Presentation on theme: "At the end of Matthew, the Evangelist weaves many Old Testament allusions/prophecies together to speak of the cross. Why would it be so important for."— Presentation transcript:
At the end of Matthew, the Evangelist weaves many Old Testament allusions/prophecies together to speak of the cross. Why would it be so important for Matthew to make sure his audience understood the Messiah was to die on the cross? Remember, the cross was a major obstacle to Jews (1 Cor 1:23).
The Sanhedrin had mocked/abused Jesus as a false Messiah (Matt 26:67-68). Now, we see the Roman guards mocking Jesus as a false King. Ironically, Jesus is both Messiah and King. The scarlet rob put on Jesus was probably the reddish purple cloak that Roman military & civilian officials wore. Perhaps the crown of thorns resembled the one on Caesar’s head on Roman coins.
The Greek verb beat is in the imperfect. The imperfect tense refers to a repeated action in the past. In other words, Jesus was beat on the head repeatedly. Several verses in the Suffering Song come to mind. Is 52:14. Is 53:5.
This episode shows human brutality at its worst. Here is the Person laying down His life for the sins of the world & man inflicts great punishment/suffering on Him.
“The overenthusiastic attempts to draw out the physical horror of crucifixion which disfigure some Christian preaching (and at least one recent movie [i.e., The Passion of the Christ]) find no echo in the gospels. Perhaps the original readers were too familiar with both the torture and the shame of crucifixion to need any help in envisaging what it really meant. At any rate, the narrative focus in these verses is rather on the surrounding events and the people involved (Simon, the soldiers, the bandits), together with the ironical placard over Jesus' head which sums up the Roman dismissal of his claims” – R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew. The New International Commentary on the New Testament series. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2007.
They found a man from Cyrene by the name of Simon to bear Jesus’ cross. Matthew may mention this, for it’s great irony. Jesus was really bearing Simon’s cross by dying in his place. Another Simon—Simon Peter—should have been helping Jesus. After all, he had boasted about helping Jesus. Simon was likely well-known to the early church (Mk 15:21; Rom 16:13).
Golgotha is an Aramaic word meaning “skull.” Calvary comes from the Latin.
Jesus was given sour wine mingled with gall to drink. Mark records that Jesus was given sour wine mingled with myrrh (Mk 15:23). However, anything bitter was called “gall.” The purpose of the myrrh was to decrease pain. Jesus, however, refuses this mixture to endure the pain of the cross. What does this teach us about Jesus and the cross?
One reason that Matthew changes the myrrh to gall is probably to make the fulfillment of Psalm 69:20-21 even clearer. In context the psalmist is suffering reproach, shame and dishonor from his adversaries (Ps 69:19). Why does a text about reproach, shame and dishonor fit the cross so well? Is there reproach, shame and dishonor that comes from bearing the cross today? What are some ways that we can deal with that reproach, shame and dishonor?
The psalmist writes that “reproach has broken my heart, And I am full of heaviness” (Ps 69:20). How did reproach break the heart of Jesus? How was He full of heaviness? The psalmist could find none to take pity (Ps 69:20). Did Jesus have anyone to take pity? Who should have taken pity? Should we take pity on Him? How might we show such pity?
“Then they crucified Him” (v 35). Romans crucified their victims by tying or nailing them to the cross. Crosses took three shapes: X, T, or, as in Jesus’ case, the traditional T with cross extending above the crossbeam. Sometimes the victims were only a few feet off the ground, but Jesus appears to have been a few feet off the ground (v 48).
Normally the Romans crucified people naked. The executioners would then take the criminals’ clothing. In the case of Jesus, they cast lots for His garments. This was the fulfillment of Psalm 22:18. Psalm 22 is greatly Messianic and speaks about the crucifixion. Let’s read the entire Psalm to get the context. Notice how rich Psalm 22 is in its Messianic language. There is not much doubt but that Psalm 22 applies exclusively to Jesus. It’s possible that some situation in David’s life caused him to write this Psalm and that God used that situation to write exclusively of Jesus.
