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Sunday, February 16, 2020

“Jesus Stood Before the Governor” [Matt's Messages]

“Jesus Stood Before the Governor”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
February 16, 2020 :: Matthew 27:11-26

We’ve followed Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew from before His birth now to the day of His death.

We’ve been concentrating on the events of that last week and that last night and now that last day.

We’ve said that time has slowed down as Matthew has shared the terrible details about that awful time.

And it just gets worse.

It just gets worse.

Jesus shared a last Passover with His disciples and predicted Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, and all of disciples’ desertion.

Jesus has prayed facedown in the Garden of Gethsemane pleading with His Father to take away the cup of suffering if at all possible.

But He also said, “Your will be done.”

“Your will be done.”

And then they came arrested our Lord.

Judas betrayed Him with kiss.

They laid their hands on Him and took Him away to face a travesty of a trial.

The Sanhedrin met at night and cooked up some unjust proceedings.

False witnesses and a false verdict.

But a true confession. The Lord Jesus confessed to being the Christ, the Son of God, and the Son of Man, and that He is!

But they said, “He is worthy of death.

And they spit on Him.
And they mocked Him and they toyed with Him.
And they struck Him with their fists.

They beat Him!

And then Peter disowned Him.
And Judas committed suicide over Him without repenting.

And the chief priests and the elders of the people condemned Him.

They bound Him.

They led Him away and they handed Him over to Pilate, the Roman governor.

And it just gets worse.

The title of this message comes out of our first verse, Matthew 27, verse 11.

“Jesus Stood Before the Governor.”

This section recounts the Roman phase of Jesus’ trial.

The first major phase was the Jewish phase, and that was bad enough.

But now our Lord stands before the Roman governor [and that word “governor” keeps getting repeated (v.2, v.11, v.14, v.21)].

And the governor sits there and judges our Lord.

This should not be.

Everything about this story is wrong.

This governor should not be Jesus’ governor.

Jesus is the governor of Pilate!

Jesus is the judge of Pilate.

Jesus should be sitting and Pilate standing.

And yet, at this moment, their roles are reversed.

Jesus stands before the governor who sits in judgment on Him.

The Jews have obviously told Pilate the charges against Jesus.

They have not emphasized that Jesus has, in their opinion, blasphemed.

Blasphemy is what they said Jesus had done.

He had claimed to be worthy of sitting at the right hand of God and coming on the clouds as the Son of Man to judge the world.

That’s what caused them to tear their robes.

But what they told the Roman governor was that Jesus claimed to be a king.

And that meant that Jesus might be a threat.

He doesn’t look like a threat.

He hasn’t mounted a rebellion.
He hasn’t fomented a revolution.
He hasn’t armed an army.

The people have loved Him, that’s for sure.

But He mostly acts like a teacher or a debater. More like a prophet than a king.

He’s caused a bit of a ruckus in the temple this week, but nothing much for Rome to be concerned about.

And yet here He is standing before the governor on trial for His life.

So Pilate asks Him a question.

What do you think the question is going to be?

Let me give you a hint. This is the Gospel of Matthew.

Keep your eye on the ball. The question is going to be about the identity of Jesus.

Who is this man?

Matthew 27:11

“Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ ‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied.”

Or the Greek could be translated, “You say so.” or “You said it.”

We might say today, “You are not wrong.”

Jesus must say that because it’s true. Though He is not a king of the Jews the way Pilate fears He is. At least not primarily. Jesus has bigger things in His sights than kicking Rome out of Palestine!

But He is the King of the Jews.

Yes, He is.

But that’s all He’s going to say. V.12

“When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, ‘Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?’ But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge–to the great amazement of the governor.”

I have three points I want to make this morning. Here’s number one.

Jesus stood before the governor:

#1. IN PERFECT CONTROL.

We’ve seen this again and again in chapters 26 and 27.

The Passion of Jesus Christ is not accident.

And it is not just something that others choose for Him.

Jesus chooses it for Himself.

You look at Him here, and He is completely in control of Himself.

Perfect self-control.

They’ve spit on Him and beat Him and played “who hit you?” at Him, and He is so calm and so cool and so collected.

He is regal, isn’t He?

He is majestic and dignified.

Remember, He could call down 72,000 flaming angel soldiers to bring justice to this moment, but instead He chooses to be silent.

“To the great amazement of the governor.”

Pilate doesn’t know what to make of Him.

“Don’t you hear what these guys are saying about you?”

“Aren’t you going to defend yourself?”

“Are you saying that you’re guilty?”

I’m not sure if Pilate respects Jesus or is frustrated by His silence. Probably both.

He’s probably mystified that Jesus would not open His mouth. (I was helped by Grant Osborne with these adjectives.)

Why didn’t He open His mouth?

You know it. Matthew knows it.

Jesus is fulfilling Isaiah 53.

“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (v.7).

That was written over 700 years before Jesus was born.

But here He is living it out!

With perfect self control.

Astounding!

Jesus is choosing all of this. He is choosing to be the ransom for many.

He is choosing to be the lamb being led to slaughter.

He is choosing to not open His mouth.

Our very salvation depends upon it.

If Jesus bleats–if Jesus protests and defends and stops all of this–we are not saved.

Our salvation is on the line here.

But our Lord is more than suited to the task! V.14 again.

“But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge–to the great amazement of the governor.”

Praise God for His self control!

Praise God for His willingness to fulfill Isaiah 53.

Can you imagine choosing to be the guy who lives out Isaiah 53?

I’m so thankful that I am not called to be the fulfillment Isaiah 53!

We would all be doomed.

Because I so often lack self-control, and I certainly can’t control all of the events swirling around me.

But praise God, Jesus stood before the governing in perfect control!

Of Himself and of the situation.

Of course, Pilate thinks that he’s in control.

And he wants to maintain that control.

And he thinks he knows a way out of this predicament.

Because Pilate is in a predicament.

To Pilate, Jesus is obviously not a threat to Rome.

There is something else going on here.

But Pilate can’t just let Jesus go. He has to try to balance everybody’s competing interests.

He’s got to keep the Sanhedrin happy because he needs a good relationship with them.

And he’s got to keep Tiberius Caesar happy because that his boss, and he can get fired or killed or both.

And he’s also got to worry about the people that he’s governing.

