Matthew 27:27-44 Part 6


As you can see there is still a great deal to be done here.  My intention was to try to finish this passage today – through verse forty-four – picking up where we left off at verse thirty-eight.

Once again, this is the Gospel according to Matthew.  And his purpose isn’t to write a history, or to provide a biography, or to record a dialogue, or to pass along to the Church a “sequence” of events.  His aim, by inspiration of the Spirit, is to “inscribe” the Gospel.

And right at this time in the text he is concerned with all of that which magnifies and potentiates the anguish and the agony of this wretched Man – Jesus the Christ.  Of all men He is most stricken and afflicted, for He bore our sin under the curse.  At every turn He is rejected of men and rejected of God.  And there was no comfort.  For, as the embodiment of sin, He received the full brunt of the furious wrath of God.

In Isaiah fifty-three, portions of which we often sing in accompaniment to the text, we read this:


“…He hath poured out His soul unto death; and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many….”


We don’t know why it was ordered that two convicted criminals were executed with Him (as verse thirty-eight says); but one was crucified out to His right, and one on His left.  From some “human standpoint” it might have been just “incidental” to the event.  But I suspect that there was some venomous purpose behind it.

The fact that the Son of God ended up being “numbered with the transgressors” (as Isaiah says), means that He was a transgressor.  And not only that, but He was exhibited as the “center piece” between two other transgressors.  Having been “cast outside the gates” as so much “rubbish”, or “dung” (or an accursed thing), and of no further use, He was abandoned, naked, and nailed up on stakes.  And the “accursed thing”, called “the King of the Jews”, was manifested to all passers-by as the “worst” of the transgressors – the one exhibited in the middle.

As I said, we have no idea what Pilate’s motive was in doing that (if, indeed, he did it), but we can be sure that it fulfilled the prophetic Word in Isaiah.  In fact, being foretold in Isaiah, a chapter which chronicles His agony, we are also assured that, “being numbered with the transgressors” was intrinsic to the Lord’s grievous suffering.

And, truly, Jesus Christ was the chief transgressor of them all.  The perfect God-man became SIN for us.  And He received the penalty for sin!  And therefore it was Just… and Right… for God to manifest Him in the center – numbered with the transgressors.  He became the chief of all transgressors – for us.  For our sin was imputed to Him.

So, whatever the human motive was that caused Jesus to be crucified between two convicted criminals – yea even “center-pieced” between the two – it was God the Father Who Divinely administered the excruciating agony to which our Lord was subjected.

Now.  Listen to one verse in Psalm one hundred nine (verse twenty-five):


“I became also a reproach unto them; when they looked upon Me they shook their heads….”


Verse thirty-nine of our text reads this way:


“… and those passing along by the side were blaspheming Him… shaking their heads….”


Without an exegesis of the whole of Psalm one hundred nine let me just say that those portions of the Scriptures which are prophetic of the suffering of our Lord highlight the “shame” and the derision that was felt and openly expressed by the then Covenant people of God toward the Christ!

Passersby on this major road to and from Jerusalem could look over at the little hill called “Golgotha”, and they could see all that was going on clearly.  (And let’s remember, too, that this was the Passover day during which the “whole burnt offerings” were sacrificed in the temple!)

The fact that passersby on the road were “shaking their heads” (and saying the things in these following verses) indicates that they were either 1) people who were at the trial and had heard it all, and therefore knew what was going on, or 2) there were men posted on the road in order to explain to the passersby what was going on.

I prefer to think the latter – that some of Israel’s elders and priests and lawyers were over there on the highway talking to the groups of people.  That’s the only explanation.  And we can be sure that the interpretation of Israel’s leaders caused those traveling on the road to look upon the crucifixion of Jesus Christ with the utmost disgust and derision.

And so what was assumed to be a high probability of riot and uprising was met with aggressive “lobbying” of those who might witness what was going on here at nine o’clock in the morning of Friday – Passover day.

And as a result of the proper “spin” being put on the event, the people of Israel were “shaking their heads” at God’s Messiah.  They were heaping shame on Him.

Shaking the head is a “negation”.  They were “negating” Israel’s King!  They were “shaming” the One Perfect Sacrifice while they were celebrating Passover – the very day of the whole burnt offering!

Now, Matthew says that they were blaspheming Him – shaking their heads and saying,


“The One who destroys the temple and rebuilds it in three days… save Yourself!  If You are the son of God, come down from the cross!”


You remember… that was the false charge at His trial!  When we covered this we went back to John chapter two to see what Jesus had really said.  And what we found was this:


“Destroy This Temple, and I will raise It up in three days.”


Jesus was speaking of Himself (the New Temple of God), and His crucifixion and His resurrection on the third day!  But those bearing false witness against Him at His trial accused Him of threatening to destroy the temple in Jerusalem (and rebuilding it in three days)!