“Crucifixion was unspeakably painful and degrading. Whether tied or nailed to the cross, the victim endured countless paroxysms as he pulled with his arms and pushed with his legs to keep his chest cavity open for breathing and then collapsed in exhaustion until the demand for oxygen demanded renewed paroxysms. The scourging, the loss of blood, the shock from the pain, all produced agony that could go on for days, ending at last by suffocation, cardiac arrest, or loss of blood. When there was reason to hasten death, the execution squad would smash the victim's legs. Death followed almost immediately, either from shock or from collapse that cut off breathing” – DA Carson, “Matthew.” In Matthew-Luke. Vol. 8 of The Expositor's Bible Commentary. 12 vols. Edited by Frank E. Gaebelein and J. D. Douglas. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984, p. 574.
The Romans reserved crucifixion for the worst criminals from the lowest classes of society. Roman citizens were exempt from crucifixion unless Caesar himself ordered it. Crucifixion was horrible, for a Jew, because it meant that one was under God’s curse. “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the L ORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God” (Deut 21:22-23).
Verse 36 is unique to Matthew. Sometimes people would take criminals off the cross to keep them from dying. Soldiers kept watch over Jesus to make sure that didn’t happen. We know that Jesus would have remained on the cross. However, Matthew is saying that no one rescued Jesus from the torture of crucifixion—He really did die.
Often the Romans wrote the charge against a criminal in black or red ink and attached it to the cross. The title “King of the Jews” obviously means “Messiah.” Pilate ironically states what Matthew wants the first readers of his Gospel to understand. With the help of the other Gospels, the full title seems to have read “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
Warren Wiersbe said this was the first tract ever written. Verse 37 is really the “key verse” in the Gospel of Matthew—This verse succinctly gives us the theme of Matthew’s Gospel. How is Jesus a king? What does it mean for our lives that Jesus is King? How should the realization that Jesus is king change us? It seems to me that many are happy to have a Savior, but few want a King!
It is possible that the two men crucified on either side of Jesus were far more than robbers. We know that Barabbas was (Lk 23:19). It’s very likely that these Barabbas was a ring leader & that these two bandits worked with him—they’re being crucified together for their crimes. If that is the case, there’s irony here: Two bandits are dying who tried to bring about God’s kingdom through rebellion. God’s king is dying to bring about the kingdom.
Matthew likely has Isaiah 53:12 in mind. “I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors” (Is 53:12). How is Jesus “numbered with the transgressors”?
The Romans crucified people publicly so that they could be an example to others. In what way(s) is Jesus’ death an example for us? “What credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet 2:20-21).
Apparently, the place Jesus was crucified was beside a road—“those who passed by….” The Jewish leadership had previously charged Jesus with blasphemy (Matt 26:64-66). Those passing by are hurling abuse. This derision fulfilled prophecy. Ps 22:7; 109:25; Lam 2:15. Do people still hurl derision at Jesus? How? How might we keep from doing so?
Just like Satan did, these people are wanting Jesus to prove that He is the Son of God by performing the miracle they want. How did Jesus prove He is the Son of God? Why did Jesus not take Satan’s bait to jump off the pinnacle of the temple or the bait here to come off the cross?
Jesus saved others; Himself He could not save. The mention of Jesus’ saving others apparently refers to His healing ministry. Perhaps the Jewish leadership wishes to throw doubt on Jesus’ healing ministry by showing that He cannot even save Himself. It’s possible that this is also a reference to the cries at the Triumphal Entry. “Hosanna” means “Save us now” (21:9, 15). The hierarchy could be saying, “Others cried for Him to save Him, but He can’t even save Himself.”
WHY DID JESUS NOT SAVE HIMSELF? WHAT LESSON(S) SHOULD WE LEARN?