So he gets an idea.

It’s a reality TV show kind of idea:

Let’s vote somebody off of the island!

Let’s have a contest.

Let’s put it up for popular vote.

Let’s make it a show. “Crowd’s Choice!” v.15

“Now it was the governor's custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. [Yeah, let’s use that!] At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. [Which literally means, “Son of the Father.”] So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, ‘Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’  For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.”

Pilate knows the score.

The Sanhedrin hate Jesus because He’s so popular!

Is he right?

Of course, he’s right.

It’s envy, plain and simple. It’s more than that, but it’s not less.

So Pilate thinks, “This Jesus guy is popular. He’s got great ratings. I heard what happened on Sunday when He rode into town on a little donkey. ‘Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna!’” That was just Sunday. This is Friday morning of the same week.

Of course, the crowd is going to vote for Jesus.

Barabbas was a “notorious prisoner.”

The other gospels tell us that he was violent and a murderer and probably an rebel insurrectionist.

Barabbas was one bad hombre.

Who would want that guy to be released?!

Nobody is going to want that?!

By the way, some of the earliest manuscripts indicate that Barabbas had the first name of Jesus.

He was Jesus Barabbas. Jesus the Son of the Father.

What a coincidence?!

So that Pilate gives the crowd the choice between two Jesus:

“‘Which one do you want me to release to you: [Jesus] Barabbas, or Jesus who is called [Messiah]?’”

This should be a no-brainer.

But this story just gets worse. Verse 19.

“While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat [He’s seated. Jesus is standing.], his wife sent him this message: ‘Don't have anything to do with that innocent man [that righteous man], for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.’”

Oh man, is that interesting!

I’d like to know more about that. There are no more details than that in the Bible.

It means at least one thing, “Guys, listen to your wives!”

I’m serious, actually.  The women in the Gospel of Matthew are much wiser than most of the men.

And this is a Gentile woman! A Roman woman!

And she knows the score.

I wonder if we’ll meet her in heaven?!

If only Pilate had listened to her!

If only the crowd had listened to her.

But instead, they listened to Jesus’ enemies.

They listened to the fakes and the snakes. V.20

“But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. ‘Which of the two do you want me to release to you?’ asked the governor [He’s not leading. He’s following.]. ‘Barabbas,’ they answered.

“What?!

That’s not what I expected.”

Pilate has misjudged the crowd.

Perhaps because Barabbas was popular. Maybe he was seen as a Robin Hood type person who was anti-Rome, and the Jews liked that.

Or maybe it didn’t have much to do with Barabbas at all.

Maybe they had just come to hate Jesus.

Verse 22. “‘What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?’ Pilate asked. They all answered, ‘Crucify him!’”

It just gets worse.

Crucify Him?

Do you know what that means?

Don’t forget to keep your eye on the ball.

Notice that it’s all about the identity of Jesus.

“Jesus WHO IS CALLED CHRIST.”

Is Jesus Who He says He is?

The leaders say, “No.”

And the crowd says, “No. Crucify Him.”

They act like He is guilty, but that’s as far from the truth as possible.

Jesus stood before the governor:

#2. IN PERFECT INNOCENCE.

Pilate’s wife was right. He is “innocent man.”

And Pilate knows it, too. V.23

“‘Why? What crime has he committed?’ asked Pilate. [None!] But they shouted all the louder, ‘Crucify him!’”

Pilate has lost control.

He’s not governing anything.

This is mob justice.

Which is perfect IN-justice.

“Why? What crime has he committed?”

It is we who have committed the crimes.

And Jesus is innocent of them.

He is not just silent like a lamb going to the slaughter.

He is innocent like a lamb going to the slaughter.

He is blameless like a lamb going to the slaughter.

And He still doesn’t open His mouth.

Pilate is afraid of a riot.

But he is a consummate showman. So he calls for a bowl of water and motions for the crowd to hush. V.24

“When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man's blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’”

I think there are two things going on there at once.

One is that he is mocking the Sanhedrin, especially the Pharisees.

They have these elaborate hand-washing rituals. Remember that from chapter 15?

“Look at me. I’m washing my hands. Which is what you guys are all about!”

He might have even known that they hated Jesus for what the Lord had said about their handwashings

But the other thing he’s doing so dramatically is trying to get out of responsibility for what is about to happen.

This is where we get our phrase, “washing our hands of it.”

“I am innocent of this man's blood. It is your responsibility!”

Which, of course, is not true.

Nice try, Pilate!

You can’t wiggle out of this responsibility so easily.

Notice that Pilate is actually worse than Judas.

Judas at least took responsibility for the blood of this innocent man.

Pilate tries to beg off the responsibility for what he is about to do. It doesn’t work.

“I am innocent of this man's blood. It is your responsibility!”

And then it gets worse! V.25

“All the people answered, ‘Let his blood be on us and on our children!’”

They take the responsibility.

It’s like they want to be held responsible for killing the Messiah.

And it’s just like Jesus said it would be.

Think about all of His parables. 

He told this one earlier in the week:

“There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.  Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son,' he said.

But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.' So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’

He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,’ they replied, ‘and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.’"

And now the crowd says, “Let his blood be on us and on our children.”

And within a generation, Jerusalem would be left desolate and the temple destroyed (cf. 23:29-39).

Because Jesus is innocent.

But they were not.

They were responsible.
Pilate was responsible.
And you and I are responsible.

Jesus is innocent.

But we...we are sinful.

We are the reason why Jesus is staying silent.

Because He is going to take our place.

He stood before the human governor so that we could, one day, stand before the divine governor.

Because He was standing in perfect control and because He was standing in perfect innocence, He could be our perfect sacrifice.

#3. OUR PERFECT SACRIFICE.

Our perfect substitute.

The Lamb that takes away the sin of the world.

Right before that sentence in Isaiah 53 about the Lamb that did not open His mouth is this sentence:

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Think about Barabbas.

He was also supposed to stand before the governor.

And he was as guilty as sin.

He should have been crucified for his crimes.

But that day Jesus took his place, and Barabbas walked away free.

Jesus was his perfect substitute.

It was a complete injustice, but it was all grace to Barabbas.

The same is true for us, isn’t it?

We deserved what Jesus went through.

He went through it for us!

V.26  “Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”

It just gets worse.

