Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom

Part XXXV: Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen In His Crucifixion

(Matthew 27:27-44)


I.              Introduction

A.    Matthew's Gospel was written to explain to Jewish readers how Jesus was their Messiah even if He did not establish His Messianic Kingdom in His first advent, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, p. 1337.

B.    A part of that explanation is Matthew's record of the crucifixion of Christ in Matthew 27:27-44, and we view that important event for insight and edification (as follows):

II.            Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen In His Crucifixion, Matthew 27:27-44.

A.    The crucifixion and death of Christ is by far the most important event in history: it opened the door for the salvation of all men (Romans 3:23-28) and will be greatly lauded in heaven according to Revelation 5:8-14.

B.    However, when that great event actually transpired, from the human perspective on earth, it seemed anything but glorious or even valuable to mankind as Matthew 27:27-33, 35a, 36-44 presents it (as follows):

1.     After Jesus had been sentenced to die, the Roman soldiers inflicted physical, mental and emotional pain on Him: they stripped Him of His outer clothes, replacing them with a scarlet robe, platted a crown of thorns on His head and a reed in His right hand and mocked Him as the King of the Jews, Matthew 27:27-29.

2.     They then spat on Him, struck Him on the head with the reed, then removed the scarlet robe and replaced it with His original clothes and led Him away to crucify Him, Matthew 27:30-31.

3.     Jesus was so weakened by His loss of blood from the previous tortures that the soldiers had to force another man to carry His cross to the place of crucifixion, Matthew 27:32; Ibid., ftn. to Matthew 27:32.

4.     They then crucified Jesus, a dreadfully painful experience for the victim (Matthew 27:35a).  The soldiers set up a sign over His head accusing Him of being the King of the Jews and looked on (Matthew 27:36-37), two other thieves were crucified with Him and people standing around, including Israel's religious leaders and the thieves on the cross beside Him, mocked Jesus as He was on the cross, Matthew 27:38-44.

C.    Nevertheless, two striking elements stand out to alert the believer reading Matthew's account of the Messianic credibility of the One Who was crucified (as follows):

1.     First, Jesus refused to drink the wine mixed with gall, a potion designed to deaden the pain of crucifixion, Matthew 27:34; Ibid., Ryrie, ftn. to Matthew 27:34.  Amid all of the suffering He had already experienced, regardless of the pain He was set to endure in His imminent crucifixion, Jesus declined to dull the pain, in faith facing the full brunt of the cross in an obvious belief that He was performing the work of God!

2.     Second, independent of Jesus' human actions, the parting of His clothes and the casting of lots for them in Matthew 27:35b,c fulfilled Scripture, validating His work on the cross as being in God's foreordained plan:

                        a.        Psalm 22:18 written by David around 1,000 B. C. (Psalm 22 introductory notes; Ibid., p. 2025) predicted that Messiah's garments would both (1) be parted (2) and have lots cast for them.

                        b.        Clothes were relatively expensive in Jesus' day since they were handmade, Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 339, so John 19:23-24 NIV reports how the Roman soldiers at His crucifixion divided Jesus' clothes into four shares, but that there was a seamless undergarment remaining, one that was woven in a single piece from top to bottom that could not be cut lest it unravel.

                        c.        Thus, instead of cutting it, making it worthless for everyone, the soldiers decided to cast lots for it so that at least one of them might have profitable use of it, John 19:24 NIV.

                        d.        In this way, an ancient Biblical prophecy in how the soldiers handled Jesus' clothes was exactly fulfilled when He was humanly unable to control the event, indicating He was God's Messiah even on the cross!


Lesson: Regardless of what appeared from the human perspective to be a spiritually futile, dismal event in the crucifixion of Jesus, (1) His refusal to deaden the pain of the cross in the midst of what suffering He had already experienced in clear belief that He was doing God's work (2) and the obvious fulfillment of a thousand-year-old Scripture prophecy relative to what happened to His clothes show God was at work in these events to indicate that they were all in His divine plan, indicating that Jesus was God's true Messenger and Messiah.


Application: (1) May we believe in Christ as the Messiah to be saved, John 20:31.  (2) As we are called to follow Jesus in His footsteps of suffering (1 Peter 2:21-23), (a) may we like Him in faith courageously face deep trials and (b) be encouraged from how God applies or fulfills His Word in such trials to validate His will for us in them.