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From Pastor Eilers: Bible Study for Lenten Midweek, April 1, 2020

MIDWEEK LENTEN NOTES   April 1, 2020    Mathew 27: 32-56

(vss 32-37)   Simon of Cyrene   Cyrene is in modern-day Libya.   Was he a follower of Jesus?   Mark’s Gospel mentions his sons Rufus and Alexander, as though this family was familiar to those Christians in Rome.  That the detail of his name and origin is recorded would hint that if not before then following he became a Christian. 

It brings to mind such passages as 16:24 following Jesus means “bearing the cross,” And from the Sermon on the Mount, “If anyone should force you to go one mile, go with him two.” 5:41

   Wine mixed with gall”   See Psalm 69: 21  “They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

Casting lots for his clothing Psalm 22: 18.  

  One of the distinctive features of the Gospel of Matthew is its overlay of OT passages.  Matthew makes it obvious when he uses the formula This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet…” ten times in the Gospel along with sixty-one direct Scripture quotations.  Scholars have determined that there are also well over two hundred figurative readings of Scripture meaning that as the event is recorded, it is told in such a way that it reminds us of an OT story. 

The inscription   “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews”    As the text says this was to describe the charge against the person.    Looking over the Gospel of Matthew this title is not surprising.    The Magi came seeking “the king of Israel” and Herod the reigning king along with all the people were disturbed.  Jesus continually taught about the “kingdom of heaven,”  so much so that the mother of the sons of Zebedee asked for seats of honor for her sons, when he “came into his kingdom.”   Matthew sees the entry into Jerusalem through the lens of a prophecy from Zechariah, “See your king comes to you…”  

Is Matthew’s recording of the charge an accusation or a proclamation, an indictment of a crime or a statement of faith?  Commentators throughout the years have seen this as a core statement of the Gospel.

(vss 38-44)    “Save yourself.  If you are the Son of God come down from the cross.”  See Ps 22: 7,8

Spoken in derision this is humanity’s cry for proof. This is the devil’s temptation all over again.  But the church believes that the greatest miracle Jesus did was the miracle he did not do.  He did not come down.

(vss 45-54)   Darkness  See Amos 5:18 and 8:9-10 speaking of the Day of the Lord

The Cry of Dereliction    It is the first verse of Psalm 22.  

    Interpreters have tried to soften this picture by saying that later in the Psalm there is hope in the Lord, implying that Jesus had the whole Psalm in mind.    I find it better to let the words stand as they are, and mean what they imply.   That it is a real question, that Jesus feels abandoned.   

Yet he cries out to God.  Jesus by example teaches us that we cry out to God even when we don’t feel God, or the experience seems to say that God is not there.

Apocalyptic Signs  the splitting of the curtain in the temple, signaled the end of that temple system and the opening of a new temple (Jesus) to  God.  The raising of the dead is a fore-sign of what is to come, as is the earthquake.

Centurion’s statement   The power of Jesus’ death not only brought a new order of worship, raised the death, but also began the pagan world’s coming to faith.    See also Psalm 22: 27

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