That word “flogged” doesn’t sound so bad, until you hear what it really means.

It means they took a whip with shards of metal or bone on the end of it, and they scourged the back of our Lord.

The whip tore His flesh.

They would strip him down to the waist and tie Him to a pillar or a pole and whip Him.

And whip Him.

And whip Him.

There would be no mercy.

He has been judged guilty.

You could get flogged before your sentence to get the truth out of you.

But they go easy on you then.

This is after the sentence.

He is condemned by Israel and by Rome.

He is guilty and is going to die.

Many prisoners did not survive the floggings.

They would tear at the flesh until sometimes the skeleton and the internal organs would be revealed.

This helped to make sure that the crucifixions didn’t last too long.

And there was no anesthesia.

There was no kindness.

There was only suffering.

There was only sacrifice.

It just gets worse.

But He stood before the governor like this for you and me.


***

Previous Messages in This Series:
01. The Genealogy of Jesus
02. The Birth of Jesus Christ
03. The Search for Jesus Christ
04. The Baptism of Jesus
05. The Temptation of Jesus
06. Following Jesus
07. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
08. The Good Life (Part One)
09. The Good Life (Part Two)
10. You Are The...
11. Jesus and the First 2/3 of the Bible
12. But I Tell You
13. But I Tell You (2)
14. But I Tell You (3)
15. In Secret
16. Choose Wisely
17. Seek First His Kingdom
18. Generous
19. These Words of Mine
20. When He Saw the Crowds
21. When He Came Down from the Mountainside
22. Follow Me
23. Our Greatest Problem
24. Who Does He Think He Is?
25. Special Agents
26. Sheep Among Wolves
27. What To Expect On Your Mission
28. Are You the One?
29. Come to Me
30. The King of Rest
31. So Thankful!
32. Overflow
33. This Wicked Generation
34. Get It?
35. What Is Really Going On Here?
36. Baptizing the Disciples
37. The Treasure of the Kingdom
38. Living the Last Beatitude
39. Five Loaves, Two Fish, and Jesus
40. It Is I.
41. Worthless Worship
42. Great Faith in a Great God
43. The Pharisees and Sadducees
44. The Question and the Promise
45. Take Up His Cross
46. Like the Sun
47. Seed-Sized Faith
48. These Little Ones
49. If Your Brother Sins Against You
50. The Lord of Marriage
51. Drop Everything
52. First and Last
53. The Suffering Serving Son of Man
54. Shouting for the Son of David
55. Expecting Fruit
56. Come to the Wedding Banquet
57. Whose Image?
58. Acing the Test
59. What Do You Think About the Christ?
60. How Not To be A Leader
61. Malignant Religion
62. Fakes and Snakes
63. Birth Pains
64. The Coming of the Son of Man
65. No One Knows
66. Keep Watch
67. Well Done!
68. When Did We See You?
69. A Beautiful Thing
70. "The Passover With My Disciples"
71. "This Very Night"
72. "It Must Happen in this Way"
73. "He Is Worthy"
74. Disowned and Condemned

Sunday, February 09, 2020

"Disowned and Condemned" [Matt's Messages]

“Disowned and Condemned”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
February 9, 2020 :: Matthew 26:69-27:10

For the last several weeks in our ongoing series through the Gospel of Matthew we have following Jesus through the crucial events of the last hours before His crucifixion.

Time has slowed down and so have we as we’ve attended the unparalleled Passover meal with Jesus’ and His disciples, as we’ve heard Jesus predict Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, and the disciples’ desertion, as we’ve listened to Jesus pray face-down in the Garden pleading for the cup to be taken from Him but always and ultimately submitting to the Father’s will so the scriptures will be fulfilled, even holding back 72,000 angels from coming to His rescue.

We’ve gasped with horror as our Lord was betrayed with a kiss, arrested, drug off to the high priest and Sanhedrin, subjected to a sick joke of a unjust trial, a travesty of injustice where the false witnesses can’t even get their fake stories straight. And yet our Lord Jesus is still deemed worthy of death.

We’ve seen during this trial, that our Lord confesses that He is our Lord. He says in front of all of those witnesses that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is also the Son of Man Who is headed to the right hand of the Mighty One and Who will come again one day on the clouds of heaven.

And that earns Him every indignity.

Last time, we saw them spit in His face and strike him and slap Him and mock Him and treat our Lord with contempt.

And it only gets worse.

I warn you. This story only gets worse.

Until it finally gets better.

I’m going to call this sermon, “Disowned and Condemned.”

Because both of those things happen to our Lord Jesus in these verses. Matthew 26:69 through 27:10. “Disowned and Condemned.”

The spotlight shifts slightly off of Jesus for just a few verses to recount what happens to two of Jesus’ disciples: Peter and Judas.

Jesus has made precise predictions about both of these men in chapter 26.

And what do you think happens to both of them?

Exactly what Jesus predicted, of course!

Exactly what Jesus predicted.

Because Jesus is not tripping and falling into the events of this crucial day. Jesus is not backing into them accidentally. Jesus is, mysteriously, in control of them.

We have seen this again and again.

While He is not doing these evil things, He is choosing them.

He could turn this whole thing upside down, but He doesn’t. He could stop it all dead in its tracks at any of point, but He doesn’t.

Because it’s all a part of His Father’s plan. Of their plan together. Of the triune God’s eternal plan.

He knows what’s going to happen, and He still goes through with it.

And so, of course, what Jesus predicted would happen to Peter and to Judas is exactly what happened to Peter and Judas!

That’s one of the main takeaways we should get from this short passage.

But I think we can also look at Peter and look at Judas as kind of anti-examples?

As examples of what not to do, what not to be like.

Both of them fail here.

Both of them are tragic stories. One is worse than the other.

But I think we can learn from both of them.

As Jesus is disowned and condemned.

Do you remember where we left Peter?

All of the disciples abandoned Jesus. They scattered. They fled. V.56

But verse 58 says that Peter found his way following at a distance to the courtyard of the high priest where he tried to hide in plain sight.

He wanted to know what was going to happen.

He wanted to know what was going to happen to Jesus.

We know what has happened to Jesus. He is getting a beating.

They are spitting on Him and making fun of Him and smacking our Lord.

But Jesus has been fearless and in complete control of Himself.