And then, when the chief priest asked Him if He were, indeed, the Son of God, Jesus quoted directly from Daniel concerning His ascension to the right hand of God.  And that’s when the chief priest tore his clothes and screamed “blasphemy”!!

And here during His crucifixion passersby on the road are blaspheming Him and shaking their heads in shame, bearing the same false witness against Him that was testified at the trial.

And so, please note that it is the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension of the Son of God, that are the points of “negation” as the passersby heap shame upon the Christ.

As a side note, we might also take note here, that there are several prophetic instances in the Old Testament in which the city of Jerusalem, after its coming destruction, is the object of shame by passersby.  They will shake their heads and wag their tongues at the ultimate end of the great city.  There’s a connection in irony there which ought to be obvious to us all.

And now, before we go on to the continuing shame and mocking which occurs in verses forty-one and beyond, we need to take up Matthew’s use of the word blasphemeo – blaspheme (verse thirty-nine).


“And those passing by kept on blaspheming Him, shaking their heads….”


We briefly took up the word “blaspheme” a long time ago.  In fact it was over five years ago.  And we need to touch on it again, because in the history of the Church many have grieved over their past sins of “blasphemy”.  As they read Matthew chapter twelve, verses thirty through thirty-two, Jesus seems to say that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin!  And the things that they read about that passage do nothing except exacerbate their anxiety about being unforgiven and rejected by God.

But since Matthew brings the word “blasphemy” back to the forefront here – in connection with Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection and ascension – we must go back to Matthew chapter twelve to find the context of the word.

The situation in that passage is that Jesus has just healed a demon-possessed man.  And the pharisees accuse him, in front of all the people, of casting out demons by the power of beelzeboul – the chief of the demons.

And, as Matthew writes, this is what Jesus says to the pharisees:


“…Every kingdom, when it is divided against itself, is brought to ruin.  And every city or house, when it is divided against itself, will not stand.  And if Satan is casting out Satan, he has been divided against himself.  How, then, shall his kingdom stand?  And if I, by Beelzeboul, cast out demons, your sons – by whom are they casting them out?  For this they shall be your judges!  But if, by the Spirit of God, I am casting out demons, then the Kingdom of God has advanced upon you.  How is anyone able to enter into the house of the strong and snatch away his goods unless first he bind the strong?  And then he shall thoroughly snatch away his goods.  The one who isn’t with Me is against Me, and the one who isn’t gathering with Me is scattering.  Because of this I say to you, all sin and blasphemy shall be remitted to men; but blasphemy of the Spirit will not be remitted.  And whoever shall say a word against the Son of Man, it shall be remitted to him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit it shall not be remitted to Him, not in this age nor in the one about to be.”


Now, listen to this.  It’s important.  When Jesus came in the flesh of men, and perfectly submitted to His Father in obedience, Satan’s dominion over the flesh of men was broken!  As He says here in the passage, He “entered into the strong man’s house.”  He came into the abyss of darkness and depravity and the curse; He entered it in all of its chaos and rebellion and waste; and, by obedience, He broke the line of seminal and representative depravity given to men through Adam; and Satan was crushed in his ability to exercise dominion any longer!

Jesus says that He entered into that house of the strong, and He bound him.  Satan’s dominion over flesh was bound!  He could no longer do anything about it!  And, now, as Jesus says here in this text of Matthew twelve, He’s snatching away his goods!

Satan has held sway over all the peoples of the earth – all the kingdoms, all the peoples, all the families – for they have had his nature.  They had all been sinful and rebellious and unclean just as he is.

But now… all flesh isn’t under his dominion!  For Jesus did not submit to him!  Instead, Jesus obeyed the Father.  And, in the flesh, Jesus has claimed that all the kingdoms of the earth are His by inheritance from His Father; and He is going to snatch them all away from the strong one who holds them; and they belong to Jesus by right!  As He says here, He will thoroughly snatch them away!

So, then, as we come to the words of Jesus concerning blasphemy against the Spirit, the antithesis has been cast in the strongest way possible, hasn’t it?  It is God’s anointed King binding Satan in his deception of the world, taking the world away from him and submitting it to His Father.  And says:  “and the one who isn’t with Me is against Me; and the one who isn’t gathering with Me is scattering.”

Jesus is plundering everything in Satan’s house; and if you aren’t with Him and doing that with Him, you’re against Him!  If you’re sitting back watching Him, you’re against Him.  And if you aren’t gathering these goods up with Him, you’re scattering them.  (Scattering them is a direct reference to the leadership of Israel, who are ravening wolves – scattering the lost sheep of the house of Israel.)

