Closing Scenes in Matthew
This coming Sunday, October 17th, at CrossHope Chapel we will open to the 27th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and continue through the closing scenes of Jesus’ trial, crucifixion, and resurrection.
We will cover Matthew 27:1-44 this coming Sunday, and on the following Sunday, October 24, we’ll look at the remainder of Matthew 27 into Matthew 28 as we study the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Finally, we will conclude our study of Matthew on Sunday, October 31 with the closing words of our Savior as we look at Matthew 28:11-20.
These past two weeks we have been in Matthew 26 and this past Sunday we saw Judas’ betrayal of his Master, the agony of Christ in Gethsemane, and the evil intent of Israel’s leaders in the arrest of Jesus.
Agony in Gethsemane
We discussed a good bit about the Gethsemane scene, especially the agony that Jesus was beginning to feel as He knew His time had come. He who knew no sin was beginning to feel the sin of the world weigh on His sinless life. With sin comes separation from God and it is likely that also was beginning to weigh on Him.
Jesus had lived 33 years without hindrance or distance from His Heavenly Father because of His sinless life of continual faith in God, and now as the time is near He is bearing the weight of the sins of the world.
In this scene at Gethsemane we find assurance that our Savior crossed this ground as our Substitute in His humanity, not in His divinity. At one point He tells the disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38 NIV) and we see Jesus pray, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39 NIV).
It also didn’t escape us that Jesus wanted and needed the support of Peter, James, and John to comfort, pray, and just be present with Him as He was facing the agony of what will soon become Calvary.
We all need the support of each other, just as we saw that Jesus did, and especially when circumstances stress our soul. There is something like a recharging of our spiritual battery when we experience fellowship in community with one another.
We concluded the chapter with the arrest of Jesus and the illegal trial before the politically crooked High Priest and the pre-gathered Sanhedrin at the house of Caiaphas.
It should be no surprise that everything about this arrest and trial was illegal, but for the politically corrupt laws don’t apply. It was illegal for a trial to be held during Passover week, it was illegal for a trial to be held at night, and it was illegal for a trial to be held at the house of the High Priest.
Lawlessness is the very character of Satan and his minions join in his callous attitude toward righteousness. The whole universal conflict between Satan and Christ can be understood as a battle over God’s law. In fact, the Apostle John reminds us that “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).
Jesus kept silent during this trial until the High Priest charged Him under oath to answer the question, “Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God” to which Jesus responded, “You have said so…But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:63-64 NIV).
This answer is absolutely awesome to me because in it Jesus lays out a preview of His life to come after His resurrection and ascension.
When Jesus told the High Priest “you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One” He was saying that He was to become the true High Priest to intercede for us — the common people — and He was saying that One with full unbridled holy power, the Father God would sit in judgement against him, who corrupted the work he was entrusted.
The term “right hand” is often an idiom for judgment. It was as if Jesus was saying, You may think you are judging me but “the Mighty One,” who judges in truth and righteousness will judge you. You may have your execution over me now, but “the Mighty One” will have His execution over you then.
In that answer Jesus adds, that they will see Him “coming on the clouds of heaven,” a clear reference to His return. It reminds me of what was written in Revelation 1:7 that “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him.”
When we looked at this last Sunday I got into a bit of theology regarding the two resurrections that Jesus spoke of John 5:29, a resurrection for the saved and a resurrection for the damned.
The point I wanted to draw from Jesus’ answer is in Matthew 26:64 and comparing Revelation 1:7, is that the High Priest and his corrupt cohorts may actually be part of a special resurrection witnessing the Messiah return for those who have believed in Him. Which of course will be a big moment of sorrow for them.
We will likely revisit some of that theological discussion on the High Priest ministry of Jesus in the heavenly Sanctuary and the resurrections of the saved and damned, when get into our upcoming Revelation study series this November.
Incidentally, when we go through the upcoming Revelation series I am planning on recording YouTube clips revisiting the highlights of each Sunday teaching. I probably will continue to write up a recap for our Email Update list, too. Pretty much as I have been doing through our study through Matthew.
I am looking forward to this Sunday, October 17th, when we will open to Matthew 27:1-44, and we will have opportunity to grow in fellowship together.
Until then, I am praying for you!