How about Peter?

Peter who this very night has claimed that He would never fall away from Jesus. That even if he had to die with Jesus he would never disown Jesus.

How is Peter doing?

Peter is going to chicken out. V.69

“Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl [not even someone in authority] came to him. ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee,’ she said. But he denied it before them all. ‘I don't know what you're talking about,’ he said.”

He said he’d never do that!

And now he has.

Jesus has just fearlessly owned up to His identity inside.

But Peter is full of fear. He turns away. V.71

“Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, ‘This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ He denied it again, with an oath: ‘I don't know the man!’

But he does know the man!
He just had supper with Him.
He just ate the Passover with Him.
He was just praying in the garden with Him.

He just tried to save His life by cutting off a guy’s ear!

But now Peter says with an oath, “I don’t know the man.”

The oath isn’t profanity, it’s swearing on something greater to prove your sincerity.

And it’s something Peter knows that Jesus said not to do.

Remember Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount?

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. [Why?] Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:33-37).

Well, this was coming from the evil one right here!

The very thing Jesus was preaching against. Using oaths to lie!

Verse 73.

“After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, ‘Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.’ [Y’all got that Galilean drawl.] Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, ‘I don't know the man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

Why did Peter do that?

Well, he was scared, wasn’t he?

When push came to shove, Peter was frightened.

And if we are honest, we all know how he felt.

We have all done it.

Even if you haven’t, I have.

Given a chance to stand up and stand with Jesus, if there is pressure, if there is something to lose, I have often failed.

And I have disowned Him.

Now, haven’t actually said, “I don’t know Jesus.”

But I’ve hidden my association with Him many times.

It’s easy up here. You came today expecting me to stand up for Jesus!

But it’s harder out there, isn’t it?

Here’s how I want to put it as a point of application today.

#1. DON’T TURN AWAY FROM JESUS.

When given a chance or an open door, don’t shy away from it and pretend you don’t know the man.

Don’t chicken out.

Walk through that door!

Don’t be ashamed of knowing Jesus.

I know that’s easier said than done.

Look at Peter.

He thought he could do it, but he failed.

He told Jesus that Jesus was wrong about him!

But, of course, Jesus was right about him.

So we need to be honest about ourselves.

We can be real chickens.

We chicken out when we think we have something real to lose.

But at what cost? What do we really lose?

Do you remember what Jesus said in the Missions Teaching of Matthew 10?

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” (32-33).

Peter was in danger right then of being disowned before the Father.

And look at what it did to him!

When he realized what he’d done.

When he remembered what the Lord had said.

Hot burning tears run down his face, and he goes outside and weeps bitterly, a broken man.

Matthew never mentions Peter’s name again.

Thankfully, we know from the rest of the Bible that Peter repents and returns and is restored.

Peter is one of those who will, after the resurrection, meet Jesus on the mountain in Galilee and receive the Great Commission.

But Matthew wants us to have this image of Peter burned into our minds.

Weeping bitterly.

Ashamed of having been ashamed of Jesus.

Of turning away from Jesus.

Don’t turn away from Jesus.

I’ve become convinced that we need to focus on bold evangelism in 2020.

Daring to share the good news about Jesus even if it hurts.

Even if it feels risky.

Was Peter at risk?

Yes, he sure was.

He had just cut off a guy’s ear. If Peter gets identified as that guy who did that because he’s associated with this Jesus guy that they are beating in the next room and soon going to execute, what might happen to Peter?

Yes, he’s at risk.

But Jesus is worth it all.

Whom do you need to get bold with?

Maybe it’s somebody you need to invite to the Wild Game Dinner.

We’re going to have a good one this year!

Is there someone you need to muster up the courage to talk to about Jesus?

Peter is the guy who first said it, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

But now he’s saying, “I don’t know the man.”

Don’t turn away from Jesus.

The leaders of Israel sure did. In fact, they decided to put Jesus to death. Chapter 27, verse 1.

“Early in the morning [to give some semblance of legality to this farce of trial], all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.”

This trial is going to move into its second major phase. We have seen the Jewish phase. Now it’s time for the Roman phase to begin.

The Jews are done. They have done their rushed job and have reached their unjust verdict. “Jesus is worthy of death. Let’s send Him over to the Romans to get the job done.”

And they bind Him. They tied Him up!

And they led Him. They bundled Him up and took Him where He shouldn’t have had to go.

And they handed Him over to the Roman prefect of Judea, a wicked and cowardly man named Pontius Pilate who had the Roman authority to crucify our Lord.

Jesus is not just disowned. He is condemned.

You see how this just gets worse and worse?

This next part is far worse than the part about Peter.

I think Matthew puts it up next to juxtapose these two men and their stories.

Here we find out what happens to Judas, who also was one of the Twelve. Matthew is the only one of the gospels to tell us this part. V.3

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.

‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’ ‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That's your responsibility.’

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.”

He didn’t just weep bitterly.

He gave up completely in despair.

Look at how heartless these priests and elders were.

It is no wonder that Jesus condemned them as snakes and fakes.

They don’t care for Judas in the slightest.

After he had served his purpose, he was of no use to them.

They didn’t care that he had a change of mind.

They didn’t care that Judas was burdened by Jesus’ innocence.

“What’s that to us? That’s your responsibility.”

Which is false. I mean it was Judas’ responsibility, but it was also on their heads. Very much so.

Here’s the sad part though.

Judas almost repents.

But he doesn’t.

He gets started with repentance, but then he doesn’t go all the way.

What is repentance?

Repentance is a 180.

It’s waking up to your sin and owning your sin.

But it’s also turning away from your sin and running to Jesus.

And Judas doesn’t do that.

He can’t see himself doing that.

He fails to do that.

#2. DON’T STAY AWAY FROM JESUS.

I read a great illustration about repentance this week (cf. Douglas O'Donnell).

It’s like you're on a train going one way and you stop and get off at the station, and then you get on the train going back the way you came.

Judas got off the train.

But He refused to get on the train going back.

He stepped in front of the train instead.

He was still too full of himself.

He did not repent.

Just like Jesus said.

“The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born” (26:24).

Judas changed his mind but didn’t change his heart.

And he didn’t run back to Jesus for forgiveness.

He stayed away and committed suicide.

Don’t be like Judas.

