Lately, I’ve found myself asking these specific questions relative to the gospel: How does the reality that Jesus is Lord affect my day to day life? Such-and-such a situation? What difference does Christ’s lordship actually make?
Making my way through the Gospel of Matthew has been my morning reading this past month or so. This morning’s passage especially stood out to me because of the manner in which Christ handled his betrayal into the hands of the scribes and chief priests.
Judas, the long-time disciple and dear friend of Christ, betrays the Son of God with a kiss, handing him over to his persecutors for a measly thirty pieces of silver. Trading the eternal calling of Jesus for transient chump change in the garden of Gethsemane.
We next read that “those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered” (Matthew 26:57). The Son of God is approaching his death, the death over which he sweat great drops of blood but a few hours prior, while praying for his Father’s will (Luke 22:44).
What we read about Jesus’ understanding of the gospel in this scene is striking, and it informs how we, as believers in Christ, are to face the trials and tribulations of our earthly lives. Jesus is being ridiculed before the high council. Here is the account:
But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”
Christ, the Son of God, remains silent towards the accusations and slander of his enemies, even though he knows exactly who he is. And when he does speak, it is in answer to Caiaphas’ command, “Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
What does Jesus say? He does not defend himself; he does not make excuses or try to explain how the many healings and miracles done by his hand are all evidence of his lordship; he does not point fingers at man’s limited wisdom and scorn their wrong thoughts toward him.
Here’s what he says: “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
You will see, Christ says, that all the earth will pass away and nothing will stand when I come with authority and power over all creation. You will see who I truly am when hope of eternity becomes real to the eyes, and not only the heart. You will see that my kingdom is not of this world and that all worldly endeavors will be exposed before my light. Only that which is found in me, my lordship and sovereignty, will last unto eternity.
Jesus Christ, even the very Son of God, endures hardship and suffering with eternity in full view.
Even Christ preached the gospel to himself. And if Jesus did this, how much more should we? I consider the difficulties of the past year, even the past six months or so, and when viewed in light of Jesus coming on the clouds with power to renew the earth and institute the new heavens, these present trials seem so minute, so temporary.
Christ still endured the pain of being nailed to a cross; his view of eternity and his own lordship did not stop the nails from being hammered into his hands and feet. In fact, his view of eternity and his submission to God’s will demanded that this pain be endured. The pain was very real, indeed, as it is for you and for me. But the reality of the lordship, reign and rule of Jesus renewed his mind and enabled him to stay true to God’s course all the way to the end: to death, to the tomb, to the resurrection and to the ascension.
Think of a difficult situation you’re enduring right now. Take a moment to close your eyes and meditate on Christ’s coming: “But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Pray for strength and insight to endure your trials with the lordship of Jesus Christ in mind, so you may set your eyes unflinching upon the hope that is yours in the heavenly realms.
And praise God that his Son endured the hardship of the cross to the very end, because it has meant your salvation and your promise for now and forever!