Luke 22:47-53 Jesus is the Son of Man: Judas Betrayal/ Jesus Arrest

Luke 22:47-53

Jesus is the Son of Man

Judas Betrayal/ Jesus Arrest

          All right! Please turn in your Bibles with me to Luke chapter 22. As always, if you do not have a Bible or are in need of a Bible, please come see me after the service.

So, previously in Luke Chapter 22; Judas goes behind the back of Jesus and the rest of the disciples and makes a deal with the chief priests to turn over Jesus to be arrested.

Jesus knew this and still had the Passover meal in the Upper Room with all 12, including Judas. He predicted Judas betrayal without naming names to the group. He predicted Peters upcoming denial. He instituted the New Covenant with the sacrament of communion. He prayed for the disciples and then they left the Upper Room. At some point when they were in the Upper Room, after communion, Judas left to do what he was going to do.

Jesus and the rest of the disciples left Jerusalem and went to the Mount of Olives where they were staying. We went out into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray to the Father\, knowing what was coming. He was agonizing over the wrath of God that was about to be poured out on him.

And the section we looked at last week, Jesus came back from praying and the disciples had fallen asleep, and Jesus said to them, Wake up! Pray that you do not fall into temptation.

And that’s where we pick up in this morning’s sect, Luke chapter 22, verses 45 through 53. So, I will be reading out of the English Standard Version though I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation. The key point being to read for yourself what the Word of God says.

Luke 22:47-53, Luke writes, inspired by the Holy Spirit:

 

 

While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant[h] of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Word

 

 

So, while Jesus was speaking to the disciples, and specifically the inner three, Peter, James and John, He would have known that Judas and the temple guards were coming right up to arrest him. Maybe he heard the clanging of the metal, the swords and the chain mail, or whatever was used as armor then. Maybe he saw the glint of the torches or lanterns through the trees as Judas lead them to the secluded spot.

And maybe that’s why Jesus left his prayer area and came back to the disciples.

But he gave those last instructions to the disciples and here comes this crowd, this group. They were isolated from the crowds and the people, outside Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane, an olive grove.

There was no one else around. It was after dark, late in the night. The people who were around Jesus during the day in the temple, whom the chief priests were afraid of, they weren’t there that night, couldn’t do anything to stop Jesus from being arrested.

 

And here comes Judas, who had agreed to betray Jesus, leading this group. They had arranged ahead of time a signal so that the guards knew, without any mistake, without any doubt, exactly which one was the guy who they were supposed to arrest. Judas was the one who would give that signal.

He knew Jesus. He knew where they would be. He knew where they were staying because he had been staying there too. He knew Jesus’ routine, where he went to pray, because he was with him each night. He knew where to lead the group to meet and Find Jesus.

This group was a mix of temple guards, under the authorization and command of the Sanhedrin and the chief priests, and some Roman soldiers from the garrisons stationed in Jerusalem.

They came up to where Jesus and the disciples were and Judas approached Jesus and greeted him with a kiss, both a common custom of respect, but also the signal that Jesus was the one they wanted.

Jesus calls him on that. “Really, Judas? That’s how we are going to play this?” I knew you were going to betray me, that you had made this deal, but to greet me with a kiss as you do so is the ultimate in disrespect.

 

 

The Disciples saw what was starting to happen. They saw where things were headed. And they remembered what Jesus had said, just a few verses ago, likely a few hours ago in real time, about going out and buying a sword, again, completely missing the point that Jesus was making.

During this confrontation, “one of them,” Luke doesn’t mention who. Luke is very polite and politically correct with the disciples. “I don’t want to mention who, get anyone in trouble… *cough* Peter *cough*”

John knows who, he was there after all, and he names Peter in his Gospel. Peter jumps into action, without waiting for Jesus’ advice or waiting to think, as is his personality, and he cuts off the ear of one of the high priest’s servants. One of the asides we see in this, is that unlike what he said back in verse 33, Peter is not actually prepared to go to prison for or with Jesus.

