Luke 19:45-48 Jesus is the Son of Man Jesus in the Temple

Luke 19:45-48

Jesus is the Son of Man

Jesus in the Temple

          All right! Please turn in your Bible with me to Luke chapter 19. Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem! Finally.

And the Gospel spend more time on this week in time, his week in Jerusalem, the last week of his life, than any other event, time period, anything else in Jesus’ ministry.

Sometimes we tend to think of this part of Jesus’ life as, He enters Jerusalem and immediately goes to sit down at the Last Supper. But there is a lot that goes on in Jerusalem the beginning half of the week.

We will see here in Luke, for the next 2 and almost 3 chapters, that Jesus is going to spend time addressing things that need to be addressed before He leaves this world.

The first one, we are going to look at this morning is one of the most well know, most oft referenced, and one of the least deeply understood stories of Jesus earthly ministry.

This incident, or one just like it is recorded and taught in all 4 Gospels. However, there are cultural nuances and aspects that we don’t think about in regard to this story. There is a lot from the Old Testament that plays into this situation and scenario. And there are ways that we try to justify ourselves and our actions and heart based on this story. But its so much deeper than that and there is more to it than permission to get angry.

On that note, let’s go ahead and read this week’s passage, Luke chapter 19, verses 45 through 48. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. Please grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read the very Word of God.

Luke 19:45-48, the Holy Spirit inspires Luke to record:

 

And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.

May God Bless the Reading of His Word

 

So, as we said earlier, Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem. And it makes sense that he would immediately go to the Temple. That is the cultural, and spiritual center of Jerusalem.

Now, Luke’s Gospel is short on details and background, so I will be referencing and pulling info from the other Gospels. This story, or a similar story take place in Matthew 21:12-16, Mark 11:15-18 & John 2:12-22.

Luke tells us that Jesus goes in and starts driving out “those who sold” from the temple. Matthew says that they were those who bought and sold, money changers and those who sold pigeons.

SO, the first thing we need to do is to ask, Why? Why did Jesus throw these people out? Why did he drive them out? Why did he flip the tables? And the answer is more complicated than we can get from just a surface level reading.

Trying to keep a long story short and yet provide all the relevant information.

All Jews were required to come and offer a sacrifice in the temple. However, it was burdensome to travel from all over Israel to Jerusalem with lambs, goats, pigeons and whatever else they might have been bringing. Because of this, there were always an abundance of animals for sale in Jerusalem and specifically, in and around the temple. There was also a required temple tax that had to be paid and specifically had to be paid in the local currency.

And so, with all of this, there were money changers there to convert currencies and charging pretty high exchange rates, gouging those who were there to pay the tax. At the same time, there were those who were selling the animals for sacrifice, and were, in modern terms, charging prices like a big city feeding off tourists. And so, it was a combination of price fixing, over charging, exorbitant exchange rates and the likes that contributed to Jesus’ mood, more so than just simple selling.

 

And so, Jesus starts driving them out of the temple and he quotes scripture. Two texts in fact he combines to one statement. He quotes first from Isaiah 56, which Mike read earlier, that His house, Gods House, the Temple, shall be a house of prayer for all nations.

The context, of course, being that all are welcome to come and worship God. If you want to worship the All mighty, come one and all and worship him. The temple was supposed to be a house of prayer for all nations, not a bunker for those who believe to hide from and keep guarded the truth of God. Gentiles were supposed to be invited, welcomed, and taught the truth of God. The section of the temple that the selling and money changing was taking place, the outer courts was called the “Court of the Gentiles.”

That is what the temple, that is what the Jewish people were supposed to be. Starting back in Genesis 12, Gods famous promise to Abraham, He tells Abraham, I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

In 1 Kings 8, we see the dedication of the temple, which inspired Isaiah 56 where Solomon calls for all the peoples of the world to come and worship the LORD.

Jesus said earlier here in Luke 19 that his purpose was to seek and save the lost. He famously says elsewhere that it is not the well who need a doctor, but the sick.

And of course, the Great Commission in Matthew 28, where Jesus tells his disciples and all believers who would follow what their purpose is. Before he ascends and leaves them for the last time, until he comes back, he tells them go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The point, when all of these things are brought together, is that we are to be actively attempting to spread the Good News of the Gospel. We are to be bringing the Gospel to those who don’t know and have not heard of it. That’s why Missions are so important. That’s why Village Missions is so important. There are many here in America, including rural America who have not heard the true Gospel. Sure, some have heard the name of some guy named Jesus. Sure, Christianity is one of those religions, like Judaism, Islam, and so many more that brainwash their followers and try to get them to acting morally superior. But they don’t know what Christianity truly is. They don’t know why its good news. They don’t know who Jesus is and they certainly don’t know him.

And the Gentiles at this time didn’t either. And so, God continually told the Jewish people that they were supposed to spread the good news and be a light on the Hill. They were not supposed to bunker down, not supposed to build barriers, not supposed to create stumbling blocks.

Jesus says my house is to be a house of prayer. That’s what it is supposed to be. But that’s not what it is right now because of you money changers and price gougers.

And he says that, instead, they have made it a den of thieves. This part he is quoting from Jeremiah 7. Verses 8-11, God tells them:

“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?

 

One commentator writes: That is exactly what the temple had become: A den of robbers. The people of Jeremiah’s day were robbing God by neglecting the poor, forsaking widows, and abandoning orphans. Yet in their hypocrisy they still came to worship as if they had done nothing wrong. In effect, the temple had become a safe house- a place for criminals to gather.

 

The gist of that is this: Don’t come in here Sunday morning, acting righteous and pious and holy, acting betta than, when you have spent all week living for the world and doing what ever your heart has desired.

Of course, to be clear, this doesn’t mean that only perfect people can come to worship on Sunday. Just the opposite in fact. There are none righteous, no not one. But come to worship with a contrite heart. Continual repentance is the key. Trust in Jesus and that when he says you are forgiven, that you are actually forgiven. Paul writes in Romans 8:1 There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Don’t pretend. Don’t play a part. Don’t act as if you belong to Christ, when you don’t know him. It does nobody any good. It only creates false assurance in yourself, and it makes others feel false condemnation.

Recognize your sinfulness. Recognize your need for salvation. Recognize your need for the Savior. Recognize that Jesus is that Savior. That he offers salvation. That he offers forgiveness. That he offers assurance. That he alone offers these things. Recognize the miracle that has taken place when through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, through the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, you are brought from spiritual death and you are made alive in Christ, eternally alive, made a child of God, adopted into his family and made a co heir with Christ.

Playing the part, acting a role, not welcoming and accepting outsiders and newcomers, not having the heart that Jesus called us to, all that does is make his house a den of thieves instead of a house of prayers.

Now, Luke says that Jesus was teaching in the temple daily. Marks Gospel shows that, in addition to teaching in the temple daily, Jesus was teaching as this event was going on. As he was driving these guys out, Jesus was teaching as well.

