The Harassed and helpless of the world Matthew 9 First Saint Johns June 18, 2017

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who want to reach out to the suffering of the evil of the world said … AMEN!

Last week the Gospel lesson was the Great Commission … Matthew 28: … “ESV Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,…” It was Trinity Sunday, Jesus is making us aware that what we do, and certainly baptizing and making disciples are two of the most important things we do, that it and all the other things that are done best when we keep in mind that we are doing it in the Name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ command in the Great Commission can certainly be understood in an additional way. What we see in today’s Gospel reading follows what Jesus is telling His disciples, including us, what He told them in Matthew 28. Our Gospel reading is Matthew 9, this is much earlier in Jesus’ ministry and before all of the momentous, triumphant events that have preceded the Great Commission and then His immediate ascension into heaven. Things are still pretty much the regular routine when Jesus sent His disciples out for their first tour as Jesus’ disciples, and certainly evangelists. He sees the people that have been following Him and these are people who really are without a shepherd. You may not feel an immediate need for a shepherd, someone to guide you, to give you protection and certainly when we talk about Jesus in this sense we are talking about someone, like a father, who is there to protect. Sure dads today protect. I think every father feels a duty to stand up for his family when his wife, children are being attacked, taken advantage of, suffering, floundering in the world. Paul writes: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”(Eph 2: 1-3) Jesus, the Son of God, certainly He sees this, He knows what these people are going through, He is that Shepherd. Yet He knows His sheep are living such aimless lives and are under constant attack from the evil all around us. Certainly Jesus feels a need to protect these people, and us, from the “attacks” Satan launches against us on a regular basis. Often those “attacks” don’t feel violent or hostile. Often those attacks consist of luring us away to the things of the world that we think give us pleasure, but always result in taking our focus off of Jesus, and making an idol out of the things we think are pleasing. Certainly fathers feel the need to do what they can to try and keep a straying child from falling into bad habits, destructive lifestyles. It’s not easy being a father in today’s world. The evil of today tells us that we’re entitled to these destructive lives. Sure the world doesn’t say it that way, yet we know how it ends up. So many people today, yes someone’s son or daughter, but not always young and immature, feel perfectly entitled to indulge in what they think they should have. The world doesn’t care about what your child does or messes their life up with. The world’s idol is almost always and ultimately, how can I make money off of this person. They won’t let their own children go down their evil path, but they’re perfectly happy to take the money from someone else’s child. The tragedy is ultimately there is a crash and burn and although the father tried to keep the child from crashing, now the child or other people expect the parents, often even the church to be there and help them pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives after their collapse. It’s often the father that has to step up, making life so much more difficult for fathers.

Can’t you imagine Jesus seeing this right before His eyes? All of these people followed Him around, day to day. His heart is breaking, like any father’s would, to see His children being harassed by the evil all around them. Unable to rebuild shattered lives, needing someone else to pick up what they caused in their rush to destruction, believing all the nonsense around them. Jesus is God the Son, but all creation came into existence through Him. No doubt He had a hand in the creation of all us, He is God. It bugs me when someone makes a reference to “Jesus our brother”. Since we’re God’s children and Jesus is God’s Son, well He must be our brother. Yeah, kinda, but really no. He is still all powerful God. He is man, but He is entirely God as we saw in the Athanasian Creed from last week. And no not even really our big brother, but certainly our God.

He knows every one of those people who are hungry, are oppressed, suffering, often as the result of their sins, their envy, greed, their search for pleasure instead of trying to grow in the relationship that Jesus offers them every moment of every day. Dr Jeff Gibbs writes: “the passive forms of sku,llw [harassed] “to flay,, skin and r`i,ptw “to throw” emphasize that the people are victims of evil spiritual forces around them that are beyond their control.” Dr Gibbs goes on to stipulate that the failure is not limited to those people who, because they are without a shepherd, or the shepherd is not faithful to them: “…their deplorable spiritual condition is caused in part by the failure of their spiritual leaders.”[1] That is also a two-way street in Christianity. In a world, today, where we see pastors who are trying to be faithful, pretty much ignored because they are seen as narrow-minded or naïve, and that the world is oh so much more accepting and “tolerant”. Sure, the world can afford to be tolerant, it doesn’t care how someone ends up and even has the chutzpah to criticize the church and the parents because they don’t do enough to help the people the world destroyed to function as adults again. It’s a bizarre world being a pastor in this day and age, and certainly the church has to bear responsibility in a lot of ways that it has not been faithful to the parishioner and the church has done itself harm by its passivity and failure to truly represent Christ and what He truly stands for and how He defends us against the evil of the world, the spiritual, demonic attacks that go on around us every day. But those in the church expect the church to fix those problems by providing material comfort, which in this day and age, serious churches no longer have the resources. But much more important than the material comfort, is the spiritual strength that the church should provide every Sunday morning, as a father provides strength and encouragement to his children. Not to be a faint echo of the world. What’s the point of having a church if it only weakly prattles about the world around us?

