Well, as we return to our study in the Gospel of Luke, we come to a, a text that is particularly fitting for this morning, as we anticipate the celebration of the Lord’s table together this afternoon. Looking forward to that service for a long time. So take your, your Bibles in hand, turn to Luke 18. Find your way to the next section in Luke 18, verses 31-34, which is the third formal prediction of Christ’s suffering, death, and his resurrection. And we’ll begin in Luke 18:31, just reading those verses.
“And taking the Twelve, Jesus said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day, he will rise.’ But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.”
As I said, that’s the third formal prediction that Jesus gave of his suffering, his death, the resurrection in this gospel. There have been, to be sure, other statements and allusions to his suffering, but this is the third formal one. And this prediction follows right along the heels of Jesus’ words of assurance to his disciples (which we studied last time), his assurance to his disciples about the ultimate end of their discipleship. Though they may feel the loss (as we look back in verse 29), they may feel the loss of house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God, there is a reward coming. The need of the moment, for them, is to keep on believing, to keep on following, and to endure faithfully to the end.
And it’s with endurance in mind. It’s an endurance that is a product of true faith. It’s for the sake of these men, his closest disciples, the Twelve in particular. This is why he is telling them about what’s coming, about what’s up on the itinerary, what’s ahead of them, what does just up the road as they’re walking on their way to Jerusalem. Jesus wants to encourage their hearts, and he wants to encourage their hearts in the face of a coming adversity that they don’t fully understand. In fact, it’s (according to the text we read, the very last verse), they don’t understand at all, even when he tells them. And yet he wants to prepare them anyway, to encourage their hearts, to strengthen them in the face of this coming adversity to keep on believing, following, and enduring to the end.
After all, that’s, that’s what he’s doing. He knows what’s coming, and yet he is looking through the coming adversity, he’s looking through the lens of the Cross, he’s looking beyond the suffering, and he’s looking to what? What’s the final thing he said there? “On the third day he will rise.” He’s looking through the suffering, through the Cross itself, through death, through the burial in the tomb, and he’s looking to the resurrection on the third day. And by the way, the resurrection, it can’t happen without dying first. He gets that. He knows that he is going to be intimately involved in that.
That is how Jesus is facing his coming adversity: By trusting God, by believing his Word, by believing the Scriptures that tell about this. And so he faces everything he’s gonna face in a spirit of confident hope. And that is what he wants for his disciples. That’s what he wants for his twelve closest men. It’s what he wants for all of his disciples. It’s what he wants for you and me today. This is why the author of Hebrews encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus, who is what? “The author and perfecter of faith, who, for the joy set before him, endured the Cross, despising the shame, and he has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Very next verse, Hebrews 12:3, “For consider him who has endured such hostility by sinners against himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.”
That’s what we’re gonna do today. We’re gonna do exactly what the author of Hebrews encouraged us to do. We’re gonna consider him, Jesus, who’s endured such hostility by sinners. We’re going to see that in some detail. He unpacks it for us, so that we may not grow weary and lose heart. So to strengthen his apostles, to help them, lest what’s coming should confound them; to help establish his apostles in what they have truly believed, that, lest their faith be unanchored, set adrift, waver in the face of this coming adversity, Jesus here (in verses 31 to 33), he gives them strong words of assurance.
And in fact, these words of assurance are so strong, so reliable, so foundational that they become the very bedrock of the Christian faith, don’t they? This is the Gospel we preach. The apostles, of course, they may not understand this now. They may seem blind as the man we’re to meet in the next account. But they will, by the Spirit, come to understand. They will believe, and they will build the church on this solid rock, and set a foundation upon which we all stand.
As we look at the text before us, I’ve got three keywords for you which we’re gonna use to build our outline. And they’re these words: “Certainty,” “Particularity,” and “Singularity.” The words “Certainty,” “Particularity,” and “Singularity.” And along the way, as we walk through these three points of our outline, we’re gonna try to draw out some points of application for ourselves here and there.
But the first word, the word “Certainty,” and we look at verse 31. And you can write down, if you want to expand that point, “The certainty of Christ’s redemption.” “The certainty of Christ’s redemption.” Says in verse 31, “Taking the Twelve, he said to them, ‘See…’” That’s the ESV translation. It’s the word “Behold.” Or it could be “Listen up.” He’s trying to grab their attention. Whatever they’re looking at as they’re walking along the way, whatever they’re discussing amongst themselves, he’s taking them aside and he says, “Listen up, guys.” “Behold.” And he says, “We’re going up to Jerusalem, and everything that’s written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.”
Now, Luke is not, here, explicit about this, but Jesus and his disciples, they’re on the road again, they’re continuing their journey. We can’t tell between verse 30 and verse 31 that they’ve departed, but they have indeed departed. Mark’s Gospel tells us that they were (actually, before the rich young ruler came up to Jesus and threw himself before him and asked a question about eternal life), Mark’s gospel says that they were already ready to set out on a journey. Now with that account finished, they resumed with that plan to set out again. They pick up and leave. In Mark 10:32, right after the “rich young ruler” account, we read, “They were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them.” So they’re on the road. We find out from Luke 18:35 and 19:1, approximately where they are on their journey. They’re gonna pass through Jericho first on their way up to Jerusalem. So this puts them somewhere in the region of Perea, probably at this point on the east side of the Jordan River, and they’re moving westward toward Jericho, and then moving steadily onward and upward to Jerusalem.
This actually squares perfectly with what we can piece together from the various accounts, gives us the, kind-of the line of travel that Jesus and his disciples have been taking, and it kinda gives us the final route of their journey as they draw near to Jerusalem. In fact, it’s actually good for us to draw this out just a little bit, because tracing their most recent steps gives us a bit of insight into their mindset, gives us a, a bit of a, it, a look into their hearts at this stage; helps us understand why it is that Jesus stops here. In all three gospel accounts we see this. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the synoptic accounts, we see why he gives this third prediction of his suffering, death, and resurrection: To encourage them to endure.
