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192 - As Secure as We Know How!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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April 20, 2024 3:06 pm

192 - As Secure as We Know How!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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April 20, 2024 3:06 pm

Episode 192 - As Secure as We Know How! (20 April 2024) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages. Welcome to More Than Ink. At the death of Jesus, his followers were deeply shocked, shaken to the core.

I think they didn't think he would really die, but they were deeply shaken. And did you know that all of creation shuddered? Yes, and it's actually written into the text we'll read today on More Than Ink. Yes siree, this is More Than Ink. I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we are here in the closing sections of Matthew. And we're in the crucifixion, and so it's a difficult section to read, but we're coming up to the resurrection pretty soon here, so good news is coming soon. That's a good thing, but this has been three weeks that we have been lingering in this time that Jesus was on the cross.

It really was, what, six or seven hours in reality. But there were a lot of events that took place, and among the gospels there's a lot of interesting detail. No single gospel gathers all the same details.

Right, right, right. So we will encourage you again, even though we're in Matthew's gospel, take a look at John and Luke and Mark, because they have extra details, you have extra viewers, they see different things. So they're not in conflict, but so they just cover different stuff.

So Matthew covers some unique stuff as well here, so we'll see that as we go on. Now previously, previously we were, Jesus had been crucified, and there was a lot of mocking going on. In fact, if I go just back in this chapter to verse 39, they were saying, You who destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross. So a lot of mocking, a lot of taunting. They knew who Jesus claimed to be, and for them the sight of him now subject to the violent persuasions of the Romans and being crucified is just a stark contradiction to who he claimed to be, and so they're taunting him with that.

What they don't know is he's there voluntarily. So that's where we are. Jesus is on the cross, and we are in chapter 27 of Matthew and at verse 45. So let's go.

Pick it up. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? What that is, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And some of the bystanders hearing it said, This man's calling Elijah. And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, Wait, let's see whether Elijah will come to save him.

And Jesus cried out with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. Okay. Let's stop there. Yeah.

Please. So we know from the other Gospels that he was crucified about nine in the morning. So here we are three hours later around noon, the sixth hour it says in verse 45. That's six hours after daybreak.

Daybreak's around six, so we're at noon. Interestingly enough, there's darkness over the land from noon until three in the afternoon. A lot of people have said, Oh, this is an eclipse. No, it's not an eclipse. That would be easily looked up.

Yeah. In fact, you know, in the Jewish calendar, the first of the month always starts the new moon. And Passover, which is where we are here, is in the middle of the month. So we're actually at a full moon, which means the moon's on the wrong side of the earth for an eclipse.

So that's just true. And we know we just recently had an eclipse. We know that a total eclipse only happens for just maybe 10 minutes tops. So here we are three hours. Three hours of darkness.

Yeah, three hours as well as an earthquake. And it's interesting. I looked several years ago. There's a secular historian who actually recorded the fact that there was this thing that happened. And I'll just read it for you really quickly. I had to go back and look at it again. This guy, a Roman historian by the name of Phlegon. Nice name.

Phlegon with a P-H. But he writes, he says, in the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad. So it's specific when this is. There was an extraordinary eclipse of the sun at the sixth hour. The day turned into dark night. So the stars in the heaven were seen and there was an earthquake.

Well, it matches. Yeah. So he called it an eclipse. Yeah. Well, he says an extraordinary eclipse of the sun at the sixth hour.

The day turned into night. Yeah. And there was also an earthquake that went along with it. So he didn't mention how long it was.

No. But it's in the right year. But anyway, it was complete darkness. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, that is pretty shocking that it would be dark for that length of time in the middle of the day. And I learned that another historian from that same time, Josephus, records that that ninth hour was the normal time of the sacrifice, the evening sacrifice in the temple.

That's when they did it. Yeah. So the temple would have been quite busy at this point with lots of sacrifices going on. Yeah. Yeah, and it's fascinating because here we are just before Jesus dies and it's as though the entirety of creation is staggered by what's happening here.

And three hours of darkness and then an earthquake and then Jesus dies. Yeah, we're going to read about a couple of those things shortly. Yeah, symbolically it's saying a whole lot about creation itself, in fact, responding to what's happening here. Yeah. So, yeah. Okay, so before we leave the darkness, I just encourage our readers, darkness in the scriptures is significant.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I would encourage you, get your concordance and look up darkness and see what you can learn about the presence of darkness very often associated with judgment, with God's presence to judge. And one of the most interesting parts of the scripture that talks about darkness is back in Exodus during the tenth plague and the darkness that God inflicted upon Egypt lasted three full days. Right. Now that's interesting that given that this darkness was three hours, there in Egypt that darkness preceded the death of the firstborn. Yeah.

