Another prompt from Kathleen Duncan:
Month: February 2015
Jesus Held His Peace
Matthew 26:62-63. “And the high priest arose, and said unto Him, Answerest Thou nothing? what is it which these wintess against Thee? But Jesus held His peace. And the high priest answered and said unto Him, I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God.”
They were at their wit’s end. They hadn’t been able to find two witnesses who could agree with each other about anything Jesus had said or done that rose to the level of blasphemy. He wouldn’t speak to defend Himself, so they couldn’t try to trip Him up with arguments that would trap Him into making a false statement. There was only one thing left to do.
They would have to put the BIG question to Him; they would have to ask Him outright if He were theChrist, the Son of God.
I think it is ironic that Caiaphas adjured (required, ordered, demanded) Jesus, in the Name of the living God, to say whether He was indeed the Christ that the prophets had foretold.
And Jesus knew that His answer would seal His death warrant. It was the only question He would answer.
Stay tuned for His amazing statement. We’ll look at it on Monday, March 2.
Matthew 26:59-61. “Now the chief priests and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put Him to death: But found none: yea, though many fals witnesses came, yet foundthey none. At the last came two false witness, and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.”
The only way the Sanhedrin (the council) could condemn Jesus to death was to accuse Him, and prove Him guilty of, blasphemy. Of course that was impossible. In one of His discourses, Jesus had asked the crowds, “Which of you convinces Me of sin?” And no one could. He was not guilty of anything, and there was no evidence, no proof, of His guilt.
How frustrated the leaders must have been. Here they had Jesus, finally, bound and brought before them as a criminal, and though many false witnesses came before them with stories against Jesus, they could prove nothing. It was going to be a long night.
Then, two men came forward. They accused Jesus of saying that He could destroy the Temple of God and build it again in three days. Aha! Finally, they had something they could work with!
The trouble, of course, was that it was a wrong quotation of His words, and a wrong application. And we can read in Mark’s gospel that the witnesses couldn’t even agree with each other. It would be impossible to convict Him of such a charge. The chief priests and scribes were so angry by now that they taunted Him, trying to get Him to respond.
There was one thing left to try, one way they could trap Him into saying something they could use against Him. At this point, He had said not one single word. His silence drove them crazy. He MUST be made to speak!
Peter Followed from Afar
Matthew 26:57-58. “And they that had laid hold on Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. But Peter followed Him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.”
I failed to note a most important statement in the verses from yesterday’s post: At the end of verse 56, we see the pitiful statement, “Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled.” How utterly sad! When they could see that there was no saving Him from arrest, they forgot all about His great power. They forgot how much He loved them, and that they, too, loved Him. In their great fear, all they could do was run away.
So Jesus was hustled off to Caiaphas, the high priest, where he and the scribes and elders waited with great anticipation for His appearance before them, humbled at last in the face of their great power and authority. This time, they had Him! Everything was arranged, and the trial could begin immediately, with false witnesses ready and waiting to do their damage.
But wait, here’s Peter! He followed at a safe distance, but at least he followed! When he arrived at the palace of Caiaphas, he blended in with the servants gathered there and waited, as the scripture says, to see the end.
Did he finally get it? Did he finally understand that Jesus must die?
Matthew 26:55-56. “In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take Me? I sat daily with you teaching in hte temple, and ye laid no hold on Me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled.”
Indeed, one wonders why such a militant group came to arrest Jesus, Who had been a friend to them; eaten with them; taught them in the temple; healed their sick and cast demons out of some of them. Why did they think they needed swords and cudgels to take Him?
It was, of course, a fulfillment of prophecy (Zechariah 13:7).
I believe, as well, that they knew they were doing wrong and they were doing all they could to make it seem right and justifiable. As we move into the “trial” of Jesus, we’ll saw all the efforts that were made by the Jewish leaders to make their case plausible to the Romans, who had the power of execution.
Friday Counseling Issues: The Ideal Client
The next prompt idea from Kathleen Duncan:
Describe your ideal client? What would they do or say in your first session?
The first thing that popped into my head was, “If they were ideal, they wouldn’t need me” 🙂 However, I think I understand what was intended here, and I do have some ideas (you knew I would, right?)
Once I had a man come swaggering into my office and try to lay down the law: He would control the session; he would decide when and if his wife would speak; he would not put up with any hint of blame or accusation from me toward him, because he was the MAN, and he didn’t need any advice or so-called counsel from a mere woman.
I almost fell out of my chair laughing 🙂 The session ended in about ten minutes, when I began to inform him that I would be in charge; that this was MY office, MY rules; and that if he couldn’t deal with that maybe he’d come to the wrong place.
It didn’t take long to say goodbye.
So now you know what an ideal client is NOT.
I got a new client two weeks ago who, in my experience, embodies everything a therapist could hope for. She was obviously distressed, but friendly and open. She was nervous. They all are when they come the first time. There are so many goofy stereotypes out there about therapists.
She allowed me a few minutes to get my paperwork started before she began to talk. Once that was done, I said what I always say: “So, (name), what brings you here today?” Sometimes the person can immediately speak freely. Not always. If they don’t seem to know where to start, I’ll say, “Let’s try this: You fill in the blank. “I’m here today because_________.” That usually does the trick. The first session almost always belongs to the client. Once they get started, they have no trouble filling up the time while I type notes. Sometimes their stories are disjointed, but it doesn’t matter. We’ll go back and put things in sequence later.
The ideal client states her problem clearly, giving necessary details but not cluttering things up with extraneous information.
Then I can start asking questions. I will usually ask the person to give me a straight “yes” or “no.” You can’t imagine how hard that is. “Well, yes, kind of, but. . . . .” In the first session, I don’t need all the BUTS. An ideal client tries to honor my request for short, clear responses.