I just quoted from Mark 10:32. And that account says, “They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them.” And the rest of that verse kinda gives the mindset of many of his disciples at that time. It says, “And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.” Luke doesn’t give us that insight, but we see that in Mark. “They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.” Amazed and afraid. What’s that about?
If you think back to the last time, and kinda trace the last time that they were in the vicinity of Jerusalem, you would know that they visited Bethany. This was John Chapter 11. Bethany is the home of Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus. So we read about this in John Chapter 11, that Jesus waited to go there, hearing that Lazarus was sick, and had a sickness that would result in his death. And instead of rushing to heal him, he seemed to let him die. John 11 tells us about how Lazarus died, he was buried in a tomb, and four days later, Jesus arrived. What did he do there? Remarkable miracle of resurrecting him, raising him from the dead.
The report of that resurrection of Lazarus made it to Jerusalem, which is not a long distance from Bethany. Made headlines in the Jerusalem Times, and John 11:45 says this, “Many of the Jews, therefore, who had seen what he did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and” told on Jesus, “told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priest and the Pharisees gathered the council together” (that is, the Sanhedrin) “gathered the council and said, ‘What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come take away both our place and our nation.’”
Pretty clear insight into the enemies of Jesus, their thinking. They were overt among themselves. They were explicit about their concern. What’s the concern in believing in this perfect Messiah, this sinless Savior, the Son of Man, the Son of God, what’s the danger in believing in him, everyone going after him? Oh, a threat to your authority, a threat to your power, a threat to your standing and your position. They didn’t want to give that up.
So the high priest, Caiaphas, is quick to run to their aid to assure them all is well. He put everybody’s minds at ease, and he assured them that Jesus would die as a sacrifice for the nation. He’d be the sacrificial lamb. By handing Jesus over to the Romans, having Jesus executed, Caiaphas assured them they would preserve the nation. And they would keep their seats of authority. No greater example of a pragmatism and a politician could be found than Caiaphas on that day. Mixing it with religion, mixing it with a prophecy, he actually spoke better than he knew. But here, he’s just trying to pacify the Romans. They’re concerned about false messiahs rising up. He says, “We’ll send ‘em one. We’ll send ‘em Jesus. We’ll have the Romans do our work for us. Get rid of him.”
So we read in John 11:53, “From that day on, they made plans to put him to death.” Can you imagine an Elder meeting at Grace Church, and we’re all sitting in that room over there around the table, and we’re like, “who are we gonna kill, guys?” I, I can’t even, I can’t even imagine this. They’re making plans to put to death the guy who just raised Lazarus from the dead. Does that make any sense to you? This man has the power to raise a man from the dead. “OK, kill him.”
Well, word got out. Someone leaked the meeting minutes. Action items. “Who’s, who’s gonna kill? OK, here we go. Well, who’s gonna betray him? Who’s gonna hand him over?” John 11:54 says, “Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews. But he went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.” And that verse, John 11:54, connects back, then, to the events in Luke’s gospel around the time of Luke 17:11, as Jesus passed along, it says there, “between Samaria and Galilee.”
I can tell you, Jesus’ disciples were happy to get away from Jerusalem. They were happy to maintain for themselves a safe distance from the capital city, away from the threat of death. Very happy to get away from all the furor. Since moving from Jerusalem to Ephriam, and then to the region between Samaria and Galilee (Luke 17:11), Jesus has since then been taking them steadily back toward Jerusalem. We read in Matthew 19:1 and Mark 10:1 (parallel time frames with the events of Luke 18), they, that they are now in the region of Judea beyond the Jordan, also a region known as Perea. Perea. So, now that they’re on the road again (Mark 10:32), going up to Jerusalem, it’s no wonder (now that you know a little bit of that background, you have a little bit of insight), it’s no wonder that they’re amazed, and those who are following along are afraid. They’re, they’re saying to themsel, “What are we doing here? I mean, isn’t this, isn’t death ahead, isn’t that a, that warrant for your arrest still out there? Isn’t your face still on the post office walls? Where’s Jesus taking us?” So, many of the disciples amazed, afraid.
On the other hand, some of them, and including the Twelve in particular, they’re mindful of what Jesus has just promised them back in verses 29-30. They’re mindful of the benefits and the blessings that are promised to them by following along as disciples. And they’re looking forward to that. They’re encouraged by that. In fact the Twelve, more specifically than any of the other disciples, the Twelve (Matthew 19:28), they heard Jesus say this: “When the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, and you’ll be judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Oh, so the Twelve, as they walk along and they head toward Jerusalem, yeah, they know about all the death threat and all that, but visions of grandeur are starting to fill their heads. Thoughts of glory, thoughts of their triumph, thoughts of their ruling and reigning with Jesus. They imagine that Jerusalem, and arriving in Jerusalem, means glory.
So, for the disciples, many of them, even the Twelve, there’s this complex of thoughts in their hearts. They’ve got conflicting thoughts, they’ve got contradictory feelings. There is a growing sense of uncertainty for them, and apprehension. While they’re reflecting on all this, Jesus is walking along ahead of them, and at some point Jesus stops, gathers his closest men, the Twelve, pulls them to one side, and he speaks these words we just read. What’s on Jesus’ mind?
“They will, by the Spirit, come to understand. They will believe, and they will build the church on this solid rock, and set a foundation upon which we all stand.”Travis Allen
Well, for him, he’s thinking about finishing what he came to do from the start. Jerusalem is where he had determined to go ever since Luke 9:51. It says there, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up,” that’s a reference to his ascension. So his ascension, he’s already come through suffering, death, resurrection. Now it’s his ascension. It says there, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up (his ascension into heaven, to be at the right hand of God), he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Oh, he’s eager.
