Luke 22:39-46 Jesus is the Son of Man: Praying in the Garden

Luke 22:39-46

Jesus is the Son of Man

Praying in the Garden

 

All right let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 22. As we continue through this last night of Jesus life, we look both back at what has brought us to this point, and ahead to what is coming next. And of the group of people we are looking at, only Jesus knew what was coming.

Jesus had spent the evening with his disciples, eating the Passover Meal, showing them that what he would end up doing would be the ultimate and final fulfillment of the Passover.

He instituted communion, ushering in the New Covenant. He was teaching them and giving them last minute instructions. He reassured them that even when they sinned and fell, that he would be right there with them, and that they are still his. He showed Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed that next morning. And he especially warned them that hard times were coming, but that none of it would be a surprise to God and that he would be with them through it.

Jesus did all this already knowing that Judas had set in motion the events that would lead to his arrest and his crucifixion. Luke doesn’t record it, but Jesus ends his time with the disciples in the Upper Room with what’s called the High Priestly Prayer, which Frank read a part of this morning. I encourage you to go back and read John 17 when you get the chance, see his public prayer before he and the disciples leave, and we see this morning his private prayers to the God the Father.

So, let’s go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 22, verses 39 through 46. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read the Word of God.

Luke 22:39-46, The Holy Spirit inspires Luke to record the following.

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[g] 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

 

So, Jesus and his friends leave the Upper Room, and they actually would leave Jerusalem itself as well. They weren’t actually staying the week in Jerusalem. Instead, as we saw at the end of chapter 21, they were staying just outside the city, as they lodged n the Mount called Olivet, or the Mount of Olives.

So, they left the mean and their time in the Upper Room, and they made their way out of Jerusalem. This, unlike they location of their Passover meal, was not a secret. Judas, of course, knew where they would be headed, and we will see that next week. This is where they would go each and every night.

One of the things we can see in this, not the main point of course, but something that is modeled to us here is that Jesus has a routine. He has a regular way that he did things, when he was able. HE was orderly, scheduled and followed a routine.

There were things that he would not let fall by the wayside. Things that were too important to let things (even good and important things) get in the way of.

We see in scripture, that for Jesus, and there fore should be for us, that he makes a priority and makes sure is part of his routine is prayer time with God the Father. And not only public, group prayer like we see in John 17 before they leave the Upper Room, though of course, that is important and good, but uninterrupted, undistracted, specifically set aside time with the Father.

As they got to the Mount of Olives, Jesus went to pray. He went into the Olive Grove, and this seems to be something that he had done often this week. I think it’s a safe presumption to think he did this each night.

Every night when they returned from Jerusalem, he went to the place, the Garden of Gethsemane, to spend time with and pray to God the Father.

In verse 40, he tells the disciples, and the other Gospels make it clear that he is specifically talking to the inner three, Peter, James and John. He tells them Pray so that you do not enter into temptation. And we see, not for the last time, that Luke is focusing much more on Jesus and his prayer than on the disciples and their failings.

Jesus then goes a short way off and prays by himself. In those days, most people stood as they prayed. Here, Jesus, showing the solemnity and seriousness of the moment, kneels and prays. And he prayed hard. Its entirely possible that one of the reasons he kneeled was because of the physical exertion that the prayer was taking.

Now, Jesus had a full, complete Human Nature. But He also had a full, complete Divine Nature. That Human Nature was praying about what was going to come next.

He knew the sacrifice that was coming. He knew the physical pain that was about to happen. He knew the wrath and the separation of God that was on its way, just for him. He knew, as many commentators call it, “The horror of the cross.” He knew what was coming and his human nature did not want to go through it.

God, if there were any other way that we could accomplish what I came to accomplish. If there were any other way to atone for the sins of the chosen. If there were any other way to purchase forgiveness for those who have saving faith. Father, if there were any other way, please let this cup pass from me!

 

But Jesus, in his God Nature, knew the plan from the beginning, because he was part of the planning, as one third of the trinity, the persons, one God. As that, he knew there was no other way. He knew that what was more important than the wants of his human nature & will was Gods nature & will.

This is very easy for those of us who are Christians or have grown up in the church, learning this often, it can be easy to know this intellectually. That more important than our will and nature is Gods will & nature. But it can be so hard to apply, as we see here.

Our human nature & will are at war with Gods will and nature. They have been since in the first garden. Adam’s will overcame what he knew God wanted for Him.  His Will “won.” And with sin now as a part of our nature, it has been at war with Gods nature & will ever since.

We know how God calls us to live.

We know what God calls us to do.

We want to do those things and, ideally, live that way.

But that often means stepping out of our comfort zone.

It may mean upsetting our family, telling them the truth.

It may mean losing friends, changing who we used to be.

It may mean offending others, refusing to go along with everyone else and keep the peace.

Instead, it’s a lot easier to convince ourselves that we are, in fact, being faithful to God without doing those things he has clearly told us to do. “I’m the exception.” “God knows my heart.” “If you knew my situation…” “He hasn’t called me to that…” “I’ve already done it so I might as well keep doing it…”

 

IF we truly desire and are committed to His will, it means not our will. It means we die to self. It means we live for his desires, not ours. If we truly desire it, he will help us.

It won’t look the same in every person or every circumstance, but he will help us.

We see in verse43 how he helped Jesus that night. This moment, which is only recorded in Luke’s Gospel, shows an angel coming down and strengthening Jesus, helping him to seek Gods will first, to help him, like he told the disciples in verse 40, “not enter into temptation.”

This angel giving him strength does not make it easy, it helps make it possible. How and when he helps us, it will not be to help make it easy, but to help us be strong enough to move forward and to make it possible.

We see, even after the angel comes down, Jesus is still in agony. Such agony that his sweat was like great drops of blood.

Now, two things. First, Jesus’ agony. Let’s be clear. The word itself, in the original Greek, Jonathon Edwards says, “implies no common degree of sorrow, but such extreme distress that his nature had a most violent conflict with it, as a man that wrestles with all his might with a strong man.”

So where is Jesus’ agony from or directed towards?  The Puritan, Richard Baxter wrote, “His agony was not from the fear of death, but from the deep sense of Gods wrath against sin; which he as our sacrifice was to bear; in greater pain than mere dying.”

Of course, Jesus wasn’t afraid of dying, in and of itself. He knew what was on the other side. He also knew that it would not stick. But he knew what it was going to take. He knew what was in his cup. He knew the full wrath of God was going to be poured down on him and him alone.

He alone knew what that meant. We can hear that and think, ok, that’s not going to feel good, but we have no actual sense of what Gods wrath will be like. Jesus knew. And it was causing him agony.

To the point where Marks Gospel says his soul was very sorrowful, even to death. To the point where Jesus was sweat was like great drops of blood.

There is a real, documented medical condition where a human body can be under such extreme stress that the veins near the sweat glands burst and so the human body does in fact, literally sweat blood. That’s what it appears happened this neat to Jesus in the garden while praying to God.

The language is not crystal clear if it was this or that he was sweating in in a way that made the sweat thick and pouring out of him as blood would.

 

As Jesus was agonizing through his prayers, we see, especially in the other gospels, the disciples couldn’t stay awake. They couldn’t stay focused. They didn’t know what was at stake or what was going to happen. They couldn’t be bothered to pray as Jesus instructed because that was not their priority.

Verse 46, Jesus reiterates his command to them, pray to avoid temptation. Again, as I said earlier, we see Luke’s emphasis and focus are on Jesus and his prayer instead of the disciples and their failings.

 

But in that, in the glimpse of the disciples’ failures, combined with Jesus’ prayer and agony, we see so much. Jesus knew what was coming for him. And we have no idea. We get only glimpses of the wrath of God in scripture and in our lives.

Trust, no matter how bad it’s been, and some people have it incredibly bad, it is nothing compared to the wrath that Jesus willingly took and that awaits those who refused to turn to him in faith.

Jesus took the wrath, absorbed it all and do so because the love of God is all encompassing and love covers a multitude of sins. He willingly absorbed the full wrath of God so that those who believe, who may be called sons and daughters of God may be spared the wrath of God. He took the wrath we so justly and rightly deserved so that we may experience eternal communion with him and the forgiveness of our sins, past, present and future, once and for all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Spurgeon, preaching on this passage said this:

“Since it would not be possible for any believer, however experienced, to know for himself all that our Lord endured in mental suffering and hellish malice, it is clearly beyond the preacher’s capacity to set it forth to you. Jesus himself must give you access to the wonders of Gethsemane: as for me, I can but invite you to enter the garden.”

 

We can’t know what Jesus went through, not completely and not in any real sense. But its important to know, as much as we can. Because that’s the only way that we can truly know and appreciate everything that Jesus did.

As one commentator writes:

Its not just that Jesus died for me, but that he died this horrible, damnable, God-forsaken death that no one would ever want to die. He died this death because there was no other way for sinners to be saved, no easier road to redemption, no alternatives to the cross. Jesus thus volunteered to do what the Father willed, choosing to do the one thing that would bring the most suffering to his body and soul”

It is not that Jesus died for us. IT is not that we should feel bad for what he went through. It wasn’t that God was touched and moved by Jesus sacrifice that he magically decided, “Ok! Sins are done!” None of that. The garden is not a prescription to pray harder and want it bad enough and God will send an angel to strengthen us.

I’m going to finish with a quote on this passage from Phillip Ryken:

 

This must always be the main lesson we learn whenever we go to the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke does not show us the agony of Jesus to arouse our pity, primarily, or simply to remind us of our Savior’s humanity, but to help us see the love that Jesus has in dying for our sins. We will never have to suffer what our Savior suffered in Gethsemane, or at Calvary, for the very reason that everything he suffered there was in our place, on our behalf. The first response we make to Jesus should always be faith in the saving work he did in suffering and dying as our substitute. The lesson of Gethsemane in not that Jesus suffers with us, but that he suffered for us!

 

 

 

 

I lied; I’m actually going to finish with Romans 5:8-11. Paul writes:

 

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

 

 

 

Let’s Pray.

 

 

 

Luke 22:24-38 Jesus is the Son of Man: The Future is not what You think

Luke 22:24-38

Jesus is the Son of Man

The Future is not what You think

 

          All right! Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 22. As always, if you do not have a Bible, or are in need of a Bible, please see me after the service and I will work to get one into your hands.

