Jesus is mocked – Matthew 27:27-31

I recently read a blog post by a self-professed atheist in which the author mocked Jesus using a fair amount of vulgar language.  Looking back, I should have stopped halfway through, but for some reason kept going all the way to the end.  To save you the experience I will not link to it or invite you to read it yourself.  Sure, no problem.  You’re welcome.  Jesus is used to this sort of thing, I guess.  Consider this passage from Matthew 27.

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters and they gathered the whole battalion[e] before him.28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

Let’s keep in mind it only got worse after this.  Matthew goes from here to the crucifixion.  The Bible explains Christ’s motivation for his suffering as love.  One of several verses that point us in this direction is 1 John 3:16.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

It’s good to just keep this in mind.  If we ever need evidence of God’s love or Christ’s commitment to show it, we just need to look at the cross.  That was the punishment that we deserved and he took it on our behalf.  Being fully God and fully man, the price he paid was of infinite value, enough to easily pay for the sins of us all. 

Any sacrifice we make for others is nothing more than following his example and responding to his love.  Any criticism or demeaning comments from others we endure for our faith only draws us closer to his example.  Meditating on his love for us will make our potential sacrifice easier to bear.

Thank you Jesus!

Matthew 26 Verse by Verse

Matt photoThis chapter looks at Christ’s last Passover with his disciples and the beginning of the Lord’s Supper given to the church.  We see Jesus in Gethsemane, Judas’s betrayal and Peter’s denial.  This is God’s love.

Matthew 26.pdf

Matthew 26.mp3

A Prayer Prompted by Matthew 26

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the love that you expressed by sending your Son to save us from our sins.  We are forever grateful that our salvation depends upon your love and Christ’s death and not on anything that we can do for ourselves.  He alone has conquered sin and death by rising from the grave.

Left to ourselves, like Peter, we would deny him.

Left to ourselves, we would sleep rather than pray.

Left to ourselves, we might even betray him.

But because of what Jesus did, we can come to you and call you Father. We can put our trust in you when we know that we cannot trust ourselves.

Help us to always give to you that which is most precious to us.  Thank you for your great love.

In Christ’s name,

Amen.

 

Peter’s faith in Matthew 26

Peter sure had a lot of faith in himself in this chapter, all of it unwarranted.  For example, what’s this?

33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

It’s probably always a bad idea to contradict Jesus.  He knows Peter better than Peter knows himself.

Peter is then among those who fall asleep in Gethsemane, after Jesus asked him to watch.  Jesus gets it right again.  He understands what is really going on.

41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Then we have the infamous cutting off the ear of the High priest’s servant.  John is the one who names names in John 18:10.  The servant was Malchus, the ear-cutter was Peter.  Maybe he was trying to make up for falling asleep earlier by showing he was really going to take care of things now.  “I got this Lord.  Your back is safe with me.”

Then comes the actual denial at the end of the chapter.  Matthew explains that Peter denied Christ to not one but two (2) servant girls and then to some bystanders who pointed out that his accent gave him away.  He sounded like he was from Galilee, not Jerusalem.

Let’s all be glad that our faith is in Jesus and not in Peter and not in ourselves.  Left to ourselves, we and Peter have a lot in common.  Our behavior is erratic.  Our self-confidence is normally misplaced. 

When nobody is looking, we can deliver a pretty good boast. “I’ll never fall away.  I’m ready to die at your side.” When push comes to shove, servant girls and random bystanders are more than enough to intimidate us into denial.  “Who me?  You think I know that guy?  Sorry. Never met him.”

Wait, do I hear a rooster?

Fulfilling the Law of Christ – Dr. Harold Netland

This is from April 30, 2019.  The subject matter is related to our previous series on Unity, Diversity and Our Identity in Christ.  Dr. Netland is one of my instructors and one of the readers putting me through my doctoral project.  (Not sure why, but it doesn’t seem to want to start at the beginning.)

 

Matthew 25 Verse by Verse

Matt photoChrist completes his Olivet Discourse with two more parables and a passage of future judgment.  The need to watch and be ready is combined with some thoughts on what “being ready” means in day-to-day life.

Matthew 25.pdf

Matthew 25.mp3