Prior to setting out (you remember in Luke 9), he met with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. They appeared there with him in glory. They spoke of his “departure,” (his, term is, “Exodus”) “which he’d accomplish at Jerusalem.” So Jesus is thinking about that. He’s thinking about the exodus, a new exodus, a redemption of his people. He’s thinking about his ascension. He’s thinking about his return to the Father. He’s thinking about his eternal glory that he’s to return to, the abode of Heavenly glory. But he knows that the return to Glory is going to pass through the stark, the dark, the deep humiliation of the Cross. And now heading to Jerusalem, well, the end of his journey is there on the near horizon.
So at this point in time, Jesus decides to read his apostles in, so to speak. He pulls them aside to help them understand: Whatever they are thinking, whatever apprehensions and fears and anxieties they have, they really don’t know the half of it. And whatever visions of grandeur that they have, they need to be sobered by the fact that difficulty is coming. They need to understand that the Cross comes before the crown, that humiliation precedes glory. They need to see that shame and humiliation of the Cross.
And even through that, they need to understand that there’s no reason whatsoever to think that anything is wrong. There’s no reason to suppose that just because trouble looms, just because there’s anxiety, just because there’s concern, just because there’s threat of death, no reason to think that God’s plan has somehow been derailed.
Can you identify with this? I’m sure you can, if you think about it. When you wake up in the morning, and you’ve got a To-Do list, and you’ve got all the things you wanna get done and something interrupts that. How easily we can be thrown off the game. When tragedy strikes, when sorrows come, when griefs fill your heart, when you’re overcome, overwhelmed, when you’re confused and confounded; isn’t it easy in those times to despair, to lose sight of hope? Isn’t it easy to forget what we actually believe? That’s these disciples. They’re no different than us, and we’re no different from them. Quite on the contrary, in fact. For those who know the Lord, Romans 8:28, right? That’s still true. Everything’s on track.
And so he assures them in verse 31, “Everything” (very comprehensive term), “Everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.” Now, not just the triumph of the Son of Man, but the suffering, too. All of it. “That which is written,” ta gegramina, which is the perfect tense, “that which has been written.” It’s a reference, obviously, to revealed Scripture. At this point in the progress of revelation, Jesus is talking about the entirety of the Old Testament. Its threefold division for a Jew is the Law and the Prophets and the Writings. So all the things that we have from Genesis to Malachi, all of that is in his purview here. “Everything that’s been written about the Son of Man,” that which has been written, that which has been revealed, the entirety of the Old Testament written about the Son of Man, it will be accomplished.
He uses the verb there, teleo, means “to bring to completion in such a way that it leaves nothing undone.” Not one thing neglected, not one jot or tittle, not one iota. Nothing is left undone. It’s the idea there, in teleo, of doing something to the abs, absolute fullest extent. To bring something to its full and final end; concluded, wrap a bow on it and send it away because it is finished, it is done.
In fact, it’s the same verb that Jesus used (it was his final breath, John 19:30), tetelestai. Teleo, “It is finished.” It’s not a cry of defeat, by the way. It’s not. It’s a word of triumph. Tetelestai, it is finished, it is accomplished, it is completed. Same thing here. This is about the certainty of full redemption, that everything will come to its determined conclusion.
What is this for us? First of all, a reminder to search, to know, to believe, to teach the whole counsel of God, right? Those of you who are, I don’t like using the word “retired,” but those of you who no longer need to work for your, your meals (let’s put it that way), those of you who are freed up from the rigors of labor, you have time to give yourself to this. So give yourself to it. Search the Scriptures. Know the Scriptures, understand, believe them. Teach the whole counsel of God. When Jesus says “everything that is written,” we’re humbled about how much there is there, how much there is to learn as we recognize the infinite depths of what God has revealed.
Increasingly, as the years have passed by in my own study of God’s Word, I’m just staggered, absolutely staggered, when I stand at the precipice of yet another text, any text, and I get a sense of the length and the breadth and the height and the depth of that text. Ways that texts are interconnected. To discover the doctrines that are at play, the doctrines revealed, the doctrines that are informed by every text. Seeing the connections of those texts and those doctrines to greater theological themes. There is a, a brilliant, infinite mind behind every single word. It’s our thrill to discover that. And listen, beloved. It’s by searching his Word in an attitude of deep, deep humility, seeking not to master the Word but to be mastered by the Word; this contributes greatly to our knowing the truth, being assured in the truth, having a great confidence in the truth.
There’s a second little point of application we can make here for ourselves: That this is a reminder for us (what Je, just what Jesus says in verse 31), it’s a reminder for us that in God’s economy, in the outworking of his good and wise Providence, what may seem like tragedy to you at first glance, that’s actually working to accomplished God’s perfect will. It’s working to fulfill his promises. It’s working to bring all glory and honor and praise to God, to demonstrate his wisdom, to demonstrate the power of his Gospel in your life or the life of others. It’s a demonstration of his intention to do good for us no matter what the circumstances are, no matter what the situation may be.
Listen, Jesus’ theology takes into account all these things, and takes into account all the things that are written about himself in the Scripture. He’s been a student of the Scripture ever since he was young. He’s got no sin, no weakness to veil the Scripture from him. He knows the full meaning of every single text. And so, as he searches the Scripture, finds all the things written about himself, his theology takes into account and does justice to (as it says there) “everything” God revealed in Scripture about the Son of Man.
And more to the point, Jesus walked around with an abiding sense of the end result of this sound theology; that is, the assurance that God is in absolute and sovereign control. The sovereignty of God is not a, a doctrine to be shunned, to be set aside. It’s a doctrine to be embraced and explored because it gives such sound confidence, such assurance for our hearts. Everything is under his control. Jesus knows that after the suffering comes the triumph. After the Cross comes a crown. After the shame, humiliation, the ignominy; the glory of God is gonna shine forth like the noonday sun. He knows this. Jesus wanted the Twelve to know this. He wanted them to walk in this constant sense of assurance. So he gives them certainty about redemption.
