Saturday, March 28, 2020

“If You Are The Son of God” [Matt's Messages]

“If You Are The Son of God”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
LEFC Message for Worship at Home
March 29, 2020 :: Matthew 27:38-50

I wish we could be together as we study this passage as we have for the last 76 messages in this series. But we, in the providence of God, are not together this weekend, so I am recording this video message which I hope will help us to understand and apply Matthew 27 to our lives.

At least we get to return to the Gospel of Matthew!

Matthew is a theological biography of the most compelling Person who ever lived, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We’ve been following Jesus through the Gospel of Matthew, and for the last several months, have been following Jesus through that last crucial holy week of His passion.

And we’ve reached the last day of that last week.

Now we’ve reached the last hours.

And you know what I’ve been saying again and again as we study Matthew 26 and 27?

“It just gets worse.”

When we were together in Matthew last, Jesus was crucified.

He has been betrayed, arrested, bound, deserted, tried, denied, beaten, spitted upon, slapped, toyed with, condemned, tried again by the Romans, shouted at, scourged, stripped, mocked, struck, and now crucified.

Hung on a cross. Nailed up on a beam of wood so that He either pulls Himself up in excruciating pain or asphyxiates when He can’t hold Himself up any longer.

Again and again and again.

And it just gets worse.

How could it get worse?

I’ll tell you. On top of being crucified, Jesus continues to be insulted and mocked while He hangs there!

And the ones mocking Him echo the words of Satan from His temptation in the wilderness.

They call into question Jesus’ very identity.

And they mock the very idea of His true identity!

Let me read to you Matthew 27:38 through 40.

“Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’”

Do you hear that last taunt?

“If You Are The Son of God.”

That’s exactly what Satan said to Jesus in the wilderness.

And again we’ve come back to the question that has guided our study of Matthew all along:

“Who Is Jesus?”

How many times have we said, “Keep your eye on the ball?”

Matthew wants to show us who Jesus really is.

We know Who Jesus really is.

But these people sure don’t believe it.

Jesus is crucified between two criminals. They might have been rebels against Rome.

In the words of Isaiah 53, Jesus was “numbered with the transgressors” (v.12).

And the bystanders, the passersby hurl insults at Him shaking their heads.

Can you imagine?

How shameful that was?

I’m sure they didn’t realize it, but they were fulfilling Psalm 22, verse 7.

Which says, “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads...”

Jesus is fulfilling the Old Testament before their eyes.

And it’s painful.

I have three points about what it means for Jesus to truly be the Son of God according to this passage of holy Scripture.

And here’s the first one.

If You Truly Are the Son of God:


These mockers have it all wrong.

Which is ironic.

They say, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself!”

Well, NOT saving Himself IS destroying the temple (of His body!) and in three days, it will be rebuilt.

But if He were to save Himself now–And He could have! He had the power. He had the authority. If He were to save Himself now, however–we would have been lost forever.

They are calling His sonship into question.

But He is living out His divine sonship right before their eyes.

This is what the Son of God looks like.

Hanging on the Cross.

Things are not always as they seem.

Sometimes when things seem at their worst, and they can be truly awful, there are all kind of wonderful things actually going on.

Great good can come from great evil and suffering.

As I record this video, we are in the midst of a global health crisis, and we are being asked to isolate ourselves from others.

And it’s hard. And the news has dreadful things in it.

And the suffering is real.

But it’s not the whole story.

God has good purposes for all of the suffering that His children go through.

He will work it all to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

God will use this time of trial with all of its suffering to bring Himself glory and His people. Just watch!

We know that because He was doing it on this terrible day.

This day was the worst day ever.

And what do we call it?

Good Friday!

The worst crime ever committed was the crucifixion of the Son of God.

And it was also the greatest gift!

Because Jesus did not save Himself.

I’m sure He was tempted.

He could still have called down 72,000 angels to rescue Him.

But He didn’t.

Because He knew who He was.

He knew what His Father said at His baptism.

He knew what His Father said at His transfiguration.

“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

And He knew what He had to do.

