Whenever I read through a gospel, I always dread this chapter--the one in which the trial and crucifixion of Jesus is described. I doubt that I'm alone in that.
This morning as I read, I am simply struck by something that is, perhaps, the most obvious aspect of the text--the simple reality of Jesus' suffering, the extremity of it, and just how unnecessary it seems in human terms. I am also struck by the irony of it, as so many others have been--the reality that He really was the king of the universe and could have stopped the proceedings at any time and chose not to. It is remarkable.
When I began this journaling exercise, I noted that Matthew immediately tells us that Jesus is not going to do what we want Him to do--He will not overthrow the Romans, or make Himself king, or any of that stuff. Matthew managed our expectations and seemed to promise that Jesus was worth following even if He wasn't the messiah everyone was looking for. The chapters since then have often been challenging--Jesus has not always said the things I want Him to say--but now Matthew cashes out his promise; he shows us a leader worth following. He shows us a messiah.