So are in the last hours of Jesus’ last day before being crucified. Jesus and his disciples, the Twelve to be specific, are eating the Passover meal in an Upper Room of the home of one of Jesus followers. Hence, this section of teaching by Jesus is called the Upper Room discourse.

Luke doesn’t share as much about this discourse as some of the other Gospel writers, but there is a lot there, a lot here to unpack. Last week we saw Jesus institute the first communion and show that he was the final and ultimate fulfillment of the Passover.

Because of the importance of this section of teaching, Jesus made sure that they would not be interrupted during this time. Jesus knew that Judas was planning on betraying him and had in fact already made the plans with the chief priests. He was planning on turning Jesus over to the religious leaders when there were not crowds of people around to cause a stir and to do something to the religious leaders. The Passover meal would have been a perfect time, but Jesus made sure that this wouldn’t happen, as he Peter and John make the plans and preparations in secret. Jesus had much too important things to do, to teach, to say to be interrupted this evening.

With that, lets go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 22, verses 24 through 38. As always, Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version though I encourage you to grab your own, preferred translations and follow along as we read the Word of God.

Luke 22:24-38, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke records the following words of Jesus:

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

28 “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, 29 and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,[d] that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter[e] said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus[f] said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

 

Thus says the Holy Word of God.

So, the last thing we saw Jesus say last week was that one of the twelve, one of the ones that were there with them, one of them would betray Him. The text says that the disciples began to question one another which it would be.

I believe that discussion, or questioning, or whatever, directly led and helped cause this first part of the text this morning. The disciples start arguing, at some point that evening, over who is the greatest. Again, I believe this stems directly from “Who’s going to betray Jesus? Certainly not I? probably Him…”

And you can just picture the ridiculousness of this.

“I did this so I’m greater!”

“I led more people to Christ so I’m greater!”

“I gave more money so I’m greater!”

“I baptized more people so I’m greater!”

“I led worship or served in this capacity so I’m greater!”

And so on and so on…

Its amazing how quickly we fall back on our base human nature. This is not a new argument between these guys. It has happened at least twice before that we have recorded in Luke’s Gospel, back in chapters 9 & 10. We do the same thing, going back time and time again to the same sins, the same temptations, the same weakness come back to haunt us.

If we have a conflict with someone, we can see that through our life, we often keep coming back to that same conflict. It may be years in between. Both you and the other person may genuinely believe that it is all behind you both, but then something strikes the match and it flairs right back up again.

That’s what we are seeing in the disciples with this argument right here. And of course, this is natural, human nature, sinful attitudes. Striving to be seen and known as the greatest. I am better than…
Jesus, of course, rebukes this attitude. He says this is how the world thinks. This is how the world acts. The unbelievers and the unregenerate. This is how the worldly Kings act and live. I’m better than everyone and so they must serve me. They sit on their throne and make everyone do everything for them. And then, get this! They act like they are doing it for the good of the people they are ruling over! Doesn’t sound modern or timeless at all…

And of course, we know, as Jesus has told, in a variety of ways, their reward is here and now. Don’t be like them. Don’t be wrong in the way that they are wrong. Don’t settle for earthly, temporary rewards. Don’t act spoiled, entitled, don’t act betta’ then.

Is Jesus acting that way? The Messiah, The son of God. The Christ, God in the Flesh. IS he acting this way? If he is not acting like this, why would we? If he is not acting this way, why would the disciples? Instead, act and lead and serve with humility, with true humbleness.

Jesus continues, and he says, don’t worry. I see you. I see your faith. I see your service. I see your loyalty. And though you may not see here and now your rewards and the benefits, I see you and I have rewards waiting for you in Heaven as you will serve in the Kingdom of God. You will be eating, drinking, sitting, serving at the wedding feast of the King and you will have responsibilities and authority then.

 

Then Jesus turns to Peter and says his name twice. Simon, Simon. This emphasizes the importance of what he is about to say. Jesus says that Satan has been asking, demanding to have you.

Two things here. First, this is a crystal-clear allusion as well to Job chapter 1, Satan wanted to have Job. And again, Satan has to ask or demand, he cannot just do or take. He has no power except what God allows or grants.

Second, the word Jesus uses here when he says you is the plural. Not to try and make light of it, but how we would understand it is that Jesus said Satan demanded to have y’all, or you all. He wasn’t talking individually to Simon Peter. He was talking to all the disciples.

But Jesus is talking to Simon Peter individually in verse 33. Jesus prayed for him, that his faith would not fail and that he would learn from his failings and use those to encourage and build up his brothers.

Jesus has a hold of Peter. Those he has a hold of, those who are in Christ and with him will never be taken away, will never be without him and will never lose him. WE will see over the course of this chapter that Peter will fail. He will sin, he will deny Jesus three times as Jesus will tell him in a moment.

But Jesus says, once you have turned again, once you have repented, once you have turned back away from sin, and turned back to follow Jesus, use that. Use it to strengthen and build up your fellow believers. Use it to teach and enrich each other’s faith and walk. Use it to encourage and edify your brothers.

Simon Peter was hearing what Jesus said and was probably still thinking about Jesus saying that one of them would betray them. HE responds to Jesus, “I will follow you to prison or to death, no matter where, no matter what, no matter the cost!”  He says, Ill follow, Ill I’m committed, I’m loyal. Don’t worry about me Jesus!

Jesus tells him, I know who you are. I know what you will do. I know that you will fail, you will sin, you will let me down. I know when, I know where and I know how.

Remember this, Jesus already knows. We should be worried about our sin. We should feel bad about it. We should feel convicted of it, and we should work to change it. Our sin is a big deal, and it is, as we focused on last week, what nailed Jesus to the cross. But we also remember what Romans 8:1 says, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Our sin does not take Jesus by surprise. IT does not change his mind. It is finished and already forgiven. That of course does not excuse our responsibility, but it is important to remember that Jesus already has it dealt with. He knew what we would do. He knew what our sin would be. When, how often, all of it. And he still chose to go to the cross for the forgiveness of that sin.

Jesus tells Peter, you will deny me three times before the sun rises, specifically before the rooster crows. Three times, you will deny that you are a follower of Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus returns to talking to the whole group of the disciples. He reminds them of some of the times that Jesus has sent them out to spread the word and to share about Jesus. One such example was back in Luke 10:1-12.

HE asks them, when I sent them out, did you lack anything? I hear their reply as them answering tentatively, No…

Jesus tells them, its not going to be that easy anymore. You are going to have to be prepared for what is to come. The individual items that he mentions are principals and examples, not the literal items themselves. And we will see this play later on in the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus is being arrested.

But these items Jesus lists are representative of the disciples being prepared, of them being aware of the obstacles and the dangers that will arrive. It is so that the disciples will look ahead and not be taken by surprise. Again, none of it will be a surprise to Jesus and he is trying to warn his friends. They are not only to be harmless as doves, but also, remember, as wise as serpents. The going is gonna get tough, no doubt, and that’s what Jesus is trying to communicate to them.

And Jesus tells them the reason for the change. He says I will, and I must fulfill what it says in Isaiah 53:12. He was numbered with the transgressors.

Jesus was incarnated, was God made flesh, in part so that he could identify with sinners. This would be the hardest thing he would have to do. When he hung on that cross, he was hung with two criminals, two transgressors and when he gave his spirit up, the father looked down and counted him as a sinner, poured his wrath out on Jesus. Jesus identified with us so that he could absorb that wrath that was justly meant for us.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

          Now, the disciples continue to be who they are and help us to not feels as bad as we could. They entirely miss the point in the moment of what Jesus was saying. They tell him, look, look, we not only have a sword, but we have two swords!

They are, of course, referencing the figurative statement Jesus made a few moments ago about selling their cloaks to buy swords. But, I believe, they are also saying to Jesus, we won’t let them “number you with the transgressors. We will stop them with force if needed.

Jesus “It is enough.”

Jesus is not saying that those two swords are enough, or even that their dedication or attitudes are enough. Instead, what he was saying is that this is enough of that sort of talk. Colloquially, “I give up.” That’s how much the disciples were missing his point.

Jesus didn’t want to spend this time arguing with his closest friends. He didn’t want to spend this special time trying to explain and convince them of something they wouldn’t understand.

Instead, Jesus was going to focus on going to pray, which is what we are going to see next week.

Now, I want to go back for a moment. Back to Jesus quoting Isaiah 53:12, saying that he would fulfill what it says, that he would be numbered with the transgressors. That statement is followed by two more statements in Isaiah as well. First, that he bore the sins of many. Second, that he makes intercession for transgressors.

That’s three things we see right there that Jesus came to do and did do. He came to identify with sinners, of whom I am the chief of all sinners. He atoned for the sins of all who believe. We looked at this last week, that his blood shed, his body broken, to deliver us form the bondage of sins and to purchase forgiveness for sin. And He would be our intercessor. He prayed for Pater He prayed for all the followers that The Father gave him. He bridges the gap between God and us. As Paul writes, there is one mediator between God and man, the LORD Jesus Christ.

We don’t need animal sacrifices. We don’t need priests to intercede on our behalf. Jesus already did it. Jesus paid it all. He reconciled our broken relationship between us and God.

And as we looked at last week, that’s what we remember when we celebrate communion. That’s what communion represents. Jesus, God become man. Came to this world, as a human baby, number with transgressors, willingly gave himself up to be crucified, shed his perfect and sinless blood. Broke sins grip on us. Died, was buried, was risen from the dead. Defeated death through that resurrection. The new covenant, that all who believe, by the grace of God alone, through faith alone in in Jesus Christ, the son of God, the Messiah, the way, the truth and the life, alone. TO those who believe he gave new hearts, he gave forgiveness, and he gave eternal life in the Kingdom of God, adopted as sons of God, sealed by the Holy Spirit, co heirs to the kingdom with Christ.

Communion is done in remembrance. IT is not salvific. It is not magic. IT does not impart righteousness, forgiveness or salvation. It is done, for believers, for Christians, to remember what Jesus did for us. TO remember what it cost God to restore that relationship with us. To remember how big of a deal or sin is.

