Matthew 4, 26, and 27
Let us go back to the beginning. To the wilderness. Remember? Jesus: distressed, thirsty, weary, alone. Three times the enemy comes. “Show them who You are.” Be glorious. Powerful. Adored. Three times Jesus turns to His Father. He knows Who He is. He is here to bring the kingdom.
See Him now. Hanging. Distressed, thirsty, weary, alone. Three times the people have said to Him, “Show us who You are.” First the high priest and his elders falsely accuse Him and condemn Him. They must save their own reputations and way of life. They spit in His face. They hit him. “Prophesy to us, O Christ! Who is it that hit You?” Show us who You are.
Jesus, the High Priest of the kingdom of heaven, looks to His Father. He could teach these puffed-up academics a thing or two about the God they claim to serve. Man shall live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Oh, you religious people, so full of your own importance, stop and listen. The Word is standing before you, and you spit on it.
They take him to the governor, who knows he is condemning an innocent man but does it anyway, saving himself. His soldiers call together the entire battalion—over 400 men—to watch as they whip Jesus. They beat him mercilessly. They cover His bloodied body with a scarlet robe, cram that crown of thorns over His brow. They bow in mock worship. “Hail, King of the Jews!” Show us who You are.
Jesus, the Holy Warrior who will one day come to take His own, looks to His Father. He could silence these jeering fools with one word. His angels would appear if He commanded it. But He will not. You shall not put the Lord Your God to the test. Oh, you proud warriors, so arrogant and cruel, understand that you beat and bloody the One who formed you. Your Creator stands before you, and you torture Him.
They hang Him on a cross below a sign: “King of the Jews.” The people passing by jeer. “Save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down off that cross!” On and on. Even the thieves dying next to Him hurl their insults. Show us who You are.
Jesus, King of Kings, will not save Himself. He will not come down, even though He could. You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve. He worships to the end. Oh, you self-serving, gluttonous people, looking only for spectacle and signs, see what He does for you. The One you should be worshipping is bleeding, is bearing your punishment all the way to the gates of Hell, and you wag your head, throw out your scorn, and go home to forget about Him.
He shows us Who He is. The High Priest, Mighty Warrior, King of Kings, with angels at His command, deserving of our worship, hangs in agony. He slowly suffocates. He bears our sins and carries our sorrows. He dies.
Oh, you people dwelling in darkness and the shadow of death, a light has come among you, only you do not see it. If only you will sit in the darkness of His death awhile, if only you will wait and watch, you will see the kingdom come. You will see Who He Is.