Home > New Testament, Preaching > The Use of Irony in Matthew

The Use of Irony in Matthew

I finished preaching through the book of Matthew this past Sunday.  It has been a journey, a test in perseverance, and a blessing.  There are so many insights that the Lord brought out to me as I prepared each week (many of which didn’t make it into the sermon).  Perhaps the richest part of preaching through Matthew for me were the last three chapters.  One of the highlights of these last three chapters is the way Matthew uses irony to bring out the message of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection.  What is irony?  The dictionary defines it as: a literary technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or apparently stated.  Below are some ironies that help bring out the glory of Christ and the folly of man.

  • Matthew 26:31-35: The disciples are insisting that they will die with Jesus (and yet eventually abandon him); Jesus is the only one who actually dies (and never abandons anyone).
  • Matthew  26:57-68: Jesus is accused of being a temple destroyer; the religious leaders are the real temple destroyers as they seek to put the true temple (Jesus) to death.
  • Matthew 26:69-75: Peter swears before God that he does not know Jesus, as he denies Jesus who is God.
  • Matthew 26:57-75: Jesus is silent, while Peter is speaking; Jesus is wrongly accused, while Peter is rightly accused; and Jesus is adjured by an oath to reveal his identity, while Peter evokes an oath to deny his identity (a disciple of Jesus).
  • Matthew 27:3-10:  Judas returns to the temple to find forgiveness from the priests and finds none; if he returned to Jesus who is the true temple, he would have found forgiveness.
  • Matthew 27:15-23: Jesus is not the revolutionary; Barabbas is.  Jesus is truly innocent; Barabbas is truly guilty.
  • Matthew 27:15-23: Barabbas’ name means Son of the Father; yet  it was the true Son of the Father (Jesus) who took his place so that the people could be set free.  The crowds would rather have an earthly son who would only bring them temporal deliverance by the sword; rather than the heavenly son who would bring them eternal deliverance by a cross.
  • Matthew 27:24-26: Pilate proclaims himself innocent; Jesus is truly the innocent one.  Pilate washes his hands  of the blood of Jesus so as to be innocent; it is only by the blood of Jesus that he can be made innocent.
  • Matthew 27:27-31: Those who haughtily bowed down to him will one day humbly bow down to him.  Those who mocked him as king will one day magnify him as king.
  • Matthew 27:32-44: One Simon (Peter) fled Jesus; another Simon (Cyrene) walks with Jesus.
  • Matthew 27:32-44: While the temple will be destroyed in 70AD, Jesus as the true-temple will not be destroyed but be delivered and raised on the third day.  In order to truly save others, Jesus cannot save himself.  As he hangs on the cross and suffers for us it doesn’t disprove his trust in God, but actually proves that he is the Son of God.
  • Matthew 27:45-56: Jesus was separated from the Father, so that we would never be separated from the Father.
  • Matthew 27:62-66; 28:11-15: The very ones worried about a hoax, concoct that exact same hoax.  They create the very thing they tried to prevent.
  • Matthew 28:1-10: The ones assigned to guard the dead, become like the dead at his resurrection.  The one who thought he had authority over the grave (Pilate), has no authority over the one who was in the grave.
  • Matthew 28:16-20: The one who seemed powerless on the cross and was handed over by the power of others; now by his resurrection has all power.
Categories: New Testament, Preaching
  1. sandesh
    July 11, 2012 at 9:26 am

    God bless you brother..Jesus loves us forever..good sharing

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