Tag: Son of God

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.

Son of God, Risen Savior

Romans 1:1-4

Gospel today as promoted by some fellows with big audiences has more varieties than colors in Joseph’s coat. Nearly all of them are sugar-coated poison.

“God wants you to be a winner, not a whiner.” Osteen

“…belief (in hell as conscious, eternal torment) is …misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.” Rob Bell, Love Wins

It’s about living the life you want because a great percentage of the population is living a life that [someone else] wanted…Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world.” Oprah Winfrey

If anyone understood and clearly articulated the Gospel, was apostle Paul. Identified as the author of our text, Paul writing by inspiration of Holy Spirit is a trustworthy source of teaching on the subject. Well-known NT theologian wrote: “The one all-important difference between Saul the Pharisee and the Apostle Paul was his evaluation of the person of Jesus.” George Eldon Ladd I believe Ladd has identified an effect and not the cause of difference. Let me correct that statement this way: “The one all-important difference between Saul the Pharisee and the Apostle Paul was his [transformation by the Gospel] of Jesus.”

3x in book of Acts alone have account of Paul’s conversion as he was confronted with the risen Christ on road to Damascus. Obviously a significant event in his life; understood from first-hand experience what it meant to be changed by the power of God. True, his “evaluation of the person of Jesus” changed as result of his face-to-face encounter with Lord Jesus. But what made Paul different from Saul started in the very depths of his being as he was transformed by the God of the Gospel.

Paul identifies 3 essential things here in our text about the Gospel – God promised it in Scripture; it concerns his Son; focuses on Lord Jesus’ death and resurrection.

a. promised in Scripture – not a new thing

far more than “what” is promised; most important – “who” is promised

very first hint and promise of the Gospel, the good news for mankind bound in slavery to sin identified a person – seed of the Woman

not anything new – Gospel didn’t start with Paul, not even with pronouncement in the Garden; Gospel is older than Creation – determined by God: Father, Son and Spirit before was ever anything other than God

good news promised by God, one who would conquer evil; everything necessary to make it good news to God’s people included in the promise

A. descended from David – one of us

really human – Son of Man

didn’t simply have appearance of man; his body not an illusion, a hologram, something assumed so he wouldn’t stick out in a crowd

use word incarnation, it’s good word and important one; means “the act of taking, or being manifested in, a human body and nature.”

Jesus, son of David, as blind men identified him (Matt. 9:27; 20:30) on at least two occasions, really was David’s descendant with real human body, real human nature

after resurrection Jesus himself went to great lengths to demonstrate reality of his humanity:

John 20:27 “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side.”

John 21:9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.

why important? means we don’t have to try become something we aren’t for Gospel to “work”

Son of God became one of us that he might do for us in our nature, human nature, what we cannot do for ourselves

justice requires life for life – God’s condition declared on Mount Sinai (Ex. 21:23), satisfied on Mount Calvary

whatever he has accomplished or will accomplish on our behalf applies to us in present state/condition

our risen Savior is mediator, high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses since he was tested in every way as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15)

means his work of redemption is effectual for us in our condition as fallen sinners “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2:12)

B. declared to be the Son of God – at the same time, God

really God – NT authors had no problem accepting / declaring dual nature of Christ

don’t ask for explanation of how “one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures”

great minds of the church don’t try to explain, most often only say what it does not mean

bottom line: this son of David according to the flesh at the same time the son of God with power – a real person with a real mission

means he had/has/will have all resources necessary to achieve whatever is required for his mission

can debate endlessly about how much a sinless man might accomplish; one thing true, no man can bring himself back to life

total victory over all mankind’s enemies requires victory over death – only possible by power of God

Gospel only good news if it offers genuine hope – that Son of God has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves and by power of God is determined to make it reality in those who trust him

C. by his resurrection – our Savior

don’t misunderstand what Paul is saying – was not the Son of God because God or anyone else declared him so

just like God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, God the Son has existed eternally – “we worship One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity” Athanasian Creed

Paul is saying: by his resurrection he was declared to be “the Son of God with power”; he’s been Son of God all along, now is obvious to all he is Son of God with power

born in weakness according to the flesh, raised in power; no wonder he could say “All authority has been given to me. Go, therefore…” (Matt. 28:18-19)

even though final victory has not been declared, it’s a given: 1 Cor. 15:25-26 “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be eliminated is death.”