We have all betrayed the Lord at times in our lives.

Every sin is a betrayal of our Lord.
Every sin is treachery.
Every sin is a treason.

And we deserve death and hell for it.

But Jesus went through all of this so that we don’t have to!

And Jesus invites us to come to Him for forgiveness and cleansing.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Don’t stay away from Jesus.

If you have never trusted Jesus as your savior and lord, I invite you to right now.

Don’t stay away from Jesus.

Don’t keep Him at arm’s length.

And don’t just “half-repent” where you agree that you’ve done some things wrong, but you aren’t willing to come to Jesus for salvation and forgiveness and hope.

Judas was full of despair.

But you and I don’t have to be.

Don’t stay away from Jesus.

#3. FIND YOUR WAY TO JESUS.

Because Jesus is the way.

It’s so tragic that Judas would die this way.

And it’s so tragic to see how the chief priests responded to it. Look at verse 6.

“The chief priests picked up the coins and said, ‘It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.’”

There they go again!

What a bunch of hypocrites.

As if they care about the law and about justice and about doing the right thing!

They only care about looking like they care about the law and justice and doing the right thing.

They only care about keeping the easy little detail laws and neglecting the big moral justice laws.

“It is blood money.”

Yeah, the blood of Jesus, an innocent man that you are killing!

“Well, we can’t use this for the temple. It might pollute something.”

When they are the ones polluting the temple.

Verse 7.

“So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners.
That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day [when Matthew wrote this].  Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: ‘They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me.’”

That’s actually a fused quotation from two prophets, Jeremiah and Zechariah, but Matthew tends to cite the bigger prophet to stand for the whole.

It’s a fulfillment of the words of Zechariah and the actions of Jeremiah, quite a complex little thing. More complex than it looks at first.

But Matthew knows what’s going on.

Matthew knows that once again the Lord is fulfilling His prophetic word in the events that surround the Messiah.

Even the wicked, sinful, evil actions of these bad men are woven into the plan of God to achieve the salvation of God’s people.

By the way, this is the last time that Matthew will use his favorite word in this book: “fulfill.”

But everything that follows from here is still fulfillment.

Jesus is fulfilling the plan of God.

By being the way to God.

And going to the Cross.

Don’t turn away from Jesus.

Own Him. Don’t disown Him.

Tell the world every chance you can get that you are not ashamed to belong to Him.

Especially when there is something at risk.

But when you do turn away (because we all do from time to time), don’t stay away from Jesus.

Repent. Get off of that train going the wrong way and get on the train coming back to Jesus.

Find your way to Jesus.

Because Jesus is the way.


***

Previous Messages in This Series:

01. The Genealogy of Jesus
02. The Birth of Jesus Christ
03. The Search for Jesus Christ
04. The Baptism of Jesus
05. The Temptation of Jesus
06. Following Jesus
07. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
08. The Good Life (Part One)
09. The Good Life (Part Two)
10. You Are The...
11. Jesus and the First 2/3 of the Bible
12. But I Tell You
13. But I Tell You (2)
14. But I Tell You (3)
15. In Secret
16. Choose Wisely
17. Seek First His Kingdom
18. Generous
19. These Words of Mine
20. When He Saw the Crowds
21. When He Came Down from the Mountainside
22. Follow Me
23. Our Greatest Problem
24. Who Does He Think He Is?
25. Special Agents
26. Sheep Among Wolves
27. What To Expect On Your Mission
28. Are You the One?
29. Come to Me
30. The King of Rest
31. So Thankful!
32. Overflow
33. This Wicked Generation
34. Get It?
35. What Is Really Going On Here?
36. Baptizing the Disciples
37. The Treasure of the Kingdom
38. Living the Last Beatitude
39. Five Loaves, Two Fish, and Jesus
40. It Is I.
41. Worthless Worship
42. Great Faith in a Great God
43. The Pharisees and Sadducees
44. The Question and the Promise
45. Take Up His Cross
46. Like the Sun
47. Seed-Sized Faith
48. These Little Ones
49. If Your Brother Sins Against You
50. The Lord of Marriage
51. Drop Everything
52. First and Last
53. The Suffering Serving Son of Man
54. Shouting for the Son of David
55. Expecting Fruit
56. Come to the Wedding Banquet
57. Whose Image?
58. Acing the Test
59. What Do You Think About the Christ?
60. How Not To be A Leader
61. Malignant Religion
62. Fakes and Snakes
63. Birth Pains
64. The Coming of the Son of Man
65. No One Knows
66. Keep Watch
67. Well Done!
68. When Did We See You?
69. A Beautiful Thing
70. "The Passover With My Disciples"
71. "This Very Night"
72. "It Must Happen in this Way"
73. "He Is Worthy"

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

An Interview with Tim Shorey about “Respect the Image”

My new friend, Tim Shorey, has a new book out today, Respect the Image: Reflecting Human Worth in How We Listen and Talk.

I was recently introduced to Tim through our mutual friend Katie Faris who told me about his writings on healthy communication between humans, and P&R Publishing sent me an advanced copy to read.

Is there a more pressing need in society today than respectful communication between God’s image-bearers? As I’ve been reading Respect the Image, I have appreciated Tim’s pastoral approach to teaching biblical principles–gracious yet unbending, gentle and firm. He practices what he preaches by speaking the truth in love. Tim has a wry, self-deprecating sense of humor and uses it to illustrate his shortcomings (and personal growth) in this arena of the tongue.

One of the reasons I wanted to read Respect the Image was to prepare my heart for the 2020 election season especially for the coming onslaught on social media. It’s going to be a difficult year to be a Christian online. It is so easy, way too easy, to see people whom we disagree with as not just our opponents or even our enemies but as less-than-human and therefore unworthy of even basic respect. Everything Tim says in this book applies to the political arena.

As I’ve been turning the pages, however, I have been even more struck by how Respect the Image makes a great counterpart to my own book, Resisting Gossip. It explores the flipside of gossip, the “instead of” dynamic that I tried to emphasize throughout my book. We aren’t only supposed to “put off” sinful speech but “put on” the godly kind.

Earlier this week, I had a chance to connect with Tim and ask him some questions about his brand new book:

Matt: Why did you want to write a book on this? What from your own life experiences brought you to the place of writing on communication?

