In this study, we'll pause for a moment to look at where Jesus is, in His life and mission, at the end of Matthew 26. We're going to look back and look ahead. And in all this looking, we are going to see the incredible hope that is available to every person who places their faith in Jesus. It's a hope that we desperately need today because of the darkness that we too face in this life.
Last week, Jeff wrapped up Matthew Chapter 26 for us, and next week he's going to lead us back into our study in the Book of Exodus. And that leaves us with this in between, which is what are we going to do in this message here tonight? I'm going to preach an epilogue. If you're an avid reader, you may recognize this word and epilogue is a section or speech at the end of a book or play that serves as a comment on or a conclusion to what's happened.
This week's message is an epilogue to Matthew. Chapter twenty six. Not a study of the chapter persay, but a commentary of where we are now that twenty six is done and a sneak peek into what's coming down the road in Matthew Chapter twenty seven, which will unpack in more detail once we come back to the study in a few weeks. This message tonight is all about hope, all about hope.
I believe God wants His people to live with hope. I hope that you can hold on to a hope that will carry you through any dark times that you face in your life.
Because of Jesus, Christians have a reason to be a hopeful people, even when there are times when hope seems impossible. That's why the title of this message is called Hope in the Darkness. So when we get to the end of Matthew, Chapter 26, we find Jesus in a dark place.
Here's a list of the things that have transpired over the course of Chapter twenty six that have led up to this point in his life. In Matthew 26, we see that Jesus tells his disciples yet again of his upcoming crucifixion. The religious leaders of his nation are plotting to arrest him and kill him.
Someone who Jesus loved dearly and who he had invested three years of his own life discipling makes the decision to sell Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver.
Jesus tells the other 11 disciples that they're going to abandon him and they do, these same disciples fall asleep while he's facing the dreadful reality of what was coming upon him.
Jesus experience is a deep level of agony while he's praying in the garden and looking ahead to the moment when he would be separated from the father because of the sin of the world being placed on him, Judas comes with the crowds, hundreds of armed men, and he betrays Jesus over to them with a kiss. Jesus is arrested, is then taken to the religious leaders who are the ones who should have been rolling out the red carpet for the arrival of their long awaited messiah, but instead he's illegally tried by them.
Under the cover of night, false witnesses are sought to give false testimony against Jesus.
He's wrongly accused of blasphemy when he claims to be God, they pronounce the death penalty for him. They spit on him. They struck him and they slapped him and they mock him. And at the end of all of this, Peter publicly denies even knowing him. This is where we find Jesus at the end of Matthew, chapter twenty six, when we get to the end of this chapter is plain to see that Jesus is in a dark, dark place.
Now, each of us can relate to Jesus here in some way, can't we, because don't we all face dark times in our lives, too?
We can relate to the darkness that Jesus faced at the end of Matthew Chapter twenty six on a few different levels.
Some of us right now are facing the darkness of living in constant depression.
Some of us right now are facing the darkness that comes with battling addiction. Some of us right now are facing the darkness of insurmountable financial problems. Some of us right now are facing the darkness of marriage is falling apart and family members disowning us. Some of us right now are facing the darkness of sickness and the promise of death one day overcoming us. All of us are facing the darkness right now of living in a world broken because of sin and a world that is completely opposed to the goodness of God and his rightful rule and reign over us.
All of us, without exception, can relate to what Jesus faced at the end of chapter twenty six in one way or the other, because all of us face darkness in our life to. We can relate to Jesus. But you know what, this also means Jesus can relate to us. Jesus can relate to us. The fact that Jesus personally experienced darkness means that he can sympathize with you and me when we experience dark nights of the soul.
He knows what you're going through because he faced it to. Hebrews Chapter four, verse 15 says this, Speaking of Jesus, for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are yet without sin.
Jesus can relate to you when you face dark times because he faced dark times in his life, he literally knows what you and I are going through.
Aren't you glad that we have a God who knows firsthand what we're walking through? I know. I am. I am. Well, this has been a lot of depressing talk so far, and at this point, I would love to infuse this message, a message with a giant dose of positivity.
