Second Passion Saying

Scripture: Luke 9:43-45

While everyone was marveling at everything He was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, 44 “Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” 45 But they didn’t know what He meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask Him about it.

I want to make some observations based on the scripture and the commentaries I have studied.

1. It is one thing to be an enthusiastic admirer and another to be a loyal disciple.

There is nothing wrong with admiring Jesus. I admire Him for his courage, love and many, many other attributes. Matter of fact, I go beyond admiration, I worship HIM. He is my hero, my best friend and my Sovereign KING. Many in the world admire Jesus but He wants more from me than mere admiration. Jesus had a large group of disciples who followed as long as He was giving away free fish and hush puppies but when Jesus got into the hard sayings, they stopped following.

[John 6:66-69] As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

This is the second time that Jesus has brought up His death and being handed over to His enemies and the disciples did not want to hear it. The first time Jesus mentioned His passion, Peter rebuked Him and we know how well that went over. The flesh draws back at death and the cross is an instrument of death.

2. Hearing is one thing, understanding is another.

My hearing is not all that bad but my comprehension is awful. Jesus was speaking the words aloud and they they were hearing but it was not sinking in. This is why Jesus said, “Let these words sink into your ears.”

We cannot understand everything but I am very sure we could learn more if we listened better. When I study scripture: I pine and pray. I go over the same verse or passage again and again. I read every translations I can get my hands on. I realize that we still have KJV only folks out there but you can learn more from reading different translations than you can from commentaries. Most people read parts of the bible but they never read it through and that is sad.

Why do I read all English translations? I don’t want to miss anything and I am telling you that these translators have spent hours exegeting these words which is a tremendous help to those of us who do not have that expertise and time. I want to know the truth. I do not want my entire theology built on a bad translation verse. 

I want to know and I am not afraid to ask.

3. God reserves the right to act in ways that we cannot comprehend.

The last thing I want to hear is a preacher who knows everything. Be weary of he who acknowledges no mystery. I would not want to worship a god that some preacher could carry around in his little box of brains. My God is incomprehensible. He is too great to be imagined and He surely cannot be explained. You will either accept my God by faith on His terms or not at all. 

I see this as the major problem with the Reform movement; they are pseudo-intellectuals, they think they know more than God. They have an explanation for everything. I don’t want an explanation for everything.

4. We are fear driven instead of faith driven.

[Luke 9: 45] But they didn’t know what He meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask Him about it.

Lets be honest, we get uncomfortable when Jesus begins talking about suffering and the cross makes us queasy. We don’t want to think about a cross, His or ours. By keeping the cross safely locked away in some remote doctrine, focused on the past, we ignore the excitement of living the Christ life in the present . We have no idea what it means to follow Jesus. We refuse to deny ourselves and take up our cross. We make the cross a religious relic of the past and thus isolate ourselves from a hurting, dying world.

The cross is not a relic, not an adornment for the sanctuary; its not a good luck charm we wear around out necks–it is a way of life. It is the only way to follow Christ.

{Unfinished and Unedited, posted for easy access}

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THE CROSS [Part II]

Text: Matthew 27:45-54, NLT

45 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” 47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49 But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.” 50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. 54 The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” 55 And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

INTRODUCTION

As a general rule, I prefer to preach one or three point sermons. The one pointer’s are the most difficult to prepare. This week I have struggled with the above text. I could not reduce it to one point or three. So I am going to do something that I rarely do: an eight point sermon.