SO, we see, from that, that, yes, Jesus was mad. He was angry. He was driven to action. But in his anger, he did not sin. He was still in control of himself. This was not a wild, out of control rage.

And that is why I urge you to proceed with extreme caution whenever you try to take this story and justify your own thoughts, anger, or actions. Jesus in his anger, did not sin. Jesus did not lose control. Jesus acted perfectly and righteously. We are not Jesus. We are not perfect. We are called to get angry at sin, at the hurt and suffering that is the consequence of sin, at the way it grieves God. But we are not called lose control, to rage or to sin in our anger.

And trying to walk a line, any line, trying to look in ourselves and be able to, not only control, but even to tell where that line is and when we are close to crossing it, is one of the most difficult things in the world.

 

But back to Jesus. Jesus was teaching the people as this was going on and he would continue to teach throughout this last week of his life. Jesus never quit trying to show people the truth, teaching them truth. And the temple would have been the normal and expected place for teaching to take place. We see that back when Jesus was left in Jerusalem as a kid, he was listening to the teaching in the temple. We see that when Paul would go to a new city, he would go straight to the synagogue to teach the people.

And we already know that the scribes and the pharisees were looking to get Jesus. But now we also see, “the principal men of the people,” wanted Jesus as well. They were prominent lay people. We know that they refused to hear. We know that they were for the opposite of what God was for. And they were searching for seeking for something to destroy him. But they could find nothing. And this was, as Luke tells us, in part because the people were hanging on Jesus’ every word.

Of course, we also know that it’s all about Jesus’ timing. It was close to time, but it was not yet time. Thursday night, after the last supper, as he was in the garden praying, then it would be time. And Judas would lead the Roman soldiers to Him and betray him and Jesus would allow himself to be arrested and tried and crucified. But not until the time was right.

You know, passages like this, if we don’t look at them like “Jesus did this, I’m supposed to do the exact same thing as him.” IF that’s not our application, it can be difficult to know what to take out of this.

One of the biggest things I see in this is where Jesus’ passions lie. Yes, Gods house is Holy, and we should not negate that or discount that. But to what end, and for what purpose? His house is to be a house of prayer for all nations. And anything that gets in the way of this, is getting in the way of the passions that Jesus has.

I love how Philip Ryken puts it as he writes:

The angry entrance that Jesus made to the temple shows where his passion lies, and therefore where our own passions ought to lie. Jesus has a passion for the lost, for reaching people who are outside the community of faith. He has a passion for the poor, for remembering to show mercy to people that society has forgotten. He has a passion for justice, for standing against persons and systems who perpetrate evil. He has a passion for prayer, for worshipping God with the sincerity of a true heart. He has a passion for making the life of faith the main business of life.

 

I love that. None of us have the heart naturally. None of us have that desire innately. And so, what can change our hearts? What can change our innate desires and our behaviors? Nothing but the pure, undefiled Word of God. Rightly divided, taught, understood and applied.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. God works through his word. Jesus is the Word. The Holy Spirit works the Word through us. We are not able to change ourselves anymore than we can raise ourselves from the dead. Its all God, always God and only God.

Soli Deo Gloria.

To God alone be the Glory.

Let’s Pray.

Luke 19:28-44 Jesus is the Son of Man Jesus Exceeds our Expectations

Luke 19:28-44

Jesus is the Son of Man

Jesus Exceeds our Expectations

 

All tight! If you will, please turn with me to Luke Chapter 19.

Way back in Luke 9, verse 51, Luke tells us that Jesus set his face upon Jerusalem. And we have walked with him as he has traveled, teaching, healing, performing miracles, seeing people whom society wouldn’t and couldn’t see.

And here, 10 chapters later, we see Jesus arrive in Jerusalem.  He timed it for a reason, and he came for a reason, for a very specific purpose. He came, as he told Zacchaeus recently. To seek and save the lost.

To do that completely, correctly and perfectly, he needed to go to Jerusalem. He needed to be turned over and he needed to die. He needed to be buried and he needed to rise from the dead, brought back to life. All of it, done the week of the Passover so that the correlations, the foreshadowing and the fulfillments would be obvious.

This was all determined and planned amongst the Blessed and Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit before the beginning of time.

And again, the timing mattered. The lamb of God being sacrificed for the salvation of Gods people from sin and from death. Taking place, the same week they were celebrating Passover, when a lamb without blemish was sacrificed in remembrance of the salvation of Gods people from slavery and bondage in Egypt.

Jesus was finally in Jerusalem. He had finally come to redeem his people.

 

Let’s go ahead and read this week’s passage, Luke chapter 19, verses 28 through 44. Ill be reading, as always, out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along, so that you too are reading the very Words of God.

Luke 19:28-44, Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, writes:

And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethpage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

May God Bless the Reading of his Holy Word.

 

 

So, Jesus and his disciples finished up in Jericho and they left. They started the 15-mile trek up from Jericho to Jerusalem. And they came upon Bethany and Bethpage. Bethany was approximately 2 miles outside of Jerusalem. Bethany was also where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived, so Jesus would have been very aware and familiar with the area.

Outside of Bethany, leading to Jerusalem was the Mount of Olives, and from here Jesus was overlooking Jerusalem. This would have been the road down into Jerusalem. As he came to this spot, he paused.

Here, Jesus came and showed off his prophetic skills. He went and orchestrated the fulfillment of prophecy. He showed those around him that He know what was going on. That he had orchestrated it all. That he had it all set up.

He was the one who fulfilled all the prophecies. He was the one who made all the prophecies.   He was the one all the prophecies were about. Now, in his human form, there were two forms of prophecy. There were passive prophecies, that his human form he had no control of. This would include things like being born in Bethlehem. Jesus in human form had no control over where he was born.

But here we see Jesus actively cause a prophecy to be fulfilled. This is the other side. He tells them to go into the village, maybe Bethpage (?) and to get a colt that would be tied up in a specific spot. And it kind of seems very Cloak-and-dagger. He tells his disciples, if someone asks you why you are untying this colt, here’s the Password: The LORD has need of it.

And it worked. They went to untie the colt. Someone asked why, and they said: The LORD has need of it. And the people that were asking them let the disciples take the colt up to Jesus. So not only did what Jesus tell them come true, which was neat. But He also ended up fulfilling OT prophecy as well.

The colt was brought to Jesus and Jesus was then presented as an arriving King to those who were watching him head into Jerusalem. Zechariah 9:9 says:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

 

          In Fulfilling this prophecy, in riding into Jerusalem on a colt, Jesus is making it clear and public that he is claiming to be the Messiah. One study note says this: This entry into Jerusalem fulfills prophecy and is a public claim to messiahship, but of a distinctive kind. The donkey is the animal of a man of peace and is associated with humility in Zechariahs prophecy. A conquering king would ride a horse.

          The other Gospels make clear that this was a colt of a donkey. And that’s important because of the prophecy. I also saw another note that correlated that David would have ridden a donkey back when he was King and that the conquering King riding a horse was a more recent historic development at that point, may be when the Greeks had conquered much of the lands. So, in that case, Jesus would have been associating his messiahship with the reign of King David.