I would seriously hope people take Jesus’ words very much to heart in this passage. He knows full well the world that He is sending His men into, like a military commander, He knows He can’t protect His people from all the harm they could incur. But, He can and must prepare them in a way that they at least have every chance, not just to survive, but in order to achieve the objective. Jesus’ objective is clear, He wants His men to grow and have on the job training, bringing His hope and promise into the world. He wants the world to know that there is strength and protection and love and caring from Him in His church. No one is going to find it in a greedy, grasping, lying world that is only about telling anyone what they want to hear. That is not living, that only results in harassment, often physical sickness, disability, which we see all around us, all of the time. It’s time that we went out into the world to serve the Lord of the Harvest, in His harvest of the world. To see all of the harassed, helpless, sick, twisted, results of the world, to get serious about the church that Jesus has given us in order to stand strong against the lying, death dealing ways of the world. We see this smarmy, snarky, weasely attitude towards the church, inside and outside of the church. Our only hope is in Christ, He died in order to fully pay for our sins, He rose again to give us the promise of eternal life, fulfilling and life the way God had always wanted for us, not life the way the world uses to tear us down and destroy us. The church of Jesus Christ is important because it is what we have, as the Body of Christ, to stand up to all the evil around us. The church will always be, but if it continues to limp along, more and more of our families and those around us will be lost to eternal damnation because while we are the church, we chose not to act like the church.

Dads, you are expected to be those laborers, those who go out and protect and build and strengthen. It might even be casting out demons, we see the demonic all around us and quite often, only in the strength of the Holy Spirit, you need to stand up to those demonic forces, those snarky, smarmy forces that threaten our families. We should expect to suffer the slings and arrows of a nasty, evil, threatening world and do what you can to stand up for Christ and true life and ignore the taunts and nonsense of the world in doing it. No matter what our children say and do, they are looking for us to protect them. It’s often messy and unpleasant, but you, me, all men in Christ have to emulate the things that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have shown us to do to be true men of God and to reject the evil of the world.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

He has risen! He has risen indeed! Hallelujah!

 

[1] Rev Dr Jeffrey Gibbs  “Concordia Commentary  Matthew” p 495

A Spirit Not of Fear but of Power Matthew June 25, 2017 First St Johns

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who trust Jesus and are overcomers said … AMEN!

I’m sure many of you have had this discussion with your parent, to the effect, “But dad I don’t want to because I’m afraid of this person”. The response was to the effect “you have more to be afraid of me, then of aforementioned person.” I’m sure you’ve had the same thoughts in terms of “I don’t want to do this because I’m afraid of the reaction I’m going to get from someone else” and then come to the realization, I’d better be a lot more afraid of what God is going to think or do then the big monster I’m afraid of will do. I was afraid, [Rodney voice] I grew up in a tough neighborhood, the local restaurant only had broken leg of lamb on the menu.[1] On my street, the kids take hubcaps – from moving cars.”

Jesus makes it pretty plain, sure bad things can happen if you get someone in the world angry, but that’s not going to be anything compared to making God angry from failing to be faithful to His will. In fact whenever I’m in that quandary, after all is said and done, when I look back, I realize that the person/ thing/situation that I was afraid of, was nowhere near as big, bad or ugly as I thought. Furthermore, trusting in God usually results in an outcome I never expected, would never planned. I’m not giving you a Harry Potter incantation or Joel Osteen everything’s going to work out because God has a great plan for your life. He does, but not some Osteen formula. It’s according to the only words that matter, Holy Scripture.