An ideal client tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Seriously, how can I possibly be helpful if you lie to me? Of course I understand that one person’s perspective will be different from another’s, and I take that into account, especially in marital counseling. But it would be silly for anyone to come for help. PAY for help, and not to tell the truth.
An ideal client listens. He doesn’t immediately “but” me after every single thing I say. “Well, yes, but that won’t work because. . . . .Well, yes, but I’ve tried that and. . . . . .Well, yes, but my wife/husband NEVER listens/cares/tries. . . . .”
I tell a lot of people, “You know, every time you say ‘Yes, but’ you are effectively dismissing whatever I have said to you without taking the time to think it through. The definition of insanity, according to Einstein, is to keep doing things the exact same way while hoping for a different outcome. If what you are doing hasn’t worked for years, then don’t you think it’s time to try a different approach?”
The ideal client is willing to acknowledge his own contribution to the problem. He doesn’t come in with the expectation that I’m going to fix the people who aren’t there. He accepts that he can’t change anyone else; he can only change the way he reacts to everyone else.
The ideal client actually does whatever “homework” I may ask for. I don’t give much homework, because my experience has been that there is a hasty, if any, attempt to finish just before the session starts.
Here’s one that may surprise you. The ideal client tells me if she doesn’t approve or accept something I’ve said, or that I’ve offended her. She then accepts my heartfelt apology, and we go on from there. I never, ever want anyone who feels hurt or offended to leave my office with that simmering in her heart. I’ll never be able to help her if we don’t clear it up right away.
Finally, and most important to me, the ideal client embraces my use of scriptural principles in counseling. Makes the work so much more effective.
What if they don’t? Do I ram Bible down their throats? Of course not. I would never do that. I don’t have to have my open Bible in front of me to counsel from a position of truth. I’m thankful that most of my clients welcome the use of the Bible and biblical principles. I can think of only two who have elected to go elsewhere because they weren’t comfortable with biblical counseling, even after I assured them that I would honor their preference.
The ideal client comes seeking help, willing to listen, willing to work, willing to change harmful patterns of thinking, willing to consider the option of medication, willing to accept his own responsibility.
And I have a lot of them like that. It’s a beautiful thing.
Twelve Legions of Angels
Matthew 26: 53-54. “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”
How much power would twelve legions of angels have? You can’t even begin to imagine!
A Roman legion was about 6000 soldiers. Twelve legions, then, about 72,000.
But Jesus said the Father could give Him more than that! Hundreds of thousands of angels at His disposal. Now consider something else:
In Isaiah 37:36, we read that one angel killed 185,000 soldiers in one night. On that basis, twelve legions of angels could slay 13,320,000,000. That’s 13 billion, 320 million. That number is hard for me to comprehend. Statistics say that there are now about 7 billion people on earth. It would take only half of twelve legions of angels to deal with that!
So what was Jesus’ point? The next verse is the answer:
If Peter, or all the disciples, or the angels of heaven themselves should intervene and save Jesus from the cross, how then could the scriptures be fulfilled that He must die so that we might live? He was born to die. He never asked to be spared from that, knowing that His death and resurrection was the only way of salvation for all mankind.
Fifty Shades of Sin
I have never read the Shades of Gray books; I never will. I certainly will not see the trashy movie, which even the two main characters themselves aren’t very proud of. They shouldn’t be.
This is one of the best pieces I’ve read about all this, and I decided to pass it on to you.
It doesn’t take long to read, and it’s well worth the time.
Matthew 26:51-52. “And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”
John 18:10 tells us that is was Peter who drew his sword. Whether he was aiming at the servant’s (Malchus’) head and missed, getting his ear instead, we really don’t know. It’s likely that Peter’s swordsmanship wasn’t terrific. He was a fisherman, after all, and not a soldier.
It’s clear, though, that he was making an effort to protect Jesus when he saw the men who had come with the chief priest lay hands on Him, preparing to take Him under arrest. Our wonderful, impetuous, hot-headed Peter wasn’t going to stand by and let it happen!
He must have been so frustrated, then, when Jesus admonished him. “Put your sword away, Peter. All who take up the sword will die by the sword.”
Can you imagine the disillusion that was beginning to set in among the disciples? One of their own betrayed Jesus to the priests; they saw the men lay hands on the Master; and now, Jesus was telling Peter not to fight, not to resist. Why? Why wouldn’t Jesus allow them to protect Him?
Jesus answers that question in he next few verses.
Matthew 26; 40. “And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him.”
Friend. The original language is also comrade, companion. One who had walked with Jesus, sat at meals with Him, prayed with Him, called Him Master or Rabbi. One who had been privileged to be among the twelve closest to Him; who had sat and listened to Him teach and preach, and explain things just for them. One Who had seen the miracles, seen the people thronging around Him and going away healed, rejoicing, praising His Name. He had even helped to distribute the fish and the bread to the hungry crowds, had seen with his own eyes how Jesus had multiplied the food until the crowd was satisfied and still there were baskets of food left over.
Your friend, comrade, companion, is one whom you expect to stand with you during the hard times. He is one with whom you weep, rejoice, endure, and celebrate. He is one whome you trust never to let you down, no matter what.
Friend, why are you here?
Of course Jesus knew, and of course He knew what Judas’ future would be. The thing that is so unutterably sad is that even at that moment, if Judas has repented and begged Jesus’ forgiveness, Jesus would have forgiven him. But there was no repentance in Judas’ heart at that moment; at least, if there was, he was tamping it down deep inside himself so he could collect his bag of silver coins.
He sold his soul to Satan for thirty pieces of silver.