The second word in your outline, number two in our outline is “Particularity.” This is verses 32-33. “The particularity of Christ’s passion,” if you want to fill that in. Number two: “The particularity of Christ’s passion.” By “passion” I mean “suffering.” Jesus said, “Everything will be accomplished,” and now he takes the Twelve into a level of detail that he has heretofore not revealed. This is the particularity with which God accomplishes everything. This is, you might call this “meticulous fulfillment.”
And I’ll add a footnote: Whatever level of detail that we see in his Passion, whatever level of detail we see in the fulfillment of prophecy regarding the suffering for sins (which is literal and physical and very concrete), our interpretive system needs to factor in that level of literal, physical, concrete detail about everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets. Why? Because, he says here, “all of it” (verse 31) “will be accomplished.” Be interesting to literalize everything with regard to his death on the Cross and suffering beforehand, and spiritualize and typologize everything else, and all the other prophecies about him.
So consider here the meticulousness of the accomplishment of the suffering of Christ, and the particularity of his passion. He says in verse 32, “For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him. And on the third day, he will rise.” As you read those verbs and you contemplate the meaning of those verbs, it’s a little bit hard to take in concentrated form, that this kind of treatment would happen to our dear Savior. Yet it’s exactly what the text reveals.
Jesus alluded to his suffering a number of times in Luke’s gospel. He alluded to it in Luke 5:35; 12:50; 13:32-33; 17:25. And then also, twice before, he made formal predictions about his suffering. Luke 9:22, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Number of verses later, in Luke Chapter 9, verse 44, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” So he’s delivered into the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes. He’s delivered into the hands of men. And now he gets a little bit more detailed here and says, “delivered over to the Gentiles.”
As I said, this is the third formal prediction. Shows a gradually increasing level of detail and clarity. And the level of detail here is not only remarkable, it shows this unmistakable connection between written prophetic Scripture, what Jesus says here, and then what, actually, he endured. What he really experienced concretely, physically, bodily, physiologically, (if we might put it this way) psychologically, in his soul and his thinking. Seven highly descriptive verbs here. Seven very dramatic verbs portray the events of Christ’s Passion. And in the text, they’re (in the original), they’re kinda grouped together here. You can kinda see it there. There’s the suffering of humiliation. There’s the suffering of execution. And then, finally, there’s the subversion of suffering in the resurrection itself.
We can make each one of those a sub-point. That might help you track a little bit better in your notes if you’re writing this down. But sub-point A we can call, “The suffering of humiliation” (verse 32), “The suffering of humiliation.” “For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon.” That’s the suffering of humiliation. In other words, he, Jesus Christ, is subjected to the most degrading treatment, which was an absolutely appalling treatment of this most glorious Son of Man.
In Matthew and Mark, they include the role of the chief priest and scribes who handed Jesus over to the Romans. “The Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priest and scribes. They’ll condemn him to death and then deliver him over to the Gentiles,” is what they say. Luke chooses just to isolate that last portion of what Jesus said, that the Son of Man will be delivered over to the Gentiles.
Why does Luke do that? Why does he set aside the role of the elders and the chief priests and the scribes? Why does he draw our attention specifically, particularly, to the role of the Gentiles? Listen, it’s critical. Apart from the involvement of the Romans, do you know that Jesus would never have been crucified on a cross? Wouldn’t have happened. If it was left up to the Jews, what would they have done to kill him? Stoning, right? Stoning. But as the occupying force in Judea, a Roman province here, Romans didn’t allow Jews to have authority over life and death. They weren’t allowed, the Jews were not allowed to execute capital punishment in their own land. Death sentences were the prerogative of Rome.
The Romans only, not the Jews. Jews would have stoned him, not crucified him. But the Romans, they like to make examples of notorious people like this. Would-be messiahs, people who cause insurrections, people who lead others astray, people who would be a rival to Caesar. So this is Luke’s way, a very subtle but very pointed way of pointing to the fulfillment of the prophecy that the Messiah would die by crucifixion and not some other means.
Now, when the Romans get involved, because they got involved (and especially Roman soldiers in particular), the Romans took out their loathing of the Jews on Jesus. So we can see that in how spitefully and shamefully he’s been treated. This “failed Messiah,” this would-be leader of the nation. “King of the Jews,” they put above his cross. “Here’s your king crucified on a cross. What do you make of him? This is what we think. This is what we Romans think of all of you Jews. Just another failed attempt. Just another failed savior.” They take out their loathing on Christ, on Jesus. They mock him, they treat him shamefully. They spit on him. They, they do all of this.
“To mock,” the verb is empaizo. It means to make somebody a, a, an object of ridicule, and it usually refers to a verbal mockery. It’s expressing derision for somebody, to make someone look absolutely foolish, turn this person into a, a laughingstock, to publicly humiliate him in front of everybody. There’s a lot of crossover between mocking someone and then the next verb, treating someone shamefully. But what we see, that the mocking is very necessary because the mocking, the one leads to the other.
The purpose of the mocking is to so dehumanize the victim, that it gives the conscience permission to go to the next step, the next level of abuse, and inflict pain upon the victim. First you have to dehumanize, make him look foolish, turning him into a laughingstock, heap scorn and derision upon him, so that everybody says, “This is life not worthy of life. This is a disgrace. This is someone that you have permission to go ahead and hurt.”
So the next verb, they go to the next step. The verb is hybrizo, from which we get the word “hubris.” Hubris is an act of excessive arrogance, and that is what’s demonstrated here, as they have no regard, no honor for a person as a person created in the image of God; let alone Jesus, the Son of Man, the Son of God. Hybrizo, the Greek verb is “to subject someone to abusive treatment.” Even cruel treatment. Demeaning treatment. It feeds the shame and the scorn. The more abused they are, the more unhuman they look. This kind of treatment of a prisoner that we have in our own code of jurisprudence, right, a proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. They’re actually advocating for it here.