So, he was coming as the Messiah, and publicly claiming to do so. But he wasn’t coming as the messiah they expected. Instead, he was coming as the exact messiah that was planned and promised.

They expected him to be that conquering King. They expected and wanted him to militarily and politically overthrow the Roman occupation of Israel. They wanted an earthly King, ruling over Israel in the vein of David.

Many were expecting Jesus to be this man. We saw last week that Jesus had to remind them and teach them that he was not inaugurating the kingdom when he entered Jerusalem. They didn’t learn and didn’t care. WE see them this week, as he is riding the colt into Jerusalem, the crowds, the disciples, whoever else was involved, shouting things like Hosanna, in the other Gospels. Shouting “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 

          This harkens back to the night of Jesus birth. In the fields with the shepherds, the Angels sang out, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[d]

                        And we also will end up seeing similar responses from the Roman Authorities that Herod had at that time. The Wisemen came, telling how this baby fulfilled the prophecies and would be the King of the Jews. In response to that, Herod had many innocent boys slaughtered to protect his power, his authority, and the status quo.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt, fulfilling prophecy and was being hailed as the King, the Messiah that the Jews had been waiting for. In response to that, The Roman, and Jewish, authorities had Jesus crucified to protect their power and authority and the status quo.

The crowds and Jesus disciples expected Jesus to be the Messiah they expected and wanted and so they welcomed him as such. This crowd very likely included Bartimaeus, the blind man that Jesus healed outside of Jericho. The crowd likely would have included Zacchaeus, who joyfully received Jesus inside of Jericho. It likely would have included Lazarus, who Jesus brought from death to life. IT likely would have included Nicodemus, though he might not have been as loud and vocal as the rest of the crowds.

Now, we see the Pharisees say something here and before we look at that, I really want to set the scene for you here.

Jerusalem, approx. 33 AD. Jewish land under Roman military occupation. The week leading up to Passover. Because of this, there would have been a huge influx of Jewish people coming from all over Israel to Jerusalem for that week. Historically, there had already been many clashes between Roman soldiers and the Jewish people. There had been real and perceived insurrections and acts of sedition. There had been real and perceived abuses of power and punishment, with real and perceived over exertion of brutality. The Roman soldiers in Jerusalem would have been on extremely high alert. The tension in the air was palpable. You could feel the tension simmering just under the surface, waiting, like a powder keg, for that one spark to set things off.

Now, I tell you that so that, when we read what the Pharisees have to say, we stop and think about it. Our surface level reading is that they were upset that the people were seeing him as the Messiah and proclaiming him as such. And that very well may have been the case.

But it also could have been something else, just as simple. The Pharisees told Jesus to quiet his disciples. Their reasoning could have been less, “He’s not the Messiah!” and could have been more, “Don’t Give the Romans more reason or excuse to come down on us!”

Their thinking could have been, lets keep this all calm and quiet like. Don’t get all joyous, rambunctious, riotous. Quit rocking the boat!

More likely it could have been a combination of the two, in my opinion.

 

So, Jesus responds, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out!

Now, most commonly, you will hear that this means that Jesus, as God, is going to be worshipped no matter what. If the people don’t recognize him and cry out in worship, then nature itself will cry out in worship. For this is his creation as well. God is not just a God of Man. He is not just the creator of Man, but he is the God of and the Creator of all of nature, all the planet, all of space, all of the universe.

Jesus is not only the King of the Jews, not only King of mankind, But king of all creation, King of all the Cosmos.

In this way, RC Sproul wonders about the similarities between this Genesis 4:10 where God says that Abel’s shed blood has been crying out to him. Literal? Poetic? Could be…

Now, the other option for the meaning of what Jesus said, or more likely, an additional layer to what Jesus said also exists. The idea is that the phrase, “the stones cry out,” is a reference to destruction and judgment.  Historically we see this in Habakkuk, I believe as well. And this would fit the upcoming contexts in verses 42 & 43. In that, Jesus is prophesying about the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem that would occur in 70 AD, less than 40 years from when Jesus would have said this.

 

Jesus said these things, and he came upon Jerusalem. He was overlooking it before entering it. He looked upon it. And he wept. He wept for Jerusalem. He wept because he knew what was coming. He wept, not for himself, but for the city. And for the people who thought that they knew.

The pharisees in verse 39 wanted to keep the peace.  The people of Israel thought that getting rid of the Romans would bring peace. Jesus knew that the road they were on would bring destruction and death. Jesus wanted them to know true, everlasting peace. Peace beyond understanding.

If we persist on rejecting Christ, on pursuing worldly power, authority, and the worldly means of gaining them, that it will become permanent. We won’t have a choice anymore. And so that s why we see throughout the scriptures the constant call to choose now.

Jesus came to this earth and the people had a lot of expectations. Jesus didn’t meet any of them. He exceeded all of them.

Jesus entered Jerusalem as a King, but Humbled.

Jesus entered Jerusalem as a King but going to die.

Jesus entered Jerusalem as a King but grieving over the future of Jerusalem.

When he comes back, bringing with him the New Jerusalem, He will be King, and he will be exalted. He will be King, and he will slaughter his enemies. He will be King, and he will bring perfection, redeeming his people for an eternal future in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Lets Pray

Luke 19:11-27 Jesus is the Son of Man Investing the Gospel

Luke 19:11-27

Jesus is the Son of Man

Investing the Gospel

 

Please grab your Bibles and turn with me to Luke chapter 19. As I continue to say, if you do not have a Bible, if you do not own a Bible, please see me after the service and we can get one onto your hands.

Continuing through Luke’s Gospel this morning, we are at the conclusion of Jesus journey to Jerusalem. Next Week in our series, he rides onto Jerusalem for the last week of his life. This was a journey that started way back towards the end of Luke chapter 9.

And through that journey, Jesus entire focus has been on the Kingdom of God. Everything, his teachings, his healings, his miracles, all of it. All designed to focus his followers on the coming kingdom of Heaven.

We have seen on this journey, many who have become citizens of the kingdom of Heaven, including just last week as we looked at Zacchaeus and his becoming a new creation. As we finished up with Zacchaeus last week, listen to the words of Jesus in verses 9 & 10. “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

 

          This declaration leads directly into our passage this week, Jesus last teaching before entering Jerusalem. We are going to read Luke chapter 19, verses 11 through 27. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation.

Luke 19:11-27, Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit writes:

 

As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants,[a] he gave them ten minas,[b] and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. 16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant![c] Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24 And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”

 

Thus says the Word of God

Jesus tells those around him one more parable before they leave Jericho and go on up to Jerusalem. And I love these parables in Luke’s Gospel where Luke tells us the why and the purpose of the parable before he shares the parable. It takes a lot of the guess work and confusion out of trying to understand it.

The people who were watching Jesus, following Jesus and hearing Jesus had a great misunderstanding. They thought the kingdom that Jesus was teaching them about and pointing to was appearing immediately. IT appears that they assumed that upon His arrival in Jerusalem, they expected him to be established and inaugurated as King and would free Israel from Roman occupation.