In that vein, we do ask, that if you are not a believer, if you are not a Christian, because of the importance if this, please don’t partake. IF you want to believe, if you have questions, we would love to talk to you after the service and pray with you, but this act of remembrance is for those who have received the forgiveness that Christ purchased on the cross.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26:

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for[f] you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[g] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

 

So, what we will do is have Mike and Frank come up and we will pass out these cups which contain both the wafers, representing Christs body and the juice which represents Christs blood. After they are passed out, one of them will pray over the wafer and we will take that together as a church family, as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Then the other will pray for the juice and we will do the same.

 

Let’s celebrate communion together.

 

         

         

 

 

Luke 22:14-23 Jesus is the Son of Man: Last Supper, First Communion

Luke 22:14-23

Jesus is the Son of Man

Last Supper, First Communion

Grab your Bibles if you will and open with me to Luke chapter 22.

So, as we continue through Luke 22, we see that all the pieces have been put in place. These are the last days, even the last day in the life of Jesus. The divine, eternal plan was coming to fulfillment and everything was taking shape.

Jesus and the twelve were in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. Jesus had been teaching and rebuking and correcting the scribes and the chief priests and all the other religious leaders and the they were fed up, after three years of this. They were ready to kill him. So Judas went to them and made plans to betray Jesus. Jesus sent Peter and John to secretly prepare the Passover meal. Now, the Passover meal was ready for Jesus and the twelve. Nobody knew where they were meeting so Jesus would not be interrupted before or during the meal.

And that brings us current so far in Lukes Gospel. So now, lets go ahead and look at this mornings passage, :uke chapter 22, verses 14 through 23. I will, as always, be reading out of the English Standard Version. I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along so that you are reading the Word of God for yourself.

Luke 22:14-23, Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit records:

 

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it[b] until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[c] 21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23 And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.

 

May God Bless the Reading of His holy and inspired Word.

 

 

So we pick up with Jesus and his disciples at the Passover dinner and ready to enjoy the company and food. Jesus reclined with his disciples. How they would do this in those days is that they would lean forward on their left elbows, with their feet behind them and their heads facing the table and they would eat with their right hands.

Jesus tells them that he “earnestly desired” to have this meal with them. He strongly wished. He needed this to happen. And the disciples wouldn’t have quite understood this because they would have shared Passover meals before. They didn’t realize what this meal would become, what it represented or that this was the last meal they would share together.

This was the last chance that Jesus would have to share a meal with his closest friends. This would be the last chance that Jesus would have to fellowship with them as a family, as a group of close friends. This would be his last chance to teach them, warn them, train them. And this is why he took such great pains to make sure this dinner would take place and that there would be no interruptions.

This was the was the last Passover meal before Jesus death and resurrection that would be the fulfillment of the Passover. Jesus was what the Passover was looking forward towards.

Jesus is the unblemished and spotless lamb that would be sacrificed once and for all for the forgiveness of sins.

It is Jesus blood that covers us so that the wrath of God passes over us.

It is His fulfillment of the Passover that frees us from the bondage of and slavery to sin, and allows us to enter the promised land that is the kingdom of God.

This is what much of the Old Testament is pointing towards. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Messiah. The Son of God.

This is what they had all been waiting for. This night is when, in my opinion, we see the birth of the church of Jesus Christ. Many will say that happened at Pentecost, but tonight is the night that Jesus institutes the New Covenant.

The rest of what the Old Testament was pointing to is Christ’s glorious Second Coming. This is one of the key differences between Passover and Communion. The Passover is looking forward to the first coming of the Messiah, the promised savior. Communion remembers the first, commerates it and look towards his second coming. Jesus here is looking forward to the marriage supper of the Lamb, as its put in Revelation 19:9.

So, after the Passover meal, Jesus explicitly sets up what we call communion. This is a fully communal thing. This is not an individual thing, but is intended and instituted to take place among the church family, among fellow believers, fellow Christians, not alone and not amongst or including the general public. This is also not for the “worthy,” the put together, or the perfect Christians. This is for all believers, warts and all.

 

Jesus and these disciples have spent three years together. Traveling, sharing meals, sharing lodging, sharing ups and downs. Jesus specifically has been sharing His power, his knowledge, the Kingdom of God. Now, this night, he is sharing his blood and his body. Nothing is being held back, not even Jesus’ life.

And Jesus here uses symbolism and figurative language.   And he does so in order to help us understand what communion is and what it represents.

He tells the disciples, the bread is my body. Like this bred will be broken apart, Jesus body will be broken on the cross. Like this bread will be shared with the disciples, his body and sacrifice will be shared with all believers. This bread is given to the disciples by Jesus, just as his life and his broken body on the cross are given over by Jesus.

The bread does not become his body. Jesus is not physically present in the elements, like some claim he is. But the bread represents what he did, what he gave and what happened to him.

Jesus says, do this in remembrance of me. Remember, not just his life, not just his resurrection, not just his ascension. Remember what happened on the cross. As one commentator points out, this shows “the centrality of the cross to the Christian faith.”

And you may ask, Why do we have to continue to be reminded time and time again? Of course, as a Christian, of course I wont forget what Jesus did for me!

But we do. We do forget. If not completely, then practically and we take it for granted, at times. And so Jesus tells us to do this often, is remembrance of him. To intentionally focus and refocus to ground ourselves and remind ourselves exactly what it means that Jesus died on the cross. What it means that he did it for us. What it means that he gave himself up for us and what the results of that are.

And then Jesus takes the cup of wine, remember the cup is often associated with Gods wrath. Jesus takes the cup and says that the wine symbolizes His blood. Jesus blood absorbs Gods wrath. Jesus blood is poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Scripture make it clear, New Testament and Old that the wages of sin is death. Blood needs to be shed for the forgiveness of sins.

The most important day in Old Testament Israel, and maybe today as well, arguably even more than Passover, was the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 16 gets into the details, but the gist of it is that one day a year, the people would have the wrath of their sins put upon one goat, whose blood would be sprinkled throughout the temple and the Most High places, and the alter and so on. And then another goat would be brought in, still alive, and the priest would symbolically place the sins of Israel upon this goat and release him into the wilderness.

Again, the point being that it takes blood to cover up and atone for sins. And that’s what Jesus did for us. He shed his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. This si the cup of the New Covenant.

 

So, what is the difference between  the Old and the New Covenant?

Exodis 24:3-8 tells us the Mosaic Covenant, the convenant that God made through Moses to the people of Israel. IT reads:

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules.[a] And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

 

          This was dependent on the people following the rules that God laid out. And the people could not keep those rules for even one day, just like we cant either.  The New Covenant was completely and totally dependent on the work of Christ.

The Old had the laws, the rules of God written in stone, physically written done for people to read. THe New has the law written in our hearts, as the Holy Spirit changes our heart.

The Old was a type, was a shadow, it pointed towards the new. The blood, the sacrifices, all of it, pointed directly at what would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

The Old was not salvific. The sacrifices were made time and time again, over and over.  The sacrifices were animal blood and so therefore were not able to atone for human sin.

The Covenant is salvific. Jesus was sacrificed once and for all. He shed his blood; human blood, and he had lived a perfect and sinless life so that he could indeed atone for human sin, the sin of all humanity, or at least the sin of all who would believe.

Jesus fulfills all of the promises, foreshadowing, prophecies and so much more that appears in the Old Testament and the old Covenant.

GotQuestions sums up the differences this way:

the Old Covenant was governed by a law that prescribed correct behavior and that the people continually broke. It contained a sacrificial system that only temporarily removed sins. The sacrifices were administered by priests who represented the people of Israel to God, but the people could not enter God’s presence themselves.

The New Covenant is governed by a law that is internalized by the people of God and energized by His Spirit. The sins of the people are forgiven and removed once and for all by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the people of God have direct, intimate access to Him. Finally, Gentiles who believe are included in the New Covenant.

 

 

          After Jesus set this up, he tells the twelve, one of you, one of you 12 right here, one of you is going to betray me. Thing about this. You are a group who are closer than family. One of these guys, one of this family, who have been thorough thick and thin together, who have been through good times and bad, who have thorough easy times and hard. One of them will betray that trust and that bond that has been forged.

Jesus makes it clear, I already know all this. I Know its going to happen. I am not surprised by this. Its factored into the plan and I am allowing this to happen.

However, that does not excuse the guilt or responsibility of the one who will be doing the betraying. This does not alleviate the sin that will be and is being committed.

This statement, that one of them would betray him, shook the disciples. They started questioning amongst themselves who it might be. I imagine it was probably equal parts self reflection, thinking, Could I be capable of doing what He is saying? And blame passing, I bet it will be Peter, Jesus did just call him Satan not too long ago…

The truth is that each and every one of us is guilty of betraying God. Everytime we sin we betray his love. RC Sproul says :

Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself.

 

All of us are guilty of committing treason against the King, of betraying him. Jesus gave his life for those who betrayed him. We showed us the epitome of loving your enemies. We, the church, the universal church, all believers, we are a church of forgiven betrayers.

And that’s one of the things that we are to remember. Jesus gave himself, shed his blood, purchased forgiveness, for us and for you, if you believe, as much as he did for the disciples he was talking to that very night. He loves you enough to allow the wrath, the justly deserved wrath of God Passover you and I and all who believe. That is what we celebrate and remember at the Lords Supper, the sacrament that he instituted that very night as communion.

 

 

Luke 22:1-13 Jesus is the Son of Man: Laying the Groundwork

Luke 22:1-13

Jesus is the Son of Man

Laying the Groundwork

All right! Please grab your Bibles with me and turn to Luke chapter 22. IF you do not have a Bible or ae in need of a Bible, please see me after the service.

 

Now, if this were a movie, this would be that brief calm interlude before the action and drama ramps back up for the climax.

Jesus and his disciples are in Jerusalem, and they have been since Luke 19:28-40, where he made his triumphant entry. The previous 2 & ½ chapters take place over the course of, about a half a week.

The Passover, which this week’s passage will be setting up takes place Thursday night and A Lot will take place over the course of the next 24 or so hours.

Today’s passage lays the groundwork for it all. It is getting all the pieces and all the characters in place to play their part and to show that God knows what he is doing and that He has it all planned. None of the next 24 hours would come as a surprise or would be God reacting to what was happening.

So, lets go ahead and jump into this morning’s text, Luke chapter 22, verse 1 through 13. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read the Word of God.