The final verb pictures the Gentile treatment of Jesus, is the verb “to spit upon.” It’s the verb emptyo, emptyo. It’s an onomatopoeic word, which means it sounds like what it describes. Emptyo, “to spit upon.” In the ancient world, spitting on someone wasn’t about spreading germs and getting stuff on them or whatever. It wasn’t about giving the victim a cold in addition to giving him a beating or anything like that, so he dies doubly or something. Spitting on someone was a gesture of extreme contempt. That you would cover him in your own spit, it’s a loathing act. Despising, scorning. So those are the words that Jesus uses here to picture his suffering, prior to even getting to the Cross.
Let’s actually see and picture for ourselves how these are portrayed in what Jesus actually endured. There are a number of passages we can turn to, but let’s just stick with a few from Matthew’s gospel. If you go back to Matthew chapter 26. Matthew 26 and verse 63. Jesus is before Caiaphas and the council here. They’re looking for false witnesses against him. They don’t find any, except two come forward and say, “This man said, ‘I’m able to destroy the Temple of God, rebuild it in three days.’ High Priest says, ‘What have you got to say for yourself? What answer you gonna make?’” Jesus remained silent, and the high priest said to him in verse 63, “‘I adjure you by the living God to tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’”
So he’s placed under an oath, and Jesus submits to the oath, and he says to him in verse 64, “‘You’ve said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven.’” Next time you’re gonna see me? Second coming. “Then the high priest tore his robes and said, ‘He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have heard this blasphemy. What is your judgment?’ And they answered, ‘He deserves death.’ And then they spit in his face and struck him. Some slapped him saying, ‘Prophecy to us, you Christ, who is it that struck you?’” Use your prophetic insight. Tell us where the blows are coming from.
Matthew and Mark don’t record it, but according to Luke 23:11, when Pontius Pilate got ahold of Jesus after the elders, Caiaphas the high priest, they send him to Pontius, and Pontius Pilate says, “Ohh, wait, Jesus is, uh, from Galilee? He’s under Herod’s jurisdiction. I know how I can wash my hands of this. I’ll send him to Herod.”
So he sends Jesus to Herod Antipas, and it says in Luke 23:11 that Herod, with his soldiers, treated Jesus with contempt and mocked him too. And then arraying him in splendid clothing, as if to make a mockery of him, “Here’s the king,” sent him back to Pilate. Sending him back to the Pilate, this is where the games begin. This is where the real abuse comes. The meh Jews, Jews mocked him, treated him with contempt. Herod and his soldiers mocked him, treated him with contempt. And then as Jesus returns to Pilate now, this is when the soldiers get involved.
Turn to the next chapter of Matthew, Matthew 27, and find your way to verse 27, Matthew 27:27. “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him.” So, starts with some hazing, and then it just quickly escalates from there. Verse 28, “They stripped him. They put a scarlet robe on him. Twisted together a crown of thorns, and they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand.”
What are they doing? Making a mockery of him. “Here’s the kind of king you are.” “And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail King of the Jews.’ They spit on him, and they took the reed out of his hand and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.”
All that shameful treatment, all that mocking was meant to dehumanize him. It calloused the conscience and led to more extreme behaviors that showed contempt. The beatings, stripping him naked publicly in front of everybody, spitting on him, all that happened before he was nailed to a cross. Before he was naked and exposed and lifted up and raised up on high in public, in a highly trafficked area so that everyone could gawk at him while he suffered. And all the while, sinners are unwittingly participating in the fulfillment of “everything that has been written about the Son of Man by the prophets.”
David is one of those who wrote about this. You can turn in your Bibles to Psalm 22, Psalm 22, and see what is written with such vivid detail as David writes in the first person, yet he was speaking about what would be filled, fulfilled by Jesus. So this is really Jesus talking. Psalm 22 and verse, verses 6-8, speaks of what would be fulfilled by Jesus. “But I am a worm, not a man. Scorned by mankind, despised by the people.” Psalm 22:7, “All who see me mock me, and they make mouths at me. They, they wag their heads. ‘He trusts in the Lord, let him deliver him, let him rescue him, for he delights in him.’”
Isaiah 50 verse 6, the suffering servant there says, “I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.” All of it precisely foretold, prophesied. All of it fulfilled. And Jesus took it all. Jesus experienced humiliation and suffering, just as the prophets prophesied, just as Jesus predicted. And yet none of that, none of what he went through as a prelude to the Cross, none of that secured our salvation. It’s what happens next.
N, go back to Luke 18 verse 33. This is sub-point B, “The suffering of execution.” Sub-point B, “The suffering of execution.” Verse 33, “After flogging him, they will kill him,” Jesus says. Flogging and killing go together as really kinda one and the same thing, because the first is preparatory for the second. It’s the flogging as a prelude to the killing. The verb that Luke uses for flogging there is mastigoo, which John also uses in John 19:11. That’s the Greek word respers to flogging, scourging. Says there in John 19:1, “Pilate took Jesus and flogged him.” So mastigoo refers to inflicting punishment, flogging, scourging after the pronouncement of a death sentence. So it’s prior to the execution, it’s in view of the coming execution that they prepare him by flogging him.
Matthew 27:26 and Mark 15:15, both, they both use the Latin loan word, which is phragelloo. It’s a verb that comes from the instrument that actually inflicts the harm. A “flagellum” is the word there. It’s a whip. And one source says about this flagellum that “It consisted of a handle to which several cords or leather thongs were affixed. So you could imagine in a handle that your hand holds, something that can be held with two hands. That’s how long the handle was. Leather bound. And then coming off of that was several strips of long leather, to which were weighted with jagged pieces of bone or metal, to make the blow more painful and more effective. The victim was tied to a post, and the blows were applied to the back and loins, and sometimes even, in the wanton cruelty of the executioner, to the face and to the bowels. So hideous was the punishment that the victim usually fainted and, not rarely, died under it.” End Quote.
