In reading these verses you can’t help but notice the use of the impersonal pronoun “it” in speaking about the body of Jesus. It was no longer His body, for in verse 50 of this Chapter as He hung from that Cross, “When then Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit.” The Greek word for “gave up” literally means to permit, allow, or hand over. Jesus was in complete control…even to the point of having total dominion and power over His time of death…He let His spirit pass, and the body that remained behind was just a empty shell.
This very intimate moment happened during the Last Supper when Jesus and His disciples were eating the Passover meal together. There must have been gasps and awkward silence as the disciples watched their Lord take on the role assigned to the lowest of lowest servants. For the washing of dusty, dirty feet was a part of hospitality and custom of the time… a generous and gracious way to receive guests into your house…and usually done by a lowly, and young servant. It says that when He had finished, He said, “Now that I, Your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” But what was Jesus trying to tell us? First, Jesus was teaching us by example. In Matthew 20:28 He explained, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” So what He’s telling us is that we need to follow His example by having a servants heart. And in doing so, we can show others recognition and gratitude that’s steeped in humility and love. For it says He washed the feet of all the disciples…including the feet of Judas.
Jesus had just cleared the Temple area of the money-changers and merchants. The crowd then started bringing Him all their sick…and He healed them all it says. To add to this building excitement, the children were running among the people shouting praises to God! But when the Pharisees and the Sadducees entered the Temple area, they didn’t see the amazing miracles, or hear the beautiful worship… they instead took offense. Rather than rejoicing in the goodness of God, they in selfish indignation chose to be insulted and offended by what they saw and heard. We need to be wary of taking the bait of Satan, which is taking offense…especially during this current time of difficulty and fear. We can’t judge or second guess people when we don’t know all that’s going on in their life right now. We also can’t allow selfish anger to well up when we think our needs aren’t being met. Now is the time to turn outside ourselves, to guard against taking offense, and to come together.
That could have been me in place of Peter. How can I self-righteously think that I would have behaved any differently? Peter had followed Jesus for three years, watching as He preached, healed, and performed miracle after miracle. But despite all Peter had been part of, he still denied he even knew who Jesus was. Yes, it could have easily been me disowning the Lord. For any time I allow fear to mute my voice in speaking the truth of God…I’m silently renouncing Him…more afraid of possible retribution or embarrassment than speaking up. That’s because when I’m silent instead of standing up for what’s right and good and godly…I’m quietly condoning sin.
The whole of mankind hoped with eager anticipation…awaiting the promise of the fulfillment of the coming Messiah…only to watch Him die a terrible and horrific death on the Cross. The day after that shocking event, the human soul was holding its breath…struggling to remember the words of Jesus while despair tried to crowd out any shred of hope. Human life hung in the balance between hope and hopelessness that fateful day. But God is the God of hope, (Romans 15:13) and we have this hope as an anchor. (Hebrews 6:19) So if today, you’re facing the impossible, the incurable, the irreversible…put your hope in God and fix your eyes on Him. For if God can raise Jesus from the dead, He can breathe life into your sick, dying body, revive a struggling marriage, or break the chains of addiction off a loved one. For as long as there is hope, there’s life.
God’s plan was to save the nations through the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. In this Scripture, Isaiah foretells of this plan and purpose…or what we call the New Covenant. Jesus explained this plan and purpose to Paul on that fateful road to Damascus in Acts 26:18 when He said, “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” And God has faithfully maintaining that covenant with all mankind…offering salvation and life… and the chance to break free of the chains of bondage that hold us prisoner.
Here the Prophet Isaiah speaks of the punishment Jesus endured…the flogging, beating, and bludgeoning He bore at the hands of the priests, elders, scribes, and Roman soldiers. (Mark 14:65) The Son of Man was battered beyond identification…disfigured beyond human semblance…for you. He endured it all for you… that you may have fellowship with God and the gift of eternal life.
It says in Matthew 26:62-63, ” Then the High Priest stood up and said to Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against You?’ But Jesus remained silent.” In this hastily assembled kangaroo court, the priests, scribes and elders gloated in the fact that they finally had Jesus where they wanted Him. They had lined up false witnesses to testify against Jesus…but He wasn’t taking the bait. The High Priest believed that he was in total control of the situation…but he had no idea that he was simply a pawn being used by God within the annals of eternal redemptive history. Jesus had no reason to answer the High Priest… no need to justify or defend Himself. For the plan of salvation, created before the dawn of time, was playing out perfectly.
When Judas approached the High Priests offering to betray Jesus for them…He basically asked them, “What’s it worth to you?” In observance of the Law, which stated in Exodus 21:32, “If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave.”…the High Priests counted out thirty pieces of silver…considering Jesus no more important than a slave.
Unfortunately, Jesus could say this of many of us. We like to hang out with Jesus, but when the going gets tough, we break faith. Fear, embarrassment, not wanting to offend, wishing to be politically correct will all cause us to deny Him to some degree. When someone questions our religion, or mocks our Christian walk we cave and shy away from taking a stand. Yes, we love to just hang with Jesus…but only when we’re not forced into a difficult situation and have to choose.