We see Jesus respond and as we do, I feel his response. It feels like a father. Kids, knock it off! The kids, the disciples are acting in ways they knew they weren’t supposed to. They were doing things with out the permission of Jesus. And he stops them in their tracks.

Enough!

 

And he gently, fully, quietly heals the servant’s ear.

The last miracle he performs before his crucifixion. He heals the ear of one of the men sent to arrest him and bring him towards his death.

And this is where we see that Jesus comments in v 36 & 37 about bringing swords are to be taken as symbolic instead of expressly literal.

One thing we have seen history prove, is that Christianity cannot, should not and will not be spread by the sword. But Christianity is and will be spread by the preaching and the hearing of the Gospel, and by the lives and example of those who follow it.

Historically, Christianity works against itself when it attempts to spread the Gospel by force. J.C. Ryle wisely says:

The Sword has a lawful office of its own. It may be used righteously, in the defense of nations against oppression; it may be positively necessary to use it, to prevent confusion, plunder and rapine upon earth: but the sword is not to be used in the propagation and maintenance of the Gospel. Christianity is not to be enforced by bloodshed, and belief in it extorted by force. Happy would it have been for the church if this sentence had been more frequently remembered! There are few countries in Christendom where the mistake has not been made of attempting to change men’s religious opinions by compulsion, penalties, imprisonment and death.  And with what effect? The pages of history supply an answer. No wars have been so bloody as those which have arisen out of the collision of religious opinions: often, mournfully often, the very men who have been most forward to promote those wars have themselves been slain.

 

          Faith comes from fear.

 

No.

 

Faith comes from vigorous moral and intellectual debates.

 

No.

 

Faith comes from trying to escape death, imprisonment, punishment.

 

No.

 

Faith comes by hearing, hearing the Word of God. Faith comes from hearing the Gospel, the Holy Spirit changing hearts to accept the Gospel and respond to it. Faith comes from the grace of God as a gift from God by the preaching of the Word.

 

 

Back to the story here. Jesus stops the disciples and heals the servant because he knew that this had to happen. He knew where this was going, and he knew that it needed to be done.

And so, he was telling the disciples, Stop trying to get in the way of my purpose! This was the same thing Peter was doing way back when, when he confessed Jesus as the Christ and then said that he would not let Jesus be killed in Jerusalem. Jesus called him Satan for trying to prevent the will of God

This is where the application is difficult when we say, not our will, but Gods will be done.

Our will, in this case the will of the disciples, and, if we are honest, the will of many of us today, only a slight change in context, is Jesus to reign over our national country, national Israel then, to expel and destroy Rome, democrats and socialists today if you listen to many churches, and to sit on a physical throne and rule as King like David.

But Lord, not our will, but your will be done. Your will, going to the cross as the Passover fulfillment. Your will, to shed your blood and dying for the forgiveness of sins. Your will, to absorb the necessary wrath of God. Your will, to resurrect from the dead, defeating death and sin. Your will, reigning spiritually right now, over spiritual Israel, all believers, in all time, called the church with a future inauguration of the physical and eternal kingdom of God.

 

Not our will, but LORD, your will be done.

 

Jesus turns and speaks to the leaders of the group coming to arrest him.

He asks them, Why the swords? Why are you acting like you are expecting violence? You are treating me like a violent criminal and all I’ve done is talk.

Again, Jesus knew this, remember he said that he would need to be identified with the transgressors.  They were seeing him as a violent insurrectionist. They were placing him in those categories that categorically did not fit.

They wouldn’t touch him during the day. They wouldn’t touch him when the crowds were there. They wouldn’t do anything when they were in the temple and there were witnesses around.

 

But nothing good happens after midnight, right?

Jesus says that darkness suits them perfectly. Darkness covers up people’s ability to see sin. It allows sin to hide. It allows sin to fester. Satan loves the dark, loves shadows, loves things to be hidden. But Light drives out darkness. And Jesus has said in many places that everything that is in the dark will be brought to the light, everything that is hidden will be made seen.

Jesus tells them, this is your hour. You are at home in the dark, at night. This is appropriate for your spiritual darkness to take action in the dark. And this is your hour, where it appears you have won.

