The King and the Kingdom - The Book of Matthew
Last week we examined the resurrection of Jesus, the pinnacle moment of the history of the world and of Matthew's gospel account. Following his resurrection, Jesus commissions his followers to authoritatively proclaim the gospel to all nations. And as we do, Jesus promises to go with us. Jesus' salvation shall reach every nation, tribe and tongue, indeed even all creation.
Jesus predicted his resurrection multiple times before his death. The chief priests and the Pharisees worked to prevent people from believing in the resurrection. But they were fighting a losing battle. Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to many proving he was the Christ.
Jesus' death was substitutionary and sacrificial. He has died in our place; his life as the final sacrifice. With his death came an end to the Old Testament system of sacrifices and priests. Jesus has become our Great High Priest and is the mediator of a new and better covenant. Because of Christ's work, it is now possible for those who believe to approach God directly.
The last place you would ever expect to find a king is on a cross. Yet, Jesus, the King of Kings surrendered his life unto death for the redemption of sinners. It is through his death that we may have eternal life.
Jesus’ innocence is repeatedly publically asserted by Pilate, yet he condemns him to be crucified. Jesus’ innocence prophesied by Isaiah is absolutely necessary to the gospel and our redemption. Without a perfect sacrifice for our sin, there is no forgiveness.
Judas having betrayed Jesus, experiences great remorse. But he does not repent. Unlike Peter, who betrayed Jesus as well, Judas' remorse leads him to despair and suicide. Whereas Peter's remorse led him to repentance and reconciliation with His Lord. Remorse without seeking forgiveness from Jesus is a self-inflicted agony that bears no good fruit.
Upon being arrested, Jesus is put though a sham of a trial in which he allows himself to be falsely accused and convicted. But he proclaims to his accusers that there is coming a day in which the roles will be reversed. Jesus will sit in judgment over them, rather than being judged by them.
There are no words to describe the chaotic heinousness of Jesus’ arrest and betrayal. It is in these deeply appalling moments we see the extraordinary humility of Christ. He could have stopped his arrest. He could have evaded this mob as he had done so many other times. But instead, He humbly allows himself to be taken captive so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.
Perhaps nowhere else do we see the humanity of Christ as brilliantly as we do in this text. Jesus is enduring tremendous suffering and it is his obedience to the Father through suffering that secured our redemption. Individually, we all suffer, though vastly different than Christ's sufferings. Nevertheless, Jesus teaches us how to suffer for the glory of God.