2nd Sunday in Lent February 25, 2024


Where Does All This Come From?

Matthew 26:57-75

Scripture Readings

Exodus 33:17-25
1 Thessalonians 4:1-7


143:1-5, 143:6-10, 143:11-15, 179

Hymns from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) (TLH) unless otherwise noted

Sermon Audio: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/ministrybymail

Prayer of the Day: Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first He suffered pain, and entered not into glory before He was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking the way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Grace and peace be to you from God our Father and the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The sermon is based upon the passion narrative just read, Jesus before the priests, Pharisees, and their elders. You will see that hate comes from the very depths of the sinner’s soul but that the Savior suffered the worst the human heart can muster to liberate you from it and its consequences. Again, the evangelists record:

Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, “He hath spoken blasphemy. What further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard His blasphemy. What think ye?”

They answered and said, “He is guilty of death.”

And the men, which held Jesus, mocked Him and spat in His face and beat Him; and others blindfolded Him and struck Him in the face.

Lord Jesus, bless Thy Word that we may trust in Thee.

They mock Him. They lie about Him. They scream at Him. They blindfold Him and smack Him in the face. The high priest becomes so enraged that he tears his own clothes. There is a tremendous amount of hate going on here tonight. And it’s hard to imagine where all this comes from.

On the surface, it appears that they’re angry that Jesus teaches blasphemy, what they believe are lies about God. Now, I can identify with that type of anger on some level. I don’t like when people say lies about God either. I confess that there’s hate in my heart for false teachers, for pastors in other denominations who mislead people about what the Bible clearly says. A Christian should only want God’s truth to be taught, but my sinful heart does take it to the next step. Instead of praying for their conversion like I should, I want blasphemers to look like fools just like the priests wanted to see of Jesus.

But you have to admit, the priests in the temple are taking this sin to a whole other level. I mean, even though I can find hate in my heart for false teachers, I haven’t tied up a pastor of another denomination, blindfolded him, and beat him. But to plot against someone whose teaching I didn’t agree with to have him executed? I haven’t gone that far.

There has to be something else driving all this. Where does such visceral hatred come from? What’s going on here?

The obvious answer is that there’s a lot going on here. Let’s explore just one piece of this puzzle, one factor among many of what’s behind all this hate.

To do so, I’d like to return to a gospel lesson from right after Christmas, to when Jesus was only twelve years old; twenty years before this night, when the Child Jesus was in the temple.

Luke’s gospel records the only story we have of Jesus’ adolescence, when Mary and Joseph brought their Son to the temple and inadvertently left Him behind. When they go search for Him, they find Him sitting at the feet of the teachers of that day. There He was before the lead priests, the most highly respected of religious experts, and the Scriptures say that all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. (Luke 2:47) They were amazed by Him.

Amazed by what? You might read the story of the Child Jesus in the temple and think He wowed them at some type of Bible trivia game, reciting any verse they requested at random like a clever child at the microphone of a national spelling bee.

But it was far more remarkable than any of this. Memory work wasn’t that amazing at the time of Jesus. It was routine. Children who could recite Moses’ laws were a dime a dozen. The temple was full of such children trying to wow the teachers with their knowledge of the Bible. And the ones these children were trying to impress were their own fathers and grandfathers.

You see, it’s common for children to follow in their parents’ profession. Most farmers had farmers for parents. Carpenters tend to have picked up their trade from their fathers. And if you think about it, many of your pastors over the years have been the children of other pastors. So the children who tended to hang around the temple courts were the sons and grandsons of priests and teachers. And they were all direly trying to impress their fathers.

In the temple, it was the custom to hold older teachers in the highest regard. They were referred to as the experts, much like Annas refers to Caiaphas his elder in the narrative tonight. And since the eldest among the priests and teachers were to be held in the highest reverence, they were the ones you really wanted to impress.

It was these most revered teachers that Jesus amazed when He was twelve. And the other children couldn’t have liked it at all.

What did the Child Jesus tell those teachers?

The other children would have tried to please their grandfathers and great-grandfathers by quoting rules and laws about what to eat and not to eat, when to do what, what God required of you to live a perfect life.

But the Child Jesus would have spoken verses that proved you couldn’t, like We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)

The other children recited what people deserved when they were caught in sins worse than theirs, saying: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die. (Deuteronomy 22:21)

But the Child Jesus would have quoted Scripture to show that all have fallen short of the glory of God and are equally deserving of His wrath, saying: For every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. (Isaiah 9:17)

And when those other children would have had nothing to say in response to the crushing truth of God’s Law, Jesus would have recited the Gospel of what He was come to do: He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities… and with His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

The elder priests were amazed at this Gospel. But their children weren’t. They were embarrassed and made to look like fools. Here’s a Child, not even the child of a priest or teacher, no a carpenter’s son, who pointed out teaching from the Scriptures that none of them could.

