· Have you ever felt alone in this life? What you may notice is that you can be in a room full of people and still feel alone. Jesus experienced this feeling of aloneness as well. His best friends left Him alone in his greatest hour of need.
· Mark 14:32-41 NLT - 32 They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.”33 He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. 34 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 37 Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 38 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 39 Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. 40 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say. 41 When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
· Reflection Question: How do you think Jesus felt when his closest friends on earth couldn’t be relied on? How do you think He felt when God the Father seemed silent? There was no other way…the cross was the will of the Father.
· Have you ever been betrayed by a friend?
o The emotional pain of trusting someone and them betraying your trust.
o Jesus was betrayed by one of his own - his trusted friend Judas.
· Matthew 26:6-26 NLT - 6 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. 7 While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. 8 The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. 9 “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? 11 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. 12 She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” 14 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests 15 and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
o Judas would betray Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
· Reflection Question: Let’s reflect on the betrayal of Jesus. Imagine what kind of emotions He had as one of his close friends betrayed him.
· No one signs up for suffering. No one willingly allows anyone to beat them…but Jesus did.
· After Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. He was taken to the High Priest where false accusations and physical abuse began.
o Matthew 26:63 NIV – But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God. Yes, it is as you say, Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think? “He is worthy of death,” they answered. Then they spit on his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?”
· These guards had blindfolded Jesus so he couldn’t even defend himself from their blows.
· Then Jesus went before Pilate and the Roman soldiers
o Pilate was the Roman governor. The Jews weren’t allowed to put anyone to death under Roman law – only Pilate could authorize Jesus’ death. Pilate recognized that Jesus was innocent, but the Jews were relentless.
o Pilate made a feeble attempt to “save” Jesus by utilizing an annual tradition to release a prisoner at Passover.
· The Jews chose Barabbas over Jesus. When asked what to do with Jesus, the crowd chanted, “Crucify Him!”
o Pilate washed his hands in front of the Jews symbolizing his innocence. He had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified.
· Flogging was a serious beating, and remember he had already been hit and abused by the Jewish guards.
o The Romans used a whip made of several strips of leather into which were embedded (near the ends) pieces of bone and lead. The Jews limited the number of stripes to a maximum of 40 (39 in practice in case of a miscount), but no such limitation was recognized by the Romans, and victims of Roman floggings often did not survive.
o After Jesus was flogged…if you can imagine…there was much more suffering to come. Jesus was physically abused by a regiment of soldiers – about 200 in number.
· Matthew 27:27-31 NLT – 27 Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
· Oh how deep is the Father’s love for us
· Reflection question: Think about the Father’s love for you tonight. Think about every blow He suffered so that your sins could be forgiven.
· Jesus was led away to be crucified. He carried His cross, at least He tried to. The cross was heavy, and if you can imagine, how could he carry it after all the blows and excruciating abuse he had already suffered. Jesus fell. The soldiers forced a man named Simon to carry Jesus cross the rest of the way to the place of crucifixion called Golgotha.
o Crucifixion was a horrible way to die. It was designed to maximize suffering. Heavy iron nails were driven through His wrists and heel bones. A Greek archeologist described it this way: Without any supplementary body support, the victim would die from muscular spasms and suffocation in a short time – within two to three hours. To prolong the suffering, Roman soldiers had a small pointed seat on the cross. This seat would inflict horrible pain as well, but, provided just enough relief to take another breath.
o Jesus was crucified at 9am. At Noon darkness came over all the land until 3pm when Jesus breathed His last. The earth shook and the rocks split open. Tombs actually broke open and many godly men and women who had died were raised to life again.
o The prophet Isaiah said this about Jesus some 7 centuries before Jesus came.
§ Isaiah 53:3-6 NIV – 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
· Before Jesus was arrested, and unbeknownst to the disciples (even though he had told them), he had his last meal with them - known to us as the Last Supper or Communion.
o We continue to take part in this Last Supper remembering what Jesus has done for us.
o Communion is sacred. We don’t take it lightly. It represents the reality of a commitment you have already made. You are remembering the sacrifices of Jesus because you have made Him Lord and Savior. Have you made Him Lord of your life?
§ 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NIV – 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
§ Remember His body hit and abused for your sin. Remember the suffering He experienced as He carried the cross.
§ Remember His blood poured out for you. Every drop to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The blood that washes away every sin – past, present, and future.
Continue to Remember the sacrifices of Jesus
· Over the next day and a half continue to reflect on what He means to you. Reflect on your commitment to the Savior. Tell Jesus you love Him. Tell Him what He means to you. Allow the love of the Savior to wash over you and set you free!