This section, starting today, and through the rest of this chapter and through chapter 23 of Luke’s Gospel, this is the darkness. This is the section here it appears that Satan has won. This is the section where the chief priests, the Sadducees, the pharisees, and whoever else, all can start relaxing and thinking to themselves, “We got him!”

It is always darkest before dawn. The darkness that is falling on Jesus and Jerusalem will not stay.

Post Tenebras Lux. Out of Darkness, Light. The motto of the reformation.

Jesus knows and is actively allowing it to happen. Not just passively. Not sitting back and letting whatever happens to happen. But actively allowing it to happen. Actively stopping the disciples from stopping what is happening. Knowing that this all has to happen in order for you and I to have our sins forgiven. For you and I to be freed from sin. For you and I have to experience life and life abundantly. For you and I to be saved from the wrath of God and to be reconciled to God.

And so, Yup, Satan, this is your hour. Chief priests, temple guards, all of you guys, this is your hour, enjoy it while it lasts, because it wont last.

Enjoy it while it lasts because the light is coming to drive out the darkness.

 

Enjoy it while it lasts because Sundays coming.

 

Let’s Pray.

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

Luke 22:24-38

Jesus is the Son of Man

The Future is not what You think

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thus says the Holy Word of God.

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

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

And you can just picture the ridiculousness of this.

“I did this so I’m greater!”

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

“I gave more money so I’m greater!”

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

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

And so on and so on…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus “It is enough.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26:

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

 

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

 

Let’s celebrate communion together.

 

         

         

 

 

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

Luke 22:1-13

Jesus is the Son of Man

Laying the Groundwork

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

*Knock, knock*

 

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

 

That’s probably not how it happened, but…

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Let’s Pray.

 

 

 

 

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

Luke 20:45-21:4

Jesus is the Son of Man

Beware the Hypocrisy

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Chapter 21

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

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Jesus says, Hypocrites!

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

 

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

Do Not Follow Men Who Are Living Unholy Lives!

 

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

I certainly am not.

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

Blatant Hypocrisy.

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

Stealing or skimming money, misusing church funds.

Manipulating and abusing.

Sexual Sin.

Out of control anger and abuse.

Exorbitant and lavish lifestyles.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Having the appearance of Godliness but denying its power.

 

Avoid such people.

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Let’s Pray

Luke 20:41-44 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 20:1-8 Jesus is the Son of Man The Authority of Jesus

Luke 20:1-8

Jesus is the Son of Man

The Authority of Jesus

 

All right, please grab your Bibles with me and turn to Luke chapter 20. As I say often, if you do not have a Bible or you need a Bible for whatever reason, please come see me after the service and we can help get one into your hands.

So, Jesus is in Jerusalem, finally. And he is getting ready to go to the cross. Last week in our time, in the last passage, Jesus flexed his power and authority. He cleared the temple and rebuked those who were turning the temple from a house of prayer into a den of thieves.

The scribes, pharisees and principal men of the people, they were trying to get Jesus. But they didn’t have the chance or the opportunity to grab him because the people all around him were hanging on his every word. It would not have gone well for them.

They knew where he was and where he was going to be. He had been teaching in the temple during the event we looked at last week and would be teaching in the temple throughout the next couple of days.

And so, they knew where to confront Jesus. And that leads us to this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 20, verses 1 through 8. I’ll 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 20:1-8, the Holy Spirit inspires Luke to record:

One day, as Jesus[a] was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Word.

 

 

                    So, Jesus was teaching, on one of the days, in the temple. Just like everyone knew he would be. He was teaching God’s truth and preaching the Gospel. The chief priests, the scribes, the elders, these guys came looking for Jesus. They wanted to ask him a question. And they wanted to do it in front of all the crowds and the hangers on and everybody. They wanted everyone to hear Jesus’ answer, because no matter the answer, they had him right where they wanted him.

So, they ask, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”

          They come at Jesus, basically saying, who do you think you are What do you think you are doing? What gives you the right? Who gave you the authority?

They were asking about the events in the temple, clearing out the money changers and the sellers. And if they were asking the question out of pure curiosity, genuinely curious, then it would be a valid question. It’s a question we all need to answer for ourselves at some point or another.

Jesus, you are doing all these miracles, you’re healing all these people, you’re clearing the temple, you are teaching these crazy, previously unheard things. Jesus, from where are you getting all this?

We had already seen previously that they said Jesus got his power from Beelzebub, essentially from Satan. And so, we know that they recognized and acknowledged that He had power. In Marks Gospel, they and the people marveled at Jesus because he spoke as one with authority. He just sounded different. He was teaching what a bunch of previous rabbis had to say. He was teaching what He said, and he was teaching it with authority.

So, they knew he was claiming some authority, they knew he wasn’t a nobody. But they weren’t ready to acknowledge who He was and by whose authority he spoke and acted on behalf of.

They were trying to discredit him. If he said by Gods authority, he would be blaspheming. And if he said no one, then he was not a credible teacher, at least not within the context of 1st century Israel.

And Jesus knew they weren’t going to accept any answer he gave them. So, he didn’t answer them. Even upon hearing the truth, we know that Romans 1 says that we all, in our unrighteousness, suppress the truth. And so, Jesus basically says that, since you won’t listen to me anyway, I’m going to answer your question with a question.

He confronts them right back, Johns Baptism, meaning his ministry, not only the physical act, was it from heaven and therefore from God? Or was it from man, was he doing it on his own?

Well, the scribes, pharisees, elders, and all of them, they had to discuss this…

They weren’t discussing it in order to discover the truth, but to figure out and coordinate their answer. They weren’t answering based on truth, but instead they were discussing how to get out of answering this question because of how the people would react.

I was originally going to say that they were trying to give the Politically Correct answer, but I don’t think that’s accurate in the way the term is used today. Today, it is used as if all things are right and permissible. It’s used that all answers are valid and true. It is also that there was right and wrong, true and untrue, but you held back from saying something if it would be offensive.

Historically, it was for politicians and leaders, giving the answer that the majority wanted you to give, no matter what you actually believed. Giving the Politically Correct answer. Doesn’t matter what the truthfully right or morally right, but what is right politically. Check the Polling before I answer. Will this answer cost my votes or supporters? I don’t care what’s right, just what will keep me elected.

In that historical sense of the word, that’s what the scribes, pharisees and elders are trying to figure out here; What is the Politically Correct answer? Which answer will keep us out of the most trouble?

Their dilemma was this. If they said that John’s ministry was from heave, that it was from God, then why didn’t they believe him, listen to him. Most succinctly, why didn’t they acknowledge that authority when He was here?

If they say John’s ministry and baptism was from man, then they are in deep trouble. First, I suspect they know its not true. Second, the people who were around, the common people, they repented and were baptized by John. They believed his ministry was from Heaven. And so, if the chief priests, elders, etc., if they discounted John’s ministry, the people would turn against them and kill them.

I believe another reason they couldn’t admit that John’s ministry was from Heaven was that John himself testified that Jesus was the Messiah, that He was the lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world. If they would admit John’s ministry was from Heaven, they would have to admit John’s testimony that Jesus was the Messiah.

And so, they refused to answer. They showed themselves cowards. They refused to stand on or for the truth, whether it was the truth, the Johns baptism was form Heaven, or on their truth, which was no truth at all, that John’s baptism was from man.

We talked about this recently as well. As much as we want everyone in here and everyone we know to be saved, to believe in Jesus Christ and to be at a Bible teaching, Gospel believing Church on Sunday morning, don’t fake it. IF you don’t believe something, BE HONEST. Stand up for it. Yes, be willing to receive new information and to hear new ideas and evidence, but don’t lie about what you believe and don’t fake belief in something you don’t believe.

 

 

 

These men refused to give Jesus an answer for his question and so Jesus refused to answer theirs.

Jesus didn’t refuse to answer them simply because they didn’t answer. Their inability or maybe more accurately unwillingness to answer was a view into their heart. Jesus refused to answer them because they knew the answer and they would t listen. Jesus refused to answer them because their hearts were hardened. Jesus refused to answer them because the veil had not been lifted from in front of their eyes. Jesus refused to answer them because they had not been brought from death to life.

