Greetings, friends and new listeners, and welcome to The Sound of Faith.
I'm Sharon Otz, thanking you for tuning in today because we know faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Today's message, The Crucifixion Conspiracy, examines the plot to kill Jesus with the behind-the-scenes intrigue we generally don't focus on. Turn with me to John, the first chapter. We'll read a few verses there. John 1 and verse 6.
Dropping down to verse 15. So we see here legal terms in reference to John. John came to bear witness of the Christ.
Amen. He came to give legal witness. He came to certify. He came to certify someone.
And if we go all the way down to verse 29, we see that one day when John the Pentecostal Baptizer was baptizing people in the Jordan River, he saw someone coming toward him. And when he saw him, he said, behold, there, right there, this is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He certified Jesus the Lamb. According to the priestly protocol, he certified him.
And he said, he's the one. Behold the Lamb. The Lamb that God has selected. Now this was before Jesus even got started on his ministry. This was before he was baptized of John and then went out officially and performed his ministry. And how long was he in ministry?
Three and a half years as far as we can ascertain according to the Scriptures. Amen. So that would mean that in the fourth year of his ministry, the Lamb that was certified by John was then offered up as the sacrifice.
Amen. So he was certified according to the Scriptures. Behold the Lamb. John identified Jesus Christ.
And remember, he had to be perfect without blemish. And Scripture says in the Old Testament, Isaiah 53 9, he had done no violence and neither was there any deceit in his mouth. And Peter confirmed in First Peter 2 22, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. And then when Jesus was baptized of John, we know the heavens opened up and the Holy Spirit come down in the form of a dove and landed on his shoulder. And then God himself spoke out of heaven and said, This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.
Amen. And John said in John 134, and I saw and bear record that this is the Son of God. So John, who was a priest according to the lineage of Aaron, certified the Lamb. Now, four years later, it's time for the Lamb to be sacrificed.
Amen. And he was the Passover lamb. Now, whenever the Lamb that was going to be sacrificed for the sins of the nation was to be offered, that lamb had to be offered by the high priest.
So both on Passover and also on Yom Kippur, which, you know, is a feast in the fall. Amen. The Day of Atonement, whenever that lamb was to be offered for the sins of the nation, the high priest had to offer it.
They alone were ordained to offer the sacrifices. In the day of Jesus, the priesthood was corrupt. Totally corrupt. Amen. They were in cahoots with the Romans and they were liars, bribers, slanderers, murderers.
Amen. They were corrupt. In fact, Caiaphas, who was the high priest in Jesus' day, was really not supposed to be the high priest at that time. If you read the scriptures, you might get a little confused because you'll see where it says that Annas was the high priest. And you're thinking, well, how's he the high priest? And Caiaphas is the high priest.
What's going on here? Well, here's what it was. Annas was the high priest. But the Romans deposed him and stuck Caiaphas in there. Caiaphas was Annas' son-in-law and put him in as high priest in the place of Annas. And Caiaphas was corrupt.
Amen. In fact, I was surprised to find out that the high priest lived very lavish lifestyles. Lavish lifestyles.
They lived in what would be considered, to the people around them, to be mansions. And the thing that helped us support their lavish lifestyles was the temple tax that everybody had to pay. The people, the Jewish people, were so oppressed. They had to pay temple taxes to the priesthood. They had to pay taxes to Herod, their puppet king. And they had to pay tribute to Caesar in Rome. The people were oppressed. And they were being fleeced. The sheep of God were being fleeced.
Amen. While the high priest were living high, lavish lifestyles. They have unearthed some of the ruins of their homes.
And they were mansions where they lived. In fact, where they took Jesus, says the house of the high priest Caiaphas. When they took him there, that was a former home or mansion of Herod. It used to be Herod's.
And we all know what Herod was like. Amen. And so the people were terribly oppressed because the priesthood was corrupt and they were crooked and they were in cahoots with Rome. Rome allowed the priesthood to continue. They allowed the religion of the Jews to continue to keep them quiet because you were not going to totally, absolutely stop Judaism. It wasn't going to happen.
Amen. So in order to keep some semblance of peace and order in Judea, they allowed them to have their temple. They allowed them to have their sacrifices and they allowed them to have the priesthood.
But they were controlling it behind the scenes. And I read that Josephus, who was probably the foremost historian of that time, that he wrote that the priest had actually started doing a daily sacrifice in the temple to Caesar in order to keep Rome and the priesthood and everybody happy. And, you know, to placate everybody that they were actually doing this to show you how foul the priesthood had become.