That’s just the preparation for execution. That’s to weaken the body so that death doesn’t take too long. Because after all, I don’t want to waste everybody’s time waiting around for this guy to die. I got, I got families to go home to. Again, what did Jesus do? He endured it. Isaiah 50, verse 6, “I gave my back to those who strike, my cheeks to those who pull out the beard.” Jesus took it all.
And then? They killed him. They killed him. Matthew 27:50, “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up his Spirit.” Mark 15:37, “Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.” Luke 23:46, “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last.” John 19:28-30, “Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said to fulfill the Scriptures, ‘I thirst.’ A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. And when he,” (Jesus) “had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’” Tetelestai. He bowed his head. Gave up his Spirit.”
What passages does Jesus’ crucifixion fulfill from the Old Testament? Paul quoted one in Galatians 3:13. “The Christ became a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” (that cross being a tree, wood). Refers to what’s written in Deuteronomy 21:23, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree, and so therefore don’t let that body be there overnight.” That’s why they have to go grab the bodies off the crosses at the end of this.
Clearest passage, though, obviously, comes from the pen of David. In fact, go back to Psalm 22. You were there just a little bit ago. Go back to Psalm 22 and take a look at what’s written there. Again, obviously from the pen of David, but it comes from the mouth of Christ himself. Psalm 22, and look at verse 12. This is his experience on the Cross. “Many bulls encompass me. Strong bulls of Bashan surround me. They open wide their mouths at me like a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.”
It’s the experience of someone who’s hanging, their shoulder joints pulled out of joint, their elbow joints, all the joints pulled out. “All my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax. It is melted within my breast. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws, and you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me. A company of evildoers encircles me. They’ve pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me, and they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
Oh yeah, Jesus knew what was coming. He knew what he was facing. Those are the words of the Son of God. He knew what he was, what, what would happen to him, being crucified at the hands of the Romans. That’s the only way that these prophecies would be fulfilled completely, is if all of this happened to him. Impossible, isn’t it, to know exactly what’s going on in his mind.
But we can imagine that, humanly speaking, he’s feeling, as he anticipates this, all the physiological signs of the body reacting to stress and anxiety. That nervous feeling in the gut. Cold sweat on the palms. Anxious foreboding. The temptation to fear. To turn and run. Hendrickson says this, “In the human consciousness of our Lord, the feel of the approaching horror was, little by little, becoming more real. The horror must have been very real, very terrifying.” I can imagine it was palpable.
And I’ve got to imagine that in telling his disciples about this, about what’s gonna happen to him: He did it, yeah, to teach ‘em; yes, to make sure that they know what’s coming, so it doesn’t shake their faith; to encourage them, strengthen them, solidify them. But might there also be in our Lord a desire to invite his closest friends in, that they might share his concern? He is a man after all, isn’t he? He is a human being. Does he not want to invite them close, that they might understand and, and walk with him through this? I think so, and I’ll make my case in just a few minutes for why I believe that. But for now, what we see here is that he’s gonna have to go it alone.
Again, it’s Henderson who says this, “The Man of Sorrows sees it coming toward him. He already senses something of the perfidy, the hypocrisy, the calumny, the mockery, the pain, the shame, which, like an avalanche, threatens to overwhell him, overwhelm him. And yet, he does not retreat or even stand still. With unflinching determination, he walks right into it. For he knows that this is necessary in order that his people may be saved.” End Quote.
Beloved, think about that for yourself. Whatever sin you’ve committed, whatever sins maybe you’re committing right now, whatever sins you’re not repentant of, man, just would you repent, but whatever’s going on, he ascended that Cross, and he did it by his own decision and his free will. He was volun, voluntarily going up to the Cross, for your sake and for mine. Every sin on him was laid. And God poured out his wrath on him. And he did it for you. He did it for me. He has your name in his mind on the Cross.
Jesus has been a careful student of the prophets. They not only prophesy about his death, they tell us why he had to die. We should look at that too. Isaiah, chapter 53. Where else would we go, right? Isaiah 53. Such a powerful testimony to the meaning of the crucifixion, the meaning of the Cross. And take a look at Isaiah 53, verse five. It says, well, let’s back up to verse 4. “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”
That is, this is redeemed Israel, looking back on the crucifixion and saying, “We got this all wrong. We thought that God was doing this to him, in the sense that God was displeased with him, God had forsaken him. That’s what the chief priests and the elders and the scribes had all taught. “Hand him over to the Romans. He’s worthless. Might as well cash in on his death so that it can save our place and our nation.” “We esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But” (come to find out), “he was wounded for our transgressions” (verse 5). “He was crushed for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace. With his stripes, we are healed.”
“Every sin on him was laid. And God poured out his wrath on him. And he did it for you. “Travis Allen
Skip down to verse 9. “They made his grave with the wicked, with a rich man in his death. And though, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth, yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him. He has put him to grief.” Yeah, it was God that put him to death on the Cross. It was God that put him there. It was God that poured out his wrath on him, but not for his sake, not for his sins, but for ours.
“And when his soul” (middle of verse 10), “when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days. The will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of the s, of his soul he shall see and be satisfied. And by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous. And he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.” Why? “Because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
Jesus died as our substitute. As a substitute for sinners, to take in his own body the punishment that we sinners deserve, to pay for our sins, to remove our offense before a holy God, in order to propitiate God’s wrath. Why did he do this? Oh, “for the joy set before him.” That’s why “he endured the Cross.” That’s why he “despised the shame.” He did it to “sit down at the right hand of God after making purification for sins” (Hebrews 1:3). “And out of the anguish of his soul he shall see, he shall be satisfied. By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted as righteous.” What a glorious truth. What a glorious Gospel.
Jesus experienced the suffering of humiliation, the suffering of execution (just as the prophets prophesied), and then, just as he predicted, sub-point C, sub-point C, we see the subversion of the suffering, the subversion of suffering. This is, whoa, this is such a tremendous relief after all that darkness and pain and sorrow and sadness and death. Verse 33, “On the third day he will rise.” Literally, that’s the passive voice. It says he will “be raised,” passive voice. So, raised by whom? Well, the Scripture attests to the triune God. It’s by the will of the Father, it’s by the power of the Spirit, it’s by the direction, the choice of the Son, that he is risen from the dead.
