Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Mallards on a pond in the village of Raspordin

Friday, October 13, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Oct 14, Mat 27-28

Today's readings are Mat 27-28

Matthew’s depictions of the crucifixion and resurrection are familiar scenarios. Yet, there remain, in some of the details, some profound lessons. For instance, we see how far the chief priest and priests have fallen in the incident where Judas tries to return the thirty pieces of silver (Mat 27:1-5). These men were called to perform sacrifices on behalf of the people, called to be advocates for them before God. When Judas expresses his regret and remorse, their response is, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” They tell him to take care of his sin himself. Judas is unable—but the priests are even more powerless.  They are fully aware of their own complicity (Mat 27:6) but unwilling to repent. Instead, they redirect (Mat 27:7).

During the crucifixion, we hear Jesus cry out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Mat 27:45-46). We should not miss what happens here. First, we see Jesus has not lost His faith and trust in the Father. He continues to confess Him and "My God." Second, we see the extent of Jesus' suffering as a man. Somehow, without surrendering His nature as God (He was fully man and fully God simultaneously and at all times), He feels the separation that sin causes between man and God. Yet, Jesus remains a full-fledged member of the Trinity as the Son. We know the Trinity is unchanging forever because God never changes. So, the Trinity remains intact and fully functional with Jesus maintaining His role as the Son. Yet, as a man, Jesus feels the anguish and heartbreak of being alone. This is difficult for us to comprehend. As such, it must be accepted in faith.

For those of us who have experienced heartbreak and isolation, this should be an encouragement that we never suffer anything that our Lord has not suffered. He was "...a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief" (Is 53:3), particularly at this moment on the cross. Jesus as a man not only identifies with our struggles and pain but as God, He comforts us and wipes every tear away.

The veil in the temple is torn from the top to the bottom (Mat 27:51). The veil was 30 ft high and at least a handbreadth thick. That it was torn from the top, where no one could reach without dismantling the frame that held it up, is a symbol of God acting from heaven above upon the earth below. Aside from eliminating the divide between Himself and His people, opening up the Holy of Holies to all, this shows the work of removing the veil that separated man from God was accomplished by His hand alone.

In Mat 27:53, we hear of the dead being raised. This is a difficult verse to parse. While there are many different interpretations of it, it is best to read it for what it concisely says, at or immediately after the resurrection, there were some who were resurrected as well. This is quite probably a display of God's power in and through the resurrection of His Son. It shows that others will be resurrected as well. It is a guarantee that to promise of our own resurrection is trustworthy and true.

In Mt 27:54, a centurion, who shows no indication that he is a believer, proclaims "This truly was the Son of God!" This displays another guarantee, the one we see in Rom 14:11, "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess..."

Mat 28:16-20 relates the Great Commission. Notice, Jesus sends them out to “make disciples of all nations baptizing them…” Most Christians are familiar with this phrase. But, His disciples are also instructed to begin “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” In other words, they are to be messengers sharing the gospel and the Law, two biblical truths that are inseparable. 

1 comment:

  1. It is amazing how easy it is to harden our own hearts against God.

    I am too willing to do this for the convenience of my own desire to sin.

    ReplyDelete