Matthew 27:11-14 (Part 2) – Game Plan In Place; Time To Execute The Plan

Posted: April 20, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 27:11-14 (Part 2)

Jesus Stands Trial Before Pilate

Yesterday, we used the illustration of parents understanding the far-greater-than-the-moment implications of children’s behavior. Certain behaviors allowed and unchecked now could become negative social skills in adulthood. Being mean to the kitty cat could lead to far greater social issues at a later age and so on. As a parent, you know how things will turn out if a child’s behavior is not dealt with at an early age. You can see the big picture. To the kid, being mean to the kitty cat is just a means of the moment. All they can see is that it was fun for the moment to throw the kitty up against the wall or pull its tail – just because it was there. The child just sees the moment right in front of them whereas the parent sees the big picture. A teenager who ditches his job to go hang out with his friends is a behavior that in and of itself may be nothing to the teenager but to the parent it is behavior that must be dealt with as could become irresponsible behavior toward one’s job (and thus the teenager’s wife and kids) in the future. Parents have to think big picture all the time with the kids’ behaviors. Parents are like football coaches in a sense. All of the practice Monday-Thursday and the things you work on during the week before the game are all part of the game plan for the upcoming game. Good parents have a game plan when it comes to molding their children’s behavior. Then end game, responsible adulthood for the child, is what matters most but it starts in the details of the child’s behavior early on. The game plan starts when they are young.

 

It’s that long-range, grand plan thing that I think of when I consider Jesus’ position in this intersection of powerful people in today’s second look at our passage at hand. Let’s read Matthew 27:11-14 together once more:

 

11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

 

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

 

12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.

 

Yesterday, we talked about the motivations of this politically charged scene for the Jewish leaders and for Pilate, the governor appointed by Rome to manage Rome’s interests in the region. Today, we will consider Jesus. The question that baffles us is how Jesus never reacts to His accusers and gives vague answers to questions from Pilate. Why does He keep silent? Man, since I am not Jesus and am an imperfect man in need of the grace of Jesus Christ, I would be talking back. I would be giving the Jewish leaders all they could hold about their hypocrisy and political expediency. From Christ’s own perspective, I would have thought it would have been a perfect opportunity to make a strong statement about who He was and what He had come to do. Right? Besides, His death was right around the corner, as we know now, so why did He not seize the opportunity here to make one final speech of a lifetime. There is an old saying that goes, “the truth needs no defense.” His integrity is on display here. He knew the truth. Everyone knew the truth but everyone was ignoring it. To descend into responses to the distorted versions of the truth would have been like swinging at a pitch in the dirt. Unnesseary action with little result. Jesus knew that seeking the truth was not the point of any of the actors in this play. The destiny was already determined. Once this issue was brought before Pilate, there was no turning back for the Jewish leaders or Pilate. Any perceived weakness by the public would have damaged their power. Something had to be done with Jesus regardless of the truth. It’s like once you sit in that rollercoaster sit and the safety bar comes down, you are committed to the ride. The Jewish leaders and Pilate now were committed to the ride. The truth was less important than image. Jesus knew this. He was silent because of this. No matter what He said it was going to be twisted and used against Him. The truth did not matter. Jesus was not going to participate in defending Himself against lies. He was truth. He was integrity. He was honor. Participating in their debates would have given validity to their actions. That’s the immediate thing. That’s the fully human Jesus reasons for His silence. But there was something far greater going on here. Something eternal in nature. Something more far reaching than this intersection of people in the 1st century in a place called Palestine.

 

God was working a cosmic level plan here. He was using the free will of fallen man to accomplish His cosmic goals that He had been step-by-step working out since the moment that the first sin was committed by Adam and Eve. He was working out His redemptive plan for man. Jesus’ entry into human history, and living the perfect life, the sinless life, was the goal of the plan. It was the culmination of the plan. All of the Bible before these last scenes of Jesus’ earthly life are pointing to the cross. Everything that comes after the crucifixion and resurrection are explanations of the necessity of the cross. Jesus was silent to fulfill God prophecies about His own Son, his own Sacrificial Lamb. Jesus was silent because the cross had to happen. Jesus knew the over-arching plan. He knew that everything was leading to the cross. The cross was to be the vehicle to our salvation. Like a parent understanding the far reaching implications of a child’s actions, while the child just sees the action of the moment, so too do we have God uses the day to day actions of man to bring about the fruition of His cosmic plan. Although too the Jewish leaders and Pilate, they see the moment and try to expediently navigate the situation to their advantage or to the least amount of damage to themselves and their careers.

 

However, it is all paint strokes on the canvas of God’s plan. There was a plan. It was not random that Jesus got crucified. It was the plan all along. It was the plan from the moment we abused our free will in the Garden. From that moment, we all inherited sin. From that moment, we were no longer worthy to be in God’s presence without substitionary sacrifices. The sacrifices were practice for the real thing. The cross. The cross ended the sacrificial system because we finally had the perfect sacrifice, the perfect substitute, the perfect sacrificial lamb. On this perfect one, Jesus, God could pour out all his wrath for sin of all time. Because Jesus is of the same essence of the Father, Jesus could take the whole wrath of God for all sins of all time. Now that Jesus, the perfect man, and God in the flesh, has taken on the wrath for all sin of all time then all sins have been paid for in full by Him. All we have to do is believe in Jesus as being the Son of God. All we have to do is believe that the purpose of Him being on the cross is what we just said, the payment for all the sins of man for all time. All we have to do is believe that, because Jesus is God in the flesh, that He arose from the dead to give us victory over the sin that He died for. This was the plan. The action plan was executed on Calvary. All you have to do is believe that this was God’s purpose for it. The payment has already been made. It needs not be repeated. All is required is your belief. That was the plan. That is the plan. That will be the plan.

 

Jesus’ presence here is not some wimpy God thing. It is God executing His plan that applies not only for the moment where Jesus physically stood before these people but eternally. Jesus’ presence there is part of the eternal cosmic plan of God. It kind of blows your mind, huh? This cosmic plan playing out in the first century details of the intersections of people’s lives reminds me that no matter how minor something seems to me, God is working His plan in my life. One step leads to another in His plan for me. One moment is preparation for the next. Everything is working together in His plan for my life. Nothing is wasted. So, I must trust that. I must see that. I can have great joy in knowing that God is working in every detail of my life. And He is doing it in yours too!

 

Amen and Amen.

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