.... During the early years of His ministry, the common people loved and admired Jesus greatly; but many of the religious leaders became jealous and began to hate Him. Soon, they were plotting to put Him to death. So in His final days He told His disciples what would soon come to pass: that He must go to Jerusalem, suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised from the dead on the third day. And He spoke these things openly, as the prophet had said that He would: .
.... "For I said, "Hear Me, lest they should rejoice over Me; lest, when My foot slips, they exalt themselves against Me.’
.... "For I am ready to halt, and My sorrow is continually before Me."
(Psalm 38:16-17 - 1004 B.C.)
.... Now His soul was troubled, but the Father had sent Him into the world for this very purpose. Soon Jesus would give His life as a ransom for many, and He would suffer very greatly in so doing -- yet through His suffering He would purchase a very precious gift for us all. For His death would bring an end to our old lives as well, with all of our guilt and sin, and our griefs and sorrows would descend into the grave with Him. And afterward, through the new life of His resurrection, He would give us a new life of our own, to be lived in this world until the time we are joined with Him again in the age to come.
Jesus likened His death to a seed that falls into the ground and dies: for unless it dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. In the same way He would give His life for us all that we may find a new, fruitful life in Him, and peace with God:
.... "When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand."
(Isaiah 53:10 - 712 B.C.)
.... Within a few more days, Jesus would be betrayed by one of His most trusted followers: one of the twelve apostles, named Judas Iscariot:
.... "Even My own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate My bread, has lifted up His heel against Me."
(Psalm 41:9 - 993 B.C.)
Judas agreed to betray Jesus to the chief priests, elders, and scribes, for the price of thirty pieces of silver. He led a band of armed men to a garden where Jesus and His disciples were praying, in order to seize Him there – for he had been with Him in the garden often, and he knew the place:
.... "For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him."
(Psalm 55:12-14 - 993 B.C.)
.... The hours that followed were the darkest of all time. Jesus was bound and led away, and His followers fled; yet in those same hours more prophecy was fulfilled than at any other time in history.
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