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A Lamb Prepared

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Matthew 23:29–31 CSB
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we wouldn’t have taken part with them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets.
Isaiah was sawn in two with a wooden saw by Manasseh
Joel was struck on the head by Ahaziah
Amos was tortured by the priest of Bethel
Elijah made enemies with Ahab
Jonah lived in exile from his people out of fear
Habakkuk was stoned in Jerusalem
Jeremiah was stoned in Egypt
Ezekiel was killed by the Jews for speaking against idols
Zechariah was slain by Joash the king between the steps and the altar
These are simple examples of what you already know. The people that killed Jesus were not the Romans or the pagans. Jewish leaders that knew their Bibles killed Jesus. Doug Wilson said that “those who lionize the prophets are prophet killers.” This bears itself out.
The idea, which I’m sure you covered in Matthew 23, is about how the Pharisees and all of the Jews honored the prophets. The problem is that they forget that the soil in which they were living was the same soil that bred the murders of the prophets. If the Sanhedrin in our day was transported back to any of these points in history, they would have participated in the killing of prophets as well.
The people that we are considering have a problem. A foundational sin problem.
Note also that the people that killed all these prophets are who?
Authorities. Political rulers and religious authorities.
So we reach our text.

The Sanhedrin Blatantly Sinned

v. 57 - the arrestors were not Roman, but went to Caiaphas the High Priest

What this means is that the people that put Jesus on trial were Jewish leaders.

Sanhedrin overlooks truth to establish lies

The Sanhedrin put Jesus on trial for false prophecy. They arrested him on that charge.
Imagine this scenario. The police come to your house and arrest you for murder. They don’t have any evidence, so they make some up. That doesn’t stick, so they prove that you didn’t like the man that died. Then they say “That’s enough evidence! He did ti!”
You want reasonable due process to protect against this sort of thing. Unfortunately, the Jews had a case law system. They had due process in their laws. People couldn’t be presumed guilty.
But in this case, the Sanhedrin doesn’t care about evidence: they just want him dead. They start off with lies in 59-60.
Two of them take a different approach in 61. They make clear what Jesus said about the temple destruction. This would be like someone saying “I will destroy the bagnell dam and rebuild it in three days.” And Jesus actually did say it!
John 2:19 CSB
Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days.”
We know now that he was talking about his body, but they did not.
Then, they ask him directly if he is the Messiah. Jesus’ response is another prophecy, fueling their anger further.
Finally, they tell Jesus to prophecy who was slapping him. Their thinking is that he could prove himself to be the Messiah by fulfilling their requests. Would they have stopped?
No! The miracles didn’t help. The parables didn’t help. The teaching didn’t help. The Sanhedrin had a serious problem.
They suggest that they would have listened to prophecy of the “who’s slapping you” kind, but refused to take the “temple destruction” and “claiming to be God” kind.

Sanhedrin had the scriptures . . . which they rejected.

Why is this such a big deal?
Here is the reason: Deuteronomy 13:1-5
Deuteronomy 13:1–5 CSB
“If a prophet or someone who has dreams arises among you and proclaims a sign or wonder to you, and that sign or wonder he has promised you comes about, but he says, ‘Let’s follow other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let’s worship them,’ do not listen to that prophet’s words or to that dreamer. For the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. You must follow the Lord your God and fear him. You must keep his commands and listen to him; you must worship him and remain faithful to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he has urged rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the place of slavery, to turn you from the way the Lord your God has commanded you to walk. You must purge the evil from you.
They were trying to “remain faithful” to the text. God told them to stone false prophets; Jesus prophesied something impossible; therefore he must die. v.65-66
But, just like earlier, they elevated their own interpretation of the law above the law itself. Instead of “kill them when their prophecies are proved false,” these teachers seem to think that they can “kill him because he prophesied at all.”
Does this remind you of anything? “You will not surely die”

Sanhedrin represent Israel as her leaders.

Whatever you think about Israel in the last days, this passage is showing that Israel and her leaders are rejected by God.
This is not surprising. Read Ezekiel 34:1-10
Ezekiel 34:1–10 CSB
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy, and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord God says to the shepherds: Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who have been feeding themselves! Shouldn’t the shepherds feed their flock? You eat the fat, wear the wool, and butcher the fattened animals, but you do not tend the flock. You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost. Instead, you have ruled them with violence and cruelty. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd; they became food for all the wild animals when they were scattered. My flock went astray on all the mountains and every high hill. My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and there was no one searching or seeking for them. “ ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. As I live—this is the declaration of the Lord God—because my flock, lacking a shepherd, has become prey and food for every wild animal, and because my shepherds do not search for my flock, and because the shepherds feed themselves rather than my flock, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! “ ‘This is what the Lord God says: Look, I am against the shepherds. I will demand my flock from them and prevent them from shepherding the flock. The shepherds will no longer feed themselves, for I will rescue my flock from their mouths so that they will not be food for them.

