Matthew 26:57-75 Part 6


As we have suggested before, having already carefully examined the text to see exactly what happened, we are now engaged in a more intense look at some of the Theological issues arising out of this portion of Matthew’s Gospel.

The first of these was an examination of Jesus’ apologetics; and we were all exhorted to “give an answer” and defend the Faith under the tutelage and scrutiny of God’s Holy Word.

The second taught us the epistemological “starting point” – that is, that God is the Origin of life and being and thought and knowledge.  All Truth has its beginning point in the Speech of God (His self-declaration); and we looked at the hopelessness of searching for Truth at any other beginning point; in any other location; or by means of any other methodology.

Man in his depravity sees himself “as God”; therefore he begins with himself rather than with God and His self-declaration!  He begins with self, and he ends up at “self”… forming a vicious circle of vanity.  All things are relative; and today’s wisdom defies that of yesterday.  The rational becomes irrational… and then it all begins again.  And “there’s nothing new under the sun.”

But the “Logos”… the Word of God… became flesh, and dwelt among us.  And in Him was life, and the life was the “Light” of men.  The Light of the world is the Fullness of the Revelation of God.  He is “Way, Truth, and Life” – the Beginning and the End.

That circle isn’t vicious and vain and empty, because the starting point is Him; and the terminal point is Him.  And in Him (having been rebirthed in Him) life and being and knowledge and reason are returned to the point of origin!

Now in the last of these three, today, there are three or four points I wish to introduce to you as we witness Jesus Christ in His suffering and humiliation.  And the first of these is Christ as “outlaw”.  And I begin with this:

At the top of the Mountain of God (Mount Zion) rests the “dome” of the Rock (representing the firmament under which is all of creation).  And situated at the highest point, on and above the “firmament” (the dome), stands the temple of God.  This is an exact replica of the vision of Ezekiel when he was allowed to see the Glory-cloud/Throne-room of God above all His creation/universe.

The “dome” of the Rock therefore is a “figure” of the “edges”, or “ends”, of the created universe… over which stands the incomprehensible Throne-room/Judgment Seat of God Almighty, the Creator.

It was upon and around this mountain that God had established His people Israel… in the midst of which, and above which, He had provided this most exquisite picture of His transcendence.  He is above it all; and He rules it all and judges it all.  And the one place in all the universe where this glorious Revelation could be seen most clearly was at Mr. Zion.

This was the place (the mountain), you may remember, that Abraham searched for in order to sacrifice his only Son Isaac.  And having found it (he must have already had an idea about what he was looking for), but having found it he proceeded to the “dome” for the sacrifice and was there given a substitute!

Later on, Moses was given a substitute mountain… upon which the Glory-cloud/Throne-room would descend.  Moses proceeded to the “dome” of Mt. Sinai to receive the Law from the One Who sits above it all.

There are other “figures” of the Mountain of God throughout Scripture, but we’ll not take the time for them here.  (There is Ezekiel being sheltered and fed and rested on the mountain; and Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, etc.; you can easily find them).  However I do want to mention, though, that there are many, many man-conceived (and man-made) replicas of the transcendent Creator-over-His-creation.

The world order would tell us that there are many religions, all of them claiming to have similar origins, and that there is some good in them all.

But the fact is that all religions have their origins in some man-made distortion (perversion) of the Revelation of God.  Therefore we see from the Scriptures that the pagans had established their occult temples in the “high places’ (which were to be destroyed by Israel).  There was only one place where God had established the image of His Throne-room above the firmament – Mt. Zion.

The pyramids are also some gross distortion of it; and so the “new age” environmentalists meet at a “high place” for harmonic convergence.  Temples and monasteries and places of sacrifice are found geographically all over the world built on the highest points of altitude.  Men everywhere know God and seek to worship; but because of sin the worship is perverted.  They worship the creature rather than the Creator.

But God did establish the image of His Transcendence in Israel.  On Mount Zion.  And in the temple, over the Dome, on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, in Israel, was a “veil” separating the holy of holies from the temple court (where the sacrifices were made).

And that veil was a figure of the “edge” of creation which separated The Transcendent, Holy God from all that He had made.  (That veil was ripped open, you remember, at the Resurrection of The Christ.)

But as we call all these things to remembrance, we need to see that it was Jesus, God the Son, the Word made Flesh, The Lawgiver, the One without Whom nothing was made that was made, Who was put in bonds and led up to Jerusalem to the Dome of the Rock!