And so, to dispel some of those expectations, Jesus tells them a parable. Do you know in TV shows, especially police procedurals, sometimes they claim that a particular show or plotline is based on true events? Ripped form the Headlines! They sometimes say. It doesn’t mean that they are telling the true story, but that they were inspired to use the true events as a basis for the story they wanted to tell.

That’s kind of what Jesus did here with this parable. We are not going to get into the history too much this morning, but the outline of the parable would have been immediately recognizable to the Jewish crowd as an event that happened almost 30 years prior, when King Herod the Great died and part of his kingdom was left to one of his sons.

But the details were slightly different as this story was about Jesus himself. A man was taking over authority and ownership as a King over that territory. However, to do so, he had to leave that territory for a time. As he was getting ready to do so, he left it in the hands of some of his most trusted servants.

We see this not only in the historical situation that I mentioned, but we see that this is going to be fulfilled in Jesus as well.  In Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection he is taking ownership and being granted authority over his Kingdom. Then he ascended into heaven, leaving his earthly kingdom. As he was about to ascend, he gave us the Great Commission, leaving the responsibility of his Kingdom in the hands of his servants. So, in very real ways, this parable is about us, believers in Jesus Christ, his servants as we wait for his return.

In the parable, the king gives his servants resources so that they could go about continuing his business while he is gone. And he gives them each the same resource, each servant gets 1 mina. This is one of the things that makes this story different than the well-known parable of the talents that we find in Matthew 24. They have some similarities and some similar phrasings, but the ultimate point and the set up are different.

In the parable of the talents, the servants are given different amounts of gifts and talents based on what they will do with them. One was given 10, one 5, etc. It is to show that we all have different spiritual gifts, talents and abilities that we can use for God, and that we are to use what he has given us, not compare us to what he has given to others.

In this parable, each servant is given 1 mina, about three months’ worth of wages. Each servant is given the same thing. The point of this is not to do more or less based on what we are given, but to be faithful. This parable is not that he has given us each different gifts and abilities, but that he has given us all the same mission, all the same resource, the Gospel.

Our job, until he returns is to be faithful and to invest what he has given us. Now, before we get into whether the servants invest their resources well, we see that not everyone was a faithful servant. There were many who were living in the kingdom of the parable, who hated the king.

Now, some of the phrasing can get a little confusing… The kingdom mentioned in this parable is not the kingdom of heaven in that citizens of the kingdom are believers who will be in heaven. Instead, the kingdom is this world, our earthly home where Jesus is still the king and all who live on earth are citizens of it. Jesus is King, he is creator, he has all authority over earth. But not all here today on this earth accept his authority. Some, maybe many hate that He claims to be their King. They reject his authority, and they rebel against Him. The good news is that he reigns whether they accept him or not. The good news is that He reigns whether they like it or not.

Jesus will deal with them later on…

TO make this simple, we are living between verses 14 & 15. Verse 15 shows that when the master returns, he will call his servants to give an account for how well they invested their resources while he was gone. At the Second Coming, Jesus will return, and he will have his servants stand and give an account.

As believers, we will still stand before him and give an account for our actions, for our sins, and for our faithfulness. Now, to be clear, and I’ll say it many different times in many different ways, e will not give an account in order to see whether we get into heaven or whether we deserve to get into heaven or if we have earned entrance into heaven. But we will give an account as to whether we have been faithful to what he has called us to and what he has enabled us to.

Again, all believers will have perfect eternal life in communion with God in Heaven. That is not at question in this parable. That is not a point the parable is trying to make or to undercut.

But there is one thing that we don’t talk a lot about, because I don’t think a lot of us understand it. I know I don’t understand it very well. But the Bible says it in enough different places that we have to look at it. Not all believers, when they enter heaven, will hear, “Well done, Good and faithful servant…” All believers enter heaven, but there will be different levels of rewards and responsibilities and things like that. Not less perfect, because its all-in eternal heaven, in perfect paradise. But things will be different based on our earthly service and faithfulness. The Bible speaks in it numerous times; Matthew 6:20, 1 Cor 3, specifically verses 8, 14 & 15, 1 Timothy 6:17-19, just to name a few and to show I’m not making this up. Again, I don’t fully understand it, but we can’t just ignore something the Bible speaks on, especially that often.

We see with the three servants that Jesus points out here in this parable an example of that. Remember that all servants were given the same amount, the same resource, one mina. And the first servant, he says, your mina has grown into 10 minas. He invested it well and it was almost as if it took over and did all the work on its own. Almost like we plant the seed, but the LORD brings the increase. The Gospel does all the work all by itself, if we are faithful to spread it and invest in it and live it and share it. He is both praised and rewarded by Jesus.

The second is close to the first. He is faithful. The 1 mina he received grew to 5 minas, again, almost as if on its own. Jesus rewarded this servant as well, though not quite to the same level as the first. But the principal is the same, those who were faithful with little, will be entrusted with a lot.

Now Jesus comes to the third servant. And he comes to Jesus and gives him his 1 Mina back to him. He tells Jesus, I dint want to waste your resources. I didn’t want to lose what you gave me. I kept it to myself so that I could give it right back to you since it was yours. He kept it under a bushel! He didn’t labor, he didn’t conduct business. He didn’t let the money multiply itself.

The Master rips into him. He uses his words back at him. Jesus will use our own words, our own attitudes, our own actions when confronting us and condemning us from our sins. And Jesus tells him, you could have done something minimal, requiring almost no effort on your part. IN that context, you could have put it in the bank so it could have at least made interest. In our context. At least live your life as a Christian, don’t give in and live just like the rest of the world and society. Even if you weren’t going to go out and invest in the Gospel, you don’t have to actively hide the fact that you are a believer. At least do the absolute minimum so that the work of the Gospel would still have a chance to replicate. Instead of burying it or hiding it.

And so, Jesus rebukes him and tells him that even what he had will be taken from him. Rewards will be withheld from you. Those rewards that would have gone to you will be reallocated to those who were faithful and were mentioned earlier. IF you are unfaithful with a little, you will lose what little you had.

Now, some see this third servant as an unbeliever, or as someone who was playing church. Someone who knew the role to play but was never really a believer. And that is possible. But to me, the way it reads, this man is saved. He is a servant of Christ. But he is saved with no reward. Salvation is not based on our faithfulness. Salvation is based solely on the grace of God alone. We are sinful. We are unfaithful. We are prone to wander. And yet, Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:13: if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.

In my eyes, these three servants and their interaction with the Master, this is all an in-house discussion if you will, amongst believers in the church. Another part of that reason is that there is another group of people that the Master will know deal with. The third servant is not lumped in with this next group.

In verse 27, The Master turns his attention to those mentioned back in verse 14. Those who were the enemies of the King. They were the ones who rebelled against him. Who rejected his authority? They are those who chose not to be a part of His Kingdom. He says bring them to me. They will be slaughtered.

