Matthew 28:11 ¶ Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. 12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, 13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
Matthew 28:16 ¶ Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
That Greek word translated “power” is translated as “authority” in Matthew 7:29 and 8:9. It is also seen as “jurisdiction” in Luke 23:7. And here our Lord is said to have “all power.” Whereas Pilate is said to have “no power” in John 19:11. And in both cases we are told that this power had to be “given” to them.
And how are we advised that this power was given to our Lord? It was only by his totally “emptying himself.” And it was by his absolute submission to the will of His Father. For it is only the one who will abase himself that shall be exalted! Luke 14:11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, (that is, he ‘emptied himself’) and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And as Pilate falsely claimed to have power over the fate of the Lord, he was told that power, or authority has to be given from the Lord God! John 19:10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
He was given some authority, but not with any regeneration! For he asked the Lord who he was. John 19:9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. For if the Lord Jesus had manifested to him who he was, it would have brought him into regenerating grace! John 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
We are most truly blessed in having the Lord reveal himself to us in regenerating grace! Luke 10:24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
That is our new, Spirit-taught song! Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
King Cyrus is said to have been delegated great authority from God, even to being called God’s “anointed.” He had authority to command and finance the rebuilding of the Jewish temple that Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed. 2 Chronicles 36:22 ¶ Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.
But he was never given regenerating grace! He never ‘knew’ the Lord in saving grace. Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: 4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. 5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
And we included verses eleven through fifteen of our Matthew twenty-eight text to show that even though the Lord has “all authority,” that does not prevent evil men from accomplishing evil things! Therefore we must never allow seeing evil things done in our world to cause us to despair, or especially to doubt of the Lord’s absolute rule! For they are under the Lord’s absolute sovereignty and power! We must yield ourselves to him in faith and obedience, waiting patiently to see even these things “work together for our good!” Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
For immediately prior to our verses stating the Lord’s absolute, and all-inclusive power and authority in both heaven and earth, we are given to read of evil hypocrites in the High Priest’s office destroying the knowledge of that which is the very heart and soul of the gospel; the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
But that does not negate or nullify the absolute truth that Christ is presently reigning Lord. Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
And the truth that everybody and everything is under his absolute control is not in question simply because these wicked men are not hindered in their purposes! It is just that we don’t have the mind of God to understand his higher and glorious thoughts! Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We are commanded to “Resist not evil.” (Matthew 5:39) But in the spirit of religious morality we would do so! Yet we must come to acknowledge God’s higher thoughts and purposes. Those evil High Priests were to have the monies in order to bribe those Roman soldiers to set forth the very lie that would prevent belief in those who were “ordained to this condemnation!” Jude 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Meditate on the following verses as the Apostle Paul opens up this matter for us: Romans 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
We must come to accept the fact that all men are God’s servants, but all men are not God’s sons! The Lord Jesus speaks of this to the Father in his High Priestly prayer. He clearly proclaims that he has power over “all flesh!” But he also states that he is to give eternal life to only those “given him” by the Father for redemption. John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
Since the Lord God is “willing” to reveal his endurance of longsuffering, he sets forth this plot against the very heart of the doctrine of the gospel by setting forth this account immediately prior to his proclamation that he has all authority in heaven and earth! And again! One does not nullify the other! For there must be wicked and guilty objects for the Lord God to manifest forth his holy wrath and enduring longsuffering.
The very crucifixion of the Holy Lamb of God could never have taken place without it being predestinated by God, and wicked hands being required to carry out these purposes! Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Therefore the sovereign Lord gave them permission to do so! Luke 22:52 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? 53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. 54 ¶ Then (and only then!) took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house.
It was therefore the purpose of God to previously keep hidden the things of the gospel from mankind, less the powers of darkness had not fulfilled His purpose in the redemption of the elect and the damnation of the wicked! 1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
In our self consciousness we only tend to view life from a viewpoint of our comfort. But in a higher God consciousness we should view things from the viewpoint of God’s glory! Yet to do so we would have to “resist not evil,” and “be careful (anxious) for nothing,” and live strictly by faith and not be sight! But is not that the ‘normal’ Christian life? Should not the true believers look not at the things which are seen, but also at the things which are not seen? For failing to do so puts us in the despair of the Levite Asaph as he looked upon the prosperity of the wicked. Psalm 73:2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
And how did he rise above this? Psalm 73:17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
We must keep in mind the instruction of Abraham to the rich man in hell! Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
We must never deny in our hearts and minds Christ’s absolute sovereignty, nor his present reign just because Satan and his forces display such evil in the affairs of mankind! It ain’t over yet, friend! 1 Corinthians 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Pastor Gene Breed
July 14, 2022