, however, His prayer in the garden was more than simply a prayer for the ability to experience death, but His ability to endure suffering.

            One thing we must needs realize and recognize concerning Jesus’ prayer before the Father in the garden was that since He was one hundred percent in the flesh and was one hundred percent man He was subject to all the emotions and all the feelings we as mankind are subject to. Jesus knew what drinking the cup of the Father would mean, and HE knew that drinking the cup was not only a cup of suffering, but also a cup of death. Jesus deliberately and intentionally prayed three times to the Father concerning the cup which was before Him, and at the end of this praying before and unto the Father Jesus would conclude that if this cup cannot and will not pass away lest He drink it He desired the will of the Father to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus prayed so earnestly before and unto the Father because He knew what He was about to endure, and He knew what He was about to walk through. When He initially prayed before and unto the Father He asked if it were possible that the Father would let the cup pass from Him, however, even with praying those words He still emphatically declared that the will of the Father be done. In all reality Jesus was more concerned with the divine will of the Father than He was with His own well-being and with His own needs, wants and desires. Oh we must needs recognize and pay close and careful attention to this, for when we read Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane we find one who was one hundred percent man and who fully realized and recognized what was about to come upon and befall Him. Jesus’ prayer in the midst of the garden was a desperate prayer for endurance to be able to faithfully endure and walk through the suffering and death He would indeed face and experience in the next hours. Jesus knew that He was only hours away from the most gruesome and brutal suffering, as well as death upon the cross. Jesus knew that He was going to be scourged and beaten and tortured before He would ultimately be crucified upon the cross, and as a direct result of this, He prayed earnestly before and unto the Father for endurance to be able to stand and withstand the suffering and the death.

The question we must needs ask ourselves when we read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is whether or not we are going to be those who are willing to suffer with Jesus, or whether we are going to be those who are going to choose religion’s silver and/or empire’s sword. There is a great temptation within our hearts and lives whether or not we are going to be those who are going to accept religion’s silver and betray Jesus within this life, and/or whether or not we are going to be those who will choose to take up empire’s sword and choose to live by the sword rather than suffer with and beside Jesus. Peter’s taking up of the sword went against the very words he spoke, for it was he himself who declared that he was ready to go to prison with and for Christ, and was even ready to die with and for Him. Taking up the sword was the very antithesis of the words which He spoke, and we must needs realize and understand this, for those who choose empire’s sword are those who chose the kingdoms of this world over the kingdom of heaven. Those who take up empire’s sword are those who cannot and will not suffer with Jesus, and those who will seek to avenge themselves against the ones who would dare rise up in persecution against them. Those who take up the sword can and will be those who will be unwilling to lay down their lives and those who are unwilling to love their lives unto the death. It’s interesting and worth noting that Simon was the one who declared unto Jesus that he was willing to go to prison with Christ and was willing to even die with Christ, and yet there in the garden it was he himself who drew the sword. Oh I wonder if Simon ever thought back and looked upon that night after the day of Pentecost and later on in his life and thought how utterly foolish such an action truly was. Oh that we would be those who are not willing to lay aside and reject religion’s silver, but also that we would be those who would reject the empire’s sword—those who will not betray Jesus, and those who are truly willing to suffer with Him and walk in and experience the fellowship of His sufferings.

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