Son of God, Lord Jesus has been victorious over death; when he returns in glory he will finally eliminate it

it is resurrection, that we worship a risen Savior, that is God’s guarantee that Lord Jesus will return – Acts 17:31“he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

if he has power to bring himself back to life, certainly has power to bring others to life

Jesus himself said: John 10:17-18“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

raising those dead in trespasses and sins to newness of life – far more than just picking us up, dusting us off, pointing us in right direction, off you go

are picked up out of our coffins, given new life, led off in the right direction

“our justification, which was begun in his death, was perfected in his resurrection. …By his death [Christ] paid our debt, in his resurrection he received our acquittance, Isa 53:8; when he was discharged, we in him, and together with him, received our discharge from the guilt and punishment of all our sins.” Poole

isn’t that good news?? if we are in Christ, have “received our discharge from the guilt and punishment of all our sins.”

D. Jesus Christ our Lord – and our Lord

phrase either near beginning of v.3 or at end v.4 depending on version of the Bible

gospel is good news of a whole Christ, must be accepted that way

Jesus (he shall save his people from their sins) Christ (God’s anointed) our Lord

not a buffet – pick and choose what, how much we want, we think meets our needs; it’s all or nothing, on Jesus’ terms

if you want the blessings that accompany salvation, you must be a follower of Christ, one with him

Paul preaching, 1st missionary journey: Acts 13:32-34And we ourselves proclaim to you the good news of the promise that was made to our forefathers.God has fulfilled this to us their children by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second Psalm: You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.Since He raised Him from the dead, never to return to decay, He has spoken in this way, I will grant you the faithful covenant blessings made to David.”

Jesus gave invitation during earthly ministry. As risen Savior, gives same invitation, makes same offer regarding those blessings:

Matt. 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Invitation is not “come to church”; not “buy my book and read it”; not “come hear story and respond”; not even “come let me show you how to help yourself”. Invitation is “come to Jesus”; Gospel is that God loved sinners and gave himself, his life, for their redemption. Truth of Gospel is found in pages of Scripture; experience of Gospel is found in saving relationship with a person, Jesus Christ “who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures.” To God be the glory, great things he has done!

Son of God, Sacrificial Lamb

Matthew 27:39-54

Five-year-old Mary was obliged to undergo an operation, and lost so much blood that it was necessary to resort to blood transfusion. The blood of thirteen-year-old brother Jimmy was found by test to match exactly the little patient’s. “Will you give your sister some of your blood, Jim?” asked the doctor. Jimmy set his teeth. “Yes, sir, if she needs it.” He was prepared for the transfusion. In the midst of the drawing of the blood, the doctor observed Jimmy growing paler and paler. “Are you ill, Jim?” he asked. “No, sir, but I’m wondering just when I’ll die.” “Die?” gasped the doctor. “Do you think people give their lives when they give a little blood?” “Yes, sir,” replied Jimmy. “And you are giving your life for Mary’s?” “Yes, sir,” replied Jimmy. A touching story of self-sacrifice.

There’s a more far-reaching story, a true story, of self-sacrifice than Jimmy’s. by giving his blood, Jimmy at most would procure life for one other person, his sister Mary. Greatest act of self-sacrifice occurred nearly 2000 years ago at “a place called Golgotha”. Unlike Jimmy, Jesus did give all his blood, Jesus did die, giving his life to save the lives of a countless multitude “from every tribe, language, people, and nation.”

But in order to accomplish that, this sacrifice must be at the same time perfect man and powerful God – the one who would stand between sinful men, women, boys, girls and a holy God with hand on each. At the same time able to “lay down his life for his friends” and take it up again when his purpose had been accomplished. What mattered most at Calvary was not what chief priests and scribes and elders orchestrated, not what Roman soldiers did, not what physical suffering achieved. What mattered most was what could not be seen – what God did, when “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21

Who was it there on that middle cross? Not everyone had same opinion at the time, still true today. 3x in our text title “Son of God” is used – by the general rabble passing by on the road, by church leaders and criminals being executed beside Jesus, by the Roman centurion and soldiers with him.