Luke 22:1-13, the Holy Spirit inspires Luke to record the following:

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus[a] sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” 10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” 13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

 

So, I figured we would start with a bit about why everyone is in Jerusalem to begin with. The custom of the day was for the Jewish people to go to Jerusalem for the festival of unleavened bread and the Passover, which took place of the first day of that feast.

They went and would go to the temple and have their Passover lambs sacrificed in the temple where sacrifices were supposed to take place. Some estimate that the population of Jerusalem would temporarily swell to over 2 million people during the Passover.

Passover, in terms of cultural importance and impact of the spiritual lives of the Jewish people was kind of like combining Christmas and Easter for us. This was the celebration of Gods saving providence.

God was unleashing the ten Plagues on Egypt and the last one was the death of all First-born males. In order to save his people, he told the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb without blemish and to wipe the blood over the doorway so that the angel of death would “pass over” that home.

Long story short, God spared the faithful Israelites and told them to celebrate and remember this every year thereafter. There was a specific meal involved, the sacrifice and eating of an unblemished lamb and teaching the children in order to remember.

That day was now upon them. And we see that the chief priests, the Jewish religious leaders who help some amount of political power, they were seething with hatred against Jesus, and they were looking for the right opportunity to take him out. They would, as one commentator puts it, “lead the final opposition against Jesus.”

Now, its obvious why the religious dint like Jesus and hadn’t for years. Why was it coming to a crux, to a pinnacle hear and know? Listen to what Philip Ryken writes:

Their hatred grew to its most furious intensity during the last week of Jesus’ life. By then it was not just the party of the Pharisees who wanted to get rid of him; it was the whole leadership of the temple in Jerusalem: the priests, the scribes and the elders. These men hated Jesus. They hated him for his condemnations of their hypocrisy and for claiming that he was God the Son. They hated seeing him teach in the temple. They hated how much influence he had on the people, especially during Passover, when so many people were there to influence. In their hatred they challenged his authority (Luke 20:2), tried to get their hands on him (Luke 20:19), and sent spies to trap him (Luke 20:20). In a word, they were seeking to destroy him (Luke 19:47). Maybe this explains why Jesus left the city every day before nightfall: it was too dangerous for him to be in Jerusalem after dark.

 

So, they wanted to get ahold of Jesus and have him killed. But they had to be smart about it. The people wouldn’t have stood for it, for sure. They dint know what the people would do, but it wouldn’t be good for the religious leaders. And so, the chief priests were looking for the right opportunity and the right plan to make it happen.

The next character is this drama that we see is Judas Iscariot. He was a close friend of Jesus. He was one of the twelve disciples. He was the treasurer of Jesus and the disciples. When Mary poured perfume on the feet of Jesus, Judas was the one who threw a fit, saying that the money that perfume sold for could have been used to help the poor, although John 12:6 tells us: He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.

And so, he was not some innocent bystander who was taken over by Satan and made to work against his will. He was already corrupted by sin and working against Jesus before this.

One commentator reminds us of Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5:3 to show that when the scripture says Satan entered into Judas, it is not referring to possession, but to a strong influence. Some may want to excuse Judas from the guilt of his actions, but scripture leaves no such opportunity.

So, Judas went out and he sought out the chief priests.

I picture one of those scenes where the chief priests are sitting around in a circle, brainstorming, looking like Winnie the Pooh, think… think… think…

“I know, we need someone on the inside, an inside man!”

“How are we going to get that? They are all loyal to him!”

 

*Knock, knock*

 

Judas: Hi guys! I’m an answer to your prayers!

 

That’s probably not how it happened, but…

 

Either way, Judas seeks out the chief priests and they figure out a plan. They also figure out what the price of that betrayal and that plan will be. Again, we see that the chief priests didn’t have to seek out or pressure or wear down or convince Judas to do any of this. He sought them out.

So, they agree on the price, and it is staggering how ordinary a temptation it was that allowed and caused Judas to betray Jesus. It was just a little bit of money. 30 pieces of silver. And it makes me see just how much of Judas there is in each and every one of us, every time we sin.

Often, its simple, plain, seemingly ordinary temptations that cause us to sin. It’s not usually that I all of a sudden get a temptation to murder someone. Its not that I suddenly get a temptation to go out and cheat on my wife. The end result, the sin itself is often bigger than the temptation that led us to it. Judas did not go out and get tempted to kill Jesus. But a chain of events and a chain of growing temptations, seemingly starting with the love of money, led him directly to that point.

And we also can’t tell by looking at someone one whether they are genuinely regenerated and saved or not. You can’t tell by their education in the bible. You can’t tell by their position in the church. You cannot tell what darkness lies in their hearts. People are good at playing roles and putting on facades. No one would have ever expected Judas to betray Jesus, especially for a relatively small amount of money, and yet, here in the Gospels, we see it written in black and white.

Now, again, why are we in Jerusalem right now? Oh yeah, the Passover. This passage from Luke 22, verses 7-13 feels a lot like as Jesus was getting ready to enter Jerusalem in Luke 19:29-34. Go do this and this and this is what you will see, right where I tell you and the person you meet will do exactly what I say he will.

Jesus tells Peter to take care of the preparations for the Passover meal. Go and find the guy with the water jug. This would have been unusual because for the most part, the woman had the water jugs, and the guys carry waterskins. Go find him and follow him and tell him I said so and he will let you use the upper room in his home.

Jesus didn’t just like ordering Peter around. He wasn’t just lazy and not doing it himself. There was a reason for all the cloak and dagger and the secrecy. Judas. None of the disciples except for Peter knew where the Passover dinner would take place. If Judas had known where it would be he could have set up the betrayal and Jesus’ arrest for during or before the diner.

Jesus was not going to let anything get in the way of his last meal his close friends, his family. He was not going to let anything get in the way of the Passover meal. And so, Jesus did what needed to be done to ensure privacy and security for this meal that we are going to be looking at over the next couple of weeks.

So, at this point, all the pieces are in place. The chief priests, Judas, Jesus and the Disciples, a Passover meal prepared and ready to go. The storm clouds are gathering. Bad things are going to take place over the next 24 hours or so of real time.

Satan and his work were coming to a pinnacle. He had been working since Adam and Eve to prevent the Son of Man from crushing him. He had down everything in his power to stop the line of Christ.

And that invisible war was coming to its climax. It would reach its climax with Jesus crucified on the cross. When it seemed that Satan had won and defeated the Son of God, when Jesus was dead, and the earth shook, and the sun went dark. And then on Saturday, Jesus buried in the tomb, it continued to look like Satan had won.

But these things did not just happen to God. They did not happen to Jesus. These things didn’t just happen. God and Jesus did not “react” to what was happening.

Acts 2:23 & 24 tell us that Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it”

All that happened to Jesus was a part of the divine and predetermined plan that was orchestrated by the Trinitarian God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, before the beginning of time.

God was orchestrating this all. Moving all the pieces into place. Showing his complete and total sovereignty, his complete and total control over all of creation.

RC Sproul writes: In Judas’ case, a heinous evil action was committed. But from a different perspective, the most glorious deed that ever was performed on our behalf was the betrayal of Jesus Christ, because through that work, God orchestrated by Gods sovereignty, our salvation came to pass. Judas was willing; he had his own intentions. His purpose was to strike Jesus. Gods purpose was to redeem us through this very same act.

 

In Genesis 50:20, Joseph, talking to his brothers who sold him into slavery, for the same amount that Judas took to betray Jesus, had this to say:  As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[b] should be kept alive,

 

God is on control. Even when it doesn’t look like it. Even when bad things are happening. Even when things are at there darkest, God is in control. He is sovereign. And all things work together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose.

IF you are called according to his purpose, trust in him, look to him, have faith in him in and for all things. He will bring through all these things and the dawn is always brightest after the darkest of nights. Things are going to get dark, for Jesus as we will see, and for us in life. But Jesus rises on the other side and is control of it all and he has promised to never leave us or forsake us, and he has won the battle over Satan and the forces of darkness and sin. Amen.

 

Let’s Pray.

 

 

 

 

Luke 20:45-21:4 Jesus is the Son of Man Beware the Hypocrisy

Luke 20:45-21:4

Jesus is the Son of Man

Beware the Hypocrisy

 

All right let’s turn in our Bibles to the very end of Luke chapter 20. If you do not have a Bible, if you are in need of a Bible, please see me after the service and we will work on getting one into your hands.

So, to sum up Luke chapter 20 is to say that the religious leaders have been challenging Jesus. They have been challenging his power, his authority and his influence.

Jesus has been rebuking them and correcting them each and every time. He has been doing so by bringing them back to a correct understanding of the Holy Scriptures.

And one of the things we are seeing in these religious leaders, one of the things that we see throughout the scriptures, is that head knowledge without heart application means nothing. That’s not to say that head knowledge means nothing. Knowledge is important. But without it changing the heart and without us applying it, it is nothing.

We are going to see a stark example of that here this morning.

Let’s go ahead and read Luke chapter 20 verse 45 through chapter 21 verse 4. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version, and I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along in the text. IF you do not have a Bible, it will also be posted up on the screen.

Luke 20:45-21:4, The Holy Spirit inspires Luke to record:

And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 47 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

 

Chapter 21

Jesus[a] looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.[b] And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

 

After this chapter worth of the scribes, pharisees, Sadducees and elders publicly attacking Jesus and him defending himself, he turns the tables on them. He makes a public example of them.

Hey guys, these guys how have been attacking me, beware of them, avoid them, they are a bunch of hypocrites.

He points out what is already pretty well known at this point. They desired to look good in the eyes of the people.

Jesus addresses this in a number of times and in a number of ways, especially in Matthew 6. Look first in verses 5 & 6:

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

These men are presenting themselves as pious and holy. They are presenting themselves as righteous and with a direct line to God. They are showing everyone that they are smarter than everyone and that they know better then everyone.

Their dress, their attitude, their behavior, all of it is shouting, Pay attention to Me! Respect Me! Show deference to Me! Look at me as I do all these good things. Look at me as I walk around, and other people see how good I am. Look at me and see how much I give. Look at me and see how holy my prayers are. Look at me!

Jesus says, Hypocrites!

Beware of them. DO not follow them. Do not listen to them.

 

Many of these criticisms, unfortunately, can be levied against men in my profession. Men who claim to have a calling and a passion for the LORD. Men who are living unholy lives, whether in public or in secret. Men who are in it for the money, the fame, the publicity, the prestige. Men who are swindlers, preying on the old and the poor and the desperate.

Do Not Follow Men Who Are Living Unholy Lives!

 

Now, this, of course, does not mean that you can only follow someone who is perfect and sinless. None of us are. Paul wasn’t, Timothy wasn’t, James, John and Peter weren’t. Billy Graham wasn’t. RC Sproul wasn’t.  John MacArthur isn’t. Charles Stanley isn’t. Alistair Begg isn’t.

I certainly am not.

 

But we look to what scripture says and what are Pastors and elders supposed to be. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 3:

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer[a] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,[b] sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued,[c] not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise[d] must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.

 

 

This is what religious leaders are supposed to hold to. To fail in these areas is called a disqualifying sin.

 

Blatant Hypocrisy.

Misuse and twisting of Gods Word. (That doesn’t not mean disagreeing with their teaching or interpretation)

Stealing or skimming money, misusing church funds.

Manipulating and abusing.

Sexual Sin.

Out of control anger and abuse.

Exorbitant and lavish lifestyles.

Those who compromise Biblical truths in order to have more influence in the world, a bigger audience, better book sales, people to like them more.

 

These are things that Gods Word says make one unqualified to be a spiritual leader. Do Not Follow them that do these things.

By the way, do not do these things either. These codes of conduct are not only for pastors, elders and the like. They are for all believers. The problem is that these are all natural human temptations. That’s why Jesus says beware!

We would love to have someone in authority tell us that giving in to those temptations is ok. That they do it so we can to. We want someone to justify our sins, to say that they are not really sins, or that its perfectly natural.

We also naturally want to look our best in different scenarios and environments. Even if looking our best in that environment means lying about who we are or pretending we don’t do or believe certain things, pretending that wrong is right. OR, as the scribes described here, having the appearance of godliness, holiness, righteousness, morality, when it is only an outer façade.

Paul, again, describes the people that Jesus warns about. This time 2 Timothy 3:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

 

 

Having the appearance of Godliness but denying its power.

 

Avoid such people.

 

These people will think they are winning, they are successfully tricking people into thinking they are who their façade shows. Jesus says here, they will receive their condemnation. James echoes this when he says:

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness

 

 

 

Jesus is much, much more than an example for us. So much so that when people say that he is an example, I get very cautious. Many have said that in context like what we looked at last week. This definition of who He is, is all of who he is. So, when people say Jesus was an example for us, because some say that’s all He is an example, and some say that means we can do everything that He did, including the miracles, I get defensive.

But the fact is that Jesus is an example for us to follow. We should seek to model our lives after him. And when we look at Jesus calling out the scribes and their blatant hypocrisy and pride and showmanship, the contrast could not be any clearer.

One commentator says: How far this is from the example of Jesus Christ, who did not seek a place for himself, but set aside the glory he deserved to serve us to the very death.

          This is straight from scripture. Paul writes in Philippians 2:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

 

 

Jesus is clear. Beware of being like these guys. Don’t be like these guys. Don’t follow these guys. Be better. Follow me. Be like me.

 

And then, as we move into Chapter 21, There just happens to be, luckily enough, coincidently, an example of the scribes, pharisees, Sadducees, the religious leaders manipulating and taking advantage of those under them.

Whew! Jesus sure was lucky that happened right at that time!

 

They were in one of the courts of the temple. That’s where all the teaching would take place. And in that court were the offering boxes. There were 13 of them and each one had written on it what the money gathered would be used for.

The rich, well off, the religious leaders, they made sure they were seen giving. Remember Jesus talked about them tithing on their mint and dill. They wanted to make sure they showed how successful and well off they were because it showed the other people that God was pleased with them. It also made them look good, showing how generous they were.

And Jesus directly contrasts their unholiness and outward piousness, with a poor widows sacrifice and faith. The word in the original language is extremely poor. This was much poorer than any one in this room. This was extreme poverty.

She was giving two copper coins, the lowest valued coins that existed. Our pennies are made from copper, this was their equivalent. Mark, as he told this story, remarked that together they would make 2 pennies.

She gave literally her last coins. She now had no money to buy food or anything. She sacrificed more than any of the hypocrites ever would. Her giving was worth more to God than theirs.

Now, we have all heard many sermons and teachings on this passage, and we are not going to get too deep into the normal aspect of it today. In addition to the truths that are usually taught, we see that this widow is being exploited by the religious leaders. The religious leaders were not fulling their duty as James 1 tells us, Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

          Jesus told us at the end of Luke 20 that they devoured widows’ houses. Commentators aren’t sure what exactly that refers to, many of them give a thought, but the point is clear. They are taking advantage of and exploiting those whom they are tasked with taking care of.

The widow, of course, had an obligation to give. That’s not in doubt or in question. She was to, as we all are, give in and with faith and to be a cheerful and sacrificial giver.

But the religious leaders had an obligation to make sure she wasn’t exploited, and she wasn’t guilted into giving her literally last penny. They were bleeding her dry so that she didn’t have any thing left to live on.

We see a financial and generosity example of this principle here: God does not compare our giving with what the person next to us is giving. He compares our giving to what we have and what we give. Just like he doesn’t compare our sins with the person next to us, or to the people who are (in our mind) much worse than us. He takes and looks at our sins by what we do and what we are called to do.

 

 

True faith in Christ means living a life of Christ. The Bible is clear what those principals and some of the specifics look like.

How are you treating the poorest among you? Again, James tells us to take care of the widows and orphans and to keep oneself unstained form the world. Paul tells us that our giving should be cheerful and sacrificial, how much or however little it may be. Live with humility and love. Ephesians 4 says to preach the truth, but also to preach it with love. Jesus tells us that they will know we are Christians by our love.

We are to strive for and live a life of holiness, avoiding hypocrisy. Not in order to gain favor with God or to avoid punishment from him.  We can’t do either of those things. Not us, not on our own. Favor in Gods eyes and salvation from the wrath of God is from one way and from one source only. Its is solely by the grace of God alone who gives the faith, and it that faith alone in His Son, Jesus Christ alone that does it.  And Gods love and Jesus’ sacrifice changes us.

The Holy Spirit changes our heart of stone to a heart of flesh, we are brought from death to Life. This is the fruit of the spirit being made evident in our lives. This is a lifestyle that flows from the Holy Spirit, fruit from a true, saving faith.

Hypocrites, those hypocrites Jesus points out, the hypocrites that are obvious today, even the ones that are not so obvious, like us unless we repent. They will receive their condemnation.

But Romans 8:1 tells us that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Jesus tells us, if you love me, keep my commandments. Trust in him, repent of your sins, and show your love for and faith in him by living a life modeled after him and obeying him.

 

Let’s Pray

Luke 20:9-18 Jesus is the Son of Man: Don’t Be a Wicked Tenant

Luke 20:9-18

Jesus is the Son of Man

Don’t Be a Wicked Tenant

 

All right! Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 20, if you will. As I often say, if you do not have a Bible or if you need a Bible, please let me know after the service and we will work to get one into your hands.

So, we are continuing in Luke’s Gospel where we left off a few weeks ago. Jesus is in Jerusalem, finally, and Luke has been building towards this. Jesus is approaching the end of his earthly ministry and the battle lines are being drawn.

Jesus is continuing to emphasize that you are either with Jesus or against him. There is no neutrality, there is no gray, there is simply black or white. With or against. You either believe he is the Messiah or you don’t.

Even in that, we see that Jesus keeps giving people the chance to repent. He offers them opportunities to change their mind, to come to know him and believe in him.

And yet they challenge him. They refuse to believe and continue to challenge him. And so, he challenges them back. He points out the inconsistencies in their logic, which, by the way, we all have. And Jesus continues to show them the eternal consequences of their choices.

When we last left off, the Pharisees, the scribes, the elder, etc., were all challenging Jesus authority. On whose authority are you speaking and acting, Gods or your own?

Jesus didn’t answer them the way they wanted or in the format they wanted, but his answer was very clear. My authority, my power is from God himself. And Jesus makes it clear, by rejecting me and my authority, you are rejecting Gods messenger, Gods message and, ultimately, God himself.

With that, let go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 20, verses 9 through 18. As always, Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. Regardless of which version you read, I do encourage you to grab your Bibles and follow along as we read from Gods Word.

Luke 20:9-18, The Holy Spirit inspires Luke to record:

And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. 10 When the time came, he sent a servant[b] to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. 13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” 17 But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?[c]

18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

So, Jesus follows up his confrontation with the scribes, the pharisees and the religious leaders and he tells them this parable. And the commentators are right in that this is much more of an allegory than a parable. In a parable, typically, there is a main point being established and the details are not always a perfect match to someone or something in real life. They are there to support to big, main idea.

This parable is different in that all the individual parts equate to someone or something in real life. Again, when you are reading the parables of Jesus, this is not normal. It is easy to over analyze the parable and draw conclusions that were never meant to be drawn.

This one is different, as I said, more of an allegory and one commentator even calls is a “prophetic autobiography” from Jesus. Jesus, in telling this parable, is essentially asking those challenging him Do you realize what you are doing, and do you understand what the consequences are?

So, God created the World and his kingdom and within the world, he planted a vineyard. Numerous Old Testament passages show that the Physical Nation of Israel, the Physical descendants of Abraham are considered the vineyard of God. He has planted them to bear godly fruit and to be a blessing to the world.

God them established priests and religious leaders in Israel to Steward and to cultivate the vineyard. These were the tenants we see in the parable. As one commentator writes:

The leaders were supposed to cultivate the people by giving them good spiritual care—feeding them, pruning them, and protecting them. They were supposed to love the people of God the way a winemaker loves his vineyard. This would be for their blessing and Gods Glory.

          Now, we know that the leaders weren’t doing this. They were taking spiritual liberties with the people. They were keeping the glory for themselves. They were keeping the authority for themselves. They were neglecting the crops, the vineyard that had been entrusted to them.

And God, the landlord, sent messenger after messenger to the tenants and wanted to remind them to show the landlord his due respect, to pay their dues to him. He wanted the tenants to stay on mission and take care of and cultivate the crops that were in their care.

