DUNCAN/Jesus mocked by Gentiles, Jews

DUNCAN/Jesus mocked by Gentiles, Jews


If you have your Bibles, I’d invite you to turn with me to Matthew 27. We’re going to look at verses 33 – 44 and note three things. Firstly, in verses 33 – 36 we will see how this passage fulfills Scripture. In verse 37, we will see the glory of Jesus revealed. Lastly, in verses 38 – 44 we will see a sinner saved.

I. Scripture Fulfilled 

First look with me at verses 33 – 36. There the Roman soldiers come to Jesus, and they offer Him wine with gall and Christ refuses it. Now Matthew tells us this in specific language. The language of wine and gall. And he tells us that because he wants you to immediately think of Psalm 69 verse 21. “They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

And next we see the execution squad is dividing up the spoils. Roman law allowed the execution squad to take whatever possessions belonged to the condemned criminal. He wasn’t going to be using them anymore. But Matthew records it, and he focuses our attention on them because he wants you to understand that they are fulfilling Scripture. In Psalm 22 verse 18 we read, “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” 

What is Matthew saying? He’s saying, “Do you wonder why I can proclaim a Messiah who is crucified on a tree? I can proclaim it because of the Scriptures. The Scriptures tell me that my Messiah was going to have His clothes divided by His enemies. A thousand years before He hung on that tree, David knew by prophecy what He would experience.” Matthew is reminding us that Christ’s crucifixion is a fulfillment of the Scriptures. 

II. Glory Revealed 

Then in verse 37, he points us to the title, the criminal charge that is placed above Jesus’ head. Jesus is mockingly charged with being a claimant to the Jewish throne. When Pilate first ordered that this be written I have no doubt that part of it was Pilate’s own despising of the Jews. He hated the Jewish people. And he thought what better way to mock the Jewish people than to charge this man as being their king. 

And you see what Matthew is doing there. Matthew is saying that Jesus’ mockers have unwittingly but rightly identified Him. He is the King of the Jews. As that charge is fastened above His head, the irony of ironies hit you. You suddenly realize that He is paying the penalty on the cross for the crime of being who He is. He is the King of the Jews. He is the Messiah.

Matthew is pointing us to the glory of Christ even in the midst of all this gore. Men see a condemned criminal hanging between two condemned criminals. Matthew and the angels and God see the King of Israel. The King of the people of God. The Messiah of God, the Lord of glory. 

III. A Sinner Saved 

He goes on to say in verses 38 – 44 that three classes of people hurled abuse at Christ. First the bystanders; then the Jewish leaders; and then the criminals themselves. In verses 39 – 40 passersby taunt Jesus, and furthermore they tempt Him with the very words that Satan had tempted Him with in Matthew chapter 4. “If you are the Son of God, come down.” 

And then in verses 41 – 43 the spiritual leaders of the people of God begin to mock Jesus. Note that they’re not even talking to Jesus directly. They’re talking to one another, and they’re saying, “Well, if God delights in Him, let Him come save Him.” Now our Lord Jesus had suffered many things. A disciple had betrayed him. His best friends had deserted him. Roman soldiers had scourged him. He had been led to the cross with a hurling of abuse. But I want to suggest to you that hearing from the spiritual leaders of His own people the charge that His Father doesn’t delight in Him was one of the greatest sufferings. We were told by the Lord Jesus Himself that His delight was to do the will of God. And now He is on a cross dying in excruciating pain, and He hears the religious leaders of His people say, “God does not delight in Him. The Father does not delight in Him.” You and I will never know, even in glory, we’ll never know what that did to our Lord.

And this reality makes verse 44 even more beautiful. We see here Jesus is a Savior of sinners, ugly sinners, gross sinners. It’s astonishing to see these men who are themselves crucified joining in taunting a man who is dying on a cross. You would think that an experience like that might soften you up and give you a little sympathy. But it doesn’t apparently. And Matthew tells us that at the beginning of the day, both men are deriding Christ. And furthermore, if you’ll look very closely at Matthew 27 verse 44, we are told that they were insulting Him with the same words. Do you hear that? The thieves were saying the same thing that the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. The same things that the passersby were saying. In other words, they were questioning whether God delighted in our Savior.

And yet Luke tells us that by the end of the day, one of those thieves was saved. They both began by hurling insults at Him. Somewhere in the day something laid hold of that man’s heart. I don’t know whether it was seeing Jesus reviled and not answering back in reviling. I don’t know whether it was the calm and majestic manner in which our Lord suffered the pain of the cross. I don’t know whether it was the prayer that Jesus prayed: “Father, forgive them. They have no idea what they’re doing.” Or I don’t know whether it was maybe a word that our Lord Jesus spoke to that thief. Or maybe it was a culmination of all those things. But I know this. That man was drawn into a saving fellowship with Jesus Christ, and finally at the end of the day he turned to his fellow mocker and said, “How can you say this to that Man.” He turned to Christ and he said, “Remember me when You enter into Your kingdom.” Christ turned to Him and said, “I tell you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” Even as He is dying, He is drawing men into eternal fellowship with God.

Everybody needs a Savior. Religious men need a Savior. Bystanders need a Savior. Condemned criminals need a Savior. We all need a Savior. We all need grace. May God show you your need of grace because the minute you see your need of grace, He will show you the one who provides it.

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