I would love to tell you what I hear so many people say when they're trying to encourage others who are going through dark times.
I hear people all the time say things like, don't worry, it's going to get better soon. I'd love to be able to say that to you here.
But I can't. I can't promise you is going to get better soon, as much as I want to say that to you. I can't I can't say that to you, honestly, because that's not how life works.
It doesn't always get better. First, it usually gets way worse before it gets better. And that's exactly how it played out in Jesus life. So we've already seen that Jesus was in a very, very dark place at the end of chapter twenty six.
But did it get any better for him when the page turned to Chapter 27? No, it got worse for him. What do we see happen to Jesus when we take a brief sneak peek ahead to Chapter twenty seven?
Well, in the morning after Chapter 26, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put them to death. They bound him and let him away and delivered him over to pilot. One pilot presented Jesus before the crowds. Jesus, listen to them cry out to have a murderer released instead of him. And after Barabas was released, they cried out for Jesus to be crucified.
Pilot gives into the crowds and he has Jesus scourged or flogged, his body torn to shreds by the whipping he endured at the hands of the Roman soldiers.
Then the soldiers gathered the whole battalion before Jesus, and they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him and twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and they put a reed in his hand. And kneeling before them, they mocked him saying, Hail king of the Jews.
And they spit on him and they took the read and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. They stapled his body to a cross and he hung there for six hours, suspended between heaven and earth. Physical torture, spiritual agony, death. And then he was buried. All of this is what's waiting for Jesus in Chapter 27, while he's still facing the sting of Chapter 26.
Chapter 27 was still coming for him.
It didn't get any better in the immediate future for Jesus. And it's not going to get any better in the immediate future for you or me either.
You and I will often have to face our own Chapter 27 just after we finish getting out of our own Chapter 26 experience.
If you're currently facing the darkness of depression, that depression might get worse before it gets better.
If you're currently facing the darkness of addiction, you may think you've already hit rock bottom only to soon realize that you haven't hit it yet because you keep using and things are getting even more out of control in your life before they begin to get better.
You may be facing the darkness of insurmountable financial problems today, and you may never get to a place in this life where you experience financial freedom. You might be paying off debt you owe the rest of your life. You may be currently facing the darkness of your marriage falling apart and family members disowning you, and it might not get better, the divorce might get finalized. If you're currently facing the darkness of sickness and the promise of death is looming over you, that day may come sooner than you want.
The chemo might not work. And if you are alive today, you are currently facing the darkness of living in a world broken because of sin and broken because it's completely opposed to the goodness of God and his rightful rule and reign over us, and this world isn't going to get better any time soon.
It doesn't matter who the president of the United States is, believe it or not, this world that opposes God and all that he deems good right and true is only going to get darker and darker.
There's no utopia coming around the corner. There's no cavalry coming. Science can't fix this. Politicians can't fix this. Human goodness can't fix this.
Poverty is on the rise. Corruption is on the rise. Child sex trafficking is on the rise. Disease is on the rise. Sexual immorality is on the rise. Abuse of all kinds is on the rise. The pressure is on the rise and broken relationships are on the rise. We are living in Chapter 26. We are in a dark place and it's only going to get darker. Chapter 27 is coming.
Now, some of you might be thinking to yourselves at this point, whoa, take it easy, bro. I tuned in to church online here tonight to come and get some kind of encouragement. And this is what I get. What a downer. So let me just give you a couple of reasons why this message is starting out heavy like this, and kudos to you if you stuck around this long first. I don't want to be a liar. I don't want to be a liar.
I want us to have two feet planted firmly in reality at all times. And what I'm sharing with you here is reality.
I'm not going to sit here and peddle you some Fluffy Make-Believe religious mumbo jumbo. I refuse to be like a doctor who gets the X-ray back that shows inoperable terminal cancer, then turns around and tells that patient that they can go home and live a long, happy life. I won't be that person ever. I will tell you the truth. Secondly, I want to maximize the hope that you have so that you can see how truly glorious it really is.