God is a God of Love. We do not deny that. In fact, we embrace that, and we bank on that. But he is not only a God of love. He is a God of Justice. He is a God of Holiness. He is a God of wrath. All perfectly and all balanced with each other.

WE are all born as those who reject the King and rebel against him. All of us, in our own nature are these men. By Gods grace, through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, his death, burial and resurrection, he has purchased our forgiveness and offers it and salvation to any who believe, who turn to him, trust him and repent of their sins. He offers free for all who believe.

Bu those who choose to continue to reject Him. Those who continue to rebel against his authority, they will not receive eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. They will not receive the peace of God. Instead, they will face eternal judgment. They will face the deserved and earned punishment for their sins. They will receive the full wrath of God.

Jesus shows this to John who describes it in Revelation 14:9-11:

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

OF course, it is plain to see that eternity in Heaven, even with no extra rewards, is infinitely better that eternal wrath and judgment.

 

As Jesus is telling this parable to those who are around him, at this point in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus time on this earth is close to an end. The people around him needed to make a decision. They had heard all that Jesus had said, all that he taught. They had seen or heard of all the miracles and the healings. They were presented with all the information. They needed to make a decision.

Now, Jesus’ time away is close to end. No one knows the day except the father, but it’s close to coming to an end. We have been presented with all the information needed. Now it is time for us to make a decision.

First, if you have not, receive Christ Joyfully, like we saw last week with Zacchaeus. Call out to Jesus, the Son of David, like we saw the week before with Bartimaeus.

Second, and only after the first, because with out the first, the second has no point, it has no effect. Second, work towards being a good and faithful servant.

Kent Hughes is the one who calls this “investing in the Gospel.”

He writes:

Are we investing in the Gospel? Are we investing what he has done for us? Are we investing what he can do for others? This is not a question of giftedness but of faithfulness. Are we using what we have to invest in the ministry of the gospel? There are many specific applications of this question. Are we using our money to invest the good news? Jesus minced no words about this: “I tell you, make friends for yourself by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). Your money personally given to aid people in need or to promote evangelism and missions will win souls, eternal friends who will welcome you into Heaven! How do you spend your time? Your personal calendar tells all. Everyone can make massive investments in the matter of prayer, but few do. Do your mouths, the things we say, invest testimony and witness? There can never be such a thing as a passive investment. Gospel investment requires action.

 

Number 1, above, determines our eternal destination, our salvation. Receive Christ, cry out to him. Trust in Him for the forgiveness of sins.

Number 2 above affects what it looks like in our already determined eternal destination. I will finish up with a quote from JC Ryle who summed it up best: Our title to heaven is all of Grace. Our degree of Glory in heaven will be proportioned to our works.

 

Let’s Pray.

 

 

Luke 19:1-10 Jesus is the Son of Man Repentance is more than saying I’m sorry

Luke 19:1-10
Jesus is the Son of Man
Repentance is more than saying I’m sorry

Please grab your Bibles and turn with me to Luke chapter 19.
So, we took a brief break from Luke’s Gospel last week as we looked to Marks Gospel to see how the same stories in the Gospel are told and what some of the different angles and emphases are.
That story we looked at two weeks in a row was the story of the Blind Beggar, Bartimaeus on the Road outside of Jericho. And this is important because of what Jericho signifies in the narrative of Jesus earthly life and ministry. Jericho is where travelers would stage and prepare for the last leg of their journey to Jerusalem.
And Jesus and his follower, especially the Twelve, were heading to Jerusalem. They were going for two reasons. The immediate reason is the same as why Jerusalem was so overcrowded at that moment. The Passover was coming up. This yearly celebration was one where Jews from all over Israel come to Jerusalem. So, Jerusalem was overcrowded, and by extension, beforehand, so was Jericho.
The second reason they were going to Jerusalem was because Jesus knew that’s where he needed to go to fulfill his mission. He came, as we are going to see today, to seek and save the lost. He came to restore our relationship with God the Father. He was the long prophesied and promised messiah, the Christ. And that meant, as he has told the disciples numerous times, that he needed to die and be buried before he would rise again.
As Jesus was journeying to Jerusalem, he was continuing to teach, continuing to heal, continuing to call sinners to repentance, and continuing to turn peoples’ assumptions and expectations upside down.
So, lets go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 19, verses 1 through 10. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage to follow along in your translation.
Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, records:

He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Thus says the Word of God.

Now, one of the things we saw, especially the last two weeks, is that Jesus was known far and wide within Israel. People knew who he was. They had heard stories about what he had done, and what he was claiming. The Blind Beggar outside Jericho, likely never having travelled anywhere, knew who Jesus of Nazareth was and knew that He was the Son of David, the Messiah.
And we see that a man named Zacchaeus in Jericho, he knew who Jesus was too. People knew Jesus was passing through. They wanted to see him, they wanted to encounter him, hear him if there was any teaching that was going to happen. And Zacchaeus did too.
Now, Zacchaeus was not a beloved person. He was a tax collector. We have talked about the tax collectors before. Rome was a massive juggernaut at the time, the rulers of the known world. Their empire and their military took money to keep running smoothly and to keep the peace in their occupied territories. So, they hired locals to collect taxes for them. In that regard, especially among the Jewish people, tax collectors were looked at as traitors, working for the enemy against their own people.
On top of that, tax collectors “earned” their income by collecting above and beyond what Rome was ordering to be collected. They go to keep the additional amount. Now, Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. This is the only time we see this title in the Bible so what we know are all educated guesses. It appears that he would be a regional manager type. He would have likely been skimming from the amount the tax collectors brought in, of course, making sure that Rome got their cut and that He got his cut. I believe that the regional breakdowns wouldn’t work, but it is possible that Zacchaeus would have been Matthew’s boss, known then as Levi before Jesus called Him. Or at least Matthew would have worked for a Zacchaeus type.
No body would have liked Zacchaeus. And maybe that’s why he was having trouble getting a spot along the road to see Jesus as he and his disciples are passing by. He wasn’t the only one of course, the crowds were thick. Jericho was overfilled and many people wanted to see Jesus. And so, Zacchaeus couldn’t push through the crowd to get a view. It didn’t help that Zacchaeus was a wee little man either. He couldn’t see over the crowd.
So, Zacchaeus did what any normal person would do, he ran ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so that he could see Jesus. That is how driven, how desperate he was to see Jesus.
Something was compelling him. GO, see this Jesus guy. See what He is all about. Do it now because there might not be another chance, and there wouldn’t.
The Holy Spirit was telling Zacchaeus that the time is now. This is what’s known Effectual Calling, maybe better known, Irresistible Grace, the I in TULIP, which is an acronym for 5 tenets of Reformed theology.
One source describes it this way:
Irresistible grace” is a phrase that is used to summarize what the Bible teaches about the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of sinners. Simply put, the doctrine of irresistible grace refers to the biblical truth that whatever God decrees to happen will inevitably come to pass, even in the salvation of individuals. The Holy Spirit will work in the lives of the elect so that they inevitably will come to faith in Christ. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit never fails to bring to salvation those sinners whom He personally calls to Christ

I don’t think there is any way to deny that this is what is going on in Zacchaeus at this point in time. Famed theologian Matthew Henry says: Jesus brings his own welcome. He opens the heart and inclines it to receive him.