Because He had said to His Father, “Your will be done.”

It wasn’t just the bystanders who mocked Him in this way. It was the religious leaders who had been His enemies for several years. Look at verse 41.

“In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.”

As if.

They would never believe Him.

They had refused to believe Him from Day One.

These are the men Jesus called “Fakes and Snakes.”

These are the ones who condemned Him that morning in a mockery of a trial.

And now they are mocking His claims to save people.

“What a joke!” they say. V.43

“He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.'’”

Yes, He is!

And He is saving people right here, right now by NOT saving Himself.

And they, unwittingly, fulfill another verses from Psalm 22. Verse 8.

The mockers say, “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

But that’s the opposite of what is true.

There will be no rescue for Jesus BECAUSE He is the Son of God.

And He is doing what only the Son of God can do.

And it just gets worse.

Look at verse 44.

“In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.”

Even the criminals are abusing Jesus!

And it just gets worse.

It’s going to keep getting worse, until it’s all over.

Verse 45.

“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.”

That’s from about noon to three.

The brightest time of the day becomes the darkest.

This is supernatural.

This is a judgment.

This is like during the plagues in Egypt.

This is no mere mortal Who is dying here.

A three hour time of darkness rests on the land because Jesus is hanging there.

And it just gets worse.

Verse 46.

“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’– which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

This is what it means to be the Son of God.

If You Truly Are The Son of God:


Jesus very intentionally is quoting and fulfilling Psalm 22.

That’s the first verse of Psalm 22 in Hebrew and Aramaic.

“‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’”

Jesus was living that question.

He was feeling that question. Experiencing all of the agony of that question.

He knew the answer. It wasn’t an intellectual question that He was ignorant of the answer to.

But He was experiencing the question.

He was feeling all that it means to be abandoned by God.

All of the alienation.

All of agony.

He was not spared any of it.

Not only did He not save Himself.

He opened Himself up to the wrath of God.

“Our sin upon His shoulders.”

This is how bad sin is, friends.

This is what it took for us to be saved.

This is what Jesus underwent for you and for me.

It puts our “little” suffering into perspective, doesn’t it?

Without pretending that our suffering isn’t real or doesn’t hurt.

The worst thing that ever will happen to us is nothing compared to what Jesus went through for us.

Jesus was forsaken so that we will never be forsaken.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

There is a great mystery here. Because Jesus chose this.

And, theologically, we know that the Trinity cannot be broken.

But the Son of God, in His humanity, experienced the wrath of God for our sins.

The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

That’s why.

That’s why He said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Because that’s what He was going through.

Because He is the Son of God.

Have you put your faith in Him?

This is what it took for us to be saved.

And it’s free for anyone who will repent and believe.

One more.

If You (Truly) Are the Son of God:


We’ve seen again and again that Jesus is ultimately and mysteriously still in charge of all of this.

None of this awfulness has taken Him by surprise.

In fact, in some mysterious way, it has all been according to His plan.

That doesn’t take away the blame from anyone, not Judas, not the Jews, not Pilate, not any of us.

But He has not given up His sovereignty either.

Jesus is royal and regal even as He suffers.

His cross is a throne!

He has been lifted up.

And He is reigning even as He is dying.

The people heard Him yell out, “Eloi, Eloi,” and they didn’t understand Him. V.47

“When some of those standing there heard this, they said, ‘He's calling Elijah.’  Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, ‘Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him.’”

Mocking Him to the end.

And here it is the end.

And Jesus knows it and chooses it.

We have killed Him, but He is sovereign the very end. V.50

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.”

He laid down His life for us.

I have good news for you.

This right here is as bad as it gets.

From here on it gets better.

Next week, Lord-willing, we’ll see how.

Right now, I want to leave you with a question.

How will you apply the truth of this passage to your life this week?

Because Jesus is the Son of God:

He didn’t save Himself, but gave Himself up for us all.
He was forsaken on the Cross by His God.
And He was sovereign to His very last breath.

What difference does that make for you today?

Praise Jesus that He IS the Son of God!


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
75. Jesus Stood Before the Governor