Do you know when the stars in the sky shine the brightest? Well, it's against the backdrop, against the backdrop of the darkness of the night. And, you know, when hope shines, the brightest, hope shines the brightest. Against the backdrop of the darkness of hopelessness is only when we know how dark this world is that we are ready to experience and see and cling to real hope.
Romans eight twenty four says this now hope that seeing is not hope for who hopes for what he sees as the hope doesn't exist. Where things are good, hope only exists where things are terrible. We hope for something that we don't have yet. Do you know that we're only going to experience hope in this life? That hope doesn't exist in heaven? It can't exist there because you can't hope for what you already have.
But when we are with Jesus face to face, it will be impossible to hope for anything because in him we will finally be able to experience everything our souls are longing for. At that time, there will be nothing left to hope for.
But we're not in heaven yet, we're on the earth and it's dark and we need hope. And the good news is we have hope. We have a hope. That's enough to anchor us right here, right now, right where we are in the thick of anything that we're facing.
And this hope can carry us through whatever comes against us.
Are you about ready to hear about this hope if you're watching this live? I'm missing the personal interaction of preaching in person. And so if you're watching this live stream message right now and you're ready just type, I'm ready in the chat so we can all see if you're ready type. I'm ready to hear about this hope. See, Matthew, twenty six, it's dark, Matthew, twenty seven is even darker, but did you know this fun little fact about the gospel of Matthew?
Chapter twenty seven isn't the final chapter. Matthew's Gospel ends in Chapter twenty eight. There's one more chapter. And so let's set the stage at the end of Chapter twenty seven. Jesus is buried and the world has never been so dark. The light of the world was snuffed out by the darkness and Jesus body was prepared for burial and wrapped in grave clothes. He was laid in the tomb, tattered, torn, terminated. The stone was rolled over the entrance to seal his tomb.
Roman guards were placed at the entrance of the tomb to keep his body from being stolen by thieves. And he just lied there. The hope of the world swallowed up by the darkness. And hours passed and hours turned into a couple of days still dead. I want you to picture with me what was going on at this moment in time. Mary mourning the loss of her first born son, the disciples reeling and terrified that the Romans did this to their leader, what would the Romans do to them next?
Was their fate to be the same as that of Jesus?
The religious leaders who orchestrated this crime against Jesus probably felt the level of smugness, how dare this formerly untrained rabbi challenged the authority of the Sanhedrin?
He really just got what he had coming to him. Pilot probably relieved that he put yet another potential revolt to death before it ever got off the ground. What if what if everyone started following this king of the Jews? What would have Caesar done if that happened under pilot's watch?
Satan and all the demonic hordes reveling in their victory. What did you always think would happen if he became a mortal and came down to mess around in our playground?
Earth is ours, and Jesus learned that the hard way. The angels in heaven, including the legions of them who only hours earlier were ready and willing to come at Jesus command when he was being arrested in the garden, looking on in disbelief, the host of the heavenly armies, the undefeated one, the victorious one, he suffered defeat and there he lay. And that is the end of chapter twenty seven. But then something glorious happens, chapter twenty eight happens.
Picture this with me.
His body laying there in the tomb, lifeless, motionless, his body marred by the scars of the torture he endured at the hands of human beings whom he created his body cold.
Silent. Hours had turned into days. And then it happens and then it happens. Are you ready? Breath, life, power, resurrection, in the twinkling of an eye, his body transformed from one that was marred by death into one that could never suffer the sting of death ever again. The son of God rose from the dead. The darkness had overcome the light, but it could never keep the light suppressed forever. And then Jesus revealed himself to his disciples.
He was dead. But now he's alive forever.
And this. This is the reason you and I can have hope while we are smack dab in the middle of whatever darkness we are facing today.
Can I get an amen? Can I get an amen? The church, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have a tangible hope for us today. I'm going to give you four reasons why we have hope because of the resurrection of Jesus. Number one, this is going to be the first film on your outline because of the resurrection of Jesus. We can trust every promise of God because of the resurrection of Jesus. We can trust every promise of God.
