Summary: Jesus was dead, so what is to be done with the body. Watch how God makes sure that His Son is honored, and how that is with cross-purposes with what men want to do. Is it any surprise that God wins?
Passage: Matthew 27:57-66
Intro: So Jesus is dead, the crowds are gone, the drama is over, ( or so most thought)
1. the sun has reappeared, but for just a few more hours
2. the earth has stopped shaking, and there is nothing left but the sad sight of three mutilated corpses on crosses.
3. time to clean up, to put to whole sorry spectacle in the rear view mirror.
4. darkness had won, the Son of God was dead.
PP Satan in “Passion of the Christ”
5. we have watched as men, resistant to the truth of Jesus Christ, have pulled legal stunts and stirred up the crowd and intimidated a Roman governor until they got the crucifixion they wanted.
6. as we watch what looked like the end, let’s do so in the context of the whole week of Christ’s suffering.
7. because what we are watching here is a mighty spiritual war being waged, and the final blow is about to be struck.
8. we are participants in this ongoing war. So let’s understand our task.
I. The Purpose of God: To Reveal the Truth and so Honor Jesus.
1. so now what is to be done with the dead body of Jesus?
2. typically, Romans let it rot on the cross as an example to others.
3. but since Jews had requested bodies not be left on cross for Sabbath, it was destined to be tossed in the Kidron Valley as trash
PP Isaiah 53:9
4. instead, a secret disciple with some pull stepped in
5. he had a small time window to work in, 3 p-6pm, when sunset occurred
6. because at sundown, the Sabbath laws against work went into effect.
7. so had to get permission from Rome, take body down, prepare for burial, bury…all in less than three hours.
PP Numbers 9:10 celebrate Passover one month later
8. had some help from Nicodemus
9. but it was always God’s plan to honor His Son!
Il) months ago we looked at a parable in Matthew 22. Parable of Wedding Banquet. God’s purpose was to honor His Son. And those who refused were treated harshly
10. see it all thru the Passion Week.
11. Triumphal entry, “the rocks will cry out if you don’t”
12. calm at arrest, no resistance, fabulous character
13. bogus trial, even with liars, could not convict of any sin.
14. and then, during and after crucifixion, the tremendous events of darkness, earthquake, tearing of veil, resurrections
15. so it stands to reason that God would want to treat the body of His beloved Son with respect. It is God’s purpose to honor His Son. And He will.
II. The Purpose of Man: To Hide the Truth and So Dishonor Jesus
1. God thwarted any plan they might have to dishonor Jesus in death.
2. but sinful man is relentless in his resistance to the truth.
3. we would think that the display at Jesus’ death would cause them to reconsider.
4. but there in their spiritual darkness they could only continue to seek to hide the truth so clearly revealed.
PP people hiding from blinding light
5. they had been resistant to His Triumphal Entry, had referred to His pronouncement of divinity as blasphemy, had convicted Him falsely and had him crucified torturously, had planned to let the Romans throw His body in the dump, and now here in vv62-64, pleaded with Pilate to make sure His body remained in the grave.
6. they were desperate to resist the truth.
7. asked Pilate to secure Jesus’ tomb, lest the chicken disciples come and steal His body.
8. to do so, even without the presence of a guard, the disciples would become Sabbath breakers, defying the Sanhedrin, bearing false witness, stealing Roman property, becoming unclean during Passover week,
9. and after Pilate gave them a guard, who sealed the tomb (Romans, therefore) they would have had to fight through this group of trained killers to roll back the stone and take the body of Jesus.
10. and in doing so, incur the wrath of both the ruling Jews and the ruthless Romans. I don’t think so.
11. the disciples were no threat, but the truth was!
12. so they worked to oppose even the possibility, desperate to crush the truth that could save them.
13. we see this all around us. God’s truth is consistently resisted.
14. historical, scientific, theological, moral…man will resist.
15. so what will happen to end this?
III. God Uses Man’s Resistance to Accomplish His Purpose to Honor the Son.
1. isn’t it amazing that the very guards that the Jews insisted be posted would become proof of the resurrection?
2. everything they did in their hostile unbelief gives credence to the very event they were trying to prevent.