There is so much in this chapter to take in that I think I’m going to do my best to just hit some key things that I haven’t really focused on before. If you have questions that aren’t addressed, I’d love to have some dialogue.
The question of Judas’ repentance is an interesting one. What was the real motivation behind what Judas did? He had followed Jesus for 2-3 years at this point. Was 30 pieces of silver really worth having him killed? At the point that Judas saw that Jesus was condemned to die he was filled with remorse. I tend to lean in the direction that Judas really did see Jesus as the Messiah but his understanding of Jesus as the Messiah was way off. He wanted the warrior king who would rise up against Rome instead of the servant king. By turning Jesus over, Judas thinks (in how I see it) that Jesus will have to come to action and rise up. Judas is trying to get the ball rolling for Jesus to take power by forcing his hand. The implications of his actions were unexpected by him. Was Judas saved by his repentance? What he did is not beyond the forgiveness enacted on the cross. The question we need to ask ourselves is in what ways do we try to force Jesus’ hand in being the Messiah he didn’t come to be? Do we pray or do certain things so that we will then be bless monetarily? Continue to read the Gospels and get to know Jesus so you don’t make the same mistake Judas makes.
Pilate’s name is important here. He is a real person who connects the real Jesus to the real world. Pilate’s role is to keep some kind of control over an ever troublesome group, the Jews. He is a state official and he wants to know if Jesus is a rival to Herod. What he doesn’t even think to question is whether or not Jesus is a rival to Caesar. When Christians profess that Jesus is Lord they are emphatically saying that Caesar is not.
Pilate does everything he can to set Jesus free but ultimately he has to appease the crowed to keep peace. Rome doesn’t care too much about the things Jesus has claimed about himself or even what others have claimed about him. Rome simply wants order.
Jesus is silent before his accusers because he is the new order of peace standing in the face of the old order of lies and injustice. He is willing to be wronged when he could use power to be right. He is the model for how we should approach a world of evil.
If Pilate saw Jesus as an innocent man, why did he have him flogged? In order to execute someone in the horrible way of crucifixion they must be dehumanized. They beat him and then mock him. The soldiers were doing what they do. They were going about business as usual. They had no idea they had God in the flesh before them.
With Jesus on the cross, he is faced with the same temptations that were before him in the wilderness. This time the desire to give into those temptations are much greater. “If you are the Son of God…” prove it. Not only did they mock Jesus but they also mocked God, calling God out to save Jesus if he really is his father.
The question has come up throughout history as to who actually killed Jesus. Matthew’s gospel has often been used to justify calling Jews “Christ Killers” bringing about (or justifying) persecution of the Jews. Did the Romans kill Jesus? Pilate? Me? Humanity? Matthew’s gospel emphasizes that Jesus gave up his spirit. He willingly died for the creation.
Matthew points out who of Jesus’ disciples were actually there by his side. The disciples had fled but the women stayed. Joseph of Arimathea plays a significant role in the passion story. With Jesus’ comments in the Gospel of Matthew about the rich, it is interesting that Matthew points out that Joseph was a rich man. He made a bold move in asking for Jesus’ body. This could have gotten him thrown in prison or even killed but Pilate ordered that Jesus’ body be given to him. Using his own tomb, Joseph gives Jesus a proper burial because he was fully human and fully died.
Mary and the other Mary seem to be the only followers of Jesus who listened to Jesus that he was going to resurrect from the dead…though they seemed to miss the three days part. They sat faithfully across from Jesus’ tomb being the examples of what it looks like to fully follow Jesus.
Not only did Mary (x2) remember that Jesus said he was going to resurrect from the dead but the chief priests and the Pharisees remembered as well and asked for a guard to be posted. Sixteen men post guard anticipating the disciples and build our anticipating for what will happen tomorrow.