Jesus talks about the one who has “endured to the end who will be saved.” While too many “Christians” have a rainbow and unicorn perception of Jesus, as we see in this passage, through the Gospels and particularly the Book of Revelation, to quote another writer: “The Bible teaches Christians to recognize that the world is a battleground, not a playground.”[2] To take Mr Dangerfield’s quotes, we all grow up in a tough neighborhood. We certainly have the assurance that Jesus will be faithful, that when we trust in Him we will be delivered. It might not seem like it, people do die, people do suffer tragedy, or, at least what we perceive as death or tragedy. We know many cases where we might think that someone has been treated unfairly, but what God has lead that person to do in that trial, that tragedy has, in fact, resulted in genuine blessing for that person, for others that they have served, have inspired, have reached. As Christians we know the ultimate tragedy is to be lost for eternity. While we may suffer in this life, and the reality is that we all suffer in one form or another. That we all have a cross to bear, ESV Luke 14:27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Arthur Just explains: “These are catechumens who have heard the Word, have left family and understand the costs of discipleship. But as they travel with Jesus to Jerusalem, they begin to encounter rejection and persecution…[this] corresponds to the seed that fell on the rock and withered because of lack of moisture, like those who receive the Word with joy but have no roots and fall away in times of temptation, which can include persecution.”[3]

It’s never my intention to, create fear in people. The words we see in the Bible emphasize being aware and faithful. Jesus told His disciples in this passage; “ESV Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” We are saved, we are protected, we are baptized, we eat the Body of Christ and drink the Blood of Christ, we are very much a part of Him, in the sacraments, in the Keys of the Church, His Body that we are very much a part of. We don’t, ultimately, have anything to fear. The same writer: “The Greek word most often translated “overcomer” stems from the word nike which, according to Strong’s Concordance, means “to carry off the victory. The verb implies a battle.” You probably remember the Nike missile, Nike sports gear. Needless to say in war and in sports, the point is victory. To take the simile a little further, the Nike slogan is “just do it”. I wish we, as Christians, understood that motto in terms of our witness to Christ instead of being fearful of rejection and embarrassment. Embarrassed for Jesus? hmmm, sort of where He says: “ESV Matthew 10:32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” When we are unfaithful, and put our trust in the world, and the things around us, just chose to punt, to give in to the world, Jesus is under no obligation to be faithful to us. If by our lives and our witness we demonstrate that Jesus is not important in our lives, why would we have the idea that we should be important to Jesus? Why should He stand up for us for eternity, when we won’t stand up for Him for just a moment in a world that is so temporary, so fleeting, so transitory? I have seen it so often, I chose not to stand up, I chose not to bravely confront and deal with a fraudulent world, but then expect someone to stand up for me and they are outraged that they’ve been left completely exposed. The world loves to set people up, as false witnesses, as Paul writes “to be slaves to sin … for the end of those things is death” (Rom 6: 20..21)

The real emphasis in the real language Jesus uses over and over again, is very much in terms of one who stays faithful, the one who endures, the one who while they are afraid, still endures. Many have the idea that the “brave man” has no fear going into danger. That would infer a really high level of stupid. I’ve seen plenty of brave men and women, people who’ve had to face actual, physical danger. They are acutely aware of the danger, and they are by no means stupid people. By the same token, they realize that they have to overcome and trust their fear because others are relying on them, trusting them to do what is necessary. As Christians we should always trust Christ in the face of danger. We have the guarantees, we have the lock, we know how the story ends, we are going to feel fear, BUT, we are certainly called to overcome. How do we overcome, do we overcome in our own strength? NO! We know the Holy Spirit is with us to strengthen us in those times when we face any challenge and certainly that includes up to and including death. Our trust is this, that what we do for Christ will never be wasted. Too often people talk about someone they perceive dying prematurely or being seriously injured as waste. They only see the here and now and don’t wait in faith for how Christ will use this. If that person has rejected Christ, has actually wasted their life, then we can see the reason why they might have died. I’m sure you can imagine many who simply wasted what they were given. By the same token those who have endured, stayed strong, overcome the trials that were given and still pointed to Christ as the reason, we certainly know and will witness to others and we know the Holy Spirit will use that to glorify Jesus and bring others to Jesus. The Christian church in China will be the largest church in the entire world in about 15 years. This in spite of horrendous persecution and suffering. Those who suffer are very real witnesses to others of the truth of Jesus’ church, of the Christian church and that it does save and they become Christians because they know that they have the promises of Christ of their resurrection to eternal, real life, life and life more abundant! The world cannot come close to such a promise, but takes those who fail to persevere, who will not stand in the strength of Jesus and the world toys with those people, gives them empty promises, kicks them to the curb and walks away laughing. “Overcomers are promised that they will eat from the Tree of Life (2:7), be unharmed by the second death (2:11), eat from hidden manna and be given a new name (2:17), have authority over the nations (2:26), be clothed in white garments (3:5), be made a permanent pillar in the house of God (3:12), and sit with Jesus on His throne (3:21). Jesus warned that holding fast to Him would not be easy, but it would be well worth it.”[4]

Jeremiah’s words have to lift you and inspire you, the promise of who God is and what He will most certainly do: “ESV Jeremiah 20:11 But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.”

