The first instance of conflict can be seen in the subtle conflict between Jesus and the Apostles in the verses where the Apostles scold a woman for anointing Jesus’ head with oil to which Jesus responds: “Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.”
In a way, this represents the conflicted notion that the Apostles held in the fact that they refused to accept the possibility that Jesus may not be with them forever, as they take his continued presence on Earth as a “given” as opposed to something that might be finite. In a way, the Apostles are in conflict with their own internal beliefs and not willing to accept alternate or possible realities of the end of their Rabbi’s journey. Of course, this is all a harbinger of the doom to come as Judas simultaneously plots to turn on Jesus.
“And said unto them, ‘What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?’ And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” Within those words is found the indiscretion of Judas Iscariot, an indiscretion that would forever mark his name for all eternity as being synonymous with being a traitor.
We are able to see further instances of conflict in the following two verses:
“Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said” and, in regards to Peter, “Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, ‘That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.’ ” This, of course, Peter denies.
From here is visible the continued theme of internal conflict that was present previously in Chapter 26. Both Peter and Judas know the true answer to the questions they ask, but their questions to Jesus essentially betray their own conflicted denial of their own inner ego and psyche.
In chapter 27 of Matthew we see further internal conflict, but this time it is not one of Jesus’ disciples who is conflicted, but rather Pontius Pilate as seen in the following verses: “And the governor said, ‘Why, what evil hath he done?’ But they cried out the more, saying, ‘Let him be crucified.’
When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.’ Pilate, similar to Judas and Peter, is internally conflicted with his own conscious and, like the other two, yields to the passive, easy way out rather than confront his misgivings and do what is right and what is just. If there were a consistent theme here, it would appear to be a weak character will yield internal conflict.
Even in Chapter 28, we see perpetual internal conflict in the following verse, “And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted” showing, yet again, another example if internal conflict, in this case, the conflict rears its head in the form of doubt, the doubt perhaps that Jesus truly was Christ and empowered with the ability to rise again.
Regardless, the lessons within the verses are somewhat obvious: if one gives in to internal conflict or strife, then one will be miserable. If one frees oneself of conflict over one’s faith and beliefs, one will not yield to secular thoughts and ideologies that are interlocked with doubts about the divinity of God. When these doubts control one’s outlook on one’s faith, then one’s faith is no good to the person, as this internal conflict will erode at spiritual well being.