A. “If you are the Son of God, come down” v.40

certain expectations of what he could do if… if he truly were the Son of God

demonstrate his power over the natural order – if you really can rebuild the temple in 3 days, ought to be able (have the power) to pull the nails and climb down from the cross

demonstrate his authority over earthly government – if you really are King of Israel like placard at top of cross said, defy Roman guards / Pilate’s decree and climb down, put the centurion in his place

show his true colors – if miracles performed delivering many from sickness and disease and infirmity and death were for real, should be able to deliver yourself

certain presuppositions of what he needed to do

needed to do all this in the way his mockers believed best – anything less would simply confirm suspicions Jesus was a fraud

think of profound darkness for three hours – btw, not a solar eclipse; impossible for that to occur at time of full moon

far more profound darkness at work in minds of those who mocked – surrounded by more than enough evidence, had seen Jesus @ work – healing blind and lame, raising the dead, demonstrating power and authority over natural world, spiritual forces of evil

one more sign and we’ll believe – v.42 “If he comes down now from the cross, we will believe in him!”

condemned Jesus for not saving himself – didn’t see they belonged in that very boat: condemned and unable to save themselves

truth is, the power they wanted Jesus to demonstrate is what they most needed to cut through darkness of their sin and rebellion

once again evidence of Satan, master deceiver at work; two-fold goal here, plan A and B

had tried to tempt Jesus to sin at beginning of his ministry: Matt. 4:3“If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

failed in that attempt, trying once again; if Jesus can be tempted into coming down from cross, Satan wins the big battle

if Jesus remains on the cross, Satan has won different battle – for minds and hearts of Jesus’ mockers at least for a time

Jesus really was Son of God, King of Israel, healer and deliverer; those who mocked fulfilling prophecy made to Isaiah: “hearing they did not hear, seeing they did not see”

Jesus’ mission – to draw people into a saving relationship with him; what was required? he said himself:

John 12:32“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

B. he said “I am the Son of God” v.43

certain expectations of what God would do if…Jesus’ claims were true

he claims a particular relationship with God, does God agree? if so, God should show it this way

similar line of thinking as Job’s friends – these circumstances are impossible for someone who is true friend of God, truly righteous, genuinely trusting in God

religous types, perhaps purposefully, like Satan did in the Garden, subtly altering God’s word

quoted from Psalm 22:8“He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”

but made last statement conditional – if he wants to; easy to imagine Satan’s hiss once again

Matt. 4:6 “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,'”

perhaps the Father has disowned the Son, will refuse to answer when Son cries out to him

Isa. 53:4esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted” – in truth Jesus was just that

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted, / See him dying on the tree! / ‘Tis the Christ by man rejected; / Yes, my soul, ’tis he, ’tis he.

‘Tis the long-expected Prophet, / David’s Son, yet David’s Lord; / By his Son God now has spoken: / ‘Tis the true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear him groaning, / Was there ever grief like his? / Friends through fear his cause disowning, / Foes insulting his distress;

Many hands were raised to wound him, / None would interpose to save; / But the deepest stroke that pierced him / Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly / Nor suppose the evil great / Here may view its nature rightly, / Here its guilt may estimate.

Mark the Sacrifice appointed, / See who bears the awful load; / ‘Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed, / Son of Man and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation, / Here the refuge of the lost; / Christ’s the Rock of our salvation, / His the name of which we boast.

Lamb of God, for sinners wounded, / Sacrifice to cancel guilt! / None shall ever be confounded / Who on him their hope have built.

C. “Truly this was the Son of God” v.54

pagan Gentiles had better vision – feared the God they did not know; Jews had no fear of God they did know

had probably numerous opportunities to guard condemned criminals while they died of crucifixion

enough different about this one to get their attention – what Jesus said, what he didn’t say; bottom line: they took Jesus’ word over his accusers

Roman soldiers may not have fully grasped what they were saying, but said the right thing

The King, the Son of God shows his power and authority most when he conquers his fiercest enemies. Was only by staying there on the cross, the sacrificial lamb, that he could begin his victory march – defeating sin, Satan, and death. Even the mocking Jews knew lamb had to stick around for sacrifice to be satisfactory. Had the Lamb run away we would all be in our sins still, hopeless and without a future.

Instead God’s eternal plan had our future in view

Eph. 1:4-8 For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love. He did this by predestining us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will – to the praise of the glory of his grace that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight. NET

Sure, Heb. 12:2 tells us Jesus endured the cross “for the joy that was set before him”, but what fueled that joy? Love for helpless sinners and being the means of their redemption. Yes, we see the awfulness of sin, the incredible penalty Justice requires, played out in living color on the Cross. Caiaphas was right when he said:

John 11:49-50 “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is more to your advantage to have one man die for the people than for the whole nation to perish.”

In the death of that one man, the Son of God, the sacrificial lamb, the love of God is displayed at its brightest and most glorious. God loved sinners so much he gave himself as their sacrifice, their substitute. The Gospel is first and foremost about what God has done for sinners

“God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.”

