Today’s Bible readings are from Exodus 39, John 18, Proverbs 15 and Philippians 2.
Exodus 39 describes the priest’s clothing.
- The ephod 39:2-7 (cf. 28:6-12)
- The breastplate 39:8-21 (cf. 28:15-29)
- The robe 39:22-26 (cf. 28:31-34)
- The other accessories 39:27-31 (cf. 28:39-40, 42)
Note the repetition of the fact that the craftsmen followed the Lord’s instructions to Moses precisely (“just as the LORD had commanded Moses”; vv. 1, 5, 7, 21, 26, 29, 31).
The builders and craftsmen then presented (39:32-43) the finished tabernacle items to Moses. The fact that he listed them again in the text reflects their importance. The statement that they did their work “just as the LORD had commanded Moses” brackets the section (vv. 32, 42). As in the Creation narrative (Gen. 1:28), a blessing concludes the tabernacle construction narrative (“So Moses blessed them”; v. 43).
John 18 begins John’s perspective on the passion of Christ. B. F. Westcott (p. 249) shows that John emphasized three things in his account of Jesus’ Passion: (1) The voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings (cf. 18:4, 8, 11; 36; 19:28, 30). (2) The fulfillment of a divine plan in His sufferings (cf. 18:4, 9, 11, 19:11, 24, 28). (3) The majesty that shone through His sufferings (cf. 18:6, 20-23, 37; 19:11, 26-27, 36-37).
Jesus had gone across the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane and is arrested (18:1-11) there.
The Kidron Valley. The Garden of Gethsemane is uphill to the right.
Garden of Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives.
David Guzik notes: “A sinless Man in an appointed garden was about to do battle with Satan’s representative (Luke 22:3). The first time this happened, the sinless man failed. The Second Adam would not fail.
John alone records that the soldiers “fell back.” Adam Clarke comments: ““Our Lord chose to give them this proof of his infinite power, that they might know that their power could not prevail against him if he chose to exert his might, seeing that the very breath of his mouth confounded, drove back, and struck them down to the earth.” Yet Jesus willingly went with them.
Jesus’ trial before Annas is only mentioned by John (18:12-27), intertwined with Peter’s denials (vv. 15-18, 25-27) . It is the first of Jesus’ six trials. The two charts below are from Tom Constable…
JESUS’ RELIGIOUS TRIAL
|Before Annas||18:12-14, 19-24|
|Before Caiaphas||26:57-68||14:53-65||22:54, 63-65|
|Before the Sanhedrin||27:1||15:1||22:66-71|
|JESUS’ CIVIL TRIAL|
|Before Pilate||27:2, 11-14||15:1-5||23:1-5||18:28-38|
|Before Herod Antipas||23:6-12|
THE HIGH PRIESTS OF ISRAEL
(ca. A.D. 6-36)
|ANNAS (ca. A.D. 6-15)||Unofficial high priest with Caiaphas during Jesus’ trial (Luke 3:2; John 18:13, 24)
Unofficial high priest who, with Caiaphas, tried Peter and John (Acts 4:6)
|ELEAZAR (ca. A.D. 16-17)||Son of Annas whose name does not appear in the New Testament|
|CAIAPHAS (ca. A.D. 18-36)||Son-in-law of Annas
Official high priest during Jesus’ earthly ministry (Luke 3:2; Matt. 26:3, 57; John 11:49-50)
With Annas tried Peter and John (Acts 4:6)
John then records the two trials before Pilate (18:28-19:16). John reported much more about Jesus’ trial before Pilate than did any of the other Gospel writers. This trial (more like an interview) took place either in Herod’s former palace on the western wall of the city, or in the Fortress of Antonia. It likely took place early in the morning, between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m.
The Jews stayed outside the Praetorium, to remain ritually clean.
Ironically, these Jews were taking extreme precautions to avoid ritual defilement, while at the same time preparing to murder the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (cf. 2 Sam. 11:4).
The Jews hesitated to bring the charge of blasphemy against Jesus, because Pilate might dismiss it as unworthy of his consideration (cf. Acts 18:12-16). They evidently did not accuse Him of treason, either, because this too would have incited His many followers, and they would have had difficulty proving it. Consequently they did not name the charge, but they assumed it was serious, and implied that Pilate should trust them and “rubber stamp” their decision. Thus, Pilate just handed Jesus back to them to deal with in their religious courts.
V. 32 notes the Jews’ admission that they could not put anyone to death was in harmony with the sovereign plan of God. Jesus had predicted that He would die by crucifixion, not by stoning (cf. 12:32-33). The Romans were the only ones who could condemn a person to death by crucifixion. The Jews did stone people to death for blasphemy (e.g., Acts 6:11; 7:58), but these seem to have been instances of mob violence rather than independent legal action. They probably also wanted Jesus crucified because the Mosaic Law regarded such a death as proof of God’s curse (Deut. 21:22-23).
So the trial continues, with Pilate focusing on the question of Jesus’ kingship (vv. 33-38a). Jesus, of course, was a king, but not of this world and its kingdoms.
John condensed the scene (18:38b-40) in which: Pilate declared Jesus innocent, the Jews accused Jesus further, Jesus replied nothing, and Pilate marveled at Jesus’ silence (Matt. 27:12-14; Mark 15:3-5; Luke 23:4-6). He simply related Pilate’s verdict (v. 38b): “I find no guilt in Him.”
John also omitted the account of Jesus’ appearance before Herod Antipas, that followed this verdict and preceded Pilate’s offer to release Barabbas in Jesus’ place (Luke 23:6-12). The result of this selection of material is that John kept the focus of the reader’s attention on Jesus and Pilate.
Proverbs 15 continues with more wisdom maxims. Like scattered throughout the Proverbs, there are many references here to the tongue and speaking (vv. 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 23, 26, 29
Regarding the above verse, John Trapp wrote:
“If saints be sad, it is because they are too busy here below, and, Martha-like, troubled about many things, with neglect of that one thing necessary.” And…
“Riches, though well got, are but as manna, those that gathered less had no want, and those that gathered more, it was but a trouble and annoyance to them.
Philippians 2 stresses unity. The basis for that unity is found in 2:1-4, which is illustrated in the example of Christ (2:5-11), then later Paul (2:17-18), Timothy (2:19-24) and Epaphroditus (2:25-30. It all of these examples humility is stressed.
3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Paul is pleading with the Philippians to live in harmony, to lay aside their discords, to shed their personal ambitions and their pride and their desire for prominence and prestige, and to have in their hearts that humble, selfless desire to serve, which was the essence of the life of Christ. His final and unanswerable appeal is to point to the example of Jesus Christ.
So the follower of Christ must think always, not of himself — but of others, not of his own glory — but of the glory of God.
In Philippians 2:12-13 Paul lays out one of the fundamental principles of spiritual development. We are responsible to “work out” our salvation (not “work for” it), but we only work out what God is working in. Notice 2:13…
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Being a New Covenant believer, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, God puts within us both the desire (“to will”) and the power (“to work”) to glorify Him in our choices, motives, affections, imaginations, words, and behaviors.