Gospel: John 12:12-19 or Matthew 26:1-27:66
Epistle: Philippians 2:5-11
Lesson: Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm: Psalm 118:19-29 or 31:9-16
CLB Pastors Network – Dr. Eugene Boe
This Sunday is also known as The Sunday of the Passion. The entire pericope text assigned for this Sunday is Matthew 26:1- 27:66. For the sake of focus, the Homiletics Study people have narrowed it to Matthew 27:27-44. I suggest that the sermon narrow the scope even more and use verses 27-31 as the basis for the sermon. Verses 32-44 are very appropriate for Good Friday. Francis Rossow has suggested that “if a pastor decides to preach on this reading, it would be advisable to select just one of the many episodes (the whole pericope is Matthew 26:1-27:66) the pericope contains and make that his text (under the rubric that it is better to say a lot about a little than a little about a lot). (Francis Rossow, Gospel Handles: Finding New Connection in Biblical Texts St. Louis, Concordia Publishing House, 2001. Pages 95-96)
This passage of Scripture moves us further on the journey to Calvary. The intensity of what Jesus has been given to go through for us sinners increases. The disciples seem to be out of the picture. They are not to be found. Jesus is left alone to face His opponents. They took Jesus to mock him. He was taken not Barabbas. He was taken not the disciples. They took Jesus. They gather over him. They strip him. They robe him. They crown him. They staff him. They make fun of him. They spit on him. They strike him. They show no mercy. He is the laughing stock of the party. Jesus is there before them not for His own sake. He takes it all for us, for them, for world. This is the way for the King who is there to be the Savior of the world.
Little did they know that this king they scorned and laughed at with such mocking intensity would be the one who would provide for them the forgiveness of sins. And Jesus did not resist. He did not open his mouth. He suffered it all in silence. He suffered it for them. He suffered it for you. He took it as a sinner who had it coming. As a sinner who had falsely taken upon himself to be king with all of its power and rule. Jesus was there as the sinner who has made himself king. Who has taken over a throne that belongs to another. This is what we have done as sinners. We have made ourselves kings; kings who have no right to the title, to the throne, to the honor. We deserve the mocking. We are the laughing stock. Jesus is there in our place. He suffers what false pretending kings have coming. In so doing he loves us. He frees us from our sins by his blood and makes us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father.
Sermon Studies on the Gospels – Series A
“Nowhere else in Scripture does Jesus have all the symbols (crown of thorns, scepter, purple garment, obeisance) of royalty as in this text.
The text focuses on the climactic event in God’s saving activity in rescuing the human race from the consequences and the power of sin. There are two important facts to keep in mind. One is the willingness of Jesus to go through all of this. The other is that it was planned.
We can see the willingness of Jesus in several ways. He could have called on twelve legions of angels (Mt 26:53) to avoid arrest. He identified himself to those who had come to arrest him. He prayed: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done!”
God had been planning and revealing details about Jesus’ death and its impact for a long time… It was not an accident that Jesus ended up on the cross. God planned it and then executed his plan for the sake of the world’s salvation.”
Balge, R.D., Sermon Studies on the Gospels – Series A. Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Publishing House, 1984.
Spurgeon’s Popular Exposition of Matthew
“Ridicule is very painful to bear. In our Saviour’s case, there was great cruelty mixed with mockery. These Roman soldiers were men to whom bloodshed was amusement; and now that there was given up into their hands one who was charged with making himself a king, we can conceive what a subject for jest the gentle Jesus was in their esteem. They were not touched by the gentleness of his manner, nor by his sorrowful countenance; but they sought to invent all manner of scorn, to pour on his devoted head. Surely the world never saw a more marvellous scene than the King of kings thuse derided as a mimic monarch by the meanest of men.”
Spurgeon, C.H., Spurgeon’s Popular Exposition of Matthew. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 1962.
Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel
“All the derisions beneath the cross turn on the power of Jesus: his power to replace the Sanctuary, and his power as the Son of God to step down from the cross; again, his power to save others, and his power as Israel’s King to leave the cross.
That power is mocked as being nothing but sham and pretense because Jesus does not use it in his own behalf. But the mockery is silly on the basis of its own deduction. If Jesus would care to use this power of his, why should he have waited until this time to exercise it? Would he not have saved himself from the very start? These mockers think only of power that is, first of all, used in self-interest. Of grace and mercy that care only for others at the complete expense of self they know nothing. And so their mockery exposes only themselves.”
Lenski, C.H., Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943.