Amen. And so they were allowing them to have their religious laws and they were doing all this to try to keep rebellion at bay. But still, the priest did not have the authority to actually put someone to death. They could pass the sentence of death, but they couldn't do the execution.
They had to go to the Romans for that. Amen. But only the priest could condemn someone to death.
Only the priest could condemn Jesus to die. Amen. Now, they were irate. They were furious over this triumphal entry that Jesus had on Nisan 10 with all the people saying, Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the son of David.
Blessed is the kingdom of our father, David. They were so angry. Even Pilate knew that it was for envy, for envy that they brought Jesus. They were jealous and they were envious because the people were crying out Hosanna.
Amen. And so adding insult to injury, once Jesus had entered into the temple on Nisan 10, guess what he did? He went on a house cleaning. He went in there and overturned the tables of the money changers and he got the whip and he was whipping them. His disciples were standing there going, what got into him?
Amen. I mean, he was opening up the cages and the pens and the ferns were flapping their wings. And the sheep and the goats were running in all directions and money was falling on the stone floor.
All that tick, tick, tick. Until they remembered, the scripture said, the zeal of thine house has eaten me up. Oh, my God, that today the zeal for God's house would eat us up. That the zeal for the holy things of God, that the zeal for true righteousness and holiness and pure worship would eat us up.
Until we would say away with this corruption, away with all this hypocrisy. You see, they were gouging the poor people. Why did they have that money changers? Because there's no way that anybody, any Jew would bring in a Roman coin into the house of God because it had Caesar's picture on it. And it said that he was the great Caesar, the high priest, and also that he was deity. Hiberius or his father, Claudius, forgive me if I'm wrong, but one of them declared that Caesars were divine. They said they were deity.
Amen. And so they had that on the coin. There's no way a Jew would have brought that coin into the temple.
So they had to exchange it for a Hebrew shekel in order to take their money in and pay that temple tax. And Jesus was angry. And he said, you have made my father's house that is supposed to be a house of prayer, you've made it a den of thieves. He was calling the religious leaders a bunch of thieves. Do you think they thought that that was okay? I mean, they were angry.
I mean, here's all the people saying Hosanna, here he's come riding on a donkey. And don't you think they knew Zechariah 9-9? Of course they knew Zechariah 9-9. And now he goes in the temple and he starts cleaning house.
Amen. And do you know if you go on and read more in Matthew, go on and read 22 and 23? Boy, he had some hot sermons that week. Boy, did he have some hot parables that week, especially when you get to chapter 23 and he really hones in on the Pharisees. And he said, you're a bunch of snakes.
You're a bunch of hypocrites. You look so holy on the outside. He said, on the outside, you look like a whited sepulcher.
What did that mean? They used to take the tombs and they used to paint them with limestone so they would be really pretty white. On the outside, making them look nice. But he said, on the outside, you look like a nice painted white wall.
But on the inside, you're full of dead man's bones. Amen. And so he said, how can you escape the damnation of hell? Boy, were they hot.
Let's go back to Matthew and flip over to chapter 26. They had to do something about this. They were angry. They were jealous.
They were envious and they had to do something about this. Matthew 26 and verse one. And it came to pass when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, you know that after two days is the feast of the Passover and the Son of Man is betrayed to be crucified. Then assembled together the chief priest and the scribes and the elders of the people unto the palace. Palace of the high priest who was called Caiaphas and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety and kill him. But they said, not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
So they were getting together. They formed their conspiracy, the chief priests. Let me tell you something about the chief priest in Jesus time. In Jesus time, the majority of them, including Caiaphas, were Sadducees and Sadducees was another sect. You've got the Pharisees, but you've got the Sadducees and the Sadducees only believed in the first five books of Moses. They didn't believe the prophets or anything else.
They did not believe in miracles and they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. That's remarkable when you keep that in the back of your mind, realizing that Caiaphas is the high priest. Amen? So now they come together to decide what they're going to do. They're going to take him with subtlety. The first time you see the word subtle in scripture is in Genesis.
Amen? Genesis 3, when the serpent that was more subtle than all the other beasts beguiled Eve and deceived her. Subtle is one of the adjectives that belongs to Satan, that belongs to the serpent. And we see here right now who their daddy is.