That was the culmination of it. And then here at the death of Jesus, we have three hours of darkness, again, at the death of the firstborn of all creation. So I would just encourage you, take your concordance and look at darkness and see what you can learn, what might God be indicating. Yeah, and these events that happen symbolically are not accidental, are not coincidental.

No. These are things that God uses to shake us up to realize that there's something bigger going on at the MBC. In fact, I think it's these events that causes the centurion to change his mind. Well, yes. As a matter of fact, I heard someone earlier this week refer to these kinds of parallels as sacred echoes. Oh, that's cool.

That's cool. And I liked that idea because an echo is not precisely like the thing that made it, but it evokes the thing. It makes you think of it.

It sounds enough like it that it sets your mind back to the original call. So, you know, we'll see those kind of echoes of things all through the scripture when God produces an event, and then later on, similar events that have some of the same characteristics happen over and over again. You're like, oh, God's pointing to something. Well, and God uses these dualisms, we call them, these echoes for a lot of stuff. Like King David was kind of like an echo before the fact of who the Messiah was.

And so that comes up a lot. In fact, speaking of that, Jesus is quoting from Psalm 22. Psalm 22. When he says this, it's a psalm of David. And when David was in a pretty down time, and he said, he said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? I think that's why Jesus said this in Aramaic, which has a close connection to Hebrew, so that those who heard him say it would instantly connect it to Psalm 22. Because Psalm 22 also has some really remarkable pre-figuring of what's happening right here. Some very clear expressions about the things Jesus was experiencing.

So I'm not going to tell you about those, but I would encourage you to go look at Psalm 22. We're going through this passage right now on the death of Jesus. And read Psalm 22, and you tell me what you see in terms of parallels.

Because there's a lot of things that pop up right here. And Jesus, by saying this aloud, is deliberately challenging us to go to Psalm 22. Well, and I would just add, I was thinking about this this week, that Jesus in his human embodiment was experiencing a level of physical anguish and knowing that he was, that the sins of all the world were being laid on him.

What he experienced, we have no way of comprehending. But it's interesting, it's actually quite helpful to me that at this point in his suffering, he borrowed the words of the Psalms to cry out his anguish. That has been helpful to me over the years in my own dealing with those moments of incredible anguish, when I don't have words of my own, and I borrow the words of the Psalms. So again, go back, take your concordance or just start thumbing through the Psalms and begin to find there phrases that you can adopt to express your own feelings when you are also struggling suffering. Because the Psalms are chock full of human experience. And Jesus quoted from the Psalms incessantly.

Yeah, they're just helpful for times when you're jubilant as well as when things are tough. You know, I might point out too, when it says Jesus cried this out, that word cry out only shows up here. And it's an extraordinarily powerful, very emotional cry. This just isn't speaking out loud.

This is a real guttural thing. And what he's crying out about is the fact that for the first time ever for him, there's a separation between him and God. And that's a fascinating thing. And as he's saying that, they misheard what he said and thought he was saying Elijah. And so they're waiting to see if Elijah is going to come, because Elijah was always expecting, especially during Passover.

Especially during Passover, yeah. Right, the tradition was to expect Elijah to come before the Messiah. And it was spoken of often, even empty seats were set around the table for Elijah to come. So it was on everyone's mind. But they wanted to see if Elijah would show up and rescue him.

So that's a fascinating statement from these people. But don't you love that it says when he cried out with that loud voice, he yielded up his spirit. He released, he let go of hanging on to this life. It was entirely voluntary, and it was under his control. It doesn't just say, and so he died. Right, right. Or he succumbed.

It's still voluntary to the very end. Now this section right here, I just got to add, just brings up so many other passages of scripture in my mind as we see this. Not just Psalm 22, because he quoted it, but like even, I was just reading the 2 Corinthians 5, 20 and 21. You know, he says, look, for our sake he made him to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. So there's our sin going on him.

But it's a divine trait. We gain his righteousness. We are seen with his righteousness. And Isaiah 53, we've come to Isaiah 53 many times, and verse 10, it was the will of God to crush him. It was the will of God to crush him. He has put him to grief, and when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days, and the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. That by itself is just an amazing thing, because the verse starts with, it was the will of the Lord to crush him, but the Lord will prosper in his hand after that. So we see that so very clearly. Again in 2 Corinthians 5, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself.

And that's what we see going on here. And as a result, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us, Paul says, the message of reconciliation. And I also jotted down, we've mentioned this before, Hebrews 12, too. Looking to Jesus, the founder and the perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. So that is all happening right here.

