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Amazed by Jesus

Christ's Suffering through the Eyes of Matthew  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Good morning; this is Phil Devaney with the Britton Bethel Baptist Church. We are so glad you’ve chosen to worship with us this morning. We would love to hear from you! If you do not know how to contact us, the contact information has been placed in the description of this YouTube video.
Beginning this morning we are returning to our study of the Gospel of Matthew, picking up where we left off when we were last together at the church. This is in anticipation of being able to meet together in the near future. So you will want to have your Bible handy, and have it opened to Matthew 27:1-14.
Let’s pray together.
Dear Father,
It is so good to be able to join with others in the worship you this morning. I pray for continued protection from this Coronavirus, I pray for continued patience as we endure this time of waiting. I pray that You would aid each of us as we seek to be kind to those around us, and that we would be examples of Christian love in this community and the surrounding area. I pray for understanding for those who are listening to this sermon this morning. I pray for empowerment from Your Holy Spirit to clearly articulate the things You have for us this morning.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
Please join me in singing the old hymn: Hallelujah, What a Savior.
Since it has been over two months since we were last assembled together, and working through our study of the Gospel of Matthew, I believe I should take a little time to refresh our memories about this gospel account.
The Gospel of Matthew was written in the later half of the first century, sometime before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. It was written by one of Jesus’ hand-chosen apostles, Matthew. Prior to becoming a follower of Jesus Matthew was a tax collector in the region of Galilee. This means that he would have been despised as a traitor by most of his countrymen since he was profiting from the Roman occupation of Israel. But, as is the case with all who embrace Jesus as the Christ — as their Lord and Savior — he was wonderfully transformed.
Matthew’s audience seems to have been, for the most part, Jewish. We understand that through his emphasis on Jesus being the fulfillment of the O.T. prophecies regarding the Messiah. Over and over again the writer states that such and such was done to fulfill what had been written regarding the coming Messiah.
By alternating between sections of Jesus’ teachings with narrative sections, Matthew has brought us from the events leading to the birth of Jesus, to the events leading to His death.
Matthew’s final narrative section, chapters 26-28, focuses on the sufferings of Christ, and concludes with His resurrection from the dead, along with His final instructions to His followers.
Back when we were still meeting in person we looked at the following:
The plot to kill Jesus
The anointing of Jesus for burial
The treachery of Judas
The establishment of the Lord’s supper
The prediction of Peter’s denial
The prayer vigil in the Garden of Gethsemane
The act of Betrayal by Judas
The kangaroo court session by the religious establishment of Israel
Peter’s denials
and the outcome for Judas
Originally, with Easter looming ever closer, I had intended to take a much faster approach, looking at some large sections each week so that we could be in chapter 28 by Easter. But since we do not have the present restraint, I’ve decided to slow things down a tad.
If you have not yet done so, please turn to Matthew 27:1-2, 11-14. We will be looking at one who was amazed by Jesus. But first, let’s read our passage together. The last time we met together, we looked at chapter 27:1-10, but since our narrative picks up where things left off in verse two (with verses 3-10 being an interlude of sorts), we are going to begin at the beginning of this chapter.
Matthew 27:1–2 CSB
When daybreak came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put him to death. After tying him up, they led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.
Now jump down to verse 11.
Matthew 27:11–14 CSB
Now Jesus stood before the governor. “Are you the King of the Jews?” the governor asked him. Jesus answered, “You say so.” While he was being accused by the chief priests and elders, he didn’t answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear how much they are testifying against you?” But he didn’t answer him on even one charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.
Let’s look first at

The Reasons People Were Astonished by Jesus

A song that was recorded by Sandy Patti many years ago stated some of the reasons why people were astonished by Jesus. One verse went like this:
They listened to the teaching that they heard; they wondered at the mystery of His words: they wondered what He meant about a Father’s plan. They heard, but could they really understand?
As that song put it so eloquently, people were amazed by Jesus’ teaching. Matt 7:28-29
Matthew 7:28–29 CSB
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, because he was teaching them like one who had authority, and not like their scribes.
Sandy Patti’s song went also stated:
They looked at Him and saw a simple man; a Carpenter with healing in His hands. They saw Him calm the sea, and heal a dying man — they saw but could they really understand?
Not only were people amazed by His teaching, but they were amazed by His power over nature. Alone with His disciples in the midst of the Sea of Galilee, a storm suddenly arose and the men were terrified. But Jesus simply rebuked the storm and it immediately grew calm. Afterwards we read: Matt 8.27
Matthew 8:27 CSB
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!”
A little later on in Matthew’s narrative Jesus healed a demon possessed man, and many of the common folks were amazed by this healing. Matt 12.23
Matthew 12:23 CSB
All the crowds were astounded and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”
Sadly, the religious leadership did not share their amazement, for it was at this point that they wrongly determined that Jesus was an imposter, and that He needed to die.
The remainder of this gospel account shows the growing tension between Jesus and the religious establishment. And that tension culminated in the unjust execution of Jesus, the Son of David.
Much of what the common people were amazed at, we too should be amazed. We should be amazed by His teaching. We should be amazed by His works. We should be amazed by His grace which is extended to sinful people such as you and I. We should be amazed by His love for us which caused Him to willingly lay down His life for us!
Amazing love, how can it be that Thou, my God should die for me!
Let’s turn our attention from reasons why people in general were and are amazed by Christ, to