  1. THE MYSTERIOUS DARKNESS. Some believe the darkness was caused by a solar eclipse and others do not. Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is one those who does not believe it was eclipse. He believes it was a mysterious darkness sent by God the Father. Dr. Jack Taylor, one of my favorite puppeteers of yesteryear said it was the demons celebrating what they thought to be a victory. We know that it was not a victory for Satan but he does not have foreknowledge and at the moment, he may have thought he was the victor. Others believe, due to Jesus silence during the 3 hours, that it was the time that our sin was put upon our Savior. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:21, For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. Another reference is I Peter 2:24, He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Another is Isaiah 53:11, And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. Isaiah also said in reference to God the Father, When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, He will be satisfied. How could God be please with the cruel injustice that Jesus suffered? God was not pleased with the suffering, He was pleased with the obedience of His son and His willingness to die for our sins. For God so loved the world, He gave. We may not have all the answers for the darkness but we know that Jesus became sin for us. Hey, this is not just my lust or your greed, this is the guilt and shame of a pedophile or a pervert. Yes, my friend, He bore all our sins in His own body.
  2. JESUS DESPAIRING CRY…”My God [not Father], My God, why have You forsaken Me? Again, I believe as do many others but not all…that Jesus felt the forsakenness of a vile and filthy sinner like me. God is holy and thus Jesus suffered our hell on the cross by enduring three hours of separation from the Father [again, because of our sin]. We all know that a world where God does not exist or manifest His presence is hell. Separation from God is hell. Another thing to keep in mind is that Jesus is quoting Psalm 22 verbatim. Psalm 22 is the passion psalm: it describes the cross. Let’s just look at portions of Psalm 22…[1] My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for You?  [2] But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! [3]Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, “Is this the one who relies on the LordThen let the Lord save him!
    If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him. [4]Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me. [5] My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in! Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey. [6] My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. [7] My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. [8]  They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. [9] They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing. Crucifixion did not exist in David’s time or Isaiah’s.
  3. THE IGNORANT BYSTANDERS. Jesus cried out in the Hebrew tongue, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani.” [L-e, L-e, lie-ma, sa-bach-thay-nee]. Who were these ignorant bystanders. Surely the Jewish religious leaders could understand Hebrew and would or should recognize that Jesus was quoting Psalm 22. Could it be possible that the Jewish bystanders were so blinded by hate that they totally missed Jesus quoting the Old Testament. I don’t think the Romans would think that Jesus was calling for Elijah: they did not know who Elijah was. The only conclusion I can reach is that the ignorant bystanders were Jews. Hate not only perverted their sight and insight- it also perverted they hearing.
  4. JESUS SHOUT OF VICTORY. John tells us that Jesus shouted, “It is finished.” This comes after three hours of silence. It was a shout of victory. Some have suggested that Jesus literally died of a broken heart others like Dr. Wiersbe believe the He by His power yielded His Spirit. Had I been there, it would have been a cry of victory to me. It meant the end of His suffering. I am not about to trivialized physical death, it is a big deal that creates lots of anxiety and grief but when you see a person suffer intensely like Jesus, physical death is a welcome friend.
  5. THE VEIL TORN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. This curtain was 4 inches thick and 60 feet tall. It weighted tons. Jesus death ripped it from top to bottom opening the way to the Holy of Holies. No more separation. No barrier between God and man. The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 10…And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. The splitting of the veil is the only proof we need that God is through with Judaism.
  6. CATASTROPHIC EVENTS: ECLIPE, EARTHQUATE, TOMBS OPENED. Too much for a coincidence. The Roman soldiers were impressed. The Centurion in charge said, “Surely this is the Son of God.” They were terrified. In awe, a form of worship. The Greek word for terrified is phobia and it has three meanings: [1] to put to flight, to flee [2]to fear, be afraid [3] to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience. The ROBE is a novel by Lloyd Douglas inspired by a woman who asked him what happened to Jesus robe. In the novel, Marcellus Gallio was the Roman commander who got the robe and was later converted. This is fiction, we do not know that any of the Romans became believers but we do know that the gospel got to Rome before Peter or Paul.
  7. FAITHFUL WOMEN. They took care of Him is life and they stayed with Him in death. They were basically the last to leave. Joseph and Nicodemus buried Jesus in a garden just below the Golgotha. The women observed from a distance. I can tell you from experience, you do not want to pastor a church that has no men. I can also tell you that for every man that faithfully attends without his wife there are a half dozen women who come without their husbands. Both are important but we do tip our hats to the women of faith who serve Jesus without the support of their husbands.