Jesus said in John 844, you're of your father the devil and his lust you will do and he was a liar and a murderer from the beginning. So now we see that same adjective being attached to them. They wanted to take him with subtlety. They wanted to take him with deceit and craftiness like Satan had done with Eve. And they wanted to do it in such a way as not to rile up the people. They didn't want to upset the people. Amen?
And so they were trying to figure out how they could do this as quietly and underhandedly as possible. And meanwhile, meanwhile something's going on with Judas. And Judas now, the devil now tempting him because we know that Judas had a covetous spirit.
The Bible said he was a thief and he was the treasurer for the disciples. Isn't that amazing that the Lord would let Judas be the treasurer when he's the one that's got the money problem, the covetous problem. But you see, it's like the Lord is saying, Judas, I'm going to give you a chance. I'm going to trust you. I'm going to believe in you. But because Judas did not get the victory over his sin of covetousness and sin always grows. It's not stagnant.
It's going to grow. If you don't get rid of sin, it's going to go from sin to sin and iniquity to iniquity. And because he didn't get rid of the sin of covetousness, he decided to betray Jesus for money.
Thirty pieces of silver. I would imagine in the back of his mind, he thought, I've seen Jesus disappear before. They tried to stone him. He disappeared. They tried to throw him off the hill.
He disappeared. I'm sure he'll get out of this and I'll have money and nobody will ever be the wiser. I believe that because otherwise, why did he go and kill himself? What he should have done is repented. Had he repented, the Lord would have forgiven him, just like he forgave Peter, who denied him three times. It wasn't that the Lord wouldn't forgive him. He didn't ask for forgiveness because remorse is not the same as repentance. You can wallow in remorse your whole life and never repent and just be filled of bitterness. Amen. And die like that.
Or you can repent and put it behind you like it never happened. And so they conspired and they got Judas in on it. But the plot was not actually initiated until the high priest gave the commandment to the temple guards to go to Gethsemane, where Jesus and the disciples were praying because Judas knew it.
They go there all the time. That's where he's going to be. And he said, I will identify him, and he identified him with the signal kiss of betrayal. And so the plot to kill Jesus was put in motion when he released those temple guards to go and arrest him. It was not the Roman guards that came and arrested Jesus in Gethsemane.
How many understand that? Rome is not even in on the plot at this point. This is strictly the Jews. This is strictly the high priest, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes and the elders. They are the ones that are conspiring, and now they've got Judas on their side. And they sent temple guards because there were guards that guarded the temple.
There were 24 guards at all times that guarded the temple and the things of God. Amen? And so he dispatched the temple guards, and they came to Gethsemane, and they took Jesus. And they brought him to the palace, Caiaphas, the high priest's house.
Amen? Let's drop down to verse 57, Matthew 26. And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas and the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
But Peter followed him afar off into the high priest's palace and went in and sat with the servants. Now the chief priests and elders and all the council, that would have been the Sanhedrin, sought false witness against Jesus to put him to death, but found none. They couldn't find anybody that could give witness to put him to death. They thought many false witnesses came, yet they found none. And if you read in one of the other gospels, the problem was this, none of their stories agreed. That was the problem. They had many people say, okay, I will testify, but they were all contradicting one another.
How many know that doesn't work too good? If you go before the judge and you start contradicting one another, he starts throwing all the witnesses out. He's saying none of you witnesses are reliable or believable. And that's what was happening with them. Amen. And so at last, verse 60, they found none, but 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. Now this upset them because it took forty six years for Herod to build that temple. But we all know Jesus was not talking about the stones and the mortar. He was talking about the temple of his body.
Amen. He said, a body thou has prepared me, though I come to do thy will. And so the high priest said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witnesses say against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adore thee.
I command thee by the living God that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Messiah, the son of God. And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said. And when he said, Thou hast said, actually in Hebrew, that means, yes, what you said is true. OK, he was agreeing with him. Yes, that's right.
What you said is true. Nevertheless, I say unto you, hereafter shall you see the son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven. And then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He has spoken blasphemy. What further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard this blasphemy.
What think ye? And they answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face and buffeted him and others smote him with a palm of their hands.
This is very powerful because we see here, as I mentioned a moment ago. Only the high priest could offer up the Passover lamb. Amen.
Only the high priest could be the one to offer up the Passover lamb that would be for the sins of the people. Amen. And so we find that the next morning they take Jesus to Pilate. First of all, they held this what you call a trial, which was really a sham. And they did it overnight in the middle of the night.
