Matthew – God’s Purposes
Matthew 27 he could have but didn'tThere is a song from my childhood that my mom, dad, uncle and aunt used to sing as a “special” in church. They were called the “Kellerby Quartet”. They were gifted at choosing songs that spoke to the hearts of many as well as their own. They had beautiful voices with all four parts who believed in what they sang.
Yes, “Ten Thousand Angels” is sung in the background of my mind as I read the details Matthew pens of the Crucifixion, the most agonizing form of human torture. The song reminds us of the power at his command but he did not use it. He laid down his life, as planned by God, as the perfect, without sin sacrifice for you and me. Jesus, took all the sin upon Himself, and paid the debt. We are redeemed because He didn’t call for help to avoid crucifixion. We are free, through repentance to Jesus, to now boldly come to God as His son and daughter!
by Ray Overholt
They bound the hands of Jesus in the garden where He prayed;
They led Him thro’ the streets in shame.
They spat upon the Savior so pure and free from sin;
They said, “Crucify Him; He’s to blame.”
He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone, for you and me.
Upon His precious head they placed a crown of thorns;
They laughed and said, “Behold the King!”
They cursed Him and they struck Him and mocked His holy name
All alone He suffered everything.
He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone, for you and me.
When they nailed Him to the cross, His mother stood nearby,
He said, “Woman, behold thy son!”
He cried, “I thirst for water,” but they gave Him none to drink.
Then the sinful work of man was done.
He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone, for you and me.
To the howling mob He yielded; He did not for mercy cry.
The cross of shame He took alone.
And when He cried, “It’s finished,” and gave Himself to die;
Salvation’s wondrous plan was done.
He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone, for you and me.
Matthew 27, NLT
The Crucifixion
Matthew 27 led him32 Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). 34 The soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.
35 After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. 36 Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. 37 A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
Matthew 27 crucified39 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. 40 “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
41 The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. 42 “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! 43 He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.
Matthew 27 cross of JesusThis form of punishment was invented by the Romans to keep their kingdom of oppressed people in line, under their power. The agony of this form of torture didn’t have a name to describe the pain until the 1600’s when a Latin form was invented, “crucifixion”, which means “torture on a cross”. Jesus went through the worst for our best. Jesus could have stopped it all and called the angels to intercede but he chose to lay down His life, be nailed through his hands and feet, be mocked and ridiculed by all who gathered who were glad to be rid of Him. Or so they thought.
He could have…but He didn’t. Let that sink in. Let the love of God and of Jesus, His Son, permeate all our thoughts as we go about this day. He could have, but He didn’t allows me the freedom to live forever. He could have, but He didn’t allows me to love deeply, like He loves. Jesus is indeed the Truth who shows us the Way to live Life to the full…forever…after this life. He could have, but He didn’t causes us to fall at His feet in gratitude and praise.
The songwriter was led to Christ by his own song!
When we hear a hymn, it is usually with the belief that the hymn writer was a believer. However, the author of He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels, was led to Christ by his own song. Ray Overholt was born in 1924 in Gaines, Michigan. He was introduced to music by his mother, Clara, at a young age.
“My dad bought me a $3 guitar, and I began singing when I was 11,” Overholt told The Log. “I also listened to Gene Autry’s music and was inspired by him.” By the time he was 10, Overholt had written his first song, “The Lonesome Cowboy,” and had learned to play keyboard and harmonica.
Overhold continued to write songs and as he grew older performed with his group, The Grand River Boys, and sang on a Grand Rapids radio station. His first published song was “Will the Lord Look Down and Frown on Me.”
As a young man, he hosted a TV program “Ray’s Round Up” and even met his cowboy heroes such as Gene Autry, Stuart Hamblen and Hank Williams, among others. When he left his show, he entered the nightclub circuit.
He recalled, “I had left my television show ‘Ray’s roundup’ and entered the nightclub scene. I was drinking pretty heavily. I began thinking there must be a better life than the nightclub, show-business whirlwind. I was so intent on changing my lifestyle that I went home and told my wife that I was quitting all of the smoking, drinking and cursing. I wanted to cleanup my own life.”
Overhold was at the height of his show-business career, when he wrote his famous song in 1958. “I was playing in a country band at a tavern, a dance hall, in Battle Creek, when I wrote the song,” Overholt said. “Why God selected me to write the song, I don’t know. I drank a lot, was a profane individual and I needed a Savior.”
Matthew 27 JesusHe turned to the Bible to research his song. “One day I thought to myself: I’ve written secular songs, I’d like to write a song about Christ. I opened the Bible and began to read the portion of Scripture that describes Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, telling Peter to put away his sword,” Overholt said. “I read where Jesus told Peter that he could ask his Father and he would send twelve legions of angels. I didn’t know at the time that that would have been more than 72,000 angels.” {Matthew 26:53}
After reading the passage, Overholt says he thought “He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels” would be a good title for the song. “I was playing in a nightclub in Battle Creek, Michigan, when the Lord impressed me to write the song. I wrote the first verse and put it in my guitar case,” Overholt said. “I then gave the club my notice that I was quitting. While I was trying to find out who this man Jesus was and writing the song, I was saved.”
While at the nightclub around the time he quit, he recalled “As I opened my guitar case to put my instrument away, one of the other musicians saw the music written out and he asked, ‘What are you doing there?’ I told him I was writing a song about Jesus. He asked the title and I told him. He said, ‘It will never go.’ I asked why? He said, ‘I don’t even like the title.’”
When he finished writing the song he sent it to a publishing house “which reluctantly agreed to publish it.” He sold the rights to Lillenas Publishing House for $25 in 1958.
But according to a 1972 article, when the sales began to climb, “the company gave Overholt full songwriter’s rights, allowing the composer to receive royalties and work full-time in gospel ministry.” The song was nominated for three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards in consecutive years.
Overholt went on to describe how the song brought him to the Savior. “Sometime later I found myself singing at a small church. I sang He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels. Following my singing, a preacher spoke a message that gripped my heart. I knew I needed Christ. So I knelt there and accepted, as my Savior, the One whom I had been singing and writing about.”
Jesus could have stopped it all and called the angels to intercede but he chose to die for our sins
Ray Overholt became a traveling singer and preacher and wrote over 200 other songs. He performed for Christ until the very end, accompanied by his wife, Millie, and other family members. Ray Overholt died on September 14, 2008 while getting in his van to head to a concert. His obituary recorded a granddaughter as saying, “”Isn’t that incredible? He never wanted to stop. When it was time to sing, he was raring to go. You put him on that stage, and he’d just come to life.”
He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels has been recorded by The Cathedrals, Kate Smith, Loretta Lynn, and Kenneth Copeland.
Matthew 27 angelsJesus could have called then thousand angels, but He didn’t. Aren’t you glad?
Dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for saving my souls and making me whole. Thank you for being with us, living in us, consistently directing and correcting the course our lives by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Thank you for being Truth, showing us The Way to Life everlasting. Thank you for not calling ten thousand angles for help that day.
In Jesus Name, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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