Son of God, Exalted Lord

Matthew 26:57-68

“Why study the Passion stories? Has not the resurrection turned them into a bad episode to forget? However, the Gospel writers do not relegate these facts into second place, because the resurrection actually drives us to re-evaluate the Lord’s suffering.” College Press

Particularly this morning, the day we focus especially on our risen Lord, why go back? Why replay this disturbing courtroom scene when we already know how it turned out? The answer is found in Jesus’ focus. Jesus was not ignoring the immediate, what he must endure in the next few hours. Nor was he so consumed with those details that he lost sight of what was beyond the injustice and indignity of the cross, the humiliation of death.

Jesus understood his pathway to exaltation lay through humiliation. Just as certainly as God is God, Son of God’s storyline would not end with humiliation. Humiliation began the moment God stooped to take on humanity in the form of a servant. Continued throughout his life of suffering – experiencing the assaults of Satan, unbelief of his own people, persecution of his enemies. Extended all the way to rejection by those who needed him most, a death reserved for the lowest criminals, and burial in a cold tomb.

The wonder of it all is “this Jesus, [was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, …crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”Acts 2:23-24ESV Thus began his exaltation – resurrection, ascension to heaven, inauguration as the ruling King. It will reach its fullness when Christ returns to judge the world and perfect the salvation of his people.

This, the joy set before Jesus that he might endure the cross, what Jesus had in view when under oath responded to Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. How much did they understand about what they were doing? Did they know they were acting both as agents of Satan and according to the plan of God? If so, more shame to them for it. Jesus recognized their agenda, their determination to find him guilty of a capital crime. He called them on their arrogance and unbelief – v.64 ==>

Jesus knew as soon as he opened his mouth in agreement with Caiaphas question, his sentence was a done deal. Jesus could simply have answered “Yes” to the demand: “Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Instead, he said much more:

“nevertheless” (in spite of your unbelief) “you will see”: you cannot see truth now because of unbelief. You reject truth when it is in your face. The day will come when you will see and will acknowledge and be without excuse because you have had clear warning. But Jesus spoke to deaf ears – ears stopped up with unbelief, prejudice and self-righteousness. May our Good God deliver us from such, enable us to see clearly our Exalted Lord in his glory.

A. who will it be v.63b-64a, 65

the Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Man

the anointed One who is at the same time Son of God and Son of Man – the one whom God promised to send

the one who was a fit substitute, able to take God’s just punishment for sin and reconcile sinners to a holy God

see also Acts 1:11a – 40 days after his resurrection, ascending to his Father, angels made it explicit: “This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven.”

the same Jesus but…with significant difference – fully invested with power and authority, having stripped off robes of earthly existence and put on garments fit for a reigning king

John saw him: Rev. 1:13-16 “in the midst of the lampstands was one like the son of man. He was dressed in a robe extending down to his feet and he wore a wide golden belt around his chest. His head and hair were as white as wool, even as white as snow, and his eyes were like a fiery flame.His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp double-edged sword extended out of his mouth. His face shone like the sun shining at full strength.”

Duchess of Cambridge, England’s next queen in training, watched and studied incessantly; she wears something “off the rack”, sells out in matter of hours

how about you? do you want a robe like Jesus has? Rev. 7:9 “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands”

account goes on: Rev. 7:14 “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

B. when will it be v.64b

hereafter – from now on – Jesus told his accusers when to expect this that he promised to begin

many have burning desire to know “when is Jesus going to assert himself? why hasn’t he come back yet? we must be getting real near the end, any time now….”

we certainly should live so we would have no regrets if Lord Jesus did return tomorrow, or later today

but…it’s big mistake to think all good stuff Jesus will do is in the future; we get too focused on that, miss what he’s doing now!

seems some folks think Jesus did his thing here on earth, went back to heaven, just hanging out, chillin’ until the second coming — wrong, not how Jesus told it

from depths of death and the grave, Jesus began a triumphant victorious coronation march to his Father’s right hand

he has been invested with all authority in heaven and on earth – told his disciples that before he left

he ascended to his Father, was welcomed and has received next installment in glory promised to him

final installment will come at “the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power.”