Tim: Respect the Image emerged from a life full of relationships—childhood with five siblings, 42 years of married life, six children, 13 grandchildren, 38 years of pastoral ministry, a church of 250 people consisting of 25 different ethnicities, and over 15,000 hours of pastoral counseling. Early on I realized that the most frequent personal,  pastoral, and counseling needs I faced were my own, and my people’s, need to learn more about God, more about the gospel, and more about communication; in that order. This all drove me to study biblical principles of communication in earnest—for my family, my flock and my world needed these truths both taught and practiced. This then gave birth to the basic structure and outline of Respect the Image. Further motivated by a desire for these principles to be called readily to mind in conflict and other situations I developed the acrostic format of the book and various other memory helps the book includes. All that said, I certainly would want my readers to know that these truths impacted me long before they ever got into book form. Now my hope is that they will leave a mark more widely than ever before.

Matt: What is the image of God and why should we be respecting it in others?

Tim: As any theologian would tell you, that’s a tough question to answer, since the answer is multi-layered. It involves  our being created to represent God’s rule on the earth—as Genesis 1 shows. While it normally might include the capacity to reason, to communicate, and to relate, it doesn't always do so, since there are some precious human beings who do not have such capacities; at least not to the same degree as others. I believe it is a deep mysterious reality in which every person has the mark and imprint of God upon him or her (along with a capacity to relate to him) —and is thereby stamped with dignity and value. I cannot define it well, but it is there for all to see whenever we look intently into each and every human face.

Matt: How does your book relate to the subject of my book? What principles in RTI would help a follower of Christ to resist gossip?

Tim: At its very core Respect the Image teaches that because each person is made in the image of God, we cannot communicate badly or sinfully or disparagingly with or about others without insulting the image they bear. Gossip is the great evil it is primarily because it demeans, disrespects, and destroys others; others who are to be held in high honor since they are made in the image, redeemed with precious blood, and destined for immortality. I dare not slander or gossip, because in so doing I slander God. This truth—and its force in countering gossip—is played out in numerous applications throughout the book. Gossip is the antithesis—the polar opposite—of the respect for, the celebration of, the attention to, the understanding of, and the charitable judgment toward, others to which the Bible calls us, and which my book tries to address. Where these truths rule in the heart a guard will stand watch over the tongue to ensure that the only words that come out are words calculated to bless, to nourish, and to honor. Gossip dies a certain—even if all-too-slow—death when respect prevails. No doubt it goes without saying that this is easier said than done. James let’s us know how hard it is. But if we ask for the wisdom from above and commit to honor the image, communication transformation can happen; and the results are wonderful!

Thank you, Tim, for your time and your labor love in producing Respect the Image. I pray that it helps many to reflect our Creator as we talk to and about those made in His likeness.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

"He Is Worthy" [Matt's Messages]

“He Is Worthy”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
February 2, 2020 :: Matthew 26:57-68

We are following Jesus through the events of that crucial last week, and now last day, just hours really, before His crucifixion.

We have slowed down to carefully consider everything that Matthew tells us about Jesus during these crucial last hours.

How He predicted His betrayal.
How He planned His Passover with His disciples.
How He made the Passover meal all about Himself.
How He sang a hymn with His disciples and went out to the Mount of Olives.
How He predicted His disciples would desert Him and Peter would deny Him.
How He prayed facedown in the Garden and pleaded to be able to reject the cup of God’s wrath.
How He said, “Not my will but yours be done.”

How He got up to face His betrayer.
How He received a traitor’s kiss.
How He refrained from calling down 72,000 angels to rescue Himself.
So the Scriptures would be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way.

How He was arrested by those who had no right.

And how His disciples fled into the night.

I’ve warned you; it only gets worse.

This is a dark story of injustice.

And the injustice has only just begun.

Because now Jesus is going to trial.

And everything about this trial is wrong.

There is no justice in this trial.

And everything about this trial is wrong.

They get everything wrong about Jesus.
They go about it the wrong way.
They gather evidence in the wrong way.
They misjudge the evidence they get.
And their verdict is all wrong.

Everything about this trial is wrong.

And yet Jesus goes through it all.

Because He is fulfilling the will of the Lord.

And because, ironically, He is worthy.

“He Is Worthy.”

I’m taking these three words for the title of this message from verse 66 in the NIV.

The Sanhedrin get it almost right, but they should have stopped right there.

“He is worthy.”

That’s not exactly what they say, is it? But it’s what they should have said.

I don’t know about you, but I love fictional stories about innocent people who are arrested for a crime they didn’t commit.

When I was growing up, it was the A-Team. They said that every week on the television show, that “in 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime the didn't commit.” And now they are fugitives.

And then I discovered “The Fugitive” itself, the TV show from the 1960's. Dr. Richard Kimble falsely accused of killing his wife when it was really a one-armed man! And so now he’s on the run.

I don’t know about you, but I love those fictional stories.

But I hate stories like that in real life.

People who are falsely accused of a crime?

People who are false convicted of a crime.

They are innocent but found guilty.

There is a movie out right now called “Just Mercy” based on a bestselling book. It’s about man named Walter McMillian, who was sentenced to die for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite the existence of evidence proving his innocence.

It took 7 years of hard work from an attorney named Bryan Stevenson to see McMillian’s conviction overturned and him be exonerated. I read the book last year.

Reading about those kinds of real injustice just make me sick to the stomach.

Well, this trial is not fiction. It’s the second kind. It’s real.

And there has never been a more unjust trial nor unjust conviction.

There are actually several parts to Jesus’ trial, but there are two main phases: the local Jewish phase and the imperial Roman phase. Today, we’re just going to look at the Jewish phase in verses 57 through 68.

Because it was the Jews who had Jesus arrested.

They have been conspiring for some time (26:3), but now they have found an accomplice in Judas Iscariot one of the Twelve who betrayed Him.

Judas led the armed crowd to the Garden of Gethsemane, identified their target with a kiss, and then stepped out of the way while they grabbed our Lord and bundled Him off to Caiaphas. Verse 57.

“Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.”

This is the Jewish phase of Jesus’ trial.

They hauled Jesus to the high priest and the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court.

These are Jesus’ enemies.

They have been plotting against Him for some time.

And He has been publicly condemning them, especially this week.

