Summary: God can place a heavenly "But" in the midst of our lives that changes the course of life’s direction.
In verse 9 of Isaiah is the prophetical conclusion of the New Testament Good Friday execution on Calvary. Actually, verse 9 is the Old Testament proclamation of the sixth word of the Cross, “It is Finished”. Isaiah saw the finished scene of Calvary. In verse 9 the Prophet saw the intended burial of the Christ as planned by man. Verse 9 is the last snap shot of what would happen seven hundred years later on the hill of Calvary.
But this text actually is a great reminder, it reminds us that God permits and God allows men to go only as far as He allows or permits. Pontius Pilot literally thought that he was in control of this affair, those Roman soldiers who were following the orders of the Governor even thought that they had some control over these bodies that they had been assigned on this day. These soldiers were carrying out what they assumed were the orders of the day. Execute three criminals, take them down from the cross and like Hitler did the Jews, bury them in some undignified public burial ground, or just dump their bodies in some cold and callous hole and be done with them. They may and probably did that with two of the bodies, but not with Christ’s body. Jesus who died with the criminals, died like a criminal, however, the prophet saw his burial would not be like or with them.
The text says in verse 9 (Darby), “And [men] appointed his grave with the wicked, but he was with the rich in his death, because he had done no violence, neither was there guile in his mouth.” This literally means He was assigned; He was scheduled to be buried “with” the criminals. Yet, there is a “Prophetical But”, there is a “Divine But”, there is a “Heavenly Conjunction”. The Prophet Isaiah foresees a Heavenly Hook-up. That is the work of a conjunction, it connects, it joins. We learned that in elementary school. A conjunction joins (hooks-up). God was going to insert a “Divine But”, a “Prophetical But”. I am glad I serve a God who sometimes will punctuate my life (your life) moments with a Divine But, He will deposit in our pilgrimage a Divine But. When the wheels of life are turning a certain way, and that way does not seem favorable, God will insert a “But”. When God places a “but” in our lives it can be the difference between:
Tragedy or Triumph
Failure or Victory
Overcome or Over Comer
Going under or Going over
Backward or Forward
Conquered or Conqueror
When Christ died on the cross and the thieves are finally dead also, the soldiers are perhaps making the move to take all of them to the burial site.
But God – He had a final word, a final say so, a final action. Verse 9b – But he was with the rich in His death.
Verse 41 in John 19, But there was a place where he had been crucified a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid.
This prophetical word also would teach us a great lesson about Discipleship as we lift up a couple observations out of Matthew. Because it is in Matthew how the prophecy is fulfilled, and it is fulfilled by two unlikely persons. But the lesson is a great principle about discipleship.
I. Real Discipleship Can Not Remain Hidden (A Secret)
It is really difficult to be a secret disciple, either the discipleship will destroy the secrecy or the secrecy will destroy the discipleship.
Joseph was a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin; Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin as well, a Master Teacher of Israel.
Nicodemus knew well who Christ was, he admitted that in John chapter three. Joseph too had come to know who Christ was. My suggestion is that they had encountered their own private conjunction in their lives that had hooked them up to Jesus. They had apparently had their own insertion of a Holy “But”. These brothers had been secretly following, secretly serving, however, they could not hold it any longer. The old church used to sing a song that affirmed that, “I said I wasn’t going to tell anybody, but I could not keep it to myself”. Nicodemus and Joseph had come to know him as:
Lord!! Son of God!! Savior!!! The Redeemer!!! The Great I Am!!!
When it’s real, it’s difficult, no it’s impossible to keep it hidden.
II. Real Discipleship Will Give It’s Best For The Kingdom (King).
Nicodemus brought myrrh, aloes, spices, you can be sure that it cost him to do that. But I am sure he did not mind the price. I am sure he bought the best he could give.