What we do with a Savior in our hands

-Dan Behrens

DELIVERED INTO THE HANDS OF SINFUL MEN

Between the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the words “delivered into the hands of sinful men” are stated three times by Jesus himself in predicting his own death. Luke’s gospel and the book of Acts each use this same exact phrase at least once in directly tying Old Testament prophecy to Jesus’ death and resurrection. And a slight variation of the words “delivered into”— delivered over, handed over, given over —are used an additional six times in the gospels referring directly to how Jesus would be seized, tried, condemned, treated, and killed. Incidentally, nine of these examples immediately follow Jesus’ warning of the unbelieving spirit of the Pharisee and the cost of following Messiah—which, on the whole, are two principle subjects of Jesus’ message regarding the embrace of kingdom rule and reign in a person’s life. In a word, “the Son of Man must suffer many things…” is all over the scriptures (see examples below).

Not surprising, however, for each of the numerous occasions referenced it appears those who heard these words did not understand them. To his hearers, Jesus was speaking in parables, bizarre riddles, some unintelligible language, a ghastly thought worthy of rebuke. How could their friend, their teacher, this worker of miracles, the “confessed Christ” who would inevitably establish righteousness, justice and peace across the land suddenly be found in custody of the state awaiting death by torture? How can this be? And who would dare?

Mark 12  Again he began to speak to them in parables… “Finally the owner of the vineyard sent his own dear son to the tenants he left in charge, saying, ‘Surely they will heed my son and respect him.’ But they did not. Those tenants said to one another, ‘This here is heir to vineyard. Let us kill him and take his inheritance for our own!’ So they seized the man’s son, killed him, and threw his body out of the vineyard.”

Given over into the hands of sinful men is the ultimate tension of engaging community. Entrusting thyself to the care of human  will is the decisive test of obedient faith. Committed to the will of the Father as it’s unveiled through people is our most noticeable expression of enduring love. And these are the unalterable imperatives of following Jesus! “Whoever receives you receives me, but whoever rejects you rejects me; and whoever rejects me rejects the One who sent me”(Lk 10)

This is the world Christ is born into. This is the world we too are born into. Death is a part of Jesus’ life as it is for us. Life that includes rejections and betrayals, the worst of hurts and pains and the sins of others. Death is part of our life in Christ. And community is part of that death. We see Jesus is ashamed of this death and yet in no way does he avoid or evade. The Word has indeed become flesh and dwells in the care of those who will both love and destroy him—the Pharisee, the Tax Collector, the Soldier, the Leper, the Woman, the Child, You, Me, the World. The “confessed Christ” is completely present and completely immersed in community—hearts and hands and eyes that will not return his gaze.

What we do with the Savior delivered into our own hands will be most evident in how we care for Christ’s body. The body of Christ is his gathered church, a believing community of frail and disjointed people of whom we are a part, in whom we are made more human, and by whom the power of God’s grace is administered in the form of enduring hope. We were created for community… to give and receive love, to feel and be felt in others, to minister the hope of eternity. This is who we are; this is why we’re here.


EXAMPLES OF “THE SON OF MAN MUST SUFFER MANY THINGS”

  • Mt 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day
  • Mk 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
  • Lk 9:22 The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.

  • Mt 17:22-23 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.
  • Mk 9:30-31 They went on from there and passed through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”
  • Lk 9:43-45 But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him what he meant.

  • Mk 10:32-34 And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and there the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.”
  • Mt 20:17-19 As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside and He said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to die, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him; and on the third day He will be raised up.”
  • Lk 18:31-33 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written in the prophets about the Son of Man must be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles; He will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; but the third day He will rise again.”

  • Lk 24:6-7 “Jesus the Nazarene is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man would be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”
  • Acts 2:22-24 “Men of Israel, hear my words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. Yet God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held by its power.”

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