The son of man will be delivered up

The son of man will be delivered up


For thousands of years the Lord had been planning and predicting when the Messiah would give himself for the sins of his people. This brief passage serves as the introduction to the fulfillment of this ancient promise. I’d like you to see three things in this passage. First in verses 1 through 2, you’ll see that Jesus is the knowing and willing sacrifice. Next, when considering the contrast between verse 2 and 5, you will see the sovereignty and love of the Father. Finally, in verses 3 through 5, you will see the wickedness of the chief priest and the elders. Let us consider God’s Word together.

I. The Knowing and Willing Sacrifice 

First in verses 1 – 2, we need to understand that Jesus was the knowing and willing sacrifice for our sins. Jesus knew what was going to happen, and he chose to embrace God’s plan. He willingly went the way of the cross that he might be an offering for sin. 

We see here from Jesus’ specific testimony to the disciples that he knows what is coming. He knows that in two days he’s going to be betrayed. He knows that he is going to suffer physically. He knows that he is going to experience the loss of the comfortable presence of the Father, with whom he has dwelt with from eternity. Despite knowing the horror and pain of the cross, he doesn’t flee to Galilee. He marches right on to Jerusalem. Right on to Gethsemane, right on to the upper room, right on to Golgotha, right on to the horrors of the cross. 

And I want you to understand my friend, Jesus willingly embraces that for you. And he embraces that knowing just how fickle your friendship is with him. He knows the disciples are going to abandon him in the next few hours. Yet Jesus says to the disciples, right before they betray him, “I have earnestly desired to sit down and eat this meal with you, for my blood is poured out for you for the forgiveness of sin.” Let those words impact you. If you’re a Christian today and struggling to believe Christ’s love for you, remember that he went to the cross willingly, knowing just how fickle you are, just how weak you are, just how sinful you are, just how disappointing you are. That is mind boggling. And that’s exactly what Jesus is saying in this passage. We need to know that Jesus was the knowing and willing sacrifice for our sins.

II. The Sovereign and Loving Father

Then if you’d look at verses 2 and 5 and see the juxtaposition. We learn a second thing in this passage because in those verses we see a glorious expression of the sovereignty of God. We see contrasted in verse 2 the plan of God and in verse 5 the plan of man. Matthew is clearly highlighting the sovereignty of God in this passage.

We need to know that God’s plan was sovereignly accomplished in Christ’s death despite the plans of men. Don’t miss what’s going on here. Jesus says in verse 2, “Two days, the Passover is coming, and the Son of man is to be handed over for crucifixion. While simultaneously, Matthew tells us that the chief priest and the Sadducees were meeting in a secret, and do you know what they were saying? “We can’t do this at the Passover festival. There will be rioting if we do this.” So you have Jesus saying, “In two days, I’m going to handed over.” And you have the people who are going to arrest him illegally, who capture him, and who were involved in his execution say, “You know, we can’t do this at this time. The plan won’t work.”

The contrast is striking. Jesus says, “I will be delivered up at the festival.” The men who were going to deliver him up at the festival say, “We can’t deliver him up at the festival.” God is sovereign. Man is not. The very people who are planning against the Lord Jesus are saying they can’t pull it off, while Jesus is saying, “They will because it is in accordance with the decree of God, My Father.” 

Ultimately it is God the Father who delivers up Jesus. As Paul writes, “He who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up.” You see God’s sovereignty. The Father delivers him up. What this means is that the cross was the provision of the Father’s love. Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice of obedience, willingly bearing our sins because the Father loved us. If we don’t understand that, we don’t understand the cross. If we think that the cross is about Jesus trying to get the Father to love us, we don’t understand the cross. The cross was ordained by God the Father because he loved us. Octavious Winslow puts this in such a striking way: "Who delivered up Jesus to die? Not Judas for the money. Not Pilot for fear, not the Jews for envy. But the Father for love." God the Father, in His sovereign love instigates the emulation, the crucifixion of his Son because he loves you.

III. The Wicked Men

In verses 3 – 5, we see this cowardly plot of the religious leaders of Israel. We see a picture here of man’s wickedness. And once again we need to know that our wickedness, though it’s overruled by God, is culpable. We’ll give an account one day for our wickedness, as these men would. The evil of the Sanhedrin's actions here is apparent. They’re doing this behind closed doors in secret. They are planning the execution of a man who has not been tried and convicted. There’s no court in any land in the world that would not recognize that as the appropriate judicial procedure. And though they were wicked men who had their own unsavory motive for doing this, no doubt these men were so deluded as to think what they were doing was the right thing.

You know sometimes we do things which at first seem right that are seriously wrong. And I have no question in my mind that these men were deluded enough to think that what they were doing was right. You know we can point out fingers at the chief priest and the scribes and elders of the Lord’s people. And we scoff, “Tsk, tsk, how could you have done that?” But if we are indifferent to the Lord Jesus Christ, we are in no different of a position than they are. The Lord Jesus cannot be trifled with. The heavenly Father does not allow us to sit on the fence about him. We must either embrace him or reject him. Those are the only options. Have you trusted in him? Have you rested in him? Because if you’re not for him, you are against him. We will be held accountable one day. May God enable us to embrace him as Savior. 

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