You see, Jesus told his disciples numerous times that he was going to be killed and then be raised to life on the third day.
Now, what would have what would Jesus had been if he had said he was going to raise, but then instead he stayed dead? Well, that would have made him a liar and we wouldn't trust anything a liar says no, but because he did exactly what he said he would do, he did rice. We trust anything else that he says to us, too. We can trust any promise that he makes. And God makes many promises to us in the Bible.
And many of them give us hope while we are in the middle of the darkness.
There's some examples, a short list not exclude, not exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination, but God promises to work all the hard stuff in your life, ultimately, for your good God promises to use the hard times in your life to refine you and to shape you and to mold you and to make you more and more and more like the son of God.
God promises to be with you always, even in your darkest moments. He is there. God promises to come back one day and fix everything that's wrong in the universe.
Because Jesus rose from the dead, we can put our hope and the promises of God, he's not a liar. He is the truth. Number two, your next fill in. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we are never alone. We are never alone. Jesus made this promise to his disciples before he died that he would send the Holy Spirit to them. Listen to what Jesus says in the Gospel of John, Chapter 16, starting part way through verse four.
Jesus said, I do not say these things to you from the beginning because I was with you, but now I'm going to him who sent me and none of you asks me, where are you going?
But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it's to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment concerning sin. Because they do not believe in me concerning righteousness. Because I go to the father and you will see me no longer concern in judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
When the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority. But whatever he hears, he will speak and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what's mine and declare it to you. All that the father has is mine. Therefore, I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
And John, 16 seven in this passage that we just read, Jesus says to his disciples that it's to their advantage that he go away and Jesus is talking about himself going back to heaven, but how could he go to heaven if he were still in the grave after he died?
He couldn't go to heaven to have the spirits. And if he were dead in the tomb, but he didn't stay dead in the tomb, he rose. And then he appeared to eyewitnesses over over a period of 40 days. Then he ascended back to heaven right in front of his disciples. And 10 days after that, he made good on his promise by sending the Holy Spirit to all those who believe in him.
And now, ever since then, anyone who places their faith in Jesus and in his finished work on the cross not only has their sins forgiven, but they also have God to come live inside of them by way of the Holy Spirit, Jesus says in Matthew twenty eight and behold, I am with you always until the end of the age.
God is with us. He's inside us. What hope we have, Christian. Whatever darkness you face in your life today, you are never alone. The one who conquered the darkness of death is now living in you. Greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world. And he is working his mighty power.
And you, the power that Rose Christ is at work in you because Jesus resurrected from the dead. He has said his Holy Spirit to live inside of us.
And if God is with us, we have everything we need to endure. Any darkness that we face. What hope. Number three, your next film, because of the resurrection of Jesus help is on the way because of the resurrection of Jesus. Help is on the way. Do you know what Jesus can do only now that he has risen from the dead and gone back to heaven? Well, he can come back from heaven to earth. He can physically come back.
And after twenty six, we read this interaction Jesus had with the religious leaders who were illegally prosecuting him in the night In verses 63.
It says this, but Jesus remained silent and the high priest said to him, I assure you, by the living God, tell us if you're the Christ, the son of God. And 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.
One day Jesus is going to come on the clouds of heaven. And you know what he's going to do when he comes back? He's going to destroy darkness once and for all. He disarmed the power of darkness on the cross, but we still face the presence of darkness in this life. But when King Jesus comes back, here's what he's going to do. He's going to eliminate all sources of wickedness in this world. He's going to bind Satan and throw him into hell forever.
He's going to remake heaven and earth into a new heaven and a new earth, not tainted by sin.
He's going to bring this new heaven down to this new earth so that God will dwell with this people forever.
That day hasn't come yet, but it's coming and he's able to do it because he's not in the grave, he's alive, and we hope for that day because on that day, we won't need hope anymore, because everything we hope for in this life will finally be here once and for all.