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

He has risen! He has risen indeed! Hallelujah!

[1] source: http://www.jokes4us.com/peoplejokes/comedianjokes/rodneydangerfieldjokes.html

[2]

[3] Arthur Just Concordia Commentary Luke 9-24 p 581

[4] https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-overcomer.html0

If it is of God… Acts 5:29, John 20:19

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We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who join Thomas saying to Jesus “My Lord and My God!” said … Amen!

We now have this pretty interesting conflation, two different perspectives have started to see Jesus as something much more than what was imagined. The leaders of Israel seem to be rethinking what they did to Jesus. Thomas straight out asserts Who Jesus is “My Lord and My God!” Gamaliel was a very important man at the time. Luke, the writer of Acts, singles Gamaliel out by calling him “a teacher of the Law held in honor by all the people. The Jewish Encyclopedia says: Gamaliel was the son of Hillel who is still one of the leading authorities on Jewish law and is quoted by many people today. He was the head of the school Hillel in his time succeeding his father. “Gamaliel, as it appears, did most toward establishing the honor in which the house of Hillel was held, and which secured to it a preeminent position within Palestinian Judaism soon after the destruction of the- Temple. The title “Rabban,” which, in the learned hierarchy until post-Hadrianic times, was borne only by presidents of the highest religious council, was first prefixed to the name of Gamaliel.”[1] Much later on in Acts, Paul seems to take special pride in being a student of Gamaliel’s. (Acts 22:3) He gets a lot of notice in Acts, during the early church. If he is proceeding with caution against the embryonic Christian church, then he must have some idea that Jesus is who He says He is.

The amazing things that have happened, certainly culminated in the Resurrection of Jesus, leaves little doubt as to Jesus’ claim to be God. Gamaliel had to have been part of the court that condemned Jesus. I would guess that Gamaliel fell right in line with the majority consensus. Caiaphas proclaims to the leadership that this man, Jesus, must die to save the nation. No thought is given that there might be something a lot more compelling with Jesus, that He might be who He said He was. The concern was with the preservation of the status quo; Israel, it’s leadership and maintaining their way of life. As highly regarded as Gamaliel was, he certainly followed the party line. While we know that there were members of the Sanhedrin who objected to the illegality of the proceedings to try Jesus, Gamaliel wouldn’t have been one of those objectors. If he had objected the Sanhedrin might have at least backed off from condemning Jesus to die and might have even decided to do something else regarding Jesus.

The paradigm has clearly changed for the leadership in Israel. They thought that they were dealing with a nuisance that would burn itself out. They tried, and for the first time in history, killing a man didn’t make Him go away. It seems Gamaliel is hedging his bets a little, but it’s pretty clear that he sees Jesus as a lot more than being an ordinary man. Gamaliel compares Jesus to Theudas and Judas the Galilean. It seems though that Gamaliel is taking Jesus a lot more seriously than Theudas or Judas, neither one of them rose from the dead. It seems that the leadership is trying to prevent a panic. They’re trying not to acknowledge it, but clearly there is a new archetype and they know that they can’t just make the problem, Jesus, go away. They hope that they can, but now they have something much bigger than they expected while trying to avoid setting the rest of Israel off, that Jesus is who He says that He is.

The difference is that while Gamaliel is trying to hedge, not set off a rush to Jesus and still not taking Him seriously. He seems to know the truth, but as so many people do for so many bad reasons, Gamaliel is trying to save his position in Israel. The disciples, as Luke writes, know the truth, they know that there is no other option, they are beaten and we know how brutally Jesus was beaten. Maybe the disciples weren’t beaten as badly, but you know that they suffered more than enough that they shouldn’t be back out on the street rejoicing and teaching and preaching about Jesus. They knew the truth and saw there was no alternative to Jesus, the Sanhedrin was still trying to play its political game with its own people, the Romans and irrational as it sounds God, even though Gamaliel certainly had some perception that Jesus and his disciples were more than the garden variety revolutionaries of previous years.

