Summary: There was one phrase that Jesus never used of Himself... but when others used it, dramatic things would happen. What was that phrase?
OPEN: A Jewish father was concerned about his son. He had not truly raised him to be grounded in the faith of Judaism… So, hoping to remedy this he sent his son to Israel so the boy could experience his heritage. A year later the young man returned home.
He said, "Father, thank you for sending me to the land of our Fathers. It was wonderful and enlightening. However, I must confess that while in Israel I converted to Christianity."
"Oh (groan) what have I done?" the father thought. So in the tradition of the patriarchs he went to his best friend and sought his advice and solace.
"It is amazing that you should come to me," stated his friend, "I too sent my son to Israel and he returned a Christian."
So in the traditions of the Patriarchs they went to the Rabbi. "It is amazing that you should come to me," stated the Rabbi, "I too sent my son to Israel and he returned a Christian. What is happening to our sons?
“Brothers, we must take this to the Lord," said the Rabbi. They fell to their knees and began to wail and pour out their hearts to the Almighty.
As they prayed, the clouds above opened and a mighty voice stated, "Amazing that you should come to Me. I, too, sent My Son to Israel..."
APPLY: One of most dramatic events in human history took place when God sent His Son to Israel. People who had been life-long Jews, were transformed by His presence, His power and His words.
When the church first began on the day of Pentecost, thousands of Israelites responded by acting upon their faith: repenting of their sins and being buried in waters of Christian baptism. In those early days, the church grew by leaps and bounds. It seemed that whoever came into contact with Him became His follower… People loved Him.
I. Well (pause..) not everyone loved Him
There were those who didn’t like Him
There were those who turned away from Him
And there were those who tried to argue with Him
AND every once in a while, there were those reacted violently to Jesus.
For example, there was the time when Jesus declared:
"…before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58)
In the very next verse (John 8:59) we’re told "At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds."
Later, Jesus proclaimed:
“I and the Father are one." (John 10:30)
John 10:31 tells us "again the Jews picked up stones to stone him,"
And now, here in Matthew, Caiaphas and the court he has assembled, erupted with the same kind of violence and anger we read about in those other passages. Let’s REREAD Matthew 26:62-67
Look at how they react:
They yell at Him
They spit on Him
They slap Him & beat Him
Up until this point in His trial, the court has been fairly tame. Granted, there have been false witnesses
Granted, this has been an illegal, middle of the night court scene (it was against Jewish law to do this).
But, EVEN for as illegal and unfair as this court scene had been it was still mild compared to the hostility that erupts at this point.
ILLUS: I don’t know about you, but there are times when my wife and I might be watching a movie together and an actor will say something that is pivotal to the plot – and I’ll have missed it. And I’ll turn to Diana and I’ll ask “What did he say?”
It’s not that I am hard of hearing, it’s just I wasn’t paying attention right then. Or I might be thinking about something else… but whatever, I missed something
And so I ask: “What happened? What did he say?”
Have you ever had that happen to you?
I can imagine someone reading this text for the first time might ask that very same question –
“What did Jesus say?”
I mean, these guys with Caiaphas didn’t much like Jesus anyway – BUT what lit their fuse? What made them so angry? So violent? So unreasonable?
It was the question: “Are you … the Son of God?”
II. This term – “Son of God” shows up only a few times in the Gospels…
As far as I can tell, Jesus never referred to Himself by that phrase. He always seems to call Himself "the Son of Man." Never the Son of God.
However, when others use this term – Son of God - it’s usually pretty significant.
· The angel that announced Jesus’ birth said to Mary:
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35