The Lawgiver Himself was brought to the “firmament” – the “Dome” of the created universe.  And He was judged there as an “outlaw”… i.e. one outside the pale of the Law!

In the very place where God had established the image of His Judgment-seat… the very place from whence comes the origin of the Law… the very place where holiness and righteousness and justice reign supreme over all creation… there, the Righteous and Blameless One was judged an outlaw!

The Law being seen as providing order and form and justice, Jesus was judged outside the Law.  This wasn’t a “perversion” of the Law… there was no Law!  The Law wasn’t just “distorted”; Jesus was judged as being worthy of no Law!  “A worm, and no man.”

Therefore He was brought there (in the very place where the Transcendent God and Lawgiver was imaged) in bonds… having been charged with nothing.  He couldn’t have been charged with anything, because He was blameless and righteous!  So He was brought there outside the Law – an outlaw!

It was the middle of the night (outside the Law); He was questioned outside the Law; He was allowed no defense witnesses (outside the Law); without form and order and justice He was slapped in the face by a temple attendant (outside the Law); having spoken the Truth from God’s Word, He was judged a blasphemer (outside the Law) and condemned to die in a voice vote (all outside the pale of the Law).

And then, in the most unjust, formless, orderless (lawless) incident, the entire priestly order descended upon Him and beat Him… humiliating and degrading Him – an act so completely “void” of Law!  It was void of form, void of order, and void of structure.

So the Blameless and Righteous Jesus – the Christ of God – at the one place in the created universe where the Transcendent Creator/Lawgiver was imaged, was made “out-law”.  He was not judged “under” the Law, or by the Law; but He was deemed unworthy to come under the pale of the Law!

Outside of any form; outside of any order and structure; in the void and formlessness and nothingness… Jesus was cast into vacuum.  He was abandoned to nonexistent personhood.  “No man”.  Unworthy of being brought under the rule and form and justice of Law.

And the chief priest, representing all the priesthood and all mankind in his priestly functions, makes an appeal to the holy intolerance of God toward blasphemy and the blasphemer – thereby divesting himself of any responsibility for this “outlaw” before him.

And with all these things in mind, we once again encounter the impossibility of our ever being able to understand the depth of suffering and agony to which our Lord was submitted – all of which was due to us, but to which He submitted Himself in our stead.

Now, the second point to be made here has to do with the “offices” to which God’s Messiah was to be the “fullness” … and in connection with that, the “eschatology” of Jesus – to which we, having heard it, must thereafter submit.

At the same time that we see Jesus being humiliated and subjected to intense suffering and isolation, we must also see that this is the High Priest of God Who is the Mediator/Intercessor between God and man.  He is the One Who will make the sacrifice and will also be the One Who will enter the holy of holies having atoned for the sins of His people.

And in response to the demand of Caiaphas to say whether He was the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus fulfills the role of God’s True Prophet.  He is the exalted “Speaker” of God as He quotes the prophecy of Daniel chapter seven:


“Hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right of Majesty and coming on the clouds of heaven….”


And as you can hear, Jesus prophesies concerning His assumption of the Throne at the right of the Father – in other words, His Kingship!

Having discussed the seventh chapter of Daniel before, you remember that the prophet, in captivity in Babylon (along with the rest of Israel) received a vision from God in the first year of Belshazzar.

Daniel had suffered because of the captivity; the glory of Solomon and his powerful reign had been destroyed; a pagan nation had taken the people of God into seventy years of captivity in what is now known as Iraq; the temple of God on the “Dome” of the mountain had been totally destroyed (the figure of God’s transcendent Presence over His creation/universe); the confusion and the chaos; the vacillation of human life was fatiguing, depressing, discouraging… vanity of vanities – nothing new under the sun.

But the Revelation of God to Daniel comforted him, because it was confirmed to him that all things in the world are subservient to the steadfast Providence of God and his holy Law/Word – all things were not vain, cyclic and repetitious.

And that Revelation concerned the coming of the Messianic Kingdom.  Daniel sees four beasts arising out of the “sea” (the Biblical figure for the masses of humanity).  Those beasts represent the four great, world-wide, culture-changing kingdoms of the earth:  Babylon, the Medo-Persian empire, the Greek/Macedonian empire, and the Roman empire.