Do you understand what that means? Have you experienced the love and grace of God in the Gospel?

“Mount Sinai, as awesome as it was, is but a dim shadow of a later mountain where God’s glory would be revealed—Mount Calvary. More than 1,400 years after God appeared on Mount Sinai, Jesus would climb up another mountain to put God’s glory on display. Just like Sinai, Calvary was covered by a thick cloud of darkness as God turned His face away. On the cross Jesus would endure the thunder of God’s judgment and absorb the lightning of His wrath. …The burning mountain of Exodus 19 was a picture of Mount Calvary, where Jesus gave us the clearest and most complete picture of the glory of God. In the cross we see the magnanimity of God’s grace. God did more than carry us on eagles’ wings from danger; He rescued us out of the jaws of death by substituting Himself in our place.” J D Greear

Comprehending God’s grace and love and lavish generosity to us in the Gospel changes us; the power of the Gospel is transforming, producing in us Christ-like grace and love and generosity toward others. May this not be just another Good Friday, not just another Easter. By God’s grace and in his strength may we be transformed people, living in a way that shows the Gospel has changed us.

Son of God, Man of Sorrows

Matthew 14:22-36

From time to time seems to be an obsession with trying to make Jesus out to be world’s best stand-up comic. Or at least to have a killer sense of humor.

“The Bible clearly paints a picture of Jesus of Nazareth as a clever guy, but he never seems to laugh, much less crack a smile. Did Jesus really have no sense of humor; didn’t he ever laugh?” Author goes on to explain how “contemporary Christians may be missing the humor that Jesus intended and that his audience understood.” Reclaiming Jesus’ Sense of Humor, James Martin, Special to CNN (January 25, 2012)

I’m sure Jesus knew how to smile, recognized humor and probably used it when appropriate. But… how does God the Holy Spirit describe God the Son? As one who overpowered arguments and attracted followers by his wit? We read of Jesus calling down curses on “scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” (Matt. 23:13ff); being moved with compassion on multitude “like sheep not having a shepherd” (Mark 6:34), the emotion most frequently attributed to Jesus; desiring “with fervent desire” to eat the last Passover with his disciples (Luke 22:15). Also are told in Luke 10:21 he rejoiced or “exulted in the Holy Spirit” over the ways of God in bringing many sons to glory.

Remember what we just read in Isaiah 53:3

He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Being described this way doesn’t rule out other facets of personality, but in eyes of God humor was not prominent in the Lord Jesus. Ambrose, leader of church in 4th century referring to Matthew 26:37 description of Jesus in Gethsemane – “he began to be sorrowful and troubled”:

I not only do not think that there is any need of excuse, but there is no instance in which I admire more his kindness and his majesty; for he would not have done so much for me, if he had not taken upon him my feelings. He grieved for me, who had no cause of grief for himself; and, laying aside the delights of the eternal Godhead, he experiences the affliction of my weakness. I boldly call it sorrow, because I preach the cross. For he took upon him not the appearance, but the reality, of incarnation. It was therefore necessary that he should experience grief, that he might overcome sorrow, and not shut it out.”

In the Garden not the first time during life on earth or his public ministry Jesus experienced sorrow and grief – mental anguish and heartsickness. At every turn, Jesus was reminded of his mission, why the Father sent the Son into the world – to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14). Wherever he went, whatever he did, whomever he interacted with, Jesus was confronted with evidence, why world needs a Savior.

A. broken world – the wind was against them v.24

originally everything very good; entrusted to mankind for him to manage – created things cooperated with Adam and Eve, the garden giving freely of its bounty for their enjoyment

enter Satan and temptation, Adam and Eve’s disobedience; then God appears again, issues his declaration of judgment

in just brief space of time, entire order of things radically changed – Satan and ground cursed, Adam and Eve began irreversible dying process

cooperation between natural world and mankind no longer a given; in fact, changed to opposition, resistance

Son of God was there at Creation – participated in it, gloried in the work of his Father’s hands, knew the perfection with which God had designed and produced everything

left off praying, went across the lake to his disciples – knowing the wind and waves by original design should not have been contrary

there were his friends, struggling to follow his command to “go to the other side” – oh, if only like at the beginning, would have been an easy sail

but no, cause for sorrow in heart of Creator that his friends, his brothers must endure brokenness in nature because of sin

