The Scriptorium

Word on Trial

We can trust the Word of God. Matthew 27.1-14

Matthew 27: Crucified (1)

Pray Psalm 38.13-16.
But I, like a deaf man, do not hear;
And I am like a mute who does not open his mouth.
Thus I am like a man who does not hear,
And in whose mouth is no response.
For in You, O LORD, I hope;
You will hear, O Lord my God.
For I said, “Hear me, lest they rejoice over me,
Lest, when my foot slips, they exalt themselves against me.”

Sing Psalm 38.13-16.
(Leoni: The God of Abraham Praise)
Their threats I will not heed, nor speak to their reproof;
to hear or speak I have no need – I claim Your truth!
Lord, hear my fervent prayer! Let not my foes rejoice;
Redeem me from their traps and snares – Lord, hear my voice!

Read and meditate on Matthew 27.1-14.

1. How do we see the faithfulness of God’s Word in these verses?

2. How did Jesus respond to Pilate? Where have we seen this response before?

We’re going to look at Matthew 27 in a particular light: We want to focus on the truthfulness, power, and faithfulness of the Word of God as we walk with Jesus through His suffering. These first fourteen verses encourage us to trust the Word of God. Let’s take a closer look.

Verses 1 and 2 could be a commentary on Psalm 2.1-3:

Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the L
ORD and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”

Just as God foretold, the rulers of Israel and Rome will conspire to be rid of Jesus and free from His “bonds” and “cords”. But, as the rest of Psalm 2 indicates, God sees all this, and is using it to prepare for the enthronement of His Son, and the subjugation of the nations.

Right on cue, Judas regrets his treachery and tries to atone for it by returning the bounty paid him. When the chief priests and elders refused to take it back, Judas “threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself” (v. 5). The money was used to buy a field for burying strangers, just as the Scripture foretold (v. 9; cf. Zech. 11.12, 13).

The scene shifts to Jesus, standing before Pilate. We know – know – that Jesus was praying through certain psalms throughout this ordeal, especially, as we shall see, since He quotes from the psalms on the cross. We can be sure that, with Psalm 88 as the overall backdrop psalm, and Psalm 22 as the focusing psalm, Jesus was praying, overtly or merely in His soul, words that would help Him endure the suffering that was before Him. Psalm 38 is a psalm of one who is weighed down with sin. For the immediate context, David was thinking of himself. But in the longer view, Jesus as the sin-bearing Savior, surely saw Himself in those words. So He opted to remain silent, as the psalm commends (Ps. 38.13, 14), before His accusers. At the same time, His soul must have been crying, “Hear Me, Father, lest My enemies rejoice over Me. Do not let my footsteps fail!” (Ps. 38.15, 16) The words of that psalm were sufficient to keep Jesus on course for our salvation.

Finally, before Pilate, Jesus, the Word of God, answered the question put to Him almost exactly as He had when He indicated that Judas would betray Him, and as He repeated before the high priest: “It is as you say” (v. 11). Here, rather than respond in the aorist tense as before (“You said it”), Jesus responded in the present tense: “It is as you are saying.” He is the “King of the Jews” and the Word Who is the I AM of God, the Word Who never fails, never changes, continues always, and is continuing yet today.

We can trust the Word of God, as we encounter it both in Scripture and in our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God will never fail, and it has power to sustain us through every trial and for all our appointed work.

1. Why can we trust the Word of God? For what can we trust it?

2. Do you think your walk with the Lord would be enriched by praying the psalms? Explain.

3. Use Psalm 38 to pray for yourself for the day to come. What do you learn from doing this?

Anyone who demands from me a scriptural text concerning the breaking of those fetters with which the chief priests and elders bound Jesus should understand that it was on account of this very event that Jesus said through the prophet, “Let us break their bonds.”
It was just as though Jesus had said this of the chief priests and elders, or even more so of those rulers who operated through them and of the kings of the world who “set themselves,” and of those rulers who “take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed,” who also said, “let us cast their cords from us.” Origen (185-254), Commentary on Matthew 11.5

Thank You for Your Word, O Lord! Help me to realize more of the Word’s power today as I…

Pray Psalm 38.17-22.
Imagine Jesus praying these words, so that His Father’s help would be with Him in His trial. Pray these words yourself, seeking the Father’s help for the day ahead.

Sing Psalm 38.17-22.
Psalm 38.17-22 (Leoni: The God of Abraham Praise)
My sins I now confess; my anxious soul relieve!
Though foes are strong, Lord, heal and bless all who believe!
Forsake me not, O Lord! Repay my foes with wrath.
Stand by me with Your saving Word and guard my path!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore