Luke 22:63-71 Jesus is the Son of Man: Jesus First Trial

Luke 22:63-71

Jesus is the Son of Man

Jesus First Trial

 

All right, if you would, please turn with me in your Bibles to Luke chapter 22.

So previously in Luke chapter 22! So, we have seen Jesus be arrested and brought into custody in the middle of the night by the temple guards and Roman soldiers and brought to the home of the chief priests.

In an inexact correlation, the chief priest is kind of like the Chief Justice, the main leader of the Supreme Court and the Chief priest being the main leader of the Sanhedrin, the council and court of the Jewish people in the temple.

Last week, we took a brief aside from looking at the arrest and trials of Jesus to look at Peter and his denials of Christ as he was following the crowd as they took Jesus to the chief priest.

Today, we get back to Jesus and what is happening to him. Today we look at the first of three trials of Jesus.

 

So, let’s go ahead and read our passage, Luke chapter 22. Verses 63 through 71, the end of the chapter. I’ll be reading, as all of you know, out of the English Standard Version though I encourage you to grab what ever version of the Bible that you prefer reading, which ever version you understand most clearly and whichever translation helps you read the word of God for your self and get closer to him.

Without further ado, Luke 22:63-71, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the very Words of God himself:

 

Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. 64 They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65 And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.

66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their council, and they said, 67 “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, 68 and if I ask you, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” 71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”

 

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

          So, the setting of this week’s passage was set back up in verse 54. The temple guards, the Roman soldiers, the servants of the chief priest, they arrest Jesus, they seized him and took him to the chief priest’s home.

And these first few verses seem to be in conjunction, time wise parallel to the passage last week of Peter in the courtyard. As it seems, Jesus is waiting for the assembly of elders, the chief priests and so on as they prepare for his trial. As he is waiting, he is being held in custody and as is common in storytelling, when an innocent man is held in custody, guards will often taunt, mistreat, abuse, mock the innocent prisoner as they are waiting. That’s what we see here.

These first three verses here, verses 63- 65, they show us how much humiliation and abuse Jesus was taking just at the beginning of this ordeal. And it was only getting started. Its only going to get worse through chapter 23.

They were mocking him, making fun of him and his position. They were blind folding him and hitting him, telling him, Prophecy who hit you! And laughing at him. Ironically, this call for him to prophecy who was hitting him was happening at the same time as a previous prophecy of Peter denying him was in the midst of coming true. These men were completely blaspheming him, as he was about to be on trial for and wrongly found guilty of blasphemy.

 

 

And he took it.

 

He absolutely took it. He didn’t act or respond how any of us would have responded. He didn’t yell for them to stop. He didn’t fight back. He didn’t struggle. He didn’t argue back at them. He is and was so much better than us.

We have to be careful how far we take this. WE are not Jesus. WE will not go through in this life what Jesus went through. Also, he was 100% completely sinless and in no way, shape or form deserved anything that happened to him. We are sinful creatures how receive mercy every single day. So, we have to be careful to not compare ourselves completely to Jesus.

However, Jesus did day that if the world hates us, it’s because they hated him first. And sometimes people will come at us, in many different ways. Sometimes it will be because we preach a truth that they don’t like. Sometimes it will be for untruths that they believe. Sometimes we receive unjust treatment, punishment or consequences when we were not guilty of what they are claiming.

When that happens, our first instinct is to lash out, to fight back. Our first reaction is to defend ourselves by any means necessary. But when that happens, I want to exhort you, that means stronger than encouraging, I want to exhort you to think back to Jesus and his actions in this moment and through the next few hours as he goes through these various trials and beatings and ultimately his crucifixion. Think about how he holds himself and responds to it all.

I’m not saying there are no times, places or methods to defend ourselves or the fight back when injustice is happening to us, please don’t hear that. There are absolutely times, places and methods. However, it is usually, if not always, never the way our first reaction indicates, or our instincts try to thrust us towards.

The key word is that we all too often lash out. We use the wrong done to us to justify the wrong we do to others, or the sin we commit in our heart and our actions. Our sin is never justified by the actions and wrongdoing of others.

 

Sit on that for a minute. When I wrote that, I needed to go back over it and ruminate on that. I hit hard.

 

So, as we move on, in verse 66, as the day came, Jesus was brought in front of the council, made up of the chief priest, scribes, elders and so on.

One real quick aside. I mentioned before, especially in the Upper Room that I want to focus on what’s Luke was focusing on when he wrote his Gospel. The four Gospels do not contradict each other, and they are all inspired as the Word of God.  But they all have different focusses. None of the four go through the trials of Jesus in their complete totality. So, there is a lot of information, nuance and events that we don’t see in Luke’s Gospel. But I want to focus on what Luke is focusing on. That being said, I want to make clear that, and this is not Luke’s focus at all, nothing about this trial was legal, moral, or done correctly or according to Jewish law and custom as laid out in the Law of Moses.

 

 

The main issue for this 1st trial comes in the two questions they ask. Are you the Christ? Are you the Son of God? They are not, of course, asking out of genuine curiosity. If they were, Jesus would have answered them much more plainly. Instead, they are asking to get his words, his admission on the official record.

It is interesting to me that three different titles for Jesus are used in this passage. The council uses the title Christ, or Messiah, and the title of Son of God. Jesus uses in his response that we will touch on in a moment, the Son of Man.

 

So, they ask him, Are you the Christ? Jesus says, even if I tell you, you won’t believe me. And that there is one of the key problems we see in the Gospels. People who ask but won’t listen to the answer. These men were blinded to the fact that Jesus really was the Christ. They knew that is what he was claiming. They knew that’s what he said. But they couldn’t believe it. Literally.

I can tell each of you here, I can tell everyone in Bangor that Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus of the Bible is the Christ, is the Messiah, is God and is the savior. And that is the job of everyone in this room, everyone listening to me right now, is to tell you friends, family, community who Jesus is. And some may respond in faith. But many wont. Many are blinded to this truth. Blinded by their sin. Blinded by their biases. Blinded by previous teachings they have been taught. Blinded by their own understanding.

Like the men on this council, they are not seeking truth, they are seeking answers to be put on the record. So, Jesus doesn’t give them what they want. By doing so, he fulfills another prophecy, in Isaiah 53:7. Instead he tells them that despite their unbelief, despite what they are about to do and what’s about to happen to him., the Son of Man reigns.

Jesus, the Son of Man, whom Daniel describes and writes about this way:

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

 

That Son of Man, Jesus, he reigns. Right now, he is reigning in Heaven and over this earth. He reigns regardless of their belief or unbelief. Regardless of my belief or unbelief. Regardless of your belief or unbelief. I’m paraphrasing, but there is a saying that makes its way around online pretty commonly, and it says, the truth does not stop being true just because people don’t believe it. And Jesus is telling these men, in essence, the next time, our roles will be reverses, at the next trial, at the judgment of the living and the dead, it is I who will be judge.

 

The council was tired of running in circles. They wanted to finish this up so they could get Jesus in front of Pontius Pilate. Quit talking in circles and tell us plainly. Are you the Son of God, yes, or no?

And he says, you say I am.

Now, this is an affirmative answer. He is saying Yes. But he does so in a way that in the Greek language and culture is deflecting the responsibility back the question asker. He knows they are looking to get him on the record, they are looking for official testimony that they can use, and he won’t give it to him, even as he is answering their question.

At this point, they don’t care. None of the rest of the trial is legal or according to Jewish law anyway, so they take what he answered, and they use it to come up with the verdict they want.

He admits it! We heard it from his own mouth!

 

They recognized that he was indeed claiming to be the Son of God. They recognized that he was indeed affirming their accusations.

 

People can say and can genuinely be confused that “Jesus never claimed to be God.”  This is one of many texts that say differently. Now, I will say, especially in English, Jesus is not always as clear as we want him to be in this. As I said, some people can genuinely find this hard to see.

But Jesus was clear enough that those in his day knew clearly what he was saying and who he was claiming to be.

 

And who was he? Jesus was a real live historical person. There is more historical evidence for him than for Julius Caesar.

Jesus was the Son of God who came to redeem mankind. He came to reconcile us back to God. He came to bridge the divide that sin causes between us and God. And he did it by taking our justice, our punishment for the sins we have committed.

Each and everyone if us here. Each and every person born, with Jesus being the only exception, each and every person has sinned and been separated from God. Each and every person who has sinned deserves to pay the consequences of that sin, which is eternity in Hell, having the full, perfect, holy wrath of God poured out on them. The wages, meaning the payment for sin is death. That is what each and every single person here deserves, especially me.

And yet, God loved us in that while we were yet sinners, he sent his son to take that penalty, that that wrath, to substitute himself, in our place. He who knew no sin became sin so that we could become the righteousness of God. He died the death that we deserved. He took and absorbed the wrath that was justly and rightfully due to us. He paid our debt and bridged that gap for us, on our behalf.

And Jesus did this, not because we obeyed well enough. Not because we did the right thing. Not because our good outweighed our bad. Because none of that is true.

For it is by grace we have been saved, through faith. Gods grace poured out on us, through the vehicle of our faith in his son. And this is a gift, not because of us, but because of God and through God alone so that none of us may boast. And there is no name except Jesus by which we are saved. There is one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ.

Those who are saved are saved by the grace of God alone, through Faith alone in his Son Jesus Christ alone. All of this is revealed in Scripture Alone and all of it done for the Glory of God alone.

As Jonathon Edwards famously said, we contribute nothing to our salvation except the sin that made it necessary.

Here’s the deal. If you have believed in the Son, then you get the Father. If you reject the Son, you reject the Father. That’s it. Nothing else you do matters.

You being here on Sunday mornings, or Wednesday mornings, or Thursday evenings or any other time of the week does not indicate that you are saved. You voting the right way does not mean that you are saved. You cheering for, believing in morals, family values, hard work, freedom, rugged individualism, ‘Merca, homeschool, capitalism, rural, small town, down homeness, Yay God! Cross or a fish on the back of your truck, bible knowledge, none of that plays one iota into whether or not you are saved. Period.

Some of that may or may not be fruit from your salvation, that’s not what I’m saying. But too many people in our community are banking on those things to fool themselves into thinking that they are saved. Many of them go to church. Many of them are not saved. Many of them will stand in front of God saying LORD LORD and he will say Depart for I never knew you.

 

 

Don’t let that be you. Repent of your sins and believe the Gospel. Accept the grace of God who gives you faith and put that faith in Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross and him alone. Faith comes by hearing, Hearing by the Word of God.

You can’t make your friends, family, community believe. You can only control yourself. Show what repentance is, through faith, by showing people the change that takes place, the turning away form those sins that so easily entangle. Nothing we do saves us, but if we are saved, we won’t do nothing.

And then you can make sure that your family, friends and community were given the truth and chance to repent and believe.

 

Jesus calls us to that. To Repent and believe and love our neighbors as ourselves so that the thought of them not believing should be heartbreaking to us and should drive us to action.

WE are going to celebrate communion now. Because Jesus told the disciples in the upper room. I’m going to die. I’m going to do this and this sacrament, this thing we are about to do together, do it in remembrance of him. Do it to remind ourselves of what he did. Of the love he showed. Of the sacrifice he made and the pain and suffering he endured and the eternity in perfect heaven with Him that we receive as a result of it.

His blood shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. His death satisfied the payment for our sins. His resurrection frees us from the chains of death and sin. His Holy Spirit changes us, from the inside out. He puts to death our old sinful nature and gives birth to our new selves so that our heart desires to learn more, to grow closer to him, to serve him, to grieve our sins and to live out his grace and his mercy.

Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 11 that Communion is for those who are believers only. We don’t restrict this because we can not judge a heart. Only you can judge your heart. Please check your heart, search your soul. If you believe please join us in taking part of this solemn yet celebratory event. If you are not a believer, this will not make you one, nor will it save you at all. Don’t take this to fit in or to fool yourself. Take this in remembrance of Jesus Christ and us getting to enjoy eternity with him because of what he did.

 

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.

 

 

If I can have Mike and Frank come on up, we will get started, passing out the elements, wafers symbolizing the broken body of Christ and the juice symbolizing the shed blood of Christ.

We will pray before taking each element as a church family, brothers and sisters in Christ, united and brought together by the blood of Christ.

 

IT has been my honor to serve and worship and to grow with you all. Thank you.

 

 

Luke 22:54-62 Jesus is the Son of Man: Peters Denial

Luke 22:54-62

Jesus is the Son of Man

Peters Denial

 

All right! Turn with me, if you will, 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 we can get one into your hands.

So, as we saw last week, we are spending the next chapter and a half or so, the rest of chapter 22 and all of chapter 23 in the darkness. This is both physical and spiritual darkness.

To catch us up, Jesus, celebrating Passover in the Upper Room with the 12 disciples, took his last opportunity to teach and prepare the disciples. Jesus told them that he would be betrayed, and he was. He told them that he will be killed and that is the institution of the new Covenant, and we are going to see that happen here.

When the disciples heard that, they didn’t like that. They had a history of not understanding, whether purposely or not, when Jesus said he had to die. Peter tried to stand in the way of it back when he confessed Jesus as the Christ, and Jesus called him out for trying to interfere with Gods plans. And here, Peter is one of the ones that promises Jesus that he is willing to die for him or go to prison for him. Jesus calmly tells him, No. In fact, this very night, you will deny me three times before the rooster crows.

Jesus and his disciples left the upper room, went to pray in the solitude of the garden for a bit and then a group led by Judas the betrayer comes up to them and are ready to take Jesus into custody. There was a brief skirmish that Jesus settles down pretty quickly and that’s where we pick up with this morning’s passage.

Today we are going to look at Luke chapter 22, verses 54 through 62. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. I do encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read the word of God.

Luke 22:54-62, Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, records:

 

Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

 

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

          So, the temple guards seize and arrest Jesus. He is now in their official custody. They lead him away from the garden, back into Jerusalem and to the home of the chief priest, the head of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was the top group of religious leaders and decision makers among the Jewish people. They were the political elite of our day, the religious elite of their day.

And it’s interesting that they brought Jesus first to the Chief priest’s home and not to any of the Roman officials, at least not yet. This will help show the illegitimacy of the arrest of Jesus and his upcoming trials. But we will start getting into that more in the next few weeks.

So, one of the interesting things is that, at this point, we don’t know what happened to at least 9 of the twelve disciples. All we know is that the scriptures say they scattered. The other Gospels tell later what happened to Judas. And we presume, based on what happens later that John is running to go get Mary, Jesus’ mother. But in this pretrial and trial period of time, the only disciple that we have named in any way is Peter.

Peter is following the temple guards who arrested Jesus and are leading him to wherever they were going. He is following them at a distance, showing, at least more than the others, some boldness and bravery. However, he is showing it from a distance, in the dark, when its not physically costing him anything.

Now, it is likely that, as people were out that night, they would have seen and unusual scene. They would have seen this man being led through the streets by the temple guards and some Roman soldiers. This would not have been an everyday occurrence, at least I wouldn’t think so.

There would have been a lot of talk and speculation as to who and why this man was being arrested. They may have recognized Jesus as the one who was arrested. But the commotion, the something happening, something different would have drawn a crowd for sure.

Just like a car accident can cause issues in traffic, even if the wreck is not on the road, it can cause slow traffic and rubber necking, that same sort of mindset, human nature can cause crowds to gather and hang around and try to find out what’s going on.

Because it was at night, it was cool and dark. The crowd gathered outside the chief priest’s home, in the courtyard, and they started a fire to stay warm and to have some light. And Peter joins this crowd, trying to keep warm, trying to blend in, hoping no one notices him. Maybe he is trying to sneak closer. Maybe he is trying to get more information. Regardless, he is in the courtyard of the home where Jesus was taken, and he is obviously nervous.

Now, v 56, a servant girl sees him in the fire light. She says to someone, or everyone, Hey, that guy right there. He was with that guy they just paraded through here!

Peter’s response, Nope, I wasn’t with him!

 

 

And there is no indication of what his tone of voice was here.

 

We get here 3 accusations of Peter’s association with Jesus. We get 1 eyewitness, the servant girl; “He was with him!” WE see I direct, face to face accusation. “You were with him!” And we get a guy using corresponding evidence, whether its circumstantial or not, “You have a Galilean accent, just like his followers!”

And we see Peter deny each of these instances. Now, my question is why? Why did Peter deny it? Well, there are a couple of options. First, the obvious and often given answer is that he feared for his life. By why was he afraid for his life? He wasn’t arrested in the garden. The guards had no interest in him. They were only interested in Jesus.  If they wanted him, they would have had plenty of reason, after cutting off the servant’s ear and all that. But they just took Jesus and left.

So, its possible that Peter was worried that the crowd that gathered would identify him as an accomplice of the criminal that was just arrested and form a mob against him. He could also be worried that he would be chased away from where Jesus was and wouldn’t be able to gather any more information.

Regardless of the reason, regardless of what was going through Peters mind, three times someone confronted, accused, asked, that Peter was with and had known and was a follower of Jesus. And three times Peter denied knowing, having been with or following Jesus.

Immediately after Peter gave the third denial, the rooster crowed, fulfilling exactly what Jesus said would happen. Now, these three denials took place over the course of a couple of hours. Because of that, its possible that Jesus was being led out of the chief priest’s home on his way to the next trial or destination. The reason I say this is because Luke records that when Jesus heard the rooster crow, he looked directly at Peter.

We don’t know exactly what the look was. Was it forgiveness? Love? Acknowledgement? Disappointment? Pain?

Honestly, we don’t know. And honestly, it doesn’t matter. The fact is that Jesus knew exactly where peter was and the moment the rooster crowed, he looked directly at him and the way that it reads, Peter saw Jesus look at him and that look triggered the memory of what Jesus had told him hours before in the Upper Room.

What Jesus says will come true. He knows what is coming and he proved it to Peter. Peter would never forget that moment.

 

So, I want to look for a moment at how Peter is an example for us to be aware of.

Peter was a man who was full of pride. He was quick to react. He was quick to talk. That would end up serving him well in the future, but it could also get him in trouble. Part of that was his pride. 20 plus verses earlier, he told Jesus I will go to jail, and I will die for you! And he thought, he believed that he could back that up.

But he was also neglectful of his prayer time. Jesus told him in the garden, pray so that you will not enter into temptation. And instead, Peter fell asleep.

One commentator writes that this put Peter into the most vulnerable position one can be in: “Prayerless but full of presumption.” And in that position, Peter gave in to temptation. He gave in to temptation in the garden with his impulsivity in attacking the servant and cutting off his ear. He gave into temptation when he, three times, denied Jesus on this night.

Peter thought he could follow Jesus and that he could do it on his own and through his own power and ability.

 

We are not saved by our actions. Period. Full Stop. Our actions, our behavior, our morals, our anything cannot save us, at all.

However, it is our actions and our behavior that testify to and show our faith.

 

WE can say, I love you Jesus! But if we don’t act on that, if we don’t live that out, then, do we really?

We can be ready to acknowledge our faith and live it out in church, or around fellow Christians but are we ready to do so out in the world, for all to see?

Philip Ryken says it this way: “The true test of discipleship is our witness to the world, not and not just the promises we make to God.”

 

It seems to me, that Jesus had two reasons why he prophesied or predicted or whatever you want to call it, that Peter would deny him three times. First of course, is that he knows all. He knows it before it happens, and he proved it by saying this unthinkable would happen and then having it occur exactly how he said it would happen.

Second, I see in this, Jesus telling us to not make promises that you can’t and won’t keep. Don’t make promises that depend on your own strength and ability. James, the brother of Jesus touches on this in his letter later in the Bible. James 4:13-17, he writes:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

 

 

Peter didn’t think there was any chance of deny Jesus. He thought he would do anything and everything to protect Jesus, not knowing that what was going to happen needed to happen and was the will of God.

Jesus knew it all. He knew Peters sins before Peter committed them. He knew before hand, and he forgave him. He knew Peters sins beforehand and he gave Peter directions, instructions for afterwards. Remember back in this chapter back in verse 32, Jesus was saying to Peter, And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.

He was telling Peter, you will sin. After you do, after you repent and turn again back to me, use this experience, use your former sins and use your repentance to be an example and use it to strengthen your brothers.

 

Look, if Peter can fall, if he can sin this grievously, then any of us can. But, if Peter can be forgiven, if Peter can be restored and if Peter can be used by God, then any of us can.

Peter is a warning to us all, that any of us can and will mess up. We can and will sin. But Peter should also be a balm to us and should give us a sense of security.

 

After all of this, Peter went off and wept bitterly. We know that he was repentant because of what Jesus said earlier, that he would, and based on how Peter would respond and react and how he would go out and publicly spread the Gospel after the ascension of Jesus.

There is a big difference in “wishing he had never sinned,” which is a good description of what we see from Judas after all this, and truly repenting, which we see with Peter. Paul writes about the difference in 2 Corinthians 7:10:  For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 

 

Have your sins ever brought you to tears, like they did Peter? Whatever the look that Jesus Gave Peter in the courtyard was, what it accomplished was much more important. Peter saw, in that look, how bad and how serious his sins were. He saw that it was his sins that were going to send Jesus to the cross.

Peter saw that and he wept bitterly over his sins. IF we have an accurate and a right understanding of our sins and how devastating they are, how heinous they are, even the itty bitty ones that don’t affect any one and no one knows about, even those sins, each and every single one of them tears apart our relationship with God and separates us from him, if we truly know that and understand that, it should drive us to weep bitterly as well.

But if that’s all it does, it is simply the worldly sorrow that Paul mentions. But if it causes us to turn again, if it brings us to repentance, to change and to lean wholly and completely on Jesus Christ and him alone, then there is a good result from what happened.

We see the change in Peter, we see how he responds to this night. We see him going from three denials of Jesus to Jesus telling him three times on the beach that he loves him, reassuring him of his forgiveness and standing before God. We see Peter going from public denials of Jesus to the public preaching o the Gospel, repent, belief and be baptized in the beginning of the book of Acts.

Jesus first words of public ministry, back in Mark 1, Repent and believe for the Kingdom of God is at hand. And he keeps preaching that same message through his earthly ministry, through his arrest here to Peter, through his crucifixion, to the thief on the cross and after his resurrection, sending his Apostles out to preach the very same message, making disciples of all nations.

So, this is my message to you, the message that Jesus preaches. Repent and believe for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

 

Let’s Pray.

 

 

 

 

Lord God, We can and will lose anything that is dependent in us. Thank you God, Father, that our salvation is not dependent on us, but that it is solely, 100% dependent on you and your faithfulness.

Thank you or the gift of faith. Thank you for the gift of repentance. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness.  Help us to recognize our sins, and how devastating they are. Help us to repent and to believe and to go out and show our faith by our actions, depending solely and completely on you, Jesus and you alone.

 

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 22:1-13 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 21:5-28 Jesus is the Son of Man: The Destruction of Jerusalem

Luke 21:5-28

Jesus is the Son of Man

The Destruction of Jerusalem

 

          All right! Grab your Bibles with me, if you will and turn to Luke chapter 21. If you do not have a Bible or are in need of a Bible, please come see me after the service so we can get one into your hands.

Jesus of Nazareth, whose life we have been following in Luks Gospel, is and was the Messiah, the long awaited, long prophesied Christ.  He showed this through his teachings, through his miracles that he preformed and through the Old Testament Scriptures.

But the people of Israel, specifically the religious leaders of the day, who, by the way, knew scriptures backward and frontward, they knew scriptures better than any of us here today.

And they looked through their own lens and they saw scriptures and interpreted them through their very specific lens. With that, they had come to have a very clear set of expectations from how they read the scriptures. And this Jesus fella didn’t meet those expectations, not even a little.

Well, neither did what he was about to say. Let’s go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 21 verses 5 through 28. I will, as always, be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to grab your Bibles and read along in your preferred translation.

 

Luke 21:5-28, He, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, records these words of Jesus:

 

And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”

 

10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers[c] and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

 

25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

 

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

First, we see that the temple in Jerusalem is being admired. Marks Gospel specifies that it is the disciples that are doing the admiring. And the temple was well worth the admiration and awe that were giving it. In addition to a religious meeting place and a house of worship, it was a tourist attraction. It was an architectural marvel. And it was at the center of everything God related to the Jewish people. This was where God dwelt among them. It was a symbol of his greatness and his presence, and sadly, of the greatness of the Jewish people.

And it was beautiful. Even in the middle of a 50-year renovation, it wouldn’t be finished until 63 AD, it was s sight beyond any thing else in the ancient world. The ancient historian, Josephus described it this way:

The whole of the outer works of the temple was in the highest degree worthy of admiration; for it was completely covered in Gold Plates, which, when the sun was shining on them, glittered so dazzlingly that they blinded the eyes of the beholders not less than when one gazed at the sun’s rays themselves. And on the other sides, where there was no gold, the blocks of marble were of such pure white that to strangers who had never previously seen them (from a distance) they looked like a mountain of snow.

 

 

The temple was the epitome of grandeur and of security. It was 4 football fields wide and 5 football fields long. Its no wonder the disciples were marveling and wondering at the temple…

Part of the issue was that the Jewish people, the physical nation, the physical seed of Abraham thought that solely and simply because of that, they would be eternally and continually blessed and that they deserved Gods blessing and protection and that they deserved it simply because they were born into Israel.

Because of that, they had no need of Jesus as a savior. Not an eternal, soul savior. They wanted a national, military savior. They were already saved in the spiritual sense.

Jesus is speaking against that hubris here. That hubris was a direct reason why they rejected Jesus. Jesus tells the disciples, this temple, as great and grand as it is, as large and well built as it is, as wonderous and glorious as it is, it wont stand forever. The Nation of Israel wont stand forever. The day will come when the temple will be destroyed and not one of these stones will be left on another. The destruction will not only be total, but it will also be complete.

 

This would have been a complete and total shock to those who heard it. Borderline heresy or blasphemy. As we see in other Gospels, the Disciples were so shocked at this that they take Jesus aside and try to get some alone time with him so they can figure out what he is talking about. So, they went to the Mount of Olives and were basically looking over Jerusalem, overlooking  the temple itself.

And from there, the disciples ask Jesus about this destruction of temple that He mentioned. When is this going to happen? What are you talking about? What should you we be looking for? How will we know this thing is imminent?

 

This is important because what we need to remember is that this is the very immediate context that most of what Jesus is about to say. From verses 8 through 24, Jesus is speaking of the not to distant future. Many people also think that he is weaving in looking at the distant future as well, as in our days and the end times, but there is no indication in this section of Jesus changing tone or subject as he is talking.

Jesus starts by warning against false teachers. And false teachers of two very specific veins. He is warning the disciples of those who will claim to be the returning Christ. Don’t listen to them. The other group is those who will claim that Jesus has already come back. We have seen a lot of both of these groups through out history and the first century was no different. We even see Paul writing to the Thessalonians because some thought that they had missed Jesus’ return.

Jesus says to mark and avoid these false teachers that will be popping up all over the place.

Wars and armed conflicts will be present, and they need to be present before this will take place. But that doesn’t mean that the end is near. This is just life in a fallen and sinful world. I saw one researcher who said that of all of thousands of years of human civilization, there has only been something like 238 years of peace in the world. So, to Jesus’ point, the fact that there are wars is not, in and of itself, a sing of the end being near.

And Rome was, by its nature, a nation of war. Peace through tyranny. They fought and conquered in their quest for peace. A state of war was a way of life. Even if not active warfare, the Jewish people were living under military occupation and so were constantly aware of the chance of war and military action that could break out any day. And it did on occasion.

As Jesus continues, what we see in verse 10 through 17, nation against nation, earthquakes, persecution, both from the Jewish religious leaders and from the Caesars, and the Roman military, all of this stuff, all took place in history after Jesus’ ascension and before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.

Rome was fighting against other nations. There was a massive earthquake in what is now Turkey in 61 AD. Pompeii famously erupted two years later.

We talked a few weeks ago about the relationship between Israel and Rome was becoming increasingly volatile. Their conflicts were increasing and becoming more intense.

This, combined with the fact that the first Christians were Jewish and were going to cause national trouble by refusing to worship and bow to Caesar, meant that Rome was going to continue to persecute and come down hard on Israel and this new sect of Judaism, as they saw it. This would especially show itself during the reign of Nero in the 60’s.

Jesus also warns his disciples that they would face persecution, as He is as he says this, from the religious leaders, the Sanhedrin and the like. We see this in the book of Acts with how often Peter and John especially get brought before the Jewish courts, with Saul leading the stoning of Stephan, and Paul himself and his imprisonments.

Things are going to be and look and feel very bad. Things are going to occur which can be and will to those who have no hope, be very scary.

But God knows and uses all of this. Trouble for the church will always mean the opportunity to bear witness of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Jesus says, its gonna get bad in this physical world, but I will be with you and the Holy Spirit will be with you.

You might have physical trouble sin this world when all this is going on, when you are persecuted, when the wars take place and when natural disasters happen, but through your faith in Jesus Christ, you will have eternal life that will never be able to be taken from you.

 

Now, essentially, all that Jesus said so far was in the lead up to what he says in verses 20-24. All of the previous parts were to take place between Jesus’s ascension and the destruction of Jerusalem, which he starts describing here, in 70 AD.

The Roman military laid siege to Jerusalem, they would surround Jerusalem and cut them off from all outside goods, services, food and water. Early Christians remember Jesus’ warnings and would flee Jerusalem before they got cut off. Because Jerusalem was cut off, there was no food, to the point that cannibalism was taking place and nursing mothers had no milk to feed their babies.

Eventually, the Roman military, led by the General Tacitus, invaded Jerusalem and laid waste to the entire city. Jerusalem was trampled by the Gentiles. And enough destruction was done to the temple that, when they went to try to gather all the gold plating and what ever else they could, the gold had melted down into the walls of the temple. So, they completely took apart very stone off of every stone, as Jesus prophesied, in order to get the gold.

 

All of this occurred in 70 AD, less than 40 years after Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension. 7 years after the renovation of the temple. This was not some far off, one day, at the end, type of thing. This is biblical history and recorded extra biblical history.

And in telling the disciples that this was coming, he had told them 4 Don’ts. While looking for and experiencing these things.

Don’t be led astray.

Don’t Be afraid.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness.

Don’t Give up.

 

Now, here, Jesus does transition the time that he is referring to. Starting in verse 25, He transitions to the end. The temple in Jerusalem was a type that was looking forward to Jesus. As well, the temples destruction was a type pointing forward towards the final judgment.

Jesus tells his disciples, without giving specifics, very purposely, that stuff is going to happen, there will be major universal signs and then, all of a sudden, He will return. The Second Coming will be instant. It will be glorious. It will be powerful. And it will be unmissable.

Jesus is clear here, and in Mark 13 and every time he speaks of his return, don’t focus on when. Instead focus on Me. Focus on how you respond to what’s going on around you and persevere through it.

Kent Hughes writes: We also see that Jesus was not interested in giving date setting details but in encouraging his own to be steadfast and faithful until he returns.

          And that’s the whole key to this whole section of scripture. Jesus in verse 28, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Focus on Jesus, look up and look to him. He gets you through it all and he brings you through it all. He is your redemption.

One note on the word of redemption I read says: This word means deliverance on payment of a price. Jesus paid the price at Calvary, and here he looks forward to the final fulfillment of what that deliverance means.

         

So, the reason for the events of Verses 6 through 24 is the rejection of Jesus as the Christ. Israel, as a Corporate and National group, which is how they expected to receive their salvation and blessing, they rejected Jesus as the Son of God, so God rejected them.

 

But all, as individuals, will have a chance to accept Christ.

Jesus is the person, the place, the thing in which we place our trust and our hope. The temple in Jerusalem, what had been the dwelling place of God, is destroyed and no longer exists. It no longer matters. Instead, God sent Jesus, who is the true and eternal temple.

Jesus points this out when he talks about destroying the temple and then rebuilding it in three days, and obvious allusion to his death and resurrection. This gives eternal life to every individual, Jew or Gentile, who believes in him.

He is your redemption, and he draws near.

Charles Wesley, the famous hymn writer, writes:

 

Lo, He comes with clouds descending

Once for favored sinners slain.

Thousand thousand saints attending

Swell the triumph of his train.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

God appears on earth to reign.

 

          Now, the fall of Jerusalem is Gods wrath poured out on those who rejected him. God has promised wrath on those who reject his Son. And he has promised that all who follow Christ, all who trust him, all who are His, will not face the wrath of God.

However, in the words of Philip Ryken:

There is one exception, however. Once there was a godly man who trusted in all the promises of God, but still suffered the full weight of Gods Wrath against sin. On the night he was betrayed, Jesus asked if there was any way that he could avoid the cross where he suffered Gods curse against our sin. But there is no other way—no way for us to be saved except through Jesus, there was no way of escape from the wrath of God. He suffered what we deserved so that we could be safe in him.

 

          We are in his hands because we have responded by faith to his death on cross and resurrection. God grace poured out on those covered with his blood, the blood of the lamb, come to take away the sins of the world. He instead he spares us from the wrath of God.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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 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 20:41-44 Jesus is LORD Jesus is the Son of Man

Luke 20:41-44

Jesus is LORD

Jesus is the Son of Man

 

All right! Please grab your Bibles and turn with me to Luke chapter 20. If you do not have a Bible or if you need a Bible, please see me after the service and we will work on getting one into your hands.

So, in Luke chapter 20, we see that religious leaders of all kinds, different denominations, different political parties, different viewpoints, they are all different in many ways, but they are united in one area. They are united against Jesus of Nazareth.

He and his teachings were a threat to their power, their religious power, their political power, their people, cultural power. And so, they combined to challenge him. They sought to undermine his power, his authority and his influence.

Jesus’ response to them was clear and firm. He kept bringing them back to scriptures. He kept focusing on the Word of God. Even when they wanted to use the Word of God against Him, he would use the word of God to correct their misunderstandings and show them what they and been missing in the Word.

Jesus continues that in this section this morning. We are going to read just a couple of verses here, Luke chapter 20, verses 41-44. I’ll be reading out of the English Standard Version, which will also be on the screen, though I encourage you to grab your own Bible, in your preferred translation and read along for yourself out of the word of God.

Luke 20:41-44, Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke records the Words of Jesus:

But he said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? 42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
43     until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

44 David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?”

 

Thus says the Word of God

          Now, we saw at the end of the passage we looked at last week that Jesus answered their questions so well, so forcefully, with so much authority, that they didn’t dare ask him any more questions. They figured, this is the wrong tact to use, lets regroup and try something else, we can’t trick him with our questions.

And so here, Jesus flips the script and asks them a question instead. Again, he is looking to correct a simplistic, incomplete, misunderstanding about the Word of God, and therefore, about himself, that the scribes, and other religious leaders hold to.

Jesus cut at the expectations that the religious leaders had for who the Messiah was supposed to be and was going to be. The long awaited, long promised, longed for Messiah was prophesied to be a descendant of David. He was to be a Son of David and he was to sit on the throne of David.

In some ways, they were expecting the Messiah to be kind of a David part 2, a David Jr.

And so, the whole focus was on comparing him to the expectations that David’s reign as King had set. David, as King, unified the twelve tribes of Israel, united them back into a singular nation. He brought about a free and strong Israel. David provided, under his leadership, military and political power, and freedom and protection against their neighboring countries, historical enemies. He made Israel great!

As Jesus stood before the Jewish leaders, Israel was, again, a nation divided. Judah, Israel, even Samaria. Ever since they divided in the OT, stemming from a lack of leadership and godliness under the reign of Kings after David. They were also an occupied land and an occupied people.

And so, the Messiah had some very specific things to do, tasks to accomplish and prophecies to fulfill in the religious leaders’ eyes. He was to militarily and politically overthrow Rome and send them away from Israel. He would unite the three states of Israel and make them united and unified once again. He was going to sit upon David’s throne, a physical king, over a physical land, the country of Israel. He was going to Make Israel Great Again.

That was what was expected. They are what they were looking for. That is what they thought that God was sending them. The promised Messiah, the Son of David.

And yet…
You say that the Messiah will be the Son of David, and yet, in the Psalms, David says that He will be, He is David’s LORD. David holds him in higher regard than you guys do.

That last point is important, because in those days, in that academic and religious setting, those who came before were regarded as much more wise than present generations. This is why the leaders and teachers were so dependent on what previous rabbis said and taught. And so, again, using consistent, internal logic, they should have deferred to what David thought and believe and wrote.

Jesus is telling them; you have a very myopic view of who the Messiah will be. They were only looking at information, only looking for things that would confirm what they already believed, and they want to believe. The same way that we watch the news today, the same way we talk to people today, that same way our tendency is to read the Bible today.

They were looking at things through a very specific and particular lens. Kent Hughes cuts through it all and puts it very pointedly, writing:

 

The problem with these scribes is that they had a studied ignorance of God’s Word and a practiced inability to think beyond rabbinical traditions. They read the Word through a political lens that reduced the Messiah to a mere man on the analogy of David. We do the same with our lenses- an economic lens that turns every scripture into advice for financial wellbeing, a racial lens that not too long ago edited out the scriptural teaching on ethnic equality, a feminist lens that interprets and rejects the Scriptures as a tract for patriarchal dominance, a postmodern lens that subjectivizes Holy Scripture into “what it means to me.” We all have our lenses, and our lenses blind us to the glory of God’s Word. We must try to read Gods Word for what it is. And we must humbly seek the Holy Spirits help in bowing to what we read.

 

          Now, are there scriptures about how to rightly handle finances? Yes. Are there scriptures on Gods design for the family and head of the Households? Yes. Some lenses that we look at scripture through, there are parts of it that are valid. Some are not, but some are. And that makes them even more dangerous, because we look through those lenses and we focus only on what we see through that lens.

So, are there scriptures that say the Messiah will be the Son of David? That he will be a physical descendant of David? Yes, there are. But that’s not all of who He is.

We also see that He will be God. A part of who the Messiah will be is deity.   David, in Psalm 110, uses the English word Lord, twice, but that’s two different words in Hebrew. So, David is saying, “Yahweh said to my Adonai…”

Yahweh is the personal name of God. Adonai means my sovereign LORD. When every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, it won’t be at the name of Jesus, or Yeshua. It will be that Jesus is Adonai. David is saying that the Messiah will be sovereign overall. David will bow, submit to Him, call him LORD. He will be Son of God.

And we see him titled the Son of Man as well. Daniel especially uses this title and Luke does as well to harken back to Daniel and show that Jesus is who Daniel was looking forward to.  We see in the Gospels, specifically Matthew and Luke that Jesus was born a human baby. He lived a human life. He would die a human death.

And yes, in addition to Son of God and Son of Man, he would be a Son of David. He would be born in the lineage of David. This would be to help confirm whether those claiming to be the Messiah were or were not Legit. Luke is clear to confirm multiple times that Jesus is a descendant of David, (1:27,32,69, 2:4, 18:38)

 

As Son of David, the Messiah is not less than David. Just as, as Son of God, The Messiah is not less than God.  The Messiah is LORD. He is David’s son, but he is David’s LORD. He is Caesars LORD. He is your LORD, and he is my LORD.

We don’t have the right to have a myopic view of who the Messiah is. We don’t have the right to see him as only the Son of David, or only the Son of God, or the Son of Man, for he is all of these and more. The only box we can put the Messiah in, the only way for us to define who the Messiah is how he himself defines himself and the box he himself puts himself in. Namely, the Word of God.

We, as humans, have a lot to say about God, about Jesus. He is like this or like that. He would do this or would do that. He wouldn’t do this and wouldn’t do that. And most of the time, the things we say have no biblical basis. They are our wants, our desires and our human nature pouring out. IF there is any biblical Ness in it, it’s not contextually, comprehensively, biblically based.

Now, the question Jesus is asking the scribes, how can the Messiah be the Son of David if David calls him LORD? And what was Jesus’ answer?

One commentator writes:

What was the answer? There is no record in any of the synoptic Gospels that Jesus bothered to explain it to the scribes that day. The answer lies in the two stages of the Messiahs history. First, by birth, he became the “son” of David. Second, by his death, resurrection, ascension, and position at Gods right hand he reigns as David’s “LORD.”

Another commentator says that this riddle is solved only by Messiah being both God and Man.

And that man is none other than Jesus himself. There is no one else in history that can be the Messiah. There was never meant to be any one possible except Jesus.

He, and only He can define who He is. He and only He can show us who he is.

Son of Man, Son of God, Son of David

Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father.

Immanuel

Lamb of God

Alpha & Omega

Bread of Life

Redeemer

The Word Made Flesh

Beloved Son

Good Shepard

Master

Rabbi

Christ.

He is the King of Kings and the LORD of LORDs

 

All of this from the scriptures. All of this is who Jesus is. All of this is who the Messiah is. Not any one of these. All of these. And more.

He is our salvation. He is exclusive. He is the Way, the truth, and the Life. He came to be a ransom for many. And it is by the grace of God alone, through faith alone in Jesus alone that we receive salvation, that our sins are forgiven that we have our eyes open to who he is and what the Bible says, that we were blind and can now see, that we were dead but are now alive, that are able to be called children of God and that we are clothed in Christs righteousness.

 

Who Jesus is is the single most important question that we have to answer in this life. And He is the only one who has the authority to answer it. And he does answer it, right here in scriptures.

          Jesus and Jesus alone gets to who we say He is and who he is is worthy of all honor and glory and praises.

 

Let’s pray.

Luke 20:27-40 Jesus is the Son of Man: One Bride for Seven Brothers

Luke 20:27-40

Jesus is the Son of Man

One Bride for Seven Brothers

 

All right! Please turn in your Bibles with me to Luke Chapter 20. If you do not have a Bible, or you have need a Bible, please see me after the service and we will work on getting one into your hands.

SO, we continue through Luke’s Gospel, and we see in Chapter 20, that Jesus continues to be verbally challenged by the religious leaders of the day. And we don’t often think about it but there were numerous groups of religious leaders in that day. It was not just the Pharisees. Very similar today to the political leaders of our country, there are both Democrats and Republicans, not just a single group.

And Jesus is telling them, you have no right to Heaven. You can’t earn your way to Heaven. The only way to get to Heaven is through grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. He tells them, you are not going to trick me. Obey those over you, all those whom God has placed over you. Because that is all under the umbrella of obey, submit to and trust in God and to give every piece of you, every aspect of your life, nothing hidden, over to God.

So, we are going to go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 20, verses 27 through 40. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along the true, inspired, inerrant Word of God. We will also have it up on the screen in case you forgot your Bible or don’t have one.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke writes:

 

There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, 28 and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man[f] must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second 31 and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. 32 Afterward the woman also died. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”

34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons[g] of the resurrection. 37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” 39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

So, you know when both Democrats and Republicans agree and team up against a cause, or a person, or whatever, you know its either really, really, bad or really, really good. And that’s what we see here with Jesus. Both the Sadducees and the Pharisees, who wouldn’t agree on much and would team up even less, and yet they were united in regard to standing against Jesus of Nazareth.

So, we talk about and mention the Pharisees often, but we don’t talk a lot about the Sadducees. Who are they and how are they different from the Pharisees? Let’s ask GotQuestions.org:

The Sadducees and Pharisees comprised the ruling class of Jews in Israel. There are some similarities between the two groups but important differences between them as well.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees were both religious sects within Judaism during the time of Christ. Both groups honored Moses and the Law, and they both had a measure of political power. The Sanhedrin, the 70-member supreme court of ancient Israel, had members from both the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

The differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees are known to us through a couple of passages of Scripture and through the extant writings of the Pharisees. Religiously, the Sadducees were more conservative in one doctrinal area: they insisted on a literal interpretation of the text of Scripture; the Pharisees, on the other hand, gave oral tradition equal authority to the written Word of God. If the Sadducees couldn’t find a command in the Tanakh, they dismissed it as manmade.

Given the Pharisees’ and the Sadducees’ differing view of Scripture, it’s no surprise that they argued over certain doctrines. The Sadducees rejected a belief in the resurrection of the dead (Matthew 22:23Mark 12:18–27Acts 23:8), but the Pharisees did believe in the resurrection. The Sadducees denied the afterlife, holding that the soul perished at death, but the Pharisees believed in an afterlife and in an appropriate reward and punishment for individuals. The Sadducees rejected the idea of an unseen, spiritual world, but the Pharisees taught the existence of angels and demons in a spiritual realm.

Socially, the Sadducees were more elitist and aristocratic than the Pharisees. Sadducees tended to be wealthy and to hold more powerful positions. The chief priests and high priest were Sadducees, and they held the majority of seats in the Sanhedrin. The Pharisees were more representative of the common working people and had the respect of the masses. The Sadducees’ locus of power was the temple in Jerusalem; the Pharisees controlled the synagogues. The Sadducees were friendlier with Rome and more accommodating to the Roman laws than the Pharisees were. The Pharisees often resisted Hellenization, but the Sadducees welcomed it.

 Because the Sadducees were often more concerned with politics than religion, they ignored Jesus until they began to fear He might bring unwanted Roman attention and upset the status quo. It was at that point that the Sadducees and Pharisees set aside their differences, united, and conspired to put Christ to death

So, Jesus was finally in the Sadducees cross hairs. The Pharisees and the scribes had their opportunities to work against Jesus and take care of the problem he was causing. And now the Sadducees come and have an idea about how to trip up Jesus.

The Sadducees were open about what they believed and didn’t believe. They believed thy had sound logic and scripture backing them up. They did not believe in life after death. They did not believe in a resurrection. They focused their scriptures on the 5 books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Any thing after those 5 books was a man made add on. In those 5 books, they didn’t see scriptural basis for the afterlife or the resurrection.

And so, they challenged Jesus on this particular doctrine, and they believed that scripture back up their argument. They were using a form of argument referred to as reductio ad absurdum.  This is the logical fallacy of appealing to the extreme. Showing how a position is wrong by trying to walk it out to its extreme conclusion. If you believe this, then you must, necessarily believe and condone this extreme absurdity.

And so, the Sadducees laid out this absurd example, trying to show their impeccable logic. Scripture says this point, from Deuteronomy 25:5-10, essentially God told Moses that if a man marries a woman and they don’t have kids and he dies, the next brother should marry her and give her a child so that she may have an inheritance through her son and have someone to take care of her as she gets older. This was how people were taking care of when they got older, by their family and especially their children.

