Just As God Planned It Matthew 27:1-10

Matthew 27:1-10

The gospel message isn’t to see Jesus as the ultimate example of suffering and death so that we learn not to complain or lament our own suffering.

The gospel is to see Jesus’ trials and his struggles, his suffering and his death end in God’s glorious purpose of redemption, restoration, and healing

  • In that way we see that the gospel gives purpose to your suffering in every way that you suffer
    • We suffer because of our sin—the gospel promises to rid you of sin incrementally until one day when Jesus returns
    • We suffer in how we handle our suffering because of our sinful natures—the gospel changes us from old creatures who are selfish into the new creation that really can “count it all joy at our diverse trials”
  • God’s gospel is his plan to redeem, to reconcile the world to himself, because Jesus suffered just as God planned it. 
  • And that means your redemption includes your struggles and trials, not as add-ons, but as integral pieces of the plan. 

All of Jesus’ life was lived with an eye to what he called “his hour”.  His hour of suffering, his hour of humiliation, his hour of torture, and finally his hour of death.  He did that so that his people would be healed. 

It happened just as God planned it, even Judas’ apostasy and Jesus’ betrayal, they happened just as God planned it.  Three points:  Judas, Jesus, and So What?  How to apply this.

  1. Judas’ apostasy—Judas left the faith quite a while ago in gospel time. 
    1. Go back to John 6 after Jesus fed the 5000.  John 6:70-71  Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.
      1. By the time we get to Matthew 26 Judas’ betrayal is a foregone conclusion.
    1. A quick reminder of where we are in Matthew’s gospel
      1. Judas has already betrayed Jesus with a kiss following the Passover meal when they all left the upper room to go to the garden of Gethsemane
      1. Jesus was arrested and taken off to a kangaroo court in Caiaphas’ house
      1. Many things have already been fulfilled by this point, one of which was Peter’s denial
      1. But in our passage we have Matthew’s final direct fulfillment statement
        1. Matthew loves these:  “this was to fulfill…”
      1. Verses 9-10  Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”  A couple points about this quote:
        1. First, Matthew credits this Jeremiah for this quotation.  But if you check your cross reference, Zechariah is probably listed.  In reality he uses both of the prophets, but leans more heavily on Zechariah 11 than Jeremiah 19.
          1. Matthew is following the pattern of Jewish Rabbis, teachers, of the time.  He cites the more obscure reference of the two that he is relying on,
        1. Second, what do these references have to do with Judas?  Well, both are speaking about Israel being judged for their apostasy.  So it’s pretty spot on to quote them here as Judas commits his final act of leaving the faith.
    1. Just like Judas—God ordained the Jewish apostasy—it fulfilled his plan
      1. That doesn’t mean Judas or Israel weren’t guilty
      1. It simply means what the Bible teaches about anyone who isn’t finally redeemed:  their sinful nature was satisfied. 
      1. They continued to follow the designs of their sinful hearts and wills. 
      1. To put another way, an Edenic way maybe:  they chose to hear the Serpent’s voice instead of their Father’s.
    1. Sometimes you’ll hear an appeal for Judas’ soul based on vv. 3-4  “Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
      1. But when you compare all the biblical evidence about Judas:
        1. He’s consistently called the betrayer
        1. Jesus said “woe to that man by whom the son of man is betrayed it would have been better for him never to be have born”
        1. They point to Judas’ destruction and eternal punishment in hell
      1. V. 3 changing his mind doesn’t equate to turning to his savior, he’s just sorry for selling an innocent man to death.
    1. As John Owen said, “Sin may be the occasion for great sorrow without having great sorrow for sin.”
      1. Don’t be sorry for the effect of sin, be sorry that you are a sinner.
  2. Jesus’ Betrayal
    1. Doesn’t get any harder than this.  
    1. Don’t take your eye off the ball here.  There’s a central point of the gospel that’s played out over and over:  Jesus doesn’t deserve what happens to him, we do.
    1. And now here at the end of Matthew, Jesus isn’t taken away by the Romans or the Pharisees—he’s betrayed by a friend.
      1. Friendship and love shouldn’t mean betrayal, arrest, and floggings
      1. But that’s exactly what our savior received at the hands of someone he grew to love in a very human, very intimate way.
        1. Have you ever shared something so personal it hurt just to say it with someone only to have them share it with someone else?  Jesus’ betrayal is like that but so much worse—because Jesus loved Judas, and shared with Judas, he didn’t hold anything back because his sinful nature couldn’t let go of that control.  Their friendship was closer than ours.
    1. And don’t forget what Jesus’ death means in a theological sense, from Jesus’ point of view.
      1. Galatians 3:13-14  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
      1. He became the curse of God—Jesus, God in the flesh, became the curse of the Godhead. 
      1. In Christ’s death we see God being cursed by God.
      1. It’s the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in Gen. 15:2  “I am your shield”.
        1. A quick lesson on the Genesis 15.
        1. Abraham is put into a deep sleep and then has the vision of the animal pieces.
        1. The smoking fire pot and flaming torch; the covenant means that whoever doesn’t keep ALL the regulations of it is liable to being torn in two like these animals.