Lord Jesus rule began from the time of his ascension – aren’t waiting for it to begin at some future time, he is actively ruling over his kingdom now

first martyr Stephen – saw “the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

from that position of honor “he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” – right now he is sovereignly directing history toward the conclusion God has ordained for it

C. what will it be v.64c

Jesus described to Caiaphas what to expect – made reference to portion of Daniel’s vision everyone agreed was about the Messiah; Jesus quoted one line, Caiaphas filled in the rest from

Dan. 7:13-14“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”

sitting at the right hand

position of honor, dignity and majesty – don’t judge by appearances; there before Sanhedrin, Jesus had no stately form or majesty; seemed to be just another insignificant political zealot

following his ascension, a different story; only because our physical eyes cannot penetrate spiritual dimension that we don’t see him; on authority of God’s word, though, should be 100% confident our risen Savior is indeed our exalted Lord

place of authority – role reversal: judge will be judged — day will come, guaranteed by his resurrection, when he will judge the world in righteousness

on that day: those who have died in their sins, persisted in their rebellion and unbelief will receive their just condemnation, sentence will be carried out

those who have devoted their allegiance to Lord Jesus will be held up as trophies of God’s amazing grace

Lord Jesus’ prayer in the Garden will be answered: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they can see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” John 17:24

coming on the clouds

will be culmination of history, God’s plan of redemption, when Son of God enters time and space and earth again to bring this age to an end, make all things new, joy in his redeemed people and creation for all eternity

Think back to time when you purposed to do something really nice for another person, something they couldn’t do for themselves, doing it because you loved them – the anticipation of planning, the satisfaction of preparing, the joy of experiencing their delight. Now multiply all of that by one less than infinity – that’s Jesus, accomplishing in time and space the eternal plan of his Father.

A broken world and broken people made right, no more cause for sorrow. Jesus was looking at end result, glorious future day when he could say “I did it”. He could take full satisfaction in it because he was that sacrificial lamb who took away the sin of the world. Jesus began his march of triumph, of victory when he walked out of those grave clothes and the tomb 2000 years ago. The last steps of that march will come when Jesus returns to this world and has final victory over our last enemy, death. Everything will be made new and right and maintained that way, forever.

D. how can it beJohn 10:17-18

from perspective of “the night in which he was betrayed”, when Jesus was seemingly at the mercy of his tormentors, how would that sort of victory march be possible?

he will take up what he laid down – Jesus laid down his own life, no one took it from him, he gave his life up of his own free will, and he took it back up again on the third day – displaying that death had no power to hold him

he could do that because of who he was – the Son of God, with authority and a commission given to him by his Father; anyone less than the God-Man would still be in that borrowed grave outside Jerusalem

“Either He was all that He laid claim to be, or Caiaphas was right when He charged Him with blasphemy. We have no middle course today any more than they had; He is a liar, or incarnate Truth; an impostor, or God the Son, raised to the place of eternal Empire.” G Campbell Morgan

“He was either deserving of condemnation or He is entitled to the highest loyalty and allegiance that human hearts can give Him.” — Lyman Abbott, D.D.

So, when he comes in his glory to bring this age to an end, what will your situation be? Will you be coming with him? or will you stand condemned by him? Will you be like the Roman centurion at the foot of Jesus’ cross: “Truly this was the Son of God”? or like Caiaphas: “He has spoken blasphemy; he is deserving of death.”

For us who love and obey our exalted Lord, our task: hold up the risen, living, majestic Son of God before men and women, boys and girls so they may see his beauty and be drawn to him. We’re not to hold up a good example, a plan of salvation, a road to follow; we are to hold up Christ and nothing less.

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