One thing that's left out in verse 50 as he cries out at the very end here, John mentions it, because John says in this last breath, Jesus says in John 19, 30, it is finished. And that's that really famous word, tetelestai, which is always used for paying a debt in full. It's done. It's paid.

It's done. And John includes that. So again, a good reason to read some of the Gospels as you're looking at some of these things. Oh, there's so much more we could say. There's a ton.

There's just a ton. But it's good to just linger in these verses. And then as you're lingering, follow up thumbing through your scriptures. Wherever the Spirit takes you, you can jump off from your cross references in your column. It's always been interesting to me that every year when I come around to just sitting in this passage as we approach Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the Lord always seems to direct my attention freshly every year in a fresh direction.

So I just encourage you to take your time. We are so familiar with these events that sometimes we miss the significance. Oh, yeah.

We read them again and go, yep, I know that. Yeah. Okay, so we probably need to read on. Let's move on.

Okay. So after Jesus yielded up His Spirit, verse 51, And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks split, and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming out of the tombs after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with Him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, Truly, this was the Son of God.

Okay, pause. Here's where we get the impact of His death on all of creation. Everything shakes. The very earth shakes, the rocks are split, the death itself is broken. I was thinking about Colossians 1 17 where it says, In Him all things hold together. He's before all things. He created all things. All things were created through Him. And in Him all things hold together. And at His death, some things let go.

But this tearing of the veil in the temple. Very significant. Yeah. Very significant.

So talk to us about that. So we've looked at that when we looked at Exodus. Hebrews? It's the gigantic curtain that separates the holy place and the temple from the most holy place, the Holy of Holies, that last place that separates you from keeps men out because the presence of God is past that curtain. Right. So it's really a very literal way of showing the separation between God and man. And only one man a year goes past that curtain, past that veil. And he better be carrying blood.

Exactly. And he's atoning for the sins of the people. So it's a separation. That curtain is a separation between God and man. God said, I want to live with you, I want to tent with you in the desert. He said to the Israelites as they go out there, and I'm going to be in your midst and I'm going to have my own tent, but hey, hey, hey, you cannot come into my presence.

And that's what this thing did. So when you tear that curtain, you're basically flinging wide open the door. There is no separation. No separation.

Between God and man anymore. And the fact that it's torn from the top to the bottom. Right.

Who did the tearing? Right. It's not from bottom to the top. It's a way of saying, you know, that came from above. That's God doing that. That's because heaven always symbolically was above. So God rips it from top to bottom saying, okay, it's open.

We're open now. It's almost like when the religious people would see something of great significance happen, they would rent their garments, they would rip their garments. Tear it open. They would do that just out of, I don't know, just amazement at what goes on. Extreme emotion. Yeah.

Here it's sort of the same thing. In a way, God's ripping it from top to bottom. It's done. It's finished.

This partition has been taken down. Yes. You know, the book of Hebrews makes some wonderful comments about that. In Hebrews 6, the author says, This hope we have is an anchor for the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast, and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner. Right.

And a little bit later in Hebrews verses 19 and 20 of chapter 10, Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he inaugurated for us, through the veil that is his flesh. Right. Right. So, you know, if you camp on that for a minute and realize that if our sin separates us from God, as Isaiah says, when the flesh of Jesus was crucified, the sin of the entire world was laid on him and put to death. So literally when he died, sin was put to death. Yeah. Death was put to death.

So the tearing of his flesh, that's what the writer of Hebrews says, that's the veil represented his flesh at that moment of being made sin. Right. Right. Oh.

Yeah. And Hebrews just so many times says that Jesus himself is our forerunner to make the way into the presence of God. So the death of Jesus isn't just to pay for sins, although that's what it's all about. No, that's what it required. That's what it required. But in the paying for sins, it allowed us to come into the presence of God and have fellowship with him.

And that's the real benefit here. Our sins kept us from him. And the curtain was a reminder that, sorry, you can't come in here.

Now you can because you've been washed clean. God himself made the way. Right.

Because there's no way we could cross that barrier. Yeah. Now, before we move on, just a strange thing. Only in Matthew's gospel does it mention about the tombs being opened. Oh, yeah.

And about many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep and were raised. Then he does say that happens after the resurrection. Great.

So he's kind of jumping ahead of himself. Right, right. But it's like, wow, what? So this is the only thing we have written about.

The only place. And it's just an incredible thing. The tombs are opened and then many loved ones suddenly showed up. Tell us more about that. Well, sorry.

No, nobody tells us more about that. And because no one's going to get more attention at the resurrection than Jesus himself. But it is a fascinating thing that the resurrection power seemed to apply almost instantaneously. It's fascinating. It's fascinating. Almost nobody knows what to make of it. But it happened, so there you go. There apparently were witnesses.