And we see this attested to in the Synoptic Gospels, don’t we, Matthew 28:5-7: “The Angel said to the woman, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. Oh he’s not here, for he has risen as he said.” Right here, Luke 18:32-33. “He has risen, just as he said. Come, see the place where he lay, then go quickly, tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he’s going before you to Galilee, and there you will see him.’”
Mark 16:16-7, “Angel said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen. He’s not here. See the place where they laid him? Go tell his disciples, and Peter, he’s going before you to Galilee, and there you will see him just as he told you.’” Again, emphasis on the verbal words spoken, the sayings of Jesus Christ. Luke 24:5-8, “The men said to him, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He’s not here. He has risen. Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee, “The Son of Man must be delivered to the hands of sinful man, be crucified, and on the third day rise.”’ And they remembered his words.”
Where do we find the prophets prophesying about the, we’ve seen the suffering and the death of Jesus, but what about the resurrection of Jesus? Many places we can consider, right? Many places we can go to. But I want to consider just one place of importance: Peter’s choice of a prophetic text, which you’ll find in the sermon that he preached at Pentecost. Let’s go over to Acts Chapter 2, Acts Chapter 2, and find your way to verse 22.
Peter gets done explaining how it is that he and his fellow apostles are all filled with the gift to speak other languages that they had not spoken before, not studied. They were able to do that by the power of the Holy Spirit, just exactly as Joel 2 prophesied. And so then he comes to verse 22 and he, after he explains all that he says, “‘Men of Israel hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst as you yourselves know; this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified, you killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death because it was not possible for him to be held by it, for David says concerning him’” (this is coming from Psalm 16), “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. My flesh also will dwell in hope, for you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your holy one see corruption. You’ve made known to me the paths of life, and you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”’”
Now Peter’s gonna do a little preaching, interpreting Scripture. “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses.”
Psalm 16, just one of many texts that predict the rising of Jesus from the dead. Go back to Luke 18:31-33. One commentator said, “Predicting his death (Jesus’ death) might result in shaking the faith of his disciples temporarily, maybe. But,” then he says, “the prediction of his rising again was calculated to establish it.” And that’s exactly right. That’s the purpose of our Lord. To establish the faith of his men, to assure them in the truth, to strengthen them with the certainty of Scripture, with the certainty of his spoken word, his own promises.
Beloved, don’t ever doubt the Scripture. Don’t ever doubt the promises of Christ. Don’t ever obfuscate what’s so clearly written by appealing to some form of interpretation that doesn’t make it literally plain to you. “Everything, everything written about the Son of Man by the prophets.” In his suffering, in his crucifixion, in his death and his resurrection, did it not happen literally, bodily? Don’t obscure the plain truth of the Scripture, of the Bible you hold in your hands, by assuming any other meaning.
The certainty of his redemption, it’s further buttressed by the particularity of his passion. And now we see a third strength of assurance, here; a third word (verse 34), “Singularity.” Remember I gave you that at the beginning. Number 3: The singularity of Christ’s propitiation. The singularity of Christ’s propitiation. By singularity here, I mean unique. Absolutely, utterly unique. Something completely peculiar to Christ and Christ alone.
Verse 34. That’s what he would go through in his propitiation. But look at verse 34. “But they” (who’s that? That’s the Twelve), “they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them and they did not grasp what was said.” Luke is saying the same thing three times, isn’t he? He’s repeated this three times. They did not yet, at this point in time, understand the word of the Cross (1 Corinthians 1:23), but it threatened to be a stumbling block to them at this point. A crucified Messiah? It doesn’t make sense.
First, Luke tells us “they understood none of these things.” He uses the aorist tense there. It’s just a, a statement of the fact that they were unable to grasp the significance of anything that Jesus had said on any point, any point in particular, any point in general, they didn’t get it. It’s a comprehensive lack of understanding here. No comprehension whatsoever. Full stop. That’s the aorist tense.
Second thing he says is, “This saying was hidden from them.” This is a very unique construction in the Greek. You grammarians know what the pluperfect is, AKA the, uh, past perfect? That’s what this is. Luke takes an imperfect tense, uh, of the eimi verb. He joins it to a perfect passive participle, and he forms a pluperfect participle.
I know I’m geeking out about that here, but there’s one or two of you that’re like, “Yeah, bring it on.” So it’s for you. “This saying” (and here’s how it would be translated), “had been being hidden from them.” It had been hidden from them, and it starts and it continues throughout the past tense. Has a sense of an ongoing experience, but it’s happened in the past. And why do we say, why do we want to keep that and relegate that to the past? Because we know that there’s coming a time when they will believe. Luke makes that clear.
But not only are the apostles here completely ignorant about any of the things Jesus talked about; not only is this saying being hidden from them, the third thing: “They did not grasp what was said.” Okay, that seems obvious. They didn’t grasp it. They’re not getting it. And this one is in the imperfect tense, ongoing action past time. They’re, they’re not understanding what was said. Try as they might, meditate as long as they wanted to, nothing’s happening, nothing’s getting in there, no understanding. Now, if that seems to you, by Luke, to be an overly long and involved way of saying “they didn’t get it,” you’re right about that. But why would he say it like this? Why would he seem to, like, pile it on?
Actually, when you compare Luke and what he does here with the other two synoptic gospel writers, Luke is going easy on the disciples here, really easy. Matthew and Mark, they’re not upfront in stating it this way, like Luke is in telling their readers that the Apostles failed to understand. What’d Matthew and Mark do? They show it. They show it. They record what? In particular James and John (but by extension all the apostles), they show what they did in a rather unflattering manner, in a really bad moment.