And in this, we see that one-off, not the only, but one of the purposes of marriage was for procreation. To deny that God made marriage for this is to deny the Word of God. Again, its not the only purpose, or even the single main one; that’s to point to the relationship that we are to have with Jesus and God the Father when we get to Heaven. It’s a type that shows the communion and camaraderie and the love that will be shared between us and Him at that time. But procreation was an important part of Gods design for marriage.

Now, that was Gods point in the command in Deuteronomy, that was not the Sadducees point here. Their point is that if this is the law, which it is, and there is an afterlife, which they thought there was not, then what happens in this ridiculous scenario?

Their point was, look at our impeccable logic. Look at us using scripture to back up our point. Their point is one we often mistakenly make. “If only they would read the Bible, they would see it all right here, in black and white…”

We all have those views, those beliefs, those subjects and those doctrines that are crystal clear when we read the Bible, but in reality, and less than black and white, and much more gray.

We might be right. We might be wrong. But its not an issue that determines salvation. To me, scripture is clear that A is true. To you, scripture is clear that B is true. The truth is that both positions are valid Christian beliefs. That doesn’t mean that both positions are right, but that both positions are valid ways for Christians to believe and still be Christians.

How many arguments and how much division does it cause when we concretely and steadfastly say that ours is the only way? The only way to respond. The only way to think. The only way to believe.

Now, of course, there are some things that scripture is crystal clear on. There are some things that are required to believe in order to be a Christian.

Jesus is God. Jesus is Man.

Jesus was born without sin and life a sinless and perfect life. He died for our sins. He was dead, he was buried, he was resurrected, he ascended. He will come again. All things that are required, biblically, historically, to believe, that the Bible is clear on, on order to be a Christian.

Some more things; We must worship on Sunday mornings in Suit and ties and long dresses. Communion must be every week and with wine. We must Vote republican.

Oh wait, no…

Christians can have biblical reasons why they believe and disagree on communion, on baptism, on methods of worship and song styles, on what Bible translation to use, on what the end times are going to look like and when it’s going to take place and in what order.

We all have our views. We believe the Bible backs up our view and we should be able to point to where and why the Bible backs us up. And ours is the only logical, correct way. If someone disagrees with us, they must be disagreeing with the Bible.

That’s what the Sadducees brought to Jesus right here. “What do you say to that, Jesus?”

This is a story that is recount in the other gospels as well. Jesus initial response to the Sadducees in Matthew 22:29, Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.

Then he answers the Sadducees, and he tells them, you really have no idea what the after life will look like, nor can you know what it will look like. The way that things work in this world are not the way things will work in the next world and thank goodness for that! Jesus tells them that they cannot use earthly logic, no matter how valid, to understand what Heaven will be like.

RC Sproul reminds us beautifully: Whatever is or isn’t in heaven, one thing we know now: in heaven there will be no sin. Everything that profanes human relationships will be gone. No sin. No deceit. No death. No sickness. No sorrow. How that occurs in the resurrection, we don’t know. We must trust God at his Word that whatever we experience in heaven will be wonderful and will be nothing but gain.

There are three things that Jesus lets them know as he is responding to the Sadducees. First, there is a heaven and an afterlife.  And those who are the Sons of God are who will be in it. Those who are considered worthy is how my translation outs it. The original language makes it clear that it is to be “counted worthy” or “made worthy.” It is not something we do, but rather something God does for and too us, by his grace and through our faith in his Son Jesus Christ.

Second, the afterlife, heaven, wont look like whatever it is that we expect it to look like. We get some hints and glimpses in scriptures, but as Paul says elsewhere, now we are looking through a glass darkly, but then we will see clearly.

Third, there will be a resurrection of the dead. Judgment will take place and we will be placed in our eternal destination based on whether we are made worthy by God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son.

And then, in specific answer to their question, almost as an afterthought, he says that in heaven, we will be like angels. Not that we will be angels. We won’t be sprouting wings and playing harps, which is not what angels actually do either, but we do not turn into angels. Instead, in the context of the Sadducees question, there will be no marriage in heaven. Again, the purpose of marriage is to point to heaven and God, and when we are there, we won’t need to point to where we already are or what we already have.

And Jesus tells shows them from scripture where the resurrection is shown. He says, you don’t see it in scriptures, lets open our Bibles, lets turn to the passage about the bush. That’s how they referred to passages of scripture then, they didn’t have chapters and verses, but every person listening would have known exactly what Jesus was referring to.

That’s the passage I had Mike read this morning. Moses is talking to God, or rather God is talking to Moses and God tells him, I AM the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, The God of Jacob. He is saying, among other things, I am the God of these men who are dead. They died, and I am still the God of them, because they are living with me now. Those who have died are still living.

Jesus didn’t say, because I said so, which he could have. He had that knowledge and that authority. He didn’t quote psalms or proverbs or the prophets, which he could have, those books were and are scripture and they have the authority. Instead, he referenced and quoted Deuteronomy, which the Sadducees recognized as scripture, and showed from within there the truth.

Now, as is usual for human beings, when faced with the truth that goes against what we think, we don’t accept the truth, we don’t acknowledge it. We either keep arguing against it, or we go away and fight another day.

That’s what the Sadducees did here. They say, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” They say it, not because he convinced them, but because they knew they were not going to be able to win any points or arguments or trick him or anything. They were conceding the confrontation, but not being convinced of the truth of it.

So, of course, we see in this passage, affirmation that there is a resurrection, that there is an afterlife. We see Jesus clearly state who will be there and remind us that Gods ways and wisdom are greater than our wisdom and logic.

Speaking of our logic. The other thing we see in this, what I really saw this week is that we are not to trust our own opinions. Lean not on our own understandings. Instead, trust the Bible. Trust Gods Word.

Be careful how you interact with and disagree with those around you, especially fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. You may have biblical reasons for your views. But recognize that other people can have biblical reasons for what they believe, and it can be different from what you believe.

Again, that doesn’t mean that both are right. There is only one right answer to many of these issues. And in this specific context, we are not talking about arguments without or outside of Christianity. We are not talking about arguments about what things historically, biblically make one a Christian. We are talking about inter family disagreements.

IF Gods Word is trusted. If Gods word is the foundation. If God is glorified. IF we hold these things in their place, not unimportant, but clearly secondary, if we treat each other as family, as brothers and sisters, then we can disagree. We can put aside differences and we can unite underneath the thing that brings us together. Stand side by side, hand in hand, with different beliefs and conclusions and we can raise our hands are sing Holy Holy Holy is the Lord Almighty. We can sing together In Christ alone. We can sing together On Christ the Solid Rock I stand. WE can and should and are commanded to worship together, to love one another and to praise God in and for all of it.

Let’s Pray.

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

Mark 10:46-52

Jesus is the Son of Man

Part of our series through Luke

Eyes will be opened

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Mark, inspired of by the Holy spirit writes:

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

 

         

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of his Holy Word

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One commentator exposits this way:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus says in Matthew 7, verses 7 & 8:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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.