As we read through the Old Testament, we see that God sent prophet after prophet to the nation of Israel and to the leaders to remind them, to scold them, to encourage them to show the LORD his due respect, showing him their faith. He wanted them to live like he told them to and be the light and the blessing they were supposed to be. The messengers and the prophets were there to tell the tenants and the spiritual leaders to get back to doing what they were supposed to be doing.

They didn’t like what the messengers were there for. The tenants in the parable beat up and sent away every one of the messengers that was sent to them by the landlord. They didn’t want to be accountable to the landlord, to the owner. They wanted to own the land and to be the authority.

Sounds a lot like today if you think about it. People’s human nature is that they don’t want to be accountable to God. All the way back to the Garden of Eden, where the serpent was able to convince Adam and Eve that God didn’t really want what was best for them, that they should reject Gods authority and lean on their own understanding. And it’s been that way ever sense.

And we see that in society after society in world history. When a society lives by Gods rules society just works better. Don’t get me wrong, a society living by Gods rules does not make it a Christian society. Outward morals do not make changed hearts. But society works better when submitting (whether they know it or not) to Gods authority. Israel learned that over and over and over and over again in the Old Testament. God kept sending prophets to remind them. HE gave them chance after chance. And they killed them all.

After the first time this happened in verse 10, the owner would have been well within his rights to evict the tenants or even take much stronger measures against them. But he gave them chance after chance, showed grace upon grace.

Just as God had every right to reject and evict Israel, after they rejected his messengers, his prophets, instead, he showed them grace upon grace, giving them chance upon chance to repent.

And after all these chances, the owner in the parable, finally, in verse 13, decides, I will send my Son. He is the heir of the vineyard. The tenants will have to listen to Him.

As God the Father had planned in eternity past, along with The Son and the Holy Spirit, the Father would send the Son, Jesus Christ, heir to the Kingdom, King of this world. Israel should listen and believe in Him.

But we see in verse 14 that the tenants didn’t want to deal with the Son. They thought they were more worthy than the Son. They were worthy of having and being in charge of the vineyard. You can almost imagine, within the context of the parable, the tenants thinking and believing that they were THE most worthy of the vineyard. After all, the owner chose them to steward the vineyard first. IF the Son was as worthy of respect and to be listened to, the owner should have put him in charge in the first place. We should kill him, get him out of the way and then its all ours. We will then have the rights to the vineyard.

And God sent his Son to Israel. We have seen Jesus telling the religious leaders throughout the Gospels, you are not stewarding the people of God well. You are not listening to God. You are not submitting to his authority. You are not respecting me.

They didn’t like his message, not from the beginning. He was telling them that they were not the heirs. They had no inherent right to be in possession of the vineyard, or of the Kingdom of God. Just because they were tenants, that didn’t make them the landlords. Today, in California, we would say that there are no squatters’ rights in relation to the Kingdom of God.

There is only one way to have any rights in the Kingdom.

John 1:12 & 13:

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

          And in Galatians 3, Paul makes it clear that it is the spiritual descendants of Abraham, not the physical descendants of Abraham that will inherit the kingdom. Galatians 3:29:  if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

 

          Those who accept and receive the Son, those who submit to the father, those who submit to the owner of the vineyard, those are who will be received by the Father, by the owner of the vineyard. Those are who will be co heirs with the Son.

But those who reject the Son, also reject the Father.

And in the parable, the tenants do reject and kill the Son and therefore the reject the owner. Its almost as if they thought that this would be a knockout blow for the owner. That if they sent his son back, dead, that he would leave them alone and turn the land over to them. That the owner would recognize that they know better than he does.

IS that how any father you know would react? Is that how any father would respond?

Jesus tells them, in the parable that the owner will come and destroy those who reject his son and those who reject his authority. He would then give the land to those who do accept Him and his authority.

No matter who you are, no matter what you are born into, no matter how much your family goes to church, if you think you have any right, if you think you in any way deserve to be a part of the Gods eternal kingdom, you will be sorely disappointed. You will be rejected because you rejected the Son and therefore rejected the Father.

Those who were listening didn’t like this. They couldn’t accept this. They say in verse 18, “Surely Not!” Remember these were the people that Jesus was talking to in verses 1-8. These were the ones who wouldn’t answer when Jesus asked if John the Baptists ministry came from God or from Man. They were the ones who were trying to trap and destroy Jesus and his ministry. They were the gate keepers. They were the truthbearers. They were the ones who knew the scriptures inside and out. They were the ones who were so holy, they added laws and rules onto what God told them.

Our God would not do that! Not the God I Worship!

I wouldn’t believe in a God like that!

I can’t imagine God would do that!

Sound familiar?

This mindset is all over today. Again, that human nature, since the fall, we create a God in our image, instead of recognizing that we are created in Gods image.

That God we create is a God of love and mercy, but without holiness and justice. He is a God of tolerance and grace, but without calling for conviction and repentance.

When we create a god in our own image, we think I have every right.

I am the right ethnicity.

I am the right Nationality.

I am the right religion.

I am loving, nice, kind, moral, accepting, giving, generous, tolerant, whatever else is held up as the single, defining attribute.

When we create a god in our own image, all of those things, whichever ones apply to ourselves, that means that I deserve to be a tenant of the vineyard and I deserve to inherit the vineyard.

Surely God would not destroy those doing so called Good Works or those living according to His rules as we define them.

Jesus rebukes this idea and these thoughts in the harshest of terms. He looks them square in the eyes and quotes scripture right back to them.

During Jesus entry into Jerusalem, the people were shouting out passages from Psalm 118, and now Jesus quotes the same Psalm to the religious leaders.

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?[c]

 

              Jesus was showing them that yes, this was a reversal of accepted values, but that this is consistent with scripture. He says, YOU ARE REJECTING ME!

I am the cornerstone! I am the chief building block.

Both Peter and Paul affirm that Jesus is the chief cornerstone in their writings.

He says, I AM the one who brings life, who brings grace, who brings mercy, holiness, everlasting perfection.

But for those who will reject me, you reject the very foundations of Gods kingdom. For those who reject the foundations of heaven, He will bring eternal punishment and destruction, perfect justice and holiness and wrath.

He says, if you reject the cornerstone, it will crush you.

 

 

Now, to combat the Us vs Them that is so easy to manifest in us. “Man, I wish so and so would hear this…” No, each and every one of us, we all need to hear it, over and over. Because we can so often trick ourselves and lie to ourselves.

Its so easy to hear this and say, “Yeah! Them!” Even David had this problem. Back in 2 Samuel, the prophet Nathan confronted David over his sins regarding his affair with Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah killed.

I highly encourage you to go home and read that passage, 2 Samuel 12, but one commentator sums it up, writing:

Nathan confronts David regarding his relationship with Bathsheba and the cover-up of their affair. The Lord had commanded Nathan to share a story of a rich man who took and killed a poor man’s only lamb. David was justifiably angry at the injustice (verses 5–6). Nathan then answered, “You are the man!” (verse 7). David had blood on his hands. He was guilty of killing Bathsheba’s husband as well as committing adultery. God brought judgment upon David for his sin, including the death of his and Bathsheba’s child. However, David repented, was forgiven, and remained king.

 

 

Make sure you are examining yourself. Make sure you are on the right side of your salvation. Make sure that you are working it out with fear and trembling. Accept and believe in the Son whom the Father has sent.

Remember who He is and what He has done. That he is indeed the Son. He is the one who gave himself as a ransom for the many. He is the one who died to pay the penalty for our sins. He is the one who was raised from the dead to defeat death.

He is the one, who in his immeasurable riches and mercy, brought us from dead in our sins to alive in Christ. And he is one who tells us to Trust in the Son and receive the Father. Believe in the Son and become a child of God, become a co heir with Christ and become a citizen of the heavenly, eternal kingdom.

Jesus tells us this is the new covenant and that we are to remember this often as we get together.

We see what this remembrance should look like in Luke 22, verses 19 & 20:

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[c]

 

This is what we do every First Sunday of the month. We are going to this with partaking of bread and juice symbolizing his body and blood and with reflection.

Now, I ask that if you are not a Christian, if you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, please just pass the elements along. There is nothing magical about it. There is nothing special about it for those who do not believe that Jesus Christ gave his broken body and his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. There will be no pressure and no judgment. Again, like we said earlier, don’t play the part, don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

Stemming from that, Communion does not save us, it does not cleanse us, it does not do anything along those lines. It has no power to keep us clean or to restore our relationship with God, only Jesus can do that. This was given to us by Jesus for the purpose of remembering. Remembering who Jesus was. Remembering what Jesus did for us. Remembering how much he loved us and remembering just how big of a deal our sin really is. It is meant to be sobering and somber, but at the same time it is meant to be a celebration.

Thirdly, we are told that we need to come and participate with the right heart. As I said, we do this in remembrance of what he gave up for us, the sacrifice he made. We do this because we remember how big of a deal our sin is, that he died on the cross for it. We need to make sure that our hearts and minds have their hearts set on what’s important and that we seek God’s forgiveness and make our relationships are right with him. In addition to a tradition becoming too important and placed above the word of God, tradition can become bad is by it losing its meaning and becoming simply a ritual. Please take some of this time to reflect on what this tradition means and to make sure that you are prepared to receive. There will never be any judgment if you choose not to participate, and just pass the plate.

 

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.

 

 

 

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 19:1-10 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.

Luke 18: 31-34 Easter 2022 Jesus Died and Rose Again

Luke 18: 31-34

Easter 2022

Jesus Died and Rose Again

          All right! Please turn with me in your Bibles to the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 18.

IT is very interesting indeed, if you pay attention, to see how the Holy Spirit directs and guides things. For those that may not know, our philosophy here is that we preach through entire books of the Bible. We pick a book, we start at chapter 1, verse 1, and we go through and look at every verse in the book, preaching line by line, keeping the verses in context, looking at the big picture, seeing the intended and purposefully included themes, patterns, lessons and so on that God included in the natural story of the Bible. This is called expository preaching.

Now, there are legitimate times and places to stray from that formula, where you have a point, or an event, or a lesson that you want to preach, and you find the text in the Bible that teaches that, and you preach on that specific passage. That’s called Topical preaching. As I said, there are times where topical sermons are right and appropriate. Christmas and Easter are the two most obvious and easy to see examples.