Amen. Which was illegal to start with. And then they had all these witnesses that couldn't even agree. And finally they got two that were liars. Their stories agreed. They had the same lie. Their lies matched up.
So they said, okay, so we've got you now. You are a blasphemer. Here's what I want you to understand. These are the ministers of God. This is the priesthood. These are God's ministers who are liars and slanderers and bribers.
Amen. But as evil and as corrupt as this whole thing was, it was necessary because only the high priest could offer up the lamb. It had to be the high priest that says, you shall die.
You must die. In fact, in one of the Gospels, he actually prophesies and doesn't even know what he's doing and says, isn't it better that one man die for a nation and the whole nation die? He prophesied and didn't even realize what he was saying.
Amen. Because the Passover lamb had to be offered up by the high priest. Now, they take them to Pilate the next day. And really, if you read all four of the Gospels, and you really have to read them all to get the whole picture. But basically, in the beginning, when Pilate was examining Jesus, he kept saying, I find nothing in this man that's worthy of death. I mean, maybe he's a false prophet. Maybe he goes around saying stupid things, foolish things, according to your religion. And it irritates you and upsets you and you don't like it. But I don't see where it's worthy of capital punishment.
I can't just kill somebody because you don't like them. Because one of the Gospels says he knew it was for envy that they brought him. Amen.
And so in the beginning, he was looking for a way out. At one point, he even said to them, well, you know, it's Passover. That's right. I remember it's Passover. And we have a custom. Every Passover, I release one of your prisoners out of jail. Just as a kind thing on Rome's part because we're such wonderful masters over you. So because Passover is one of your festive times, we always release a prisoner. How about we release this Jesus? Okay, that's a good idea. That's it.
That's how I'll do it. I'll say, I'm going to release Jesus for Passover. They weren't having none of that. They begin to cry out, release to us Barabbas. And Barabbas was a known seditionist and murderer. He was a bad man.
Amen. And they knew he was. I'm surprised that Pilate would even want to let him go if he was the seditionist. That meant he was in stark anarchy and rebellion. And they were always trying to keep the peace. Because if Pilate couldn't keep the peace there in Judea, Rome was going to call him back. He'd lose his job and his position. Amen.
So he tried to offer them Barabbas, but they wouldn't have none of it. And then, then while he's trying to figure out what he's going to do, he gets a message. This is a message from your wife. And she said, it's very, very important. I had to give it to you right now. And he opens it up. And he reads it.
And it says, have nothing to do with this just man because I have suffered many things in a dream this day because of him. This was a divine intervention, but Pilate ignored it. Amen. Oh, I know sometimes it's hard to reconcile it in your mind because you're thinking, but Jesus had to die, but he had to be crucified.
Oh, yes. Yes, he did. He was going to have to go to that cross. He already won that that victory in Gethsemane. But I want you to see how that God wanted it to be known and seen how that all of these people came together. But it was God's will for Jesus to go to that cross. Amen. And so they refused Jesus.
They said no. And they said, give us Barabbas. They chose Jesus, the same lamb that Caiaphas said. He's worthy of death. Amen.
Amen. I hope you're blessed by this intriguing examination of each of the players who had a major role in the plot to kill Jesus. Every detail of Old Testament protocol was fulfilled in the sacrifice of God's final Passover lamb with astonishing accuracy and New Testament revelation. Every player from John the Baptist who first declared Jesus the Lamb of God and then later Judas the betrayer to the corrupt high priest who certified him to be put to death for the nation to Pilate and Herod. And the soldiers, each one stepped onto the stage of the Son of God's final hours and cast their votes to crucify the Christ.
All played their crucial roles that changed the course of human history. But ultimately Jesus laid down his life. He laid it down so he could take it up again. The crucifixion conspiracy can be ordered on CD for a love gift of $10 or more to help pay for the cost of airtime on this station. Request SK193 Mail to Sound of Faith P.O. Box 1744 Baltimore, Maryland 21203 Or go online to soundoffaith.org where you will find a plethora of resources on many biblical topics. But to order by mail, send a minimum love gift of $10 and request SK193 to P.O. Box 1744 Baltimore, Maryland 21203 Now if you're not ordering the CD, we still need to hear from you if you enjoy the program. We need financial help to keep this program on this station, so please prayerfully consider a love gift for the Radio Ministry today. Until next time, this is Sharona Zane, Maranatha.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-04 12:06:37 / 2023-05-04 12:17:04 / 10