And it is a tragic scene.  None of the great empires will be able to accomplish the government of the world and stop the cycle of turning and transposition and restlessness and ruin.  There is no constancy in any of them – no steadfastness.  It seems that there is an eternal rule… that all is change, and each in turn is destroyed and removed – vanity and emptiness.

But there is a fifth.  An immutable and steadfast and unchanging rule.  We are given a Kingdom which cannot be moved.  Even with the endlessly undulating sea of humanity in constant upheaval, the new Kingdom will remain forever.

One like the Son of Man – the Risen Prophet Priest and King – comes in the clouds of heaven and receives power and glory and a Kingdom; and He sits at the right of Exalted Majesty – an eternal Kingdom.

Having been commanded to say if He is the Christ, Jesus answers by quoting from this passage… confirming that He, indeed, is Messiah/King of Israel!

So the Royal High Priest of God exercises the prophetic office of the Word of God, and He prophesies His Kingship!  And the Fullness of all three offices is found here in this one passage.

And I take you further by saying that Jesus here prophesies an “immediate” eschatology!  He says, “Hereafter you shall see….”  Right after His deepest humiliation and suffering and death the “Son of Man” shall come into the clouds (into the Glory-cloud/Throne-room, into the Presence of the Ancient of Days having accomplished the Victory – having accomplished salvation for His Father’s people).  And He will receive the Crown of the fifth Kingdom – one that is steadfast, immovable, and eternal.

It will take place at once!  “Hereafter you shall see it….”  It’s not stranded off sometime in the distant future where many conveniently put it – and where many now piously prophesy and predict it’s immanence like fortunetellers (like those sitting on mountain tops waiting for a divine helicopter).

Jesus applies the prophecy of Daniel to this very moment – such is His Authority.  Right now.  “Hereafter you shall see it….”  The fixed, immovable and eternal Kingdom of God’s Messiah is established.  And you shall see it.

Now, lastly (and we don’t have much time left for this), you will notice from the text that after the Sanhedrin has called upon the intolerance of God toward the blasphemer and his blasphemy (and therefore delivering themselves from responsibility), they then begin to mock Him. And their mockery is centered around His prophetic office.  (Remember He is the Word made flesh and therefore His is the great High Prophet of God – on the Dome under the Judgment Seat.)

This, it has been said (Schilder), is logical mockery.  Having cast Him outside the pale of Law; and now having divested themselves of all responsibility by calling on the intolerance of God toward blasphemers, the Sanhedrin now involves itself in pure mockery.  In sequence, mockery proceeds here logically, for it means “one to whom even God pays no attention”… one who has no rights whatever in creation.  The leaders of Israel delighted in the mockery!  They were defiant in the mockery!  They delighted, each one, in the mockery of the other!

Hell is full of the defiant (and all the defiant are in hell).  And each one hurls defiance at the other and mocks his afflictions.  And each is somehow comforted by the arrival and afflictions of the others.  It is shared condemnation, defiance and mockery.  And defiance and mockery surely must be the two playthings of the comfortless.

Now, God’s self-disclosure (His Word) reveals Him as a “Mocker”.  But His mockery of defiant and autonomous man is always within a full maintenance of the Truth!

But within the devastating effects of sin and the curse, the mockery of men is a brutal weapon… indicating, in this case, that Jesus of Nazareth was less than worthless.


“Prophesy, o Christ; who is it who struck you?”


And the passive obedience… He said nothing.  Did He know who struck Him?  Certainly He did.

On the Dome of the Rock (at the “firmament”/edge of the universe) below the Judgment Seat of the Transcendent Ancient of Days, who was it striking Him; who was it mocking Him?

Who delivered Him over to be an “out-law” (outside the Law); Who put the stripes and bruises?  Who was it that delivered Him over to “worthlessness”?  Who abandoned and isolated Him; and who mocks Him brutally and savagely?

Jesus distinguishes the difference – the mockery, the stripes, the humiliation, the isolation comes from the Father.  It was a necessity.  For by His stripes we are healed.  By His humiliation He is our surety.  By His mocking He is our Mediator.  By His being cast outside the pale of Law, He is our reconciliation.  He remains quiet and obedient.

We have earned the stripes; we earned the mockery; we deserve to be judged worthless and cast into outer darkness outside the pale of Law!

But the grand, consuming seriousness of God was to provide Himself a Substitute for us – One Who could suffer that great insult for us.  That’s the essence of atonement.