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

Luke 22:39-46

Jesus is the Son of Man

Praying in the Garden

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

We know how God calls us to live.

We know what God calls us to do.

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

But that often means stepping out of our comfort zone.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Spurgeon, preaching on this passage said this:

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

 

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

As one commentator writes:

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Let’s Pray.

 

 

 

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

Luke 22:24-38

Jesus is the Son of Man

The Future is not what You think

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thus says the Holy Word of God.

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

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

And you can just picture the ridiculousness of this.

“I did this so I’m greater!”

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

“I gave more money so I’m greater!”

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

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

And so on and so on…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus “It is enough.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26:

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

 

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

 

Let’s celebrate communion together.

 

         

         

 

 

Luke 22:1-13 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 20:41-44 Jesus is LORD Jesus is the Son of Man

Luke 20:41-44

Jesus is LORD

Jesus is the Son of Man

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thus says the Word of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

One commentator writes:

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

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

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

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

Son of Man, Son of God, Son of David

Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father.

Immanuel

Lamb of God

Alpha & Omega

Bread of Life

Redeemer

The Word Made Flesh

Beloved Son

Good Shepard

Master

Rabbi

Christ.

He is the King of Kings and the LORD of LORDs

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Let’s pray.

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

Luke 20:27-40

Jesus is the Son of Man

One Bride for Seven Brothers

 

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

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

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

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

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke writes:

 

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

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

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus is God. Jesus is Man.

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

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

Oh wait, no…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Pray.

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

Luke 20:9-18

Jesus is the Son of Man

Don’t Be a Wicked Tenant

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 1:12 & 13:

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wouldn’t believe in a God like that!

I can’t imagine God would do that!

Sound familiar?

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

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

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

I am the right ethnicity.

I am the right Nationality.

I am the right religion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

Luke 19:28-44

Jesus is the Son of Man

Jesus Exceeds our Expectations

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

May God Bless the Reading of his Holy Word.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Jesus entered Jerusalem as a King, but Humbled.

Jesus entered Jerusalem as a King but going to die.

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

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

Lets Pray

Luke 19:11-27 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.