All the other children could do was recite the same old verses their fathers told them to. Could you imagine the kind of questions that went through the older priests’ minds and came out their mouths for those kids to hear: Why can’t my grandson be more like this Jesus? And what’s wrong with his parents? Why couldn’t they have raised him like Mary and Joseph raised this country boy?


And I’m sure it didn’t stop after Jesus went home to Nazareth. They kept having to hear about how amazing the Boy from Galilee was. And they remembered the looks from their grandfathers that showed them just how much of a disappointment they were.

Do you have any idea how that must have felt? I think you do.

Everyone has had a taste of this pain. Maybe there was a sibling in your family who seemed to be liked better than you were, the obvious favored child. At the very least, you were held to the standard of someone else in one quality or another, such that you heard, “Why can’t you be more like them?”

When those elders looked at the Boy Jesus, their grandsons saw a look of pride that they wished they saw when they were looked at. Like when you could tell your parents saw something about someone else’s child that they wished you were more like.

Such looks, shame, and embarrassment linger. When you disappoint a loved one, you see it in their face. And even after their faces no longer show it, you know how they still feel inside.

This is a deep pain. And that pain didn’t disappear when Jesus went home to Nazareth. No, He was referred to long after He left, for years, how that one Child was so amazing. They remembered the One they couldn’t be like, because they were reminded of it until those old priests died.

And then the little Prodigy returns. Two decades later, Jesus begins teaching in the countryside. And what did He teach? The same Gospel that had amazed those long ago. The Savior’s message was the same, but the temple was different, because those teachers who had so loved the Child Jesus were long gone.

Now in His Passion, the older priests who had been so amazed are dead, and in their place, their children. The children who were made to feel like such a disappointment are now the priests, and their parents who couldn’t raise a child like Jesus are now the high priests and elders.

Do you see their anger? Their rage? Their revenge? Oh, Annas, Caiaphas, and all the rest have hated Jesus for a very, very long time.

It’s the kind of deep-seeded hatred, a hatred from childhood, that causes you to mock someone, lie about Him, scream at Him, blindfold Him and smack Him in the face. Tear your own clothes. And have Him crucified.

But none of this was a surprise to God’s Son. No, when He went to the temple as a Boy, the Gospel that so amazed the old priests was that He told them the Son of man must suffer and die for them to enter eternal life. And when He went back as a grown man, He knew what He was about to face, but He did it because He wanted you to be in heaven.

He willingly took upon Himself all of their hatred to prove Himself the victor over it all. He suffered that night. He bled the next morning. He screamed in anguish through the next afternoon. And then He died.

It was the Gospel that had brought such hatred to their hearts, a hatred that sent Him to the cross. The Gospel put Jesus to death.

And all for your good, because God turned their hate into your eternal life.

Jesus did not just suffer for their hatred but for the sins of every child of man, including yours. He endured both the wrath of those bitter men and the wrath of God in your place.

Remember this: deep, deep hatred sent the Lamb to the slaughter to show that Jesus died for all hate. When you see hate, real, real hate in your heart, the kind of hate that’s rooted way deep down, it’s terrifying. Where did it all that come from? And when you begin to follow its trail, you’ll find some horrible things. Don’t deny it. Don’t explain it away. And please don’t go exploring your heart thinking you’ll fix whatever’s in there.

Oh, no, don’t try to do this alone. Repent. When you find hate in your heart, look at Jesus’ passion and see that Jesus suffered for it.

The priests’ bitterness continued after He died. Some of them tried to seal the tomb up, set a guard, and do anything to keep it shut. Their hatred sent Him to the grave, but their hatred couldn’t keep Him there. He burst forth from the tomb victorious over every sin, the priests’ and yours, victorious over any hate imaginable or inconceivable.

Jesus is the favored Child of the Father. But there’s no need to be jealous, because the good news is that He gives you everything that’s His.

The Gospel stills everything your heart holds. It doesn’t make it magically go away. No, it covers it. Covered in His righteousness, you may trust in the forgiveness of sins as the only true healing for whatever your heart holds.

Many priests took their hatred with them into hell. But some of those priests found healing and everlasting life in this Gospel. We know Nicodemus believed. There were others in time.

Then there’s you. Thanks be to God that He has worked the saving faith in your heart too. And by faith in Him, the Father’s eternal favor now rests on you.

Now the peace that passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

—Pastor Timothy T. Daub

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
Hecla, SD

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