What’s the point of all this?

God took His people out of Egypt. He gave them the Law. He gave them manna in the wilderness. Miracles were performed. He sent the prophets.
Did any of this save them? NO!
They couldn’t keep the law. They were sinners by nature and by choice.

The solution wasn’t ethnic Israel. Matthew 3:9

Matthew 3:9 CSB
And don’t presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones.

The solution wasn’t national Israel. Matthew 23:37-24:2

Matthew 23:37–24:2 CSB
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’!” As Jesus left and was going out of the temple, his disciples came up and called his attention to its buildings. He replied to them, “Do you see all these things? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here on another that will not be thrown down.”


Some trust in blood. Your mother’s faith, your brother’s faith, your aunt or uncle, your grandmother; none of these people can save you. Your faith must be your own, not inherited.
Some trust in a nation. How many Baptists do you know that watch Fox news all day? How many do you know that will tear up at God Bless America, but not at He Will Hold Me Fast? Our priorities are all out of whack! What do you have if the “right person is in office” or the “right laws/policies are enacted?” NOTHING!
You have nothing on the basis of ethnicity or nationality.

Peter Plays with Sin

Peter claimed to be willing to die for Jesus

Matthew 26:35 CSB
“Even if I have to die with you,” Peter told him, “I will never deny you,” and all the disciples said the same thing.
Remember, Peter is not disingenuous. He is being truthful! He wants to die for his Lord.

Peter deserted Christ

Matthew 26:56 CSB
But all this has happened so that the writings of the prophets would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and ran away.
However, given the first opportunity, he runs away. We can make excuses all day, but he did not have the faith of Abraham at this juncture. Abraham believe God could raise his son from the dead! Peter didn’t believe all the teaching he had recieved.
At this point, Peter is not trying to lie. The Pharisees lied on purpose; Peter made himself out to be a liar.

Peter followed at a distance

Matthew 26:58 CSB
Peter was following him at a distance right to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and was sitting with the servants to see the outcome.
As soon as all this happens, Peter makes himself into a fence-sitter.
“I know how to sit on a fence. I can even sleep on a fence. The trick is to do it face down with the post in your mouth.” --Dwight Schrute
Peter is not off with the other disciples hiding; neither is he with his master dying. Instead, Peter is playing games with sin.

Aside: Playing with Sin

Do you play with sin in your life? Do you ignore the times you looked at what you shouldn’t? Said what you shouldn’t? Did what you shouldn’t?
The Christian cannot afford to play with sin! It is like playing with a lion: it is going to eat you. Just give it the opportunity. It already has the desire.
Christian, sin is warfare. You must set up a plan of war. Plan, train, practice, set up defenses, and attack the enemy. Romans 8:13
Romans 8:13 CSB
because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
So anyway, Peter was playing with Sin.

What’s the point?

Peter had the best teacher.
He had the best prophet.
He saw all the signs.
He still couldn’t resist temptation. The problem was still at work.


The solution is not vows. You can make promises to everyone and their brother about sin. This will not help you fight it.
The solution is not signs and wonders. Peter and the Pharisees saw signs; it didn’t help them fight sin.
The solution is not more knowledge by itself. Learn as much as you want. If you are an unbeliever, it will not matter in the end what you know. You need more than knowledge.
So what is the solution then, pastor Andrew?
I hope you see it in the text.

Jesus Never Sinned

Jesus didn’t avoid controversy

Jesus was not afraid of controversy because he had no fear of man and no selfishness. John 6:38
John 6:38 CSB
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
Jesus was perfectly obedient to his role. He was spotless.

Jesus spoke up when needed

Look at verse 64. If you have a Red Letter Bible, you know exactly who said this. Jesus acknowledge that he was the Messiah, the Son of God, and then makes a prophecy of his ascension.
He was strong like a yearling would be.

Jesus was silent like a lamb before the slaughter

Isaiah 53:7 CSB
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not open his mouth.
When asked superfluous things, Jesus did NOT speak.

(lesson about waiting to speak)

He is revealing his role in the next portion!
Jesus is silent like a lamb because he is one!


Not a nation, not an ethnicity, not moralism.

Not Jesus the teacher, Jesus the miracle worker, or Jesus the prophet.

Only Jesus the LAMB of God who takes away the sins of the world. Our Passover lamb!


Christianity does not consist of a bunch of do’s, but with one big done. — Watchman Nee
Do you see? There was no other way. The entirety of human history is an object lesson in this. Everyone tries different solutions, but balks at the true one. Everyone wants to flee wickedness and sin, but they do it by playing around with it!
THe only solution was a substitutionary atoning death of a spotless lamb for you.
So, this Easter season, ask yourself this question:

Did Jesus die for me?

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