So, the Holy Spirit is drawing Zacchaeus to Christ. He compels him to go and see him while Jesus is in Jericho. And the only way that he can see Jesus is by climbing a sycamore tree. These trees are known to be very tall, but with very low limbs, great for climbing. They are also very full, which would make it very hard to be seen if you were in the tree.
And yet, Jesus “just happens,” to look up and see Zacchaeus up in the tree. What a coincidence! We know that coincidences are God working behind the scenes. Things like this. Luck, coincidence, Gods invisible providence, all at work to bring a sinner to Himself.
Jesus happens to pass by under the tree, happens to look up, happens to see Zacchaeus, and happens to know his name. “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”
TO me, I hear him saying, C’mon on down here Zacchaeus. I can’t talk to you up there! We are going to your place now.

This was an incredibly joyful moments for Zacchaeus. Not all conversions are instantaneous, clouds open up, angels singing style conversions. Some are and praise God for them. But not all are. Some are subtle and gradual, a process that takes time. I believe this is the case for Zacchaeus and sometime in here, sometime during this story is when the gradual process came to its fulfillment. There is no way of knowing when, but we do know that he received Jesus joyfully.
Notice too, along with what we said earlier. Zacchaeus didn’t invite Jesus over. He didn’t do anything to earn Jesus’ attention. All Zacchaeus did was receive Jesus joyfully. And even that, the Holy Spirit had already done everything He had to do inside of Zacchaeus in order to prepare him so that He could receive Jesus. Even Zacchaeus receiving Jesus was not because of Zacchaeus.
Now, not everyone was happy that Zacchaeus received Jesus joyfully. First of all, Jesus, why would you be caught spending time with that guy. Don’t you know who he is? Don’t you know what he has done. No body wants to spend time with him. Your reputation will be ruined by spending time with him!
Also, Zacchaeus is too much of a sinner to be saved. He’s not worthy of grace, of forgiveness and of recognition. How could he ever be saved?
And that’s the good news, isn’t it? Not that salvation exists. That would be great news if we were worthy of it, if we could earn it, if we in any way deserved it. But we aren’t, we can’t, and we don’t. So, salvation in and of itself is not good news.
But that Jesus came to offer and grant salvation, more accurately to procure salvation for those who could not do so on their own. Not only couldn’t do it on their own but could have no part in it whatsoever. In other words, you, me, and everyone else who believes. Its good news because he procures it for us who can’t do it ourselves. Like Zacchaeus.
That’s the good news. We can’t earn it. We can’t do anything, be good enough. Our works are like filthy rags to him. But we see the other side here.
Zacchaeus was saved. He was forgiven. He received Gods grace. His heart of stone was change by the Holy Spirit into a Heart of flesh. And now, he is showing outwardly what that change looks like.
Zacchaeus was convicted of his sins. He was able to see how grievous they were. His greed, his extortion, his manipulation, his bullying and so much more. He wanted to change, and he wanted to make it right.
But it’s not just as easy as realizing that what you did was wrong and saying your sorry. That’s the minimum and sometimes that’s all you are able to do for a variety of possible reasons.
But Zacchaeus was able to do more. And he wanted to do more. He wasn’t trying to buy forgiveness of those whom he wronged. He wanted to make it right. He was convicted of sin, so he stood and publicly confessed and made it right.
Through faith comes repentance.
Now, this is not an exact formula for all of us on how to repent. Zacchaeus made his wealth and his money by stealing, defrauding, extorting and bullying. And now, to show that money and possessions and wealth are no longer his gods, no longer his purpose, this is what he was to do.
His formula was to, first, give half of his wealth away to the poor and needy. Second, anyone he defrauded; he was going to pay them back four times what he took. This was going above and beyond what the Torah commanded of the Jewish people.
Our formula for repentance and restitution is, first, to be open handed in our generosity. We confess our sins, not only to God, but to the people we sinned against. We are to ask forgiveness, but also, we are to go beyond that, and we are to attempt to make things right, to make restitution and, if possible, to reconcile those relationships.
In verse 9, Jesus makes a joyous proclamation. We shouldn’t need to parse this too deep or try to find the nuances of the statement. Jesus says that salvation has come to Zacchaeus house, and he is a Son of Abraham. What grace! What joy!
What Jesus is not saying is that because of what Zacchaeus did, because he repented, because he gave away a bunch of money and possessions, because of those things, now he is saved.
But that, of course is wrong. That’s earning or buying salvation. Trying to be good enough. That’s work based salvation. And, Ill say this also, if that were the case, it would fit right in with what others were thinking, that Zacchaeus was unworthy if salvation, that he wasn’t worth saving.
Instead, Jesus is proclaiming that the repentance that Zacchaeus was showing was genuine. The repentance and actions being taken are genuine signs of salvation and the fruit of the Spirit show that he is a new creation.
Jesus also show that these things show that Zacchaeus is a true Son of Abraham. In this, with his salvation, he is adopted into the family of God and is now a part of True Israel. Paul wrote sin Galatians 3, And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
And Jesus tells us why he came. To seek and save the lost. To reconcile us to God. To make us children of God, co heirs with Christ.
Our natural born state is lost, and it is spiritually and eternally dead. We can’t and we won’t seek God, not the true, biblical God.
So, instead, because of his eternal love, he seeks us.
He saves us.
He calls us.
He helps us find our way.
He gives us the gift of faith.
He leads us to repentance.
He grants forgiveness and salvation.
He gives us eternal life.

We see often in the Gospels two stories put right next to each other in order for us to get the bigger picture. Before Zacchaeus we see the blind beggar and a main point was that he called out to Jesus. Here, Zacchaeus receives Jesus joyfully. Both true. Both accurate. Both showing a change in their lives in literally and spiritually following Jesus. Bartimaeus jumped up and literally followed Jesus, he probably saw all this play out. And Zacchaeus show publicly the change that occurs inside when we joyfully receive Jesus.
IF you have not called out to Jesus or joyfully received him, that’s step one, don’t get the steps out of order. IF you have, its time to show the world the joy and change in us that Jesus creates, asking forgiveness, making restitution, reconciling and following Jesus, both literally and spiritually.
Let’s Pray.

Mark 10:46-52 (Part of our series through Luke) Eyes will be opened

Mark 10:46-52

Jesus is the Son of Man

Part of our series through Luke

Eyes will be opened

                     Good morning. Let’s go ahead and open up our Bibles to Mark chapter 10.

No, I’m not confused, we are going to take a brief detour in our series through Luke. Last wee we looked at Luke 18: 35-43, the story of Jesus healing the Blind Beggar. I mentioned that this story was recorded in 3 of the 4 Gospels and Mark told us the beggars name, Bartimaeus.

