Matthew – Fulfilled.
Believers and yet to believe will suffer with people who will bully and harass them in this life. Bullies come in all forms. Bullies are full of fear of rejection, pride, with an extreme desire to be heard, to be known and to be on top of the heap of humankind. It begins at home, develops on the playgrounds at school and works its way into the workplace. Bullies are typically survivors from being bullied themselves. They learn to manipulate all situations to their advantage. They work behind the scenes until they are established with power and influence then an all out attack rises until their foes, those who get in their way, are defeated.
Jesus knows. He suffered for us at the hands of church bullies (the chief priest and his gang members) who developed most of these same character traits in living.
That is the back story. Above all that man tried to do to Jesus is only the backlash of what He was sent to earth to accomplish.
What is really happening is that Jesus, Son of God, while suffering mocking, torture and terrorist abuse was taking all the sin of the world upon Himself . He took those sins, our sins, to the cross and nailed them, through his own flesh, onto that cross.
When He lifts His face toward heaven and asks, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”, Jesus already knows the answer, for in that moment OUR sin stood in the way of God’s Presence. Sin and God cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Our sin on the shoulders of Jesus caused His Father to turn away. BUT not for long. When Jesus breathed His last physical breath on earth, the mission was finished. Our sins paid for in full. Bullies defeated. Jesus went through and to hell and back for us. Think about that the next time you are bullied. Seems kind of silly now, doesn’t it?
Matthew 27, The Message
27-31 The soldiers assigned to the governor took Jesus into the governor’s palace and got the entire brigade together for some fun. They stripped him and dressed him in a red toga. They plaited a crown from branches of a thornbush and set it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand for a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mocking reverence: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” they said. “Bravo!” Then they spit on him and hit him on the head with the stick. When they had had their fun, they took off the toga and put his own clothes back on him. Then they proceeded out to the crucifixion.
32-34 Along the way they came on a man from Cyrene named Simon and made him carry Jesus’ cross. Arriving at Golgotha, the place they call “Skull Hill,” they offered him a mild painkiller (a mixture of wine and myrrh), but when he tasted it he wouldn’t drink it.
35-40 After they had finished nailing him to the cross and were waiting for him to die, they whiled away the time by throwing dice for his clothes. Above his head they had posted the criminal charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews. Along with him, they also crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”
41-44 The high priests, along with the religion scholars and leaders, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others—he can’t save himself! King of Israel, is he? Then let him get down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then! He was so sure of God—well, let him rescue his ‘Son’ now—if he wants him! He did claim to be God’s Son, didn’t he?” Even the two criminals crucified next to him joined in the mockery.
45-46 From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around midafternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
47-49 Some bystanders who heard him said, “He’s calling for Elijah.” One of them ran and got a sponge soaked in sour wine and lifted it on a stick so he could drink. The others joked, “Don’t be in such a hurry. Let’s see if Elijah comes and saves him.”
50 But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last.
51-53 At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.)
54 The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, “This has to be the Son of God!”
55-56 There were also quite a few women watching from a distance, women who had followed Jesus from Galilee in order to serve him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the Zebedee brothers.
Think about it…
–Jesus, Son of God, part of the Three-in-One, took on our sin while God the Father turned away while the deed, our sin, was paid by His own sacrifice.
–He could have called ten thousand angels to defeat his bullies. But He did not. Someone perfect had to be the sacrifice for our sin. Jesus was the One.
–Jesus came down to where we are in order for us to look up and see God, the Father for Who He really is.
–Even unbelievers and bystanders said, “This has to be the Son of God!”
–The next time you feel abandoned, remember…you are not! God is just waiting for you to look up…and live redeemed!
Dear Heavenly Father, You are God and we are not. It is still hard to wrap our minds around the deep love you have for us. I love you, Lord, for who you are and what you did for me…for us. Mere words cannot express my gratitude. I’m redeemed. I don’t deserve it, but I’m redeemed. Now, help me to live knowing it! May my life reflect more and more Your glory and a lot less of me. Transform me.
In Jesus Name, Amen