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"

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