 

If these men had asked and had approached Jesus and were genuinely seeking him and were truthfully curious, Jesus would have answered in a heartbeat.

Don’t misunderstand, Jesus won’t turn away anyone who is genuinely seeking him, anyone who turns to him, anyone who trusts in him, regardless of their questions, or their doubts.

And that’s because, in order to seek him, he has to already be calling you and he knows the end result. Your heart has to already have been changed in order for you to be seeking and responding to Jesus. And in that case, he is not going to give up on you, no matter what.

But to those who callously, or half heartedly “Search” for answers, but more accurately searching for answers that confirm their own understandings, those who are suppressing the truth in their unrighteousness, don’t expect Jesus to answer your tests and challenges.

Instead, pray. Pray for God to change your heart. Pray for God to open your eyes. Pray for God to lift the veil. Pray for God bring you out of death and into eternal, spiritual life. Pray for God to change your heart form a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. Pray to be adopted into Gods Family, as one of the children of God.

Pray that you would become one in Christ. That you would find forgiveness and freedom in Christ. That you would find everlasting rest in Christ. And that you would find a family, a church family, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Those of us who believe, we are one in Christ. Christ and his work on the cross are what unites us. And today, being the first Sunday of the month, we are going to come to the LORDs table, we are going to celebrate communion, celebrate our unity. We are going to this with partaking of bread and juice symbolizing his body and blood and with reflection.

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

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

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

Paul recounts to the church in Corinth what I now tell you as well, in 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26:

 

23 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[e] you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[f] 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.

 

          We have individual cups that contains both the wafers, which symbolize Jesus’ broken body on the cross. His Death that pays the penalty for our sins. It also contains the juice, symbolizing the shed blood of Christ, which purchases our eternal life in Christ, through faith.

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

 

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

Luke 19:11-27

Jesus is the Son of Man

Investing the Gospel

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Thus says the Word of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus will deal with them later on…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

He writes:

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

 

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

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

 

Let’s Pray.

 

 

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

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

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

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

Thus says the Word of God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark 10:46-52

Jesus is the Son of Man

Part of our series through Luke

Eyes will be opened

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Mark, inspired of by the Holy spirit writes:

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

 

         

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of his Holy Word

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One commentator exposits this way:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus says in Matthew 7, verses 7 & 8:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

Luke 18:1-8 Jesus is the Son of Man: Parable of the Persistent Widow

Luke 18:1-8

Jesus is the Son of Man

Parable of the Persistent Widow

 

          All right! Let’s go ahead and turn

in our Bibles to Luke chapter 18. As I say every week, if you are in need of a Bible, if you do not have a Bible, please see me after the service and we can help get a Bible into your hands.

You know the rules of real estate, famously stated as Location, Location, Location. And the Bible, reading it and understanding it has its own set of rules. Context! Context! Context!

And some of the context of this morning’s passage is quite important. Jesus has been teaching about eternity and the coming and present Kingdom of God. WE also remember the definition we introduced last week of what the Kingdom of God is, God’s people, in God’s place under God’s rule.

And due to those teachings, Jesus was asked first by the Pharisees, then by the disciples, When? Where? WE want to see the Kingdom!

 

Jesus’ response to them is don’t worry about the when. You know it will happen. Be prepared for it to happen. Prepare others for it to happen. Don’t worry if you don’t see it happen yet. It is coming.

And that brings us into this week’s passage. Luke chapter 18, verses 1 through 8. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version. I greatly encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation. Luke 18:1-8.

The Holy Spirit inspired Luke to record the words of Jesus:

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

 

May God Bless the Reading of his Holy Word.

 

Now, what’s interesting about this passage, about this parable is that Luke tells us right up front what the point of the parable is. Often, we don’t get the point, or the explanation until afterwards, if at all. And we remember that parables have one main point. And the main point of this parable is to pray always and never lose heart.