Now, we had a great discussion about this passage on Wednesday morning at Prayer meeting and I’ve have numerous good discussions bout it throughout the week with some of you. So, I wanted to go back and reread the same story in the other Gospels.

As I did, I remember that I also preached through the Gospel of Mark previously, so I took out my notes from preparing for that sermon. It was fascinating to see what was so similar and what was different in the two telling’s of the story. So, I decided to go ahead and preach on the same story as we did last week, but from a different Gospel, from Marks Gospel.

 

So first, a brief overview of where this story takes place in Marks Gospel.

Recently, James and John went to Jesus, and they want him to give them a place of honor and glory in heaven next to him. Jesus sets them straight with some uncomfortable truths about the way things will work, telling them that however would be first among them, must be a slave to all. What we are going to see here this morning is that put into practice.

 

Interesting that, in Marks Gospel, just like we have been seeing Luke, Jesus is turning assumptions, beliefs and preconceived notions on their heads.

 

Now, Mark has been recording Jesus’ ministry. Jesus is a few years into his ministry here, the disciples and large crowds had been following him pretty much since the beginning. He started with some teaching and a lot of signs and miracles to show people that he is who he is saying he is, proving that he has authority from heaven, that he is the long-awaited Messiah. Once the disciples realized that he was who he said he was, Jesus’ ministry changed. There would still be some miracles, we will see one today. But his focus was on teaching and preparing the disciples for the time when he would leave them with the Holy Spirit, and they would build the church on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. During this time of teaching and preparing, Jesus was making his way to Jerusalem for the last time and was telling his disciples that he was going there to be killed, to fulfill his purpose, to suffer and die and rise again. And they just couldn’t quite grasp what he was saying.

I think that about catches us up, so let’s go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Mark 10, verses 46. As usual, I’ll be reading out of the English Standard Version. I do encourage you all to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read the Word of God.

Mark, inspired of by the Holy spirit writes:

 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

 

         

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of his Holy Word

 

So, the first thing we see here is that Jesus is in Jericho at this point. He is getting ready to start the very last leg of his journey into Jerusalem. Jericho was roughly 15 miles northeast of Jerusalem and was often a staging area for the last part of people’s journeys into Jerusalem. It was a busy city, lots of people coming and going. Lots of traffic. At this point there would have been even more travelers than normal because they would have been on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the upcoming Passover.

We see that, looking to take advantage of the amount of people and, hopefully the amount of grace and mercy that amount of people bring with them, Bartimaeus, a blind man, was begging to make enough money to eat and live. This man was in the very lowest caste of the Jewish culture. Now, he might not have been as unclean as a leper for example, but no one in Jewish society would listen to him or take any notice other than to possibly throw a few coins to him.

He was a man that was 100% dependent on those around him. Now this man is sitting on the side of the road, listening to the hustle and bustle, hearing the crowds, the constant buzz in the air. The he hears something extra, some extra excitement, something different. I’m sure he was asking those around, “What? What’s going on?” And then he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was walking by.

This blind man, sitting on the side of the road, every day of his life, listening to the people walk by, hearing them talk. He knew who Jesus was. He had to have heard people talking about him. Recounting his miracles, his healings, his teachings. He knows who Jesus was.

And what we see is that he doesn’t only know who Jesus is as a man going around, doing miracles and such, but he sees who Jesus is. We see him cry out, ““Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Bartimaeus had a correct view of who Jesus was. He calls him the Son of David. This is a messianic term from the Old Testament prophets. One website explains the term this way:

 

 

 

 When people referred to Jesus as the Son of David, they meant that He was the long-awaited Deliverer, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.

Jesus was addressed as “Lord, thou son of David” several times by people who, by faith, were seeking mercy or healing. The woman whose daughter was being tormented by a demon (Matthew 15:22) and the two blind men by the wayside (Matthew 20:30) all cried out to the Son of David for help. The titles of honor they gave Him declared their faith in Him. Calling Him “Lord” expressed their sense of His deity, dominion, and power, and calling Him “Son of David,” expressed their faith that He was the Messiah.

 

 

 

 

This blind man on the side of the road had more sight, more vision than even the disciples did. They heard him calling out to Jesus and they tried to stop him, to quiet him. We see in Marks Gospel, just a few paragraphs earlier, when the parents were bringing their kids to Jesus. The disciples tried to stop them, thinking they were freeing Jesus to do the important work. Jesus told them to let the children come to him.

Here is a similar happening. This blind is calling out for the Messiah to have mercy on him, and the disciples are trying to quiet him, presumably to free Jesus up for his journey to Jerusalem, to once again do his Messiah-y stuff. Jesus hears the man calling out, and then calling again to him, calling him the Messiah, the son of David and asking for nothing more than mercy.

So, Jesus stops and tells the disciples to have the blind man come to him. The disciples go to the man and tell him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” Notice that they very people who were trying to hinder Bartimaeus from calling out to Jesus, were the very ones Jesus used to bring Bartimaeus to him.  

And what does the man do? Does he slowly get up and make his way cautiously to Jesus? No, he throws off his cloak and sprang up and came to him. He was invited by Jesus, and he didn’t wade into the pool, one step at a time, but jumped right in with both feet.

Jesus asked him a familiar question. He asked Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” Now that question should sound familiar. In the previous section of Marks Gospel, right before this, James and John came to Jesus and said they wanted Jesus to do something for them. Jesus asked, in verse 36, “What do you want me to do for you?” We saw the Sons of Thunder answer very poorly last week. We see Bartimaeus give a much different answer here. Verse 51 shows that he responds to Jesus, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”

          We have seen people in the Gospels call Jesus Rabbi, or Teacher before. The rich young man a few weeks ago, he called Jesus Good Teacher. But Bartimaeus goes a step further here. The word he uses, in Aramaic, is Rabboni. We only see it in one other spot in the Gospels and that is in John’s Gospel, after Jesus raises from the dead and appears to Mary. There she calls him Rabboni. This is like Rabbi but with mass amounts of extra respect and honor. It means “My LORD and My Master.”

And Bartimaeus doesn’t ask for honor. He doesn’t ask for privilege or power or anything like that. He simply asks to see. He asks for mercy. He hears Jesus, he is talking to Jesus. He wants to see Jesus. He wants to see the crowds walking in and out of Jericho. He wants to see the sights of the smells and sounds he has been experiencing. He wants to see.

And what is the first thing he sees? I know I used this last week too, but it just fits so perfectly, I think. Fannie Crosby was a prolific hymn writer that was blind. She wrote many, many hymns. Most people saw her blindness as something that held her back or something she needed to overcome.

One well-meaning preacher once told her, “I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when he showered so many other gifts upon you,”

Fanny Crosby responded at once, as she had heard such comments before. “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind?” said the poet, who had been able to see only for her first six weeks of life. “Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”

          She knew that all of creation pales before the face of Christ. The face of Christ is the first thing that Bartimaeus saw. He saw the man that gave him sight, that gave him life, that saved him. Jesus told Bartimaeus, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”

          Bartimaeus knew that, in spite of all his troubles, all his problems, all his hardships, Jesus could take care of him. We get in this story, once again, that blending of physical blindness and sight being literal in its own right, but also standing in for spiritual blindness and sight. He was saw that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior, without being able to see.

