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Oct 1, 2017

“Coming in the Clouds” 10-1-17

Matthew 26:57-68
October 1, 2017

Today we see Jesus on trial or at least being questioned by the High Priest.
Because of the high priest being in charge and the mention of the presence of scribes and elders and chief priests and the word Council being used to describe the assembly or meeting, it has usually been assumed that this was a meeting of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews in Jerusalem.
If it was, it was an extremely irregular and perhaps illegal meeting.  The Sanhedrin was not allowed to meet during the night to consider a capital offense.  They also were not allowed to make a decision to execute a person in just one meeting.  In such cases, they had to meet, decide on a death sentence, adjourn, then after a day had elapsed, they had to meet again and confirm their decision.  As you know, according to the gospel accounts, none of those things happened in Jesus’ case.
One of the rules they did try to obey was the rule about witnesses.  For any conviction there had to be two independent witnesses testify about the crime, and they had to agree.
That is why we have the seemingly strange statements in verses 59, 60, & 61.
There we read that the council were trying to get false testimony against Jesus but were for a time unable, even though many false witnesses came forward.  They had many witnesses, but they could not get any two of them to agree, until two agreed that Jesus had said that he would destroy the temple in Jerusalem and rebuild it in 3 days.
Those two witnesses did agree, but they were both wrong.  Jesus never said that HE would destroy the Temple.  He did say that it would be destroyed.  So had many prophets of the OT period.
What Jesus did say was that after HIS temple or tabernacle was destroyed, meaning his body, it would be restored in 3 days, referring to His resurrection.
Now, the Jews believed that only one person would have the power to destroy and rebuild the temple, the Messiah.  That was why the high priest commanded Jesus to tell them if he considered himself to be the Messiah, the one who was especially the Son of God.
The question, which was asked in Aramaic, was probably phrased in such a way that Jesus could imply that without the question mark, it could be taken as a declaration that he was, thus the answer, “You have said so”, but Jesus was not content with that answer.  He reminded the Priest that the Messiah would eventually have the position of all power and authority in the kingdom of God by saying “You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven”.
It might be thought odd that as Jesus faced death with the confidence that he would rise in 3 days, that he would be speaking of his Ascension, his heavenly reign at the right hand of the source of all power, the Father, and His return at the day of resurrection and not his resurrection on the following Sunday.  But I think I know the reason.
Jesus Kept his mind on the ultimate goal, that of the establishing his Eternal kingdom and the final resurrection of all believers.  His own resurrection, while of the utmost importance to him and to us, was a means to that end.
I think we should keep his mindset and his focus in our minds today.
Today is World Wide Communion Sunday 2017.  Today, as we partake of the Lord’s Supper we remember that we are just a part of the Billions of Christians around the world who are worshiping this day and eating and drinking our Lord’s holy meal.
And as we do so on this day there are a lot of issues before us.   There are threats of a nuclear war which could bring incalculable death and destruction. Rev Andrew Brunson and many other Christians are imprisoned or persecuted and we want to stand with them and petition our Father to give them victory over their enemies.
We want to fulfill our Master’s command to see that the gospel is preached in every part of this world.
We want to fulfill our Master’s command to feed, clothe, and house the poor, but the more we do to help them the more we find who still need assistance.
It can all be overwhelming if we set our sights on the intermediate steps that will lead to the day of resurrection.  So, today, Let’s follow the example of Jesus, who, when faced with hatred, pain, and strong enemies, remembered the End game, the final victory.
We are a part of a multitude of Christians, who are waiting for the Return of our Lord Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.  Many in that multitude are waiting in their graves or urns or mausoleums for the day when Jesus returns and they rise to eternal life.
Our Lord has a worldwide body, the Church that includes the living and the dead.  Our Lord has given us tasks to perform and we need to check our progress in those tasks from time to time.  But we need to remember the final victory that is coming.  Jesus is coming back to rule forever and we will be given immortality to serve him and enjoy him and glorify him forever.  Amen.

 

Pastor David Horner
Faith Presbyterian Church
West Lafayette, IN 47906