But sometimes the Holy Spirit lines things up just right. He will at times eliminate the need to pause our series. He makes it so that we naturally come to a text where Jesus once again tells the Apostles about his upcoming death as we come up on Easter Sunday.

Now, a real quick catch up on where we are and have been in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus has been teaching the masses, the Pharisees and the disciples, especially the 12 Apostles. And especially over the last few chapters, he has been teaching them that their expectations and their assumptions are going to be completely flipped on their heads.

He essentially tells them, you might know that justice and righteousness are good, but you do not know what true justice, and real righteousness are. You might know that the kingdom of God is coming, but you have no idea how its coming or when or what it will look like.

Last week we saw the rich young ruler, and we saw that you might know that you need to inherit the kingdom, but you still think you need to earn that inheritance.

And as we come up on the words of Jesus this week, we are reminded what Jesus is telling Israel often, that they might know that the Messiah is coming, but your expectations and assumptions of him, what he will be, what he will do, and what he will accomplish are all dead wrong.

And so, with that, lets go ahead and read this morning’s text. We are looking at Luke chapter 18, verses 31 through 34. I will be reading, as I always do, out of the English Standard Version. I encourage, as always, to follow along in the version you prefer, as we will all be reading along with the Word of God himself.

Luke 18:31-34, Luke writes, inspired by the Holy Spirit:

 

And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

 

May God Bless the Reading of Gods Holy Word.

 

What’s going in this passage is both simple and complex. Jesus takes the twelve aside, the 12 disciples that were the most committed and the closest to Jesus. These are the twelve who would become known as the Apostles and who would go on to build the early church after Christs ascension.

He takes them aside and reminds them that they are headed to Jerusalem. This journey to Jerusalem actually started back in Luke 9:51. And he tells them this again, because we see at the end of the passage, that the disciples are not immune to making their own assumptions and holding on to them as if they are absolute facts.

Jesus tells them that everything that was written about the Son of Man, everything that was written about the coming Messiah, all of the prophecies and the foreshadowing and the allusions that were written by the scribes and prophets, all of it will be fulfilled and accomplished.

IT started back in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve sinned, and God spoke to them, telling them the consequences of their sins. But he doesn’t stop there. He goes on to tell them that he is going to send someone who will crush Satan and redeem his people.

There were all sorts of prophecies throughout the scriptures pointing to who the coming Messiah would be and how He would come. Micah says that he would be born in Bethlehem. Isaiah says that he would born of a virgin. And so many more. He would go to Egypt. He would be raised in Nazareth. He would be of the line of Judah. He would be a king as a descendant of David. So on and so forth.

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem in order to prove that he was who he said he was. In verses 32 & 33, he says that he will be mocked, we will see in Matthew 27. He will be shamed and spit on, Mark 14 & 15. He will be flogged and beaten before being literally, physically killed. And he wasn’t dead like his heart stopped and was legally dead for a period of time and then brought back. He wasn’t in a coma or knocked out. He was dead. His body ceased to live.

Once he died, they buried him in a rich man’s tomb. On the third day he rose from the dead, was physically, literally brought back to life by God. All these things were prophesied. All these things were written about hundreds or thousands of years before they happened. And Jesus said they were on their way to Jerusalem to fulfill them.

On the surface, that sounds pretty clear, right? Not a lot of room for nuance and confusion. And yet, the scriptures say that the disciples didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. Now, I think they had to understand the actual meaning of the words coming out of his mouth.  But it had it be in that kind of, “Jesus, I hear that you are saying your going to die, but…”

It’s like when Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ and Jesus told them then that he was going to die. Peter said he would not let that happen, and Jesus called him Satan for trying to get in the way of his and God the Fathers plans.

The problem was that the disciples never really believed some very important facts about the Messiah, about Jesus himself. The promised Messiah, who was to defeat and crush Satan, He was to die? How could that be the Messiah? How could that be Gods Plan? What would that accomplish?

 

But he did have to. It was a part of Gods plan from the beginning. God, The Father, the Son, The Holy Spirit, all knew before the creation of time, before they created the world, before mans creation that the only way to redeem mankind, to save Gods people was for the Son to die.

And it was written by the prophets. On the Road to Emmaus, on Luke 24, Jesus talked to a few disciples and starting with Moses and the prophets, told them how all that was written was about him and that he had fulfilled every detail with meticulous fullness, as RC Sproul says.

And, of course, the why matters. This is not just some guy who was brought back to life. That, in and of itself, would be amazing. But if that’s all this was, why worship Jesus instead of Lazarus, as we saw in John 11? Why not both?

And one of the most powerful, poignant and clear prophecies about the coming messiah was one that most in that day didn’t even think applied to the coming messiah, but they thought was about the nation of Israel.

Mike read the first part of Isaiah 53 earlier and I want to read the whole chapter now:

Who has believed what he has heard from us?[a]
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected[
b] by men,
a man of sorrows[
c] and acquainted with[d] grief;[e]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[
f]
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;[
g]
when his soul makes[
h] an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,[
j]
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,[
k]
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

 

So why did Jesus die and rise from the dead?

God created the world perfect, he created it at peace, in harmony. The Hebrew word is Shalom. But it didn’t last that way. Less than two chapters later, in Genesis 3, the enemy, the serpent, Satan, tricked Adam and Eve by twisting Gods word. They sinned. They had been walking, living, working in perfect relationship with God up until that point. Up until that point, it was exactly the way God wanted it.

Now, after sin entered the world, our relationship with God was fractured. God is a holy, perfect God. God could not be in relationship with sin. God cannot look at sin. When sin entered the human race, God could not be in the same relationship with us any longer unless something changed. They were no longer able to live forever, but now that sin had come in and corrupted our bodies, they, WE, would die. The first part of Romans 6:23 sums it up the easiest and most succinctly, “The wages of sin is death.”          

          God required that blood be shed in order for forgiveness of sins. So, starting with the Passover, and the blood of the lamb over the doorways of the Israelites, then when he gave the law to Moses in the desert as the Israelites were going to the promised land, God instituted a sacrificial system. This meant that the Jews could make an animal blood sacrifice to temporarily cover up their sins in the eyes of God. They needed to come back time and time again to make these sacrifices, to continually cover up their sin in Gods eyes.

God knew that this was temporary and after Adam and Eve sinned, he promised a permanent solution in the future. What could be a permanent fix for sin that also allows God to stay Holy, just and merciful? For the permanent erasure of our sins, it would require a perfect man, one who had no sin of his own. He would need to be willing to shed his blood to cover up all of our sins.

But none of us is perfect. We all fall short of the glory of God, as Romans 3:23 says. None of our “goodness” is enough to counteract the sin in our lives. Martin Luther said, “The most damnable and pernicious heresy that has ever plagued the mind of man is that somehow he can make himself good enough to deserve to live forever with an all-holy God.”

We cannot reestablish our relationship with God on our own, by ourselves, because of anything about us. That’s the Bad News. God gave us Good News. We wouldn’t have to. He would send one who would take care of it for us. Talk to any practicing Jewish person and they will tell you that the entirety of their scriptures is God promising to send them a Messiah, one who would free them, rule over them and allow them to be back in right relationship with the one true God. The full text of Romans 6:23 reads:  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And so, Jesus lived a perfect life, and died for our sins. He paid the price we owed, that we couldn’t pay. He paid our debt so that we could be forgiven, covered in his blood.

And then God rose Him from the dead, defeating death. He proved he was God, showed that we will also be resurrected at the end when the Kingdom of God is manifested.

THE single most important day in the history of the world. The most important event in the history of the world. This is the day that is the culmination of all of the Old Testament writings, the birth of this man named Jesus, the Holy Week, the death of this man named Jesus. It all culminated on one Sunday morning almost 2000 years ago.

How important is that? I say this with all sincerity, and without hyperbole. If Jesus literally, historically, factually died on the cross and three days later rose from the grave, it is the most important thing that has ever happened on Earth.

It proves the Bible as true and trustworthy. And this is exactly what the Bible claims to be true.  It proves Jesus and the things he said as true and trustworthy. And it proves that the resurrection was the most important event in history.

 

Finally, I ask, why was all this hidden from the disciples? Why did they not grasp what was being said by Jesus here?

The disciples had certain expectations. All of Israel had very specific expectations regarding the coming Messiah. One of the hardest things in human nature is to change one’s mind. It is incredibly difficult to admit, especially to ourselves that there is a chance that we could be wrong. Our natural tendency is to reject anything that goes against what we already believe. Our natural tendency is to accept anything and everything that agrees with what we already believe.

The disciples are no different. We are no different than the disciples.

Today you have the Word of God in your hands. You have what Jesus plainly said. He is calling you to a response. He is calling you to understand. He is calling you to trust him above yourself.

Are you going to cling to your preconceived notions about God, about Heaven, about sin, about salvation and about Jesus?

Or are you going to trust God, trust his Word, trust the Bible? Are we going to trust that we are sinners in need of a savior? That Jesus came to save sinners?

 

Are we going to trust that Jesus came and offers the only way to salvation and to forgiveness by His grace alone, a gift that no one deserves, but is only given by his good will, his mercy?

And he delivers it by faith alone? We must believe, we must trust, we must depend wholly and completely on

Jesus Christ alone? He is the only one who could perfectly and completely fulfill the law and the prophecies. He had perfect righteousness, was the perfect sacrifice. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. He is the only way to God the Father.

Do we trust that this is all told by the scriptures alone? God revealed all these things so that we would believe. He also says that faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of Christ. We must hear or read the Gospel in order to believe.

And do we trust, do we believe that all of this, all that we talked about this morning, all that is written in the Bible is all for the Glory of God alone? He is the only one worthy to be praised. He alone is worthy of worship. He alone is worthy; He is the Creator of all things. He is perfectly good, perfectly holy, perfectly perfect.  He alone is worthy for all things to his glory.

Are we going to listen and believe ourselves, sinners and fallen people? Or the God who created us, the Son who died for us, who redeemed us, the Holy Spirit who transformed us and inspired the very Words of the Bible?

Today is a day of great celebration. Today is a day that changed the course of history and saved the eternal lives of, probably billions of people, of all who would believe. Shout out, celebrate, sing praises and trust and believe in him more than ourselves.

He is Risen!