        1. On the cross we see God himself taking the burden of our covenant failure on himself and paying the price.
        1. Earning the blessing of Abraham for believers
  3. So What?  How to apply this
    1. First:  “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”  “test yourself to see whether you are in the faith”
      1. Judas’ apostasy, the Jewish leaders, and eventually most of the Jews denial of Jesus show us a dangerous truth:  being a Christian in name only is a terrible place to be. 
      1. Are you living in denial about who you are?  Are you a Christian in name only?  Examine your heart to make sure that you understand your sinfulness and your need for a savior.
      1. And if you say yes to that, then examine your repentance.  Are you sorry for the results of your sin, or are you truly sorry for sin.  All actions bring consequences, but simply being sorry because your sin has caused some terrible things to happen isn’t repentance. 
      1. Do you hate your sin?  Do you hate the fact that you can’t stop sinning?
      1. Now if you say yes there, you’re doing well.  But there’s one more question—have you turned to Jesus as the answer?  Or are you still trying to fix it yourself?
    1. Second, we apply this to real life by reminding ourselves that comfort and ease of life don’t equal God’s favor any more than terrible pain and struggles equal God’s punishment.
      1. All of your life has happened exactly as God planned.
        1. I was talking with a Christian brother, another pastor, unloading on him really.  Dark heavy trials.  His answer was—and you realize at this point he’s an Arminian pastor—because he said “remember God didn’t bring those trials”. 
        1. That’s a lot easier on some levels, but it’s not true.  And it really wasn’t that comforting either. 
        1. If God’s not in control of this then how can I be sure there’s a point to my suffering?  If only good things come from God and all the bad stuff comes from my sin, or worse yet, Satan, there’s no reason to think anything good will come of it.  What, all of a sudden Satan becomes altruistic and reveals his good intentions?
        1. Take comfort in God’s sovereign plan and control of every circumstance.
      1. Don’t let the victorious life Christ has given you become an idol or false reality
        1. There absolutely is victory in Christ—“We are more than conquerors” and you should hold on to that truth with all your might. 
        1. But we live in a broken world, a cursed world where sin and sinners hurt us, damage us, and wound us.  If we live the victorious life without allowing ourselves to grieve, we’re in a dream world, some construct of our own imagination. 
        1. The victory we have in Christ is both already and not yet and we live in that tension—some days the victory will feel more real to us than others.  Be sensitive to both.  The word tension doesn’t instill comfort in us, it’s not supposed to, acknowledge that this world isn’t comfortable and your victory in Jesus is abnormal to the course of nature.
        1. Victory is outside of you—it’s in Jesus’ work.  Hold on to Jesus’ victory as your own, even as you feel like your being marched off to Pilate like our Lord was.
    1. Third, What’s your struggle?  What are working through that feels like a burden you simply can’t bear on your own?
      1. Maybe life just isn’t turning out as you had planned and all you see ahead is disappointment or failure.  It’s a common feeling for teenagers as you approach adulthood.  What you thought life would be like doesn’t match your reality at all.
        1. You can look back and see your mistakes and acknowledge them.
        1. And you should resolve not to make those mistakes again.
        1. But even in this we have the promise of God’s fulfillment here—your successes, your mistakes, the circumstances of both that contributed to good choices and your bad choices that were outside of your control, your friends and family that played some role in where you are and how you feel—all of it was God’s work not to bring you to this feeling of disappointment, but to bring you past it. 
        1. To heal you and restore you and grant you peace after giving you the opportunity to know the turmoil he is saving you from.
      1. Maybe you’re dealing with loss—loss of a friend or death of someone close to you.  That pain doesn’t go away quickly, like all grief it’s cyclical, not linear.
        1. The scars will always be there.  Jesus was raised from the dead, but his scars were still there.  Jacob was blessed by God and his name changed to Israel, but he always walked with a limp.
        1. When we lose a relationship—a friend, or a family member, or a spouse in divorce, God’s work is reminding us our relationship with Jesus won’t ever fail, not on his end anyway. 
          1. Friends may not be able to bear our burden with us—Jesus does.
          1. Family members may be insensitive and selfish—Jesus gave himself for you knowing everything about your life.
          1. Even spouses decide to call it quits for reasons we can’t always explain, or sometimes for reasons we can, but we have a perfect bridegroom who chases us, buys us back even after we’ve been unfaithful, and loves us perfectly forever in Jesus.

Judas betrayed Jesus into the darkest moment of human history and the darkest moment of Jesus’ personal history, too.  God uses the darkest of hours for our greatest light—that should give us hope, that should remind us that victory in Christ is real.    The sacred head of Jesus, innocent and blameless as it was, was weighed down in with grief and shame at the hands Judas, the Jewish leaders, and Pilate to fulfill God’s plan of glorious redemption.  Like Jesus’ passion, your suffering going just as God planned it, to bring you to his final redemption.  Lament it, grieve over it, and have hope in the God who ordained it.  Amen.