Clearly John is continuing to emphasize that Jesus is much more than what most people seem to want to believe. Thomas declares it: “My Lord and my God!” Jamieson writes: “He is overpowered, and the glory of Christ now breaks upon him in a flood. His exclamation surpasses all that had been yet uttered, nor can it be surpassed by anything that ever will be uttered in earth or heaven.”[2] This is not some gratuitous acknowledgement, Thomas was completely overwhelmed and was utterly sure who Jesus was. Meyer writes : “ It is a confessionary invocation of Christ in the highest joyful surprise, in which Thomas gives the fullest expression of profound emotion to his faith, which had been mightily elevated by the conviction of the reality of the resurrection, in the divine nature of his Lord. The ὁ κύριός μκὁ θεός μου was the complete and highest confession of Messianic faith,” This is the first time when someone really addresses Jesus as God. For those who like to question who Jesus was and whether He claimed to be God, here is where someone is declaring who Jesus is. It may not be bragging if it’s true, but it’s more credible when someone else is declaring the fact. And again, there are plenty of places where Jesus is readily understood by those He is talking to as to who He is. If it wasn’t true, wouldn’t Jesus lift Thomas off his knees and set him straight? If it wasn’t true Jesus wouldn’t have just let Thomas’ comment ride.

We are His disciples. We see Jesus is making it very clear that Jesus has the authority to and intends for us to take what the disciples then and we who are His disciples now, that we aren’t to just go back home as if it’s all ending. He makes it clear to His disciples then it’s only beginning. He tells them, and us, that the Father sent Him. He has been sent to us to take His word, His life, what He has done for us dying for our sins and then resurrected to give us eternal life, that it isn’t for us to keep to ourselves. Matthew 28:18, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, Mark 16:15, Matthew, John, Luke and Mark all report that Jesus came to send us to tell the entire world about the salvation that Jesus gives us. In John He reinforces this message by giving them a preview of Pentecost. “He breathed on them.” The Greek word the hagios pneuma, the Holy Spirit, pneuma meaning the movement of air, the breath of His Body. He is giving them the Holy Spirit to strengthen them and for them to understand that they constitute His church. As He does by giving them the keys of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 16:9, He is empowering His church to not just bring the Good News to the world, but that Jesus is empowering His church to save people to the Kingdom, but to also make it clear to those who aren’t saved and that His work is done through His disciples in His church.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

[1] http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6494-gamaliel-i

[2] Jamieson-Fausett-Brown Bible Commentary on website  http://biblehub.com/commentaries/jfb/john/20.htm

Renueva y energiza a tus discípulos Señor Mateo 28, Primera Iglesia Luterana de San Juan 16 de abril de 2017

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Hacemos nuestro comienzo en el Nombre de Dios el Padre y en el Nombre de Dios el Hijo y en el Nombre de Dios el Espíritu Santo y todos aquellos que conocen la esperanza y el gozo de la resurrección de nuestro Señor Jesucristo dijo … AMEN!

Para nosotros en una iglesia litúrgica, esta temporada, a partir del Miércoles de Ceniza, para muchas personas parece ser un día tan triste, puse cenizas en su frente, que en sí mismo es ciertamente contra-cultural lo que el mundo vería como “extraño” Y entonces te digo en voz baja que de polvo has venido y polvo volverás. No es exactamente un “whoopee hacer” momento. Luego pasamos los siguientes 40 días más sacrificando algo, esperanzadamente, y recordando nuestros pecados. En un mundo que está a punto de vacilar desde el próximo evento emocionante / impresionante, de nuevo parece raro que debemos invitar a tal reflexión cuando el mundo que nos rodea es todo acerca de la negación y minimizar su pecado. Pero lo conseguimos, conseguimos toda la condición humana, cuando somos serios acerca de nuestra fe, estamos equipados con nuestro calendario litúrgico anual para tratar con todas las condiciones de vida. No vivimos en un mundo zippity-do-da, que cuando los juicios de huelga, no sólo acurrucarse en un capullo y convertirse en un zombi. Eso es parte de lo que es estar en la iglesia, en el Cuerpo de Cristo. Sabemos que tenemos un pastor y hermanos y hermanas en Jesús que están ahí para fortalecernos y recordarnos las gloriosas promesas que tenemos en Cristo. Mientras que las palabras y las promesas de Jesús nos dan inspiración y fuerza, la resurrección de Jesús es lo que nos da la esperanza final, slam dunk que realmente no es sobre este mundo y las pruebas. Se trata del Nuevo Mundo de la resurrección que nos da la profunda paz y alegría de que viviremos una vida eterna y perfecta de vida verdadera y plenitud.

Domingo de Ramos es bueno, pero sabemos lo que está llevando a, es una especie de intervalo, pero ciertamente no es el final. El Jueves Santo no recibe realmente el aviso que debe. “Jesús dice a sus discípulos” ESV Juan 15:12 “Este es mi mandamiento, que os améis los unos a los otros como yo os he amado.13 El mayor amor no tiene nadie más que este que alguien da