Jesus had already opened the eyes to his heart, his soul. The Holy Spirit had already healed him from his eternal affliction and given him the gift of faith. And Jesus commends him, saying that it is his faith that made him well.   With this point, we want to be clear. We want to be specific and true to the Word. Jesus said Bartimaeus faith made him well.

One commentator exposits this way:

Faith can make us well. This is not magic, or superstition, or some simple fix of course. It seems clear, to me at least, that when Jesus says, “Your faith has made you well” he is not saying that these people somehow believed their way into wellness. Rather he is pronouncing their wellness, declaring it, making it happen for them. It is Jesus who heals, and faith that receives that healing. And so it is, or can be, for those who hear this story and this good news. Faith can make us well. Faith can open our ears, unstop our ears — even raise us from death. This is the power of the promise wherein faith and forgiveness, faith and wellness, meet; this is the power of Jesus’ word for salvation.

To be clear, Jesus and only Jesus heals. Jesus will heal our broken faith if we ask. He will not always heal our broken bodies, not when we ask. But our broken bodies will be healed when, because of our broken faith being healed, we are together with him for eternity in heaven.

See, we find what we are looking for. If we are looking for the Christ, the God of the Universe to reveal himself to us, he will. If we are looking for a god that we pick and choose what he is like, that’s what we will find, no real God at all.

Many of us can acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, that he is God, and yet we are still blinded to what that means. We say we acknowledge Jesus as our LORD and Savior, but often, practically, we only see him as one or the other.

We may act as though he is our savior. We are forgiven of our sins, we are saved from hell, we are redeemed. But how do we act. We don’t act like Jesus is our LORD. We don’t do what he tells us. We don’t follow his commands, turn away from sin, love your neighbors. We don’t allow him to be the LORD of our lives.

Our we go the opposite side. We live with Jesus being our LORD, our king, our authority. We follow the rules, we obey. We live good, moralistic lives continually trying to live up to some impossible standard that we cannot meet. Trying to live up to that standard because, if we do, we might just be good enough, we might just be better than out neighbor enough to get ourselves into heaven.

The truth is not that Jesus is our LORD or he is our savior. The truth is both. We see Bartimaeus practically living, knowing that Jesus is both. After he gets his sight ack, what does Bartimaeus do? He followed Jesus. This is the same thing we see Peter, Andrew, James, John, Levi all do when Jesus calls them. They follow him. This is what we see the Rich Young Man called to do and then walk away sadly, to follow Jesus.

Bartimaeus sees and acts like Jesus is his LORD and Savior. He saw this spiritually before getting his physical sight back and he saw this physically after being healed. Bartimaeus asked to see and what he saw was Jesus’ face. The face of his LORD and savior and he followed him. He was following him at what ended up being the hardest time in Jesus’ life to follow him.

Jesus was getting ready to enter Jerusalem to live the last week of his life. Knowing he was going to suffer horribly and die, he finished teaching his disciples, saying goodbye and spending time with them, his friends. He would be praying so hard, under so much stress that he would sweat blood. And then he would go and fulfill his purpose, to give his life as a ransom for many. He would prove that he is not only our LORD but our savior as well.

Are you living, knowing the full Jesus, the Whole Jesus? Is he just your LORD? Is he just your savior? Or is he both? Have you asked him to heal your broken faith? So that you can know the full Jesus? Or do you know the Jesus that you created? The Jesus that fits who you think Jesus should be.

Jesus says in Matthew 7, verses 7 & 8:

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

 

We will find what we are looking for, and we will find the Jesus we are looking for. Are you looking for the Jesus that fits your mold? Or are you searching, seeking, asking to see the real, true, biblical, historical Jesus. The Jesus that transcends our expectation, which transcended his friend’s expectations. The Jesus that was and is who he said he was. The Jesus that is both LORD and savior? Which Jesus are you finding, which one are you looking for?

The only right answer is for Jesus to be our Rabboni, our LORD and our Master. RC Sproul points out: Jesus had just taught his disciples to about the importance of being servants. To be a servant is to serve a master.” The way you serve a master is by doing, not what you think you should do, but instead by doing what he tells you to do.

Bartimaeus gained his sight and the first thing he did, the only thing it says he did, was that he followed Jesus into Jerusalem. He left everything he had, which was little, but he was so excited to be a servant of Jesus and that he followed him. That’s what Jesus expects from us, what he demands from us. Be aware of the gift he gives us, the gift of spiritual sight. From there, acknowledge him as both LORD and Savior and jump at any and every opportunity he presents to you to serve him.

The gift is free and clear. The responsibility after wards is clear. Which Jesus are you willing to see? The one you created in your mind, in the mind of society. Or the Jesus who is your LORD, your, your Master?

Jesus tells us what to do if we believe in the true, biblical Jesus. We are to recognize who we are and who God is and not mixing them up. And that’s what we recognize right now with communion. We recognize and remember what Christ has done and what he has accomplished for us.

And so, we remember. Constantly, regularly. We do it every first Sunday of the month. We remember and we know that we are in his hands because we have responded by faith to his death on cross and resurrection. God grace poured out on those covered with his blood, the blood of the lamb, come to take away the sins of the world. He instead he spares us from the wrath of God.

He condescended from Heaven, still God, was born a man, a human baby and lived the perfect, sinless life that we needed to and were unable to live. HE paid the penalty, paid the wages for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God. He paid that penalty with his life. In an act of pure, perfect love, Romans 5:8 says:  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Before he did this, Jesus told us to remember this and to celebrate it as often as we get together. We do this in a monthly basis, we celebrate communion as a church family.

We remember and we follow the commands of Jesus that he gave his disciples during the Last Supper.

Luke’s Gospel records the Last Supper, and he writes of Jesus telling his disciples in chapter 22, verses 19& 20: He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after super, he took the cup, saying, “This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” 

We do this in remembrance of Him. Paul speaks about communion in 1 Corinthians 11 and before we get into it, I have one thing to share that Paul tells us, first, communion is for believers. It is in remembrance for what he has done for us. It is us obey his commands by our faith in him. Communion itself does not save. It does not forgive sins; it does not impart righteousness or cleanse your soul. If you are not a follower of Christ, we just ask that you pass the elements along and then, if you have any questions or want to take that step, you can talk to myself or one of the deacons after the service.

 

Now, we are going to do things a little bit different this morning, due to taking some precautions. We have individual cups that contains both the wafers, which symbolize Jesus’ broken body on the cross. His Death that pays the penalty for our sins. It also contains the juice, symbolizing the shed blood of Christ, which purchases our eternal life in Christ, through faith.

First, we will take the wafer together. Afterwards, we will take the juice together and we will be united together under the cross and blood of Jesus Christ. I will pray and we will come to the LORDs table.

 

 

 

 

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