Help is on the way. Is the fourth final fill in because of the resurrection of Jesus, we will be resurrected one day, too, because of the resurrection of Jesus. We will be resurrected one day to. Death had a pretty good track record, people died and they had this habit of staying dead. But then Jesus came along and he gave us a taste of his resurrection power when he raised a widow's dead son to life in Luke Chapter seven, and he raised Giris dead daughter to life in Luke, Chapter eight.
And he called Lazarus dead body out of the tomb in John, Chapter 11. And this was just a taste of his resurrection power because each of these people would have ended up dying again. But then Jesus gave us the full meal deal when he rose from the dead, when Jesus rose to life from the dead, he would never die again. He conquered death once and for all. And he made a way for a person to go into the grave and then come up out of it again, never to taste it again.
And that day is coming for his people because Jesus rose. We will rise after we die. To resurrection is our future. No matter what darkness you or I face in this life, it will not last forever. No darkness you face will last forever is coming to an end. One day it will be done because we will all eventually die unless we are raptured first we will all taste the darkness of death. But that doesn't have the final say anymore.
The day is coming when all God's people will be resurrected to eternal life. The apostle Paul in First Thessalonians Chapter four, verses 13 to 18, says this.
But we do not want you to be uninformed brothers about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do, who have no hope for, since we believe that Jesus died and rose again. Even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this, we declared to you by a word from the Lord that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord will not proceed. Those who have fallen asleep for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an angel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God and the dead.
And Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord, therefore encourage one another with these words. And that's what I'm doing with you right here tonight.
This is our hope of physical resurrection to eternal life. The resurrection came for Jesus in Matthew, chapter twenty eight, but we're still waiting for our resurrection and for that we hope and we hope for it until the day that it comes. His promises, his presence, his second coming and his resurrection, that will be our resurrection. These are for reasons to have a hope that will not disappoint you, for reasons to hope that are tied directly to the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
And this hope is what you and I need to anchor us in this dark and hopeless life. We need hope today. Like I said earlier, there is a day coming when we won't need hope anymore. A day is coming when hope will be made obsolete.
That will be the day when we're enjoying the presence of the risen savior in his kingdom forever.
Hope will be impossible in that day because on that day we will have everything, our souls long for complete satisfaction in the presence of our savior Jesus Christ.
And so church hope for that.
When you are facing dark nights of the soul in this life.
Hope for that and pray with the Apostle John at the end of the Book of Revelation, where he says, Come, Lord Jesus, come church. Pray that continually until it comes to pass. You bow your heads and pray with me, father. I want to pray with our brother John that prayer and with the church at large, the church watching this message tonight and the church around the world, Lord, we're sick and tired of the darkness and we're sick and tired of being apart from you.
Yes, Lord, you dwell us by your spirit. And we had that sweet intimacy with you. But Lord, this world is so dark, it's so broken, is ruled by by the God of this world. And we can't wait till your ruling and raining. We can't wait till you make everything that's upside down, right side up. We can't wait till your perfect law is perfectly adhered to across the whole heavens and earth.
We can't wait. We have to wait and you give us patience, endurance, but we long for you to come back. The church cries of the persecuted church around the world cries the Lord God come.
And so we pray that, Lord, we pray that until that day, I pray right now for my brothers and sisters watching this and around the world, instill still us with hope, instill us with this powerful hope, this resurrection, hope that we have, let us cling to it sometimes even by a thread, through tears and despair, we hold onto the hope of who you are and what you've done and what you're going to do. Your promises, Lord, they're going to come to pass.
And so we hold on to you until they do help us, Lord, to have our eyes fixed on you. Just fixated on you, Lord, when everything is crashing around us, we fix our gaze on you and you are enough for us. Jesus. So bolster your church with faith and with hope. Today we pray. And lastly, Lord, I pray, save those who have no hope. People who are outside of you, outside of a relationship with you.
Jesus Christ have no hope in this life and in the life to come. They have nothing to hope for. But in you they have every reason to hope so. Lord, forgive their sins, lead them to repentance. Let them put their faith and trust in you. Let them turn their entire lives over to your will and surrender to you. Fill them with your spirit. Mark them as your children. Give them hope. We pray in Jesus name.