Remember chapter 23?

When Jesus said to beware of these guys?
When Jesus said that they were fakes and snakes?
When Jesus said that they sat in Moses’ seat but were hypocrites who were filling up the measure of the sins of their forefathers?
When Jesus said that they were storing up judgment?
When Jesus said that their house would be left desolate?

Yeah, the same guys.

That’s who are Jesus’ judges this night.

Do you think the deck is stacked against Him?

It’s interesting that Peter has snuck along at a distance to see what’s going to happen.

He has just cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, but here he is a few minutes later sitting with that same temple guard in the courtyard.

He obviously didn’t think he was identifiable or he wouldn’t have gone. Because we’re going to see next time that he isn’t there to stand up for Jesus.

But he does want to know what’s going to happen.

He’s hiding there in plain sight.

Now, again, everything about this trial is wrong.

For example, they shouldn’t have been meeting at night.

According to the rules of the Sanhedrin written down years later, they shouldn’t have met in the night, and they should have taken at least two days to deliberate and deliver a sentence.

But they weren’t there for justice. V.59

“The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.”

They weren’t looking for the truth!

They were looking for an excuse to justify killing Him.

The Sanhedrin was made of 71 Jewish leaders, and it took a quorum of 23 to decide the big cases like this one.

So, when it says, “the whole Sanhedrin,” it means at least those 23 that it takes.

Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were both members of the Sanhedrin who did not go along with the rest of them. So some probably were not there.

But those who were were looking for false evidence. But it good false evidence was hard to come by. V.60

“But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.”

I think that means that they couldn’t get two false witnesses to agree.

The standard for evidence was two witnesses with corroborating testimony.

First, you cross examine one witness and then you bring out the next one and ask them questions.

Well, nobody’s stories matched. Their collusion wasn’t good enough!

And then these two came fairly close. Mark actually tells us that they didn’t quite agree either, but enough that Matthew includes it in his gospel. V.60

“Finally two came forward and declared, ‘This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'”

Now, did Jesus say that?

Is that quote from Jesus?

It almost sounds like one. But that’s not quite what He said.

Keep your finger there in Matthew 26 and turn over to John chapter 2, verse 19.

This is after Jesus cleaned out the temple the first time.

“Then the Jews demanded of him, ‘What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’”

Did He say that He was going to destroy the temple?

No, He says if they do it, then He would raise it up again.

But catch this. He wasn’t even talking about the physical temple. He wasn’t talking about Herod’s temple. V.20

“The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?’ But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.”

I’ve got three points this morning about how worthy Jesus is.

Here is number one. Jesus is:

#1. THE TRUE TEMPLE.

Yes, He said that if the temple was destroyed, He could build it up again in 3 days, but He wasn’t talking about Herod’s temple.

He was talking about Himself as the temple.

What is a temple?

Is the place where humanity meets God.

It’s the place of connection between God and Man.

It’s the place where heaven and earth collide.

The earthly temple was just a shadow, just a picture, just a type of the temple that was to come.

Jesus, in His human body, fulfilled the temple.

God enfleshed.

God and Man together.

And the meeting place between God and Man!

The connecting point.

Jesus is the connecting point between God and Man.

But to do it, He this temple has to be torn down.

That’s the Cross.

That’s the crucifixion which is looming large before Him.

That’s the cup that He has agreed to take.

His body, this temple is going to be torn down.

But three days later, He’s going to build it back up again!

Jesus is the true temple.

And therefore He is worthy.

He is worthy of our worship!

He is worthy of our praise!

He is worthy of wonderment and amazement!

That He would do this for us and that He even could do this for us!

Jesus is the meeting point between us and God.

I’m reading a book right now called “Created to Draw Near,” and it’s about a practical theology of priesthood for us today. How we are called to live as royal priests.

It’s by my mentor, Ed Welch, and like everything he writes, it’s really good.

Because Jesus is the true temple, we can draw near to God.

Think about that!

Do you draw near to God?

Jesus is worthy.

The Sanhedrin couldn’t see it. They had a twisted testimony of His words.

He wasn’t threatening to tear down the temple. He was promising to connect people to God.

Now, of course, just that week, Jesus had pronounced woe on Jerusalem and had prophesied the destruction and desolation of the temple.

So there was a justified element of concern for these religious leaders for their precious temple.

Jesus was a threat to the temple if they were going to continue to pollute it.

Earlier this week, He had tossed the tables of the money changers.

But even then He had every right.

Jesus is not the trouble.

These men are the trouble.

And yet, He’s the one on trial?

Verse 62. “Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus remained silent.”

Majestic, isn’t He?

I am astounded by Jesus’ self-control.

I never thought about it so much as self-control as the last couple of weeks.

If it was me, if I wasn’t crying, I’d be yelling. “This isn’t fair! This isn’t true! Leave me alone!”

And if I was justifiably angry?

He could defend Himself.

He still could call down twelve legions of angels!

With. A. Word.

“But Jesus remained silent.”

“...and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Is 53:7).

What majestic self-control.

What a great example for us when we are unfairly attacked.

To not lash out.
To not live for our rights.

Peter said in his first epistle, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

Answering injustice with love.

Beatings with blessings.

What an example He has shown us.

But even greater, what a gift He has given us by staying silent at that moment!

Because He is not just the temple. He is the lamb.

More on that in a second.

Right now, the high priest can’t hardly contain himself. He is so rip roaring mad at Jesus that he get anything on Him.

So Caiaphas tries one last trick. He demands that Jesus answer one question under oath.

Can you guess what it is?

Hint: this is the Gospel of Matthew.

Keep your eye on the ball.

What is the question?

“Who is Jesus?”

“Who are you?”

It’s the question that Jesus asked Peter in chapter 16.

“Who do you say that I am?”

What was the right answer?

“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

V.63 “The high priest said to him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’”

Jesus decides it’s time to answer.

He doesn’t really want to.

Because these guys don’t understand what the Christ really is.

What the Son of God really is.

They think the Christ, the Messiah, is just a military ruler to bring victory over the nations.

They think from Psalm 2 that the Son of God is just another title for the Messiah to subdue the nations.

But the Christ is so much more than that.

And the Son of God is so much more than that!