The Reasons Pilate was Amazed by Jesus

Look again at Matt 27.11
Matthew 27:11 CSB
Now Jesus stood before the governor. “Are you the King of the Jews?” the governor asked him. Jesus answered, “You say so.”
Pilate was amazed that anyone could think that Jesus was the King of the Jews
It’s obvious, for various reasons, that Pilate had some prior knowledge to the coming arrest of Jesus.
He gave the priest a detachment of soldiers to aid in arresting Jesus
It seems likely that the chief priests and elders had given Pilate a hint that Jesus was leading an insurrection of some kind — Pilate would probably not have anything to do with dealing with a religious issue if he could at all help it
It appears that after one look at Jesus, Pilate thought: “this is the man who they say is challenging Caesar? How ridiculous!” So there seems to be sarcasm in his question: “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus reply was somewhat vague: “You say so.” This is the same reply He gave to Judas when the betrayer asked Jesus if he was going to be the one who would betray Jesus. It is also the same answer He gave to to the high priest when He charged Him under oath to tell the council if He, Jesus, was the Christ, the Son of God. There is a distinct vagueness to Jesus’ answer.
As one commentator wrote:
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel according to Matthew 7. Jesus before Pilate, 27:11–26

“that as Jesus does not need to reveal to Judas that he will betray him, so he does not need to reveal to the high priest that he is the Christ and to Pilate that he is the King of the Jews, because they already know it (or should know it)” (p. 378).

From Luke’s account we learn: Luke 23.1-4
Luke 23:1–4 CSB
Then their whole assembly rose up and brought him before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.” So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” Pilate then told the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no grounds for charging this man.”
From John’s account we learn that Pilate wanted nothing to do with this, but at the insistence of the Jews that Jesus had committed a capital crime, the governor took Him aside for a private interview. It may have been at this juncture that this interview occurred. John 18.33-37
John 18:33–37 CSB
Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about me?” “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
So Pilate was amazed that anyone could think that Jesus could be the King of the Jews. Next we see that
Pilate was amazed by Jesus’ silence when being accused by the council
It seems quite obvious that most of the people who were brought before Pilate would strongly object to the charges that were being made against them.
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel according to Matthew 7. Jesus before Pilate, 27:11–26

Prisoners on trial for their life normally must have been very vocal; they would have tried to refute any and every accusation brought against them. This kind of accusation, alleging crimes that involved the death sentence, would normally have elicited a vociferous defense.

I have often wondered if the reason Jesus remained mute during these hearings was because of His mission. He, the Eternal Creator of the world, became man so that He could die our death. As a human He desired that He would not have to taste death, but He settled that definitively in the Garden of Gethsemane when He said: “Not My will, but Thy will be done.”
Jesus was determined that nothing would deter Him from fulfilling His mission of being the sin-bearer for God’s people.
So far, we’ve looked at reasons for people in general to be amazed at Jesus, and for Pilate to be amazed. Let’s look at one more person who was amazed, who might often be overlooked.

The Reason for Matthew’s Amazement of Jesus

I can’t speak for others, but I often find myself forgetting about Matthew’s perspective. And yet, as the author of this gospel account, his perspective is important. After all it probably had something to due with his task of writing this magnificent Gospel.
I’m gonna branch for a moment into the purely speculative, recognizing that doing so is usually not a good idea. See if you can follow my line of thought.
Like many other believers from the time of Christ on, I spend time daily reading and meditating on God’s word. The advantage we have over those in the first century church is that we have the completed book. But during Matthew’s time, what they had primarily was the O.T., for the N.T. was still in the process of being written.
I can just imagine the impact of studying the prophecy of Isaiah might of had on Matthew. Because I have had “eye-opening” experiences when studying the word, I can imagine what it might have been like for Matthew to reflect on such passages as these: Isa 42.1-4; 53.7
Isaiah 42:1–4 CSB
“This is my servant; I strengthen him, this is my chosen one; I delight in him. I have put my Spirit on him; he will bring justice to the nations. He will not cry out or shout or make his voice heard in the streets. He will not break a bruised reed, and he will not put out a smoldering wick; he will faithfully bring justice. He will not grow weak or be discouraged until he has established justice on earth. The coasts and islands will wait for his instruction.”
Can you imagine the first time that Matthew realized that this was fulfilled in the trial of Jesus. Though most prisoners cried out vehemently in protest of the charges brought against them, Jesus, the Servant of the LORD, did not cry out so that His voice was heard in the street. Jesus was determined to faithfully bring justice by laying down His life as an offering for the many would one day place their faith in Him as their Lord and Savior. And justice was accomplished because He who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Consider next the amazement of Matthew as he reflected on another passage from Isaiah:
Isaiah 53:7 CSB
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not open his mouth.
Matthew’s amazement of Jesus lines every page of his gospel narrative. And it is his type of amazement that we should have as well.
Though many of the common folk were truly amazed at the teaching and actions of Jesus, for most of them, their amazement seems to have stopped short of embracing Jesus as their Messiah and Savior. Though Pilate was amazed at Jesus’ reaction to the charges brought against Him, still his amazement seems to have stopped short as well.
But for Matthew, he responded to the Savior’s call to leave the world behind and follow Him. He embraced Jesus for who He is — the Eternal Son of God, who became man so that He could die and give His life as a ransom for many. And because Matthew saw Jesus on multiple occasions after His resurrection, he knew that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Are you amazed by Jesus? I invite you to reflect on this amazing Savior, and His amazing love as I sing the song MY SAVIOR’S LOVE.
Let’s pray.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I come before you this day acknowledging my amazement of Jesus. Who am I that you would love me enough to send your Son to die in my place? Who am I that You would reveal yourself to me through the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ?
I pray that those listening to this message would also be amazed by Jesus.
Rom 11.33-36
Romans 11:33–36 CSB
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? And who has ever given to God, that he should be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
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