So Jesus has condemned the leadership of Israel for their complicity with the house of Satan.  They aren’t with Jesus in plundering Satan’s house… they’re against Him!

And then Jesus puts the final cap on this confrontation concerning demonic authority by accusing the pharisees (and all of Israel’s leadership) of unforgivable blasphemy!  The nation of Israel and its leadership are condemned without reprieve.  Their sin will not be remitted.  Sin will be remitted to men all over the world, but Israel’s false shepherds shall go unforgiven.  And not only does Christ withhold forgiveness from them in the old heaven and earth, but also in the New Heavens and the New Earth – His Kingdom – the one “about to be”.

And the reason He gives for that is that they have accused the Spirit of being Beelzeboul.  For Jesus has said that His casting down of demonic forces (this plundering of the house of Satan) is by the Spirit!  It is by the Spirit that Jesus is “snatching away” Satan’s goods!  And it is blasphemy against the Spirit of God to attribute His work to the chief of the demons!

Now, back to our own text here in chapter twenty-seven… Matthew’s use of the world “blasphemy” (verses thirty-nine) must be seen in that context.  It is by His crucifixion and resurrection and ascension to the Father that the house of Satan is plundered.  And Jesus said that that work is by the Spirit!

And yet the people of Israel are shown here continuing to be in their blasphemous, unrepentant, unforgiven condition… bearing false witness to the work of the Christ.  They are negating Him and heaping shame on Him in the very work which is being accomplished by the power of the Spirit!  The plundering of the house of Satan is being done by this work – the crucifixion and the resurrection and the ascension of the Christ – all to which Jesus testified at His trial!  And all this work is by the Sprit.  And that’s the blasphemy to which Matthew refers.  Passersby were blaspheming the Word of Christ by the Power of the Spirit in regards to Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.  That’s why Matthew uses the word blasphemy, as he used it in chapter twelve.

So the unforgivable sin was Israel’s attributing the work of God’s Spirit in Christ Jesus to the chief of all sinners – the demon Beelzeboul – Satan!

It is Israel who blasphemed the Spirit; it is Israel who was irreconcilably unforgiven in that former age; and it is Israel who remains rejected by God for two thousand years into the present Christian age.

And once again an understanding of the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ in their context frees men from the slavery and dominion of sin and doubt and anxiety, and “looses” us into His marvelous Light.

Truly Satan’s house has been plundered by our Lord.  And his “goods” have been taken out.  We have been freed from his bonds and made inheritors of the Kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit in the work of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now, as I said, I had thought that we could finish these last four verses of the passage; but we can’t.  I’ll save them and briefly comment on them at the beginning of the next passage (which will complete chapter twenty-seven).

But as we contemplate the agony of Christ as the nation of Israel blasphemed the Spirit of God… I see these words as just about as clear as any in all of Scripture.  Jesus said to the pharisees:  “If you’re not with Me, you’re against Me!”

He said that He has bound Satan so that he can no longer deceive the people of the world; and that our Lord is snatching away his household goods!  It you don’t believe Him, then, I think you’re as close to being against Him as you can be.

If you do believe Him, then you need to put the “faithing” where the “talking” is!  If Jesus has done all these things (by the power of the Spirit), and Satan is now bound and restricted from doing irreparable harm to us and our Kingdom efforts, why are we so listless?  Where’s the “faithing”?

We’re good at talking… talk, talk, talk… we talk and talk about the major issues (and that’s good); but where is the faithing?  When it comes to faithing, we are so concerned about ourselves!  We want to talk about ourselves; we want to feel good about our selves and our beliefs; we want to make sure that what we feel is distinct from what we see in the world! (and that’s not bad)

But we talk big!  And we faith in miniature!  What I see is apathy; and discouragement; and listlessness!  Great concern – but no faithing.

Here we see that our Lord has cut off the Covenant nation and left them in their blasphemous unbelief – in order that you, the Gentiles of the world, could be snatched away from the household of Satan and grafted into the Covenant promise!  And our Lord Jesus went through the most bitter agony in order to do that for you.

And yet, given all that, there is faithlessness and inactivity and self-concern and discouragement!  You’re concerned about yourself and your own stuff and your own things; you’re “dormant” and apathetic!  And Jesus said, “If you aren’t for me, you’re against Me”!

It’s well past the time for you to begin thinking about the important things… with Satan bound and the Kingdom won!  And not to be just faithful “thinkers”, but faithful “doers”!  Not just to talk and think about the fight – but to fight!

The Great commission is coming up in the next chapter – and we’ll learn some more about what we ought to be doing.  But I think you already know what you ought to be doing.  Because faith is a verb – and faith without works is dead.  It doesn’t exist.

The Kingdom has advanced upon us – and it’s going through us!  And you can stand by and think about it, or talk about it; or you can get involved in it.