Turns out that right after Jesus takes ‘em aside, pulls ‘em close, gives us some incredible insight into what’s waiting around the corner in Jerusalem, which, if they’d been able to understand at all, if they could reflect for even one second on the implications for their Lord, what he’s gonna go through, what this means for Jesus, what this means for their friend, well, they don’t do that.
Instead, Matthew and Mark record the request of James and John, and what are they doing? They’re vying for the best places in the Kingdom: to sit, one on the right hand and one on the left, of Jesus in the Kingdom. The other disciples are indignant about this (not because of the offense of this, but because they wanted the honor for themselves, and James and John got to him first).
They even (according to, I billy, believe, it’s Matthew’s account), they even enlisted their mother to do it. I mean, that’s low, gettin’ Mom. James and John, I know, all the other apostles, they’re listening to him, I suppose. They’re technically listening. Sound waves are hittin’ their eardrums. But they’re not really hearing him, are they? They hear about mocking, scorning, spitting. Yeah, yeah, I got it. OK. Flogging, killing, rising from the dead. Are they really hearing all this?
Where are their minds right now? Not on the Cross. They’re thinking about the triumph, the coming glory (Matthew t 19:28), “When the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who’ve followed me will also sit on twelve Thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” That’s what they want. That’s what they’re after. They’re ready to ascend. They’re ready to rise, to embrace their triumph. Their hearts are not at all prepared to stand with Jesus, to remain faithful to him. To be there by his side, ready to suffer with him.
Not really. Remember how Jesus responded to their request? He was so incredibly gentle, I think. He said in Matthew 20 verse 22, “‘Guys, you don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’”
Uh, no, you’re not. But that’s the point, isn’t it? That’s the point. There’s only one who’s able to drink the bitter cup, right? Only one. And this is why, when Luke tells us the apostles didn’t get what Jesus is saying, repeating it three times, in three different ways, using three different verb tenses, he is so emphatic about them not getting it. Because we need to see clearly that “There is one” (and only one) “mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), and that is “the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all of us.” No other savior, no other name by which men must be saved. That’s the singularity of Christ’s propitiation. This is what he came to do, suffering and dying for the sins of his people. He had to do it all. He had to do it, and he had to do it utterly alone.
I think, though, in this text we can see, he wanted to share this with his men. He desires to share it. He tried to share it, even if they failed to grasp what he, what he’d said, even if it’s hidden from them at this particular time, he wanted to. But ultimately, it was his Cross to bear, quite literally. No one else could ascend it but him. Having said that, this is not the last chapter in the story, is it?
Turn to the last chapter in the story, in Luke Chapter 24. Notice what happens. This is after his resurrection, isn’t it? Jesus comes to his apostles, comes to them after his resurrection, after all that he predicted was accomplished and he’s at it again. He’s reading them in. He’s making sure that they understand. Find your way in Luke 24 down to verse 44.
Remember I told you earlier that Jesus revealed his coming suffering, death, resurrection, to assure his apostles, to encourage them to endure through adversity, to help them to consider the reward following the suffering. I believe, as I told you, that he also wanted to bring his friends close. He wanted them to share his heart’s concern. He wanted them to walk with him, to participate in his ministry. We could even put it this way: He intended for them to fellowship with him, to commune with him.
Here’s why. After Jesus presented himself alive after suffering, by many convincing proofs, he said to them in verse 44, “These are my words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” And then what does it say there? “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.’”
Listen, Jesus had to suffer and die alone. He had to be the propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of his people. But his resurrection life, his eternal life, that he shares with us. And he opens their minds, that they could understand everything else that he taught them. And in Acts chapter two, he grants them the indwelling Holy Spirit, that they may be brought into all truth. And remember, everything that Jesus said he intended for his apostles, and then through his apostles he’s intended for all of us, that we have fellowship with him, that we commune with him as witnesses of his Gospel, as fellow servants of the truth.
For those of us who are prone to maybe focus on the triumph only, and not consider how sharing in the sufferings of Christ is a duty and a privilege of the Christian life, of Christian discipleship; let the prospect of suffering that Jesus promises sober your mind, ready you for action. If you stand, that’s good. Good on you for standing. Good on you for walking strong, but (1 Corinthians 10:12), “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” Don’t let your heart become proud. Don’t be arrogant over and against other people. “Take heed lest you fall.” If you tend to focus on the triumph, it’s good, it’s good, good focus. But remember the suffering, too.
For others of you, maybe you’re a half, a, glass half empty, Johnny Raincloud kinda person. But whatever adversity you’re facing, some, some of you may be totally optimistic, but you’re just facing terrible, terrible trials. Whatever you’re facing, whatever trial or temptation, whatever sorrow or grief, don’t let your hearts be overcome, be overwhelmed, be afraid, be discouraged. Believe in God. Believe in the Christ of God who accomplished everything. Keep believing. Keep on following so that you endure by God’s grace, and you’re faithful to the very end. Let’s pray.
Our Father, we want to give thanks to you in the name of Jesus Christ, and thank you for opening our minds to the Scriptures. We thank you for the indwelling Holy Spirit who illuminates the truth to us, for us, so that we might worship, so that we might believe, so that we might follow in faithful obedience and endure to the end. We thank you, our Father, for clarity that you’ve brought through this text to us. We thank you for what Jesus has taught, how he’s encouraging; how he is our Savior, but also (as Hebrews points to), he’s counts us brothers. Siblings underneath your fatherhood.
We thank you that you’ve sent him to teach us and to encourage our hearts so that we might endure. I pray for every Christian soul here that you would cause them to endure, faithful to the end. For those of the people here who do not yet know you, Father, I pray that you would open their hearts even now to the faith in Jesus Christ, and trust of the word of the Cross. They might not count it folly or a stumbling block, but they would see instead the wisdom of God, power from God. We ask, Father, that you would be glorified in the name of Jesus Christ for all that we’ve heard today, in Jesus name, Amen.