Now, I ask that we remember some of the basic rules of biblical understanding, of biblical study. First, not in any order, the text can only mean one thing. As RC Sproul says, there may be 10,000 applications of that one meaning, but there can only be one meaning. Second, Context! Context! Context! And third, the text can never mean what the original author never meant.

So whatever else we do with this passage, it only has one meaning: Always Pray and Never Lose Heart.

And the context is that this parable comes right after telling the Pharisees and His disciples that the Kingdom is coming, not to worry about when and to keep looking and be prepared.

 

 

So, Jesus tells the parable. There was a judge. He was not God fearing so you couldn’t appeal to his sense of right and wrong. He was not man fearing, meaning that you could not appeal to his heart, his compassion, his love for people. He only cared about himself and his power and his position, his authority.

And along comes this widow, who represents in this parable, the poor, the needy and the oppressed. Those having injustice done to them. This widow is looking, seeking for justice, for wrongs to be righted.

And the judge wouldn’t help her. HE didn’t care one bit. But she kept coming, kept asking, kept persisting. This was her only weapon against injustice. She kept crying out to him, “Give me justice against my adversary!”

 

Now, for a while he did resist. She saw no advancement for her cause. She saw no justice. This judge didn’t care about her plight, he causes or about justice at all.

However, she was an annoyance. She was bothering him. And so, to get some peace for himself, to get her to stop bothering him, he finally gave in and gave the widow her justice.

Now, one thing to point out. Not all who give justice, not all who stand up to injustice, or make a decision that’s on the right side is on Gods side. Not all who agree with God’s people on moral or ethical grounds are actually on Gods side.

But in the end, this widow succeeded. She wore him down. She broke him. She got on his nerves enough for him to throw in the towel.  Justice has prevailed.

 

Now, to be clear, God is not this judge. When he is telling us to be persistent and always pray, He is not saying that we will wear God down. He is not saying that we will break him down. He is not saying that we will get on his nerves enough until he finally relents and grants justice.

Instead, Verses 7 & 8 speak of God. He will hear his people.

He will grant justice.

He will dry every tear.

He will right every wrong.

He will Heal every pain.

He will answer those prayers, not all prayers, but those prayers that we hold deep in our hearts. The prayers for justice to be done. The prayers for His return. The prayers the Kingdom to manifest. The LORD, come quickly prayers.

James 5:16, The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

 

          However, its Gods justice. Which means that it is God’s timing. Which means that it is from God’s perspective. Which means its all up to him.

And so, Be persistent. Always pray. Never lose heart. Stay Faithful.

 

You have been told it will happen. Trust that. Have faith in that. Believe that.

 

And work towards that. Jesus is not telling us that we are to sit back, kick our feet up and wait for Jesus to come back for Justice to be granted. WE are to be active in pursuing it like the widow was.

If you see injustice take place, if you see someone being oppressed or held down, if you see wrongs taking place, if you see abuse taking place, it is your responsibility, as an ambassador of Christ, as a child of God and as a decent human being to stand up and fight for those who aren’t able to fight for themselves. It is your responsibility you stand up for being people treated as the image bearers of Christ that they are. We are not to only stand up for injustice done to other Christians, but injustice anywhere and everywhere.

Whether or not we see success in this life and in this world does not change that ultimate and perfect justice will be granted and achieved in God’s timing.

IF you are a victim of injustice, abuse, wrongdoings, please do not hear this as a reason to give up. This parable shows that we are to continue to fight and pursue justice and that God will ultimately grant it and that it will be greater and eternal justice when he does.

And Jesus finishes up and he asks, when the Son of Man returns, will he find faith?

God is not the one who will be answering questions when we stand before him. We all think about different questions that God better answer when we get to heaven. Bu the truth is that he owes none of us an answer.

We will be answering the questions. And really there is only one question that will matter. Will he find faith? Will he find faith in you like in Noah? Will he find faith in you like in Lot? Will he find faith in you like this widow?

Or will he find you outside the faith? Outside the faith like Lots wife? Outside the faith like the judge here? Outside the faith like so many that the LORD will tells us he never knew?