B. broken vision – “if it is you” v.28

Jesus already had encounter with those whose physical eyes were blind; in fact, one was demon-possessed, blind and mute (Matt. 12:22)

how could Lord Jesus who had already spent an eternity in perfect union and pleasure with his Father not be moved by plight that fellow was in – under control of one of Satan’s minions, unable to communicate yet able to hear

for that man, sin entering the world eventually resulted in blindness; but, greater problem than physical blindness

best example – the Pharisees, offended by Jesus’ recognition / denunciation of their hypocrisy; went so far as to call them “blind leaders of the blind”, even told his disciples to leave them alone (Matt. 15:14), let them fall in the ditch if they would

referring to spiritual blindness here, profound inability to recognize spiritual truth as found in God’s Word

it’s a blindness absolutely every human being suffer from time of their birth until such time as they are born from above

disciples had been with him 2 years, saw Jesus coming toward them, responded in fear

immediately speaks, identifies himself, tells them to have courage, not be afraid – “it is I”, expecting they would recognize him

Peter, one of inner circle with James and John, had spent more time with Jesus than any others – how does he respond?

“Lord, if it’s You” – both physical and spiritual vision clouded enough so he failed to recognize Jesus with certainty

don’t you expect Jesus felt a little twinge – one of his closest friends didn’t know him, needed reassurance

not last time Jesus would experience this – two disciples, Emmaus – “how slow of heart to believe”

C. broken spirit/heart – “little faith”v.31 Mat 8:26, Mat 16:8, Mat 17:20

going back to beginning – Adam and Eve didn’t have to learn to love God, trust God, follow God; they simply did it until…

following deception of sin, trust had to be rebuilt; faith in God no longer natural, had to come from Him as a gift

God also gives opportunities for faith to be tested, to grow in strength and ability; probably won’t involve walking on water

Peter started out well – faith got him out of the boat, onto the water, a few steps away from safety, then it happened

two years of intense training with the Master, seeing him demonstrate his power repeatedly – helped Peter develop some faith

can almost hear Jesus sigh of sadness – “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

the baggage of brokenness brought into world by sin hindered Peter’s faith and its growth, ours also

yet they did at least for moment finally recognize Jesus’ true identity: “Truly You are the Son of God.”

for the moment, because 2x more in Matthew’s gospel Jesus chided his disciples for their little faith

D. broken bodies – all who were sick v.35

perhaps the most poignant reminder of all that something is wrong with our world – sickness and infirmity

physical infirmity hard enough, cause enough for sorrow – no respecter of persons, strikes all ages, all strata of society

infirmity caused directly by powers of evil – those who are demon-possessed – an even greater source of sorrow

Jesus more so than anyone else knew ultimate source of their trouble – his sworn enemy and theirs, Satan

people like sheep without a shepherd, many under direct influence or control of Satan, people bound in patterns of self-destructive behavior, afflicted with all manner of diseases for which there was little help, much less a cure

Jesus didn’t blow it off, say “oh well, that’s life, suck it up and deal”; listened to their cries for help, expressed his sorrow through compassion

E. broken bread – given for you – see also Matt. 26:37-38; John 12:27

throughout Jesus’ ministry, see joy and sorrow coexisting

“exuberant gladness, a gladness which fills the heart” (Warfield) over the methods and means his Father used to convert sinners (Luke 10:21)

earlier in week, Monday, contemplating what rest of his work week would entail, half to himself and half to Heavenly Father

John 12:27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.”

evening he was betrayed:

Jesus told his disciples: “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15)

knew that just as bread was broken, wine was poured out, he was to be the sacrifice, giving himself for the sins of his people

later that evening “He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.” (Matt. 26:37) so much so that he sweat drops of blood; how can it be?

ravages of sin on this world caused and continues to cause our Lord Jesus great sorrow; but, here’s the good news,

“our Lord did not come into the world to be broken by the power of sin and death, but to break it.. He came as a conqueror with the gladness of the imminent victory in his heart; for the joy set before him he was able to endure the cross, despising the shame.” Warfield

Jesus’ mission not a hopeless one; outcome never in question – he was called Jesus because he would save his people from their sins; he would successfully complete the task his Father sent him to do

Each time we gather around the Lord’s Table, several things are evident:

==> have physical tangible symbols of something real that took place: a real person Jesus really gave his life a sacrifice for sin, paid penalty in full, completely satisified God’s demands for justice

==> declare by our actions that we believe those facts to be true, that we believe by faith that Jesus died for us, that we are all brothers and sisters because of our fellowship in Christ and adoption into God’s family

==> as we go through the “ritual” and the reminders of what happened 2000 years ago and what will happen in future when Lord Jesus returns, our souls are nourished and faith is strengthened