 

Let’s Pray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luke 18:15-30 Jesus is the Son of Man Questions about Eternal Life

Luke 18:15-30

Jesus is the Son of Man

Questions about Eternal Life

All right! Let’s go ahead and turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 18. IF you need a Bible, if you do not have a Bible, please see me after the service and we will make sure to get on into your hands.

Now, as we have been going through the Gospel of Luke, I hope you have noticed that Jesus doesn’t waste time. He doesn’t waste energy. He doesn’t waste focus. He does what needs to be done, he spends time where it is important, and he teaches what is important.

And so, Jesus has spent his time teaching the important things to those who needed to hear it. He was telling them what they needed to hear and to learn. He was teaching them about the Kingdom of God. He was teaching them about righteousness, about justice. He was teaching them about humility. And he was teaching them trust wholly and completely in God’s grace and mercy for the forgiveness of sins.

And one of the reasons that Jesus spends so much time focusing on these things is not that the people at the time had no idea or concept of these things, but instead that these things and the way the would manifest and come about would be in direct opposition of the assumptions the conventions and the expectations that the people had about these things.

So, Jesus was stirring up controversy. And people are drawn to controversy. And so, they came to hear what Jesus was teaching. And they brought their assumptions and their biases with them. Many also brought their kids with them and many brought genuine questions with them for this great teacher to answer.

And that’s where we will pick up this morning as we look at Luke chapter 18, verses 15 through 30. I will, as always, be reading out of the English Standard Version, though I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read straight from the Word of God.

So, Luke 18:15-30, Luke writes, inspired by the Holy Spirit,

 

Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers[b] or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

 

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

So, as Jesus became more famous, many were bringing their babies and children to Him. Many recognized that Jesus was a holy man, that he was on Gods side, so to speak. They recognized that he was more than just a guy. They wanted Him to bless the kids and babies.

This was not a one-time event. This was a frequent event that happen often. Now, the common convention of the day was that children were a burden and a waste of time and resources until they became old enough to contribute to the family.

They were to be not seen and even more rarely heard. This was another example of people, in this case, children, needing to earn love and respect and to earn your keep, even within families.

Jesus showed that this should not be the case. Children, even as young as babies, even when they can’t contribute anything tangible to the family are blessings just in themselves.

But this was not how people thought at the time. Even the disciples thought that these kids coming up and taking up Jesus’ time were a waste of time for him. They might not have thought about it in those terms, but at minimum, they were thinking and probably saying to Jesus, “C’mon, Jesus, you’ve got more important things to do with your time than play with these kids.”

Jesus rebukes them, tells them how wrong they were. He says, let them come to me. He says that to such as these belongs the kingdom of God. Now, he is not saying that every child is automatically in the kingdom of God, that’s not the point he is making. Instead, he is saying that those who approach Jesus with faith and trust and dependance like this child will inherit the kingdom of Heaven.

You must receive the kingdom like a child would. Not stay a child, not a childish faith, but a childlike faith. This is the faith and trust that kids have in their parents. When parents tell their kids things, the kids believe it. Kids trust in their parents, the have faith in their parents. That their parents will make them better, that they will protect them, that they are the biggest and the strongest and all of that. That’s how we are to approach Jesus.

And kids can’t earn it. They can’t do anything to contribute. We can’t earn God’s love. We can’t earn his salvation. The kids can’t contribute to their family in a tangible way. We can’t contribute anything to God’s kingdom in any tangible way. Those with simple faith in Christ and those who depend completely and solely on Christ the way that children depend completely and solely on their parents, only those will enter the kingdom of Heaven. Those whose faith is partial and who try to earn to love and respect of God will not enter the kingdom.

After this, we see that a man comes up to Jesus. A man whom the Bible describes as a rich, young ruler. This was a seemingly good man. He was absolutely a good moral outward man. He was focused on the right things. He was asking good questions.

He was wondering about the life after this one. He knew there was more to it than just simple obedience. For him, the treasures of this world did not satisfy as he expected them to.

He has heard about Jesus of Nazareth, this amazing teacher, full of wisdom, dispensing miracles, healings and answers. And so, he approaches him with deference and respect, calls him Good Teacher and Asks him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

For me, the two most telling words in that question are I and inherit. Those two words tell us what the young man believed. From that, we see two things that the young man thought he knew.

First, the kingdom of God, eternal life is inherited, not merited. And he was right about this. And second, that there was something that he had to do in order to inherit eternal life. On that note he was wrong.

Now, from the outside, you might see these as two contradictory views and beliefs, and you would be right. But you must remember and hopefully recognize that often in our lives there is a disconnect between a correct biblical, intellectual theology and a poor, practical, real-life theology.

We saw this from the Pharisee last week, as he prayed, “Thank you, God, that I am so good.” That intellectual affirmation that God is the reason and the cause of all good things, yet he practically takes the credit for his goodness.

There is a different attitude between the Pharisee and the rich young, and that is important. However, it’s the same disconnect between head knowledge and practical living.

 

So, this man asks Jesus this question and Jesus will respond to him, but not at all the way he expects. He starts by challenging and dismantling his mindset. If you are going to use words, make sure you use them correctly.

The rich young man did not see Jesus as God, as the Messiah. He saw Jesus as a good, wise man. Jesus says, why do you call me good? Only God is good. In this, Jesus is denying that He himself is God. Instead, he is telling the rich young man that he needs to recognize that yes, he is indeed a good teacher, but it doesn’t end there. He can not be only a good teacher. But if he is a good teacher and the only one who is good is God, then first, recognize Jesus as God. Make sure that you are giving God the credit that he is due.

Now that that is out of the way, Jesus tells him, you know all the laws, you know the moral commands that God has given down. You know what you are supposed to do and what you are supposed to obey.

The man says, yup. Been there, done that. Ever since I was a kid, I obeyed God, I did all that I was supposed to. He says all his life he has kept the commands. He has followed the law. He has done good. He has earned the rewards he has been given. He is thinking, basically saying, what am I missing? There has to be something more.

Jesus doesn’t even address that point. We all know that this young man didn’t keep the law as well as he thought he did. And even if he did, Jesus makes it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that it is not just our outward moral behavior. But if we lust in our hearts or we murder someone in our hearts, then it’s the same as acting on it.

Jesus doesn’t deal with that issue, not because its not true. But because tis not relevant to his point here. Nothing everything that is true, not everything that can be said, always needs to be said.

Instead, Jesus tells him, you have all those things, you have all those rewards. But no matter how good you have been, or how many laws you kept, there is still one thing you lack. You still don’t have the kingdom of God. You still don’t have eternal life. You still don’t have salvation.

Jesus tells him specifically, not all Christians, but this man specifically, sell all you have and give it to the poor and come follow me. Now, is Jesus saying, DO this and live? No, of course not. He was not giving the guy extra rules to follow in order to get into heaven. What he was doing was showing the rich young ruler where his sin was. He was showing him what commands he was breaking. He was showing him what repentance looks like.

The rich man saw what Jesus was saying. He knew what Jesus was pointing out. And he walked away sad. He did so because he was unwilling to give up his riches, his wealth, his comfort and his living. He was holding his wealth with a closed hand, not willing to let go.

He was idolizing his wealth. He was keeping the outer, physical, moral commands, but he was breaking the first commandment, to have no other Gods before the one true God. He was also breaking the greatest command, to love God with all your heart, mind, body and soul. He walked away because he put his wealth above God. He walked away because he was unwilling to pay the price of discipleship. He was unwilling to repent and to open his hand and let go of his idolatry.

Jesus watched him walk away, and sadly spoke about how hard it was for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. And he said something that people have been trying to rightly interpret ever since. He says, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

And we have created all sorts of ways to read this statement, all sorts of ways to have it make sense. And I’m sure some of them will be brought up on Wednesday morning. But I think that Jesus point is that there is no way for this to make sense. There is no physical possible way for a camel, one of the largest animals the people would have been aware of, could go through the eye of a needle, so thin and tiny and small. I think Jesus was using hyperbole, intentional exaggeration in order to make a point, that this was a physical impossibility.

For many, maybe most, people who has wealth and riches, and today in America, compared to the majority of the world’s population, we are all the rich and the wealthy. But for most, the money and wealth give stability. It gives comfort. It gives assurance. It makes us think we are self-sufficient. We rely on it and ourselves. And it makes us not rely on or depend on anyone else for anything. Including God. And that means no kingdom…

 

On the heels of this, we get another great question in verse 26. Who then can be saved? In those days, wealth was consciously considered to mean that you had found favor with God, that he was blessing you because you had done good. Its still the same today only it’s much more subconscious. And so, if even the rich young man couldn’t get into the kingdom, what hope is there for the rest of us?

And that question is the whole need and reason for and the whole point of the Gospel. Jesus says it right there in response to the question.

What is impossible with man is possible with God.

Who can be saved? No one by themselves. No one can do good. No one can earn merit. No one can keep enough of the law. Using the normal measures that man tries to use, no one can be saved.

But God can save. And only God can save.

 

Once again, Jesus is showing that expectations will be different from what will actually happen and take place. Here is what you expect to happen. Heres what will actually happen.

Now, of course, the disciples were a little nervous. They wanted a little reassurance. Jesus! We did what you told us too! Again, Jesus’ point was not to tell every believer that they had to sell all their possession and give them away, but instead that we all need to be willing to if called to do so. We need to be willing to hold all things with an open hand. We need to be willing to give up anything for the sake of God. We are to make sure that nothing is getting in the way of our walk with God.

We are to be willing to leave all and give up all in order to pay the price of discipleship. And Jesus also reassures. He says that all who give up what they are called to give up here in this life will be rewarded. What you give up for God, for Jesus, for the Kingdom, will be repaid many times over in eternity.

Ultimately, we need to remember that just because we know the truth, just because we can speak the truth, doesn’t mean that we will automatically act on the truth. The rich young man here was told the truth and he knew it, yet he walked away sad because he would not act the truth.

And it was because he was holding on to his wealth as an idol, as something he would not let go of, even if God asked. And so, holding on to his wealth in this world, cost him even more wealth and immeasurable riches in the life to come.

Introspection and a dedicated, purposeful desire to do the will of God and to sacrifice for Him are what God asks for. What are those things we are holding onto? What are those things we don’t want to give up? What are those things that, despite knowing and speaking the truth, we don’t really believe or act on? That’s what we need to be looking at.

Let’s pray.