THEY GOT WHAT THEY WANTED

The religious leaders who were filled with pride, arrogance, and envy had succeeded in their plot designed to rid themselves of the man who called himself, Son of God and Son of Man.  Imaging the high fives and pats on the backs by the religious leaders who manipulated the Roman government, their enemy, into doing the deed to kill Jesus in the most tortuous way known to mankind—nailing a human to a cross made of rough, splintery wood planks. 

Oh, how they had their fun in the process as they mocked Judas, a disciple, who became part of their plan.  That was a bonus in their eyes.  They hadn’t planned on one of his own betraying Jesus.  Oh how they scoffed and mocked Judas who changed his mind and threw the coins back at them.  Most likely they celebrated as the coins were returned to them when you consider the mocking of Jesus. 

Yes, they got exactly what they wanted—for now.  However, the story does not end here.  We know the rest of the story.  The cross has the final word for our salvation.  Pause to reflect as we sing this song to the glory of God.  I hear this playing in the background of my mind as we study this passage this morning…

The Cross Has the Final Word, Newsboys

The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
Sorrow may come in the darkest night
But the cross has the final word

There’s nothing stronger
Nothing higher
There’s nothing greater than the name of Jesus

All the honor
All the power
All the glory to the name of Jesus

The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
Evil may put up its strongest fight
But the cross has the final word

There’s nothing stronger
Nothing higher
Nothing greater than the name of Jesus

All the honor
All the power
All the glory to the name of Jesus

The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
The Savior has come with the morning light
The cross has the final word…

Matthew—God’s Word Fulfilled

Matthew 27:32-56, NLT

The Crucifixion

32 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.

39 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.

The Death of Jesus

45 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49 But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”

50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

54 The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

55 And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

THINK ABOUT IT…

To Jesus’ followers and devoted disciples, their new way of life is over.  Or so they think.

To the disciples who ran for protection from the murderers of their leader, fear takes over.

To the religious leaders, there is celebration.

To the women who stayed at the foot of the cross there is nothing but overwhelming grief because of their devoted love for Him.  His earthly mother was one of them.

To the soldiers who did the deed and stood watch over the dying, human body, there was something different about this man.  When the earth shook, fear took over because of what was happening around them as he died.  “This man truly was the Son of God!”

To those in the Temple at the time the curtain ripped in two pieces, leading to the Holy of Holies, the place where only one designated person could go to lay the sins of the people before God, was shock, horror and fear.  

To passersby, there was no thought, just the sport of mocking and ridicule on a busy Passover in the big city.

To Jesus, forgiveness.  “Forgive them, Lord for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Pause for grateful prayer as we remember what Jesus did for us.

Yes, the religious leaders think they got what they wanted.  But God trumped their selfish plot to get what He had planned for us since Creation.  God’s Perfect Plan was successfully carried out by His Son who was willing to lay down his life for all who would believe in Him and be saved for eternity.  Jesus provided total and complete forgiveness for our sins which gave all who would believe in Him a way back to God in relationship with Him, the once and for all sacrifice. 

The ripped curtain was symbolic of this new way to God.  We can now approach God boldly because of Jesus’ forgiveness without a ceremonial procedure.  “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Hebrews 14:6 

THE WAY has been made, courtesy of the blood of Christ, our Savior.

Do we really believe what we say we believe about God really real?  Pause and think.  Meditate on what Jesus did and why He did it.  Get real.  Be real. 

Lord,

Thank you, Jesus for all you went through as Son of Man and Son of God so that I can come directly to God boldly.  Thank you for forgiveness of all our sins.  “As far as the east is from the west”, our sins are forgiven.  Help us to remember them no more and move forward in this new life with You.  Guide us, lead us, transform us to be all you created us to be…then do for your glory.

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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