They were seen by many. Yeah, yeah. Well, let's push on. Okay, let's read about the women. Verse 55. Verse 55.

Yeah. There were also many women there looking on from a distance who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Okay, we need to stop there for just a minute because these women were consistently there through these last events of Jesus' life and death. And the different gospels name different ones, but always Mary Magdalene is named and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, Mary the mother of the sons of Zebedee, and there's another woman, Salome, who's mentioned in a couple of gospels, and there may have been others. And even actually one of the gospels tells us that Jesus' mother Mary, I think it's Luke, says Mary was there too, Jesus' mother. They are all named Mary. That may contribute to some of the confusion we have in reading this passage.

It's a very common name. But these women had been traveling with him. They believed him. They cooked his dinner. They made camp. They were ministering to him, it says, whatever was required. Right, right, right. And so they noticed where he was buried. Let's just pick it up from there in 57.

Okay. When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus, and then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock, and he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. And here's the women. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

They were watching the entire thing. They were ready to go. So it is kind of an unusual thing to ask for the body. Usually when someone was crucified, they let the body stay on the cross and let it rot and let the birds eat it.

We have Passover problems here. So it had to come down, and Joseph of Arimathea, in a risky way, associated himself with Jesus and said, I'd like to take it. And Pilate said, okay, and puts it in a new tomb with no bodies in it. And the distinction of that is that no one could ever come in after the resurrection and say, well, I see bones here, and it's actually from some other one. Right.

Nobody had ever been laid there. Right. So only one person was in there, and in the end, it's all empty. So that's just an important thing about that.

There's just no confusion about any other bodies here. It's a new tomb, and this fulfills prophecies again from the Old Testament about where he's buried. And that's a study that can take you quite some time. You begin tracking down the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. But just to get through to read to the end of the passage, we need to read the rest of what was happening at this point. So in verse 62, the text says, The next day, that is, after the day of preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, Sir, we remember how that imposter said while he was still alive, after three days I will rise.

They got it. Therefore, order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away, and tell the people he's risen from the dead, and the last fraud will be worse than the first. Pilate said to them, you have a guard of soldiers.

Go make it as secure as you can. So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. Right.

Like, that's going to work. Well, it is an interesting thing. For one thing, they're actually testifying to the fact that they were listening to Jesus. They knew what he was claiming. And they saw that the disciples might try and pull off some kind of fraud by stealing the body and going around. So it really indicates that's what they would have done. That's right. Because the disciples were totally dispirited at this point. They wouldn't even ever have thought of it.

That's exactly right. In fact, I think they were scared of something much bigger than the apostles here. So they do something which is really astonishing. They make the tomb very secure. And by making it very, very secure, they are actually testifying to the reality of the resurrection. Right. And the reality of his death.

Right. He can't get out. If they were smarter than this, they would have said, well, you know, the apostles are probably going to try and fool people by taking the body. Let's just kind of leave it unguarded so people can say, yeah, you know, they got in. We made it easy for them and they took the body.

No, they make it extremely hard, almost impossible to get the body. It's the same way that Houdini used to do when he was going to kind of break out of stuff. He would bring people up and say, look how secure this is.

This is really impossible. Right, right. And then he gets out. So in a way, they've really walked into God's plan in terms of authenticating the reality of the resurrection here by making it so firm.

I might add one more thing, too, as we're getting short on time here. It says that they made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting it guard. And that seal was a combination of sealing wax and some strings that you would attach from the rock to the wall. And in that sealing wax, it had the insignia of Rome on it.

And so if you busted that, you were actually going against that authority. And if you want to know what that looks like, there's a very famous picture of the seal on King Tut's tomb. Very, very famous.

It was taken in 1920. Just type into Google, King Tut's seal. And you'll find what we're talking about here. It was the sign from the highest authority that no one should disturb this. But it turns out that that seal doesn't disturb God. A higher authority disturbed it.

Yeah. So I always think of that picture when I think of this. We have guards, probably four guards standing around. We have that seal saying, don't disturb this except by the, you know, you're going to die if you do that. They made it as secure as possible and yet even still, he rises from the dead.

And they, in their efforts to do that, they proved that it happened. So, yeah. So this is where we're going to leave it today. Next time we'll come back. We'll start into chapter 28, the last chapter into Matthew. And we'll look at the resurrection finally.

At this long, long crucifixion sequence and this suffering that he went under, the taunting and all the mockery. So I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy. And we want you to come back next time because the news gets very good here on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, morethanink.org. And while you're there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember, the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself. And you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. Okay, let's start again. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-20 16:13:54 / 2024-04-20 16:25:55 / 12

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