It also seems that the Jewish hierarchy is making fun of Jesus’ believers. They seem to be saying, “Only if Jesus comes down from the cross will we believe in Him.” Why is believing in Jesus often a source of ridicule? What are some ways that people today ridicule believers in Jesus? How can we appropriately deal with such ridicule?
The Jewish hierarchy also seem to claim that their failure to believe on Jesus was His own fault. “If only He’d come down, we’d believe on Him.” How do people today claim that their failure to believe is God’s fault?
At verse 43, the Jewish leaders quote Ps 22:8. “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” It’s unlikely that it’s an intentional quote (Why would these leaders purposefully quote a Messianic Psalm in reference to Jesus?). It’s quite likely that they’re quite familiar with this Psalm and they quote it without any reference to Jesus’ Messiahship.
The Jewish hierarchy likely mean that Jesus cannot be the Messiah, for god does not delight in Him. Were Jesus the Messiah, the chief priests, scribes and elders are thinking, God would rescue Him from death. The problem is that God is going to rescue Jesus, just not the way the Jewish hierarchy thinks. Aren’t there serious problems in expecting God to act the way we want? What are some common ways that people want God to act in their own way?
Those crucified with Jesus also reviled Him. It’s interesting to notice that Matthew does not mention that anyone spoke in Jesus’ defense. Matthew’s purpose seems to be to demonstrate Jesus as One suffering alone and unjustly—One who does not return evil for evil.
The land of Palestine became dark from noon until three in the afternoon. This was a supernatural darkening of the sky. There is no way that this could have been a solar eclipse. The Passover was celebrated during a new moon; solar eclipses cannot occur at a full moon. Darkness in Scripture often represents tragedy/judgment (Amos 8:9-10). Should we see Jesus as being judged? Why or why not?
It’s interesting to compare the three days of darkness (Ex 10:21-23) with the three hours of darkness. There seems to be a strong sense of impending disaster in Matthew’s description. How is there impending disaster? For whom is disaster coming?
Jesus cries out with the words of Psalm 22:1. The Father had abandoned Jesus. Without much doubt, the abandonment from the Father had to be the worst part of the cross for Jesus. Why did the Father abandon Jesus? Rom 3:21-26. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
“Eli” is Hebrew for “My God.” The NIV reads “Eloi” here, the Aramaic for “My God.” The rest of the statement is Aramaic, the language Jesus would have spoken. Mark reads “Eloi” (Mk 15:34).
The fact that Jesus was speaking Aramaic is interesting. It’s the language that most Jews spoke in Jesus’ day (Jesus’ dialect would have been different from the dialect in Jerusalem, but the language would have been the same). Hebrew was still the language of the synagogue, and Greek was a nearly universal language. Palestinian Jews in Jesus’ day commonly spoke all three of those languages.
If the Jews primarily spoke Aramaic, why would some of those standing around believe that Jesus was calling for Elijah? Could the reason be an ignorance of Scripture? Jesus, after all, quotes directly from Psalm 22. There was a belief common among Jews that Elijah would come to rescue the righteous from distress. There is no basis for that in Scripture, but it didn’t keep the Jews from believing this. Are there lessons for us here?
The Greek word translated “sour wine” means vinegar. It probably describes the wine that had been strengthened with vinegar. This was the drink that soldiers and lower classes of people drank themselves. This is simply another way of mockery.
Jesus’ being offered “sour wine” to drink is the fulfillment of Ps 69:21: “They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” This drink was considered the thirst quencher of the day; it has been compared to Gatorade. The other soldiers say, “Let Him alone.” Apparently, they are interested in seeing what the “sour wine” might do. In mock piety, other soldiers say to wait for Elijah.
Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit’” (Lk 23:46). Matthew makes clear that Jesus had power over His own life (“yielded up His spirit”). John 10:18. Jesus obviously did not commit suicide as Judas had done, but He willingly laid down His life for sins.