So Jesus answers in the affirmative, but He makes sure to provide His own definition. V.64

“‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’”

Jesus says, “Caiaphas, it’s so much worse than you think!”

“Yes, you’ve said it.

I am the Christ, the Son of God.

Your words, not mine.

But my words are that I am the Son of Man the one predicted in the book of Daniel chapter 7."

Remember that?

Daniel wrote, “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Vv.13-14).

Up to the Ancient of Days.

At His right hand.

That’s language from Psalm 110.

Remember that?

From chapter 22?

When Jesus did the mic drop over Who is the Christ?

“Whose son is he?" [The son of David. Well then...] How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, 'The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’ If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?’” (vv.42-45).

It is no secret any longer.

This is the good confession.

Jesus says, “Yes, I am!”

And I’m not just the Messiah.

I’m the Son of God and the Son of Man who is going up sit at the right hand of God!

And one day going to come on the clouds and bring in the Kingdom.

We’ve learned a lot about that in the last few months, haven’t we?!

We don’t know when, but we know WHO, and we know what is going to happen.

The Son of Man is going to come in glory and judge all of the nations.

You know what that means?

It means that Jesus is:

#2. THE TRUE JUDGE.

They might have thought that they were judging Jesus, but in actual reality, Jesus is going to judge them.

He says, “in the future” which is more literally, “from this point on.”

In His crucifixion and ascension, Jesus’ kingship is being inaugurated.

And one day, we will all see it consummated when the King comes to judge.

In all of His awesome authority.

He could have done it right then.

He had the right.

But then we would not have been saved.

So He submitted to the Father’s will.

And just prophesied of the day to come when He will sit at the right hand of the Mighty One and come on the clouds of heaven.

Isn’t that amazing?

He is worthy!

He is worthy of our submission.
He is worthy of our submitting to His judgment.
He is worthy to judge us.

We are not worthy to judge Him.

Have you thought much about Jesus’ role as judge?

He was just teaching about it to the disciples in the last chapter. Remember the sheep and the goats?

He’ll be looking at our deeds and evaluating them.

And what He judges will be just and right.

He always does what is right.

He always sees things the right way.

And He is always going to set everything right again.

He is the true judge and His judgments are true.

He judges justly.

We sing about that future kingdom where justice reigns.

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness (of His justice)
And wonders of his love.

He is worthy.

But that’s not what they thought.

Not at all.

They thought that Jesus had just committed the unpardonable sin. V.65

“Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’ ‘He is worthy of death,’ they answered.”

That’s all wrong!

But that’s what they said. And that’s what they did.

The high priest tore his clothes. Leviticus 21:10 says that the high priest should never tear his clothes.

Yet another breaking of the law by the people who are supposed to be keeping the law.

But Caiaphas does it because He is so distressed by what Jesus has just claimed.

Jesus has done and said exactly what he wanted Jesus to say.

And He has basically claimed to be on par and equal to God.

Sitting up there at His right hand.

Blasphemy.

Now, of course, the Jews did not have the authority to give out the death sentence while they were under Roman rule.

They sometimes did, like with Stephen, but they weren’t supposed to.

And they sure couldn’t crucify someone.

Stone them, maybe, but not crucify them.

So they are going to have to send Jesus over to the Roman governor, for the imperial Roman phase of His trial.

But they have decided their verdict.

“He is worthy of death.”

“He is guilty and deserves to die.”

And that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

He’s going to die.

But first, they’re going to shame and hurt Him more. V.67

“Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, ‘Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?’”

Can you imagine?

You know He could have.

He could have told them who had hit Him.

He knew their names.

He made them.

He could have told them a lot more about them.

But He didn’t.

It was all self-control all the time.

So that Isaiah 52:14 became true: “his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness...”

They punched Him.
They struck Him.
They beat Him.
They spit on Him.

And they called Him, “Christ” like it was swear word and not His regal title.

And all that time, He was worthy.

All of that time, He was worthy, not of death. But of worship and of faith.

Jesus was:

#3. THE TRUE SAVIOR.

He was the Christ!

And the Christ was there to save us from so much more than Rome!

The Christ was there to save us from our sins.

He was the temple bring us to God by being torn down.

And He was the lamb.

By staying silent and being sacrificed.

He is worthy.


***

Previous Messages in This Series:
01. The Genealogy of Jesus
02. The Birth of Jesus Christ
03. The Search for Jesus Christ
04. The Baptism of Jesus
05. The Temptation of Jesus
06. Following Jesus
07. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
08. The Good Life (Part One)
09. The Good Life (Part Two)
10. You Are The...
11. Jesus and the First 2/3 of the Bible
12. But I Tell You
13. But I Tell You (2)
14. But I Tell You (3)
15. In Secret
16. Choose Wisely
17. Seek First His Kingdom
18. Generous
19. These Words of Mine
20. When He Saw the Crowds
21. When He Came Down from the Mountainside
22. Follow Me
23. Our Greatest Problem
24. Who Does He Think He Is?
25. Special Agents
26. Sheep Among Wolves
27. What To Expect On Your Mission
28. Are You the One?
29. Come to Me
30. The King of Rest
31. So Thankful!
32. Overflow
33. This Wicked Generation
34. Get It?
35. What Is Really Going On Here?
36. Baptizing the Disciples
37. The Treasure of the Kingdom
38. Living the Last Beatitude
39. Five Loaves, Two Fish, and Jesus
40. It Is I.
41. Worthless Worship
42. Great Faith in a Great God
43. The Pharisees and Sadducees
44. The Question and the Promise
45. Take Up His Cross
46. Like the Sun
47. Seed-Sized Faith
48. These Little Ones
49. If Your Brother Sins Against You
50. The Lord of Marriage
51. Drop Everything
52. First and Last
53. The Suffering Serving Son of Man
54. Shouting for the Son of David
55. Expecting Fruit
56. Come to the Wedding Banquet
57. Whose Image?
58. Acing the Test
59. What Do You Think About the Christ?
60. How Not To be A Leader
61. Malignant Religion
62. Fakes and Snakes
63. Birth Pains
64. The Coming of the Son of Man
65. No One Knows
66. Keep Watch
67. Well Done!
68. When Did We See You?
69. A Beautiful Thing
70. "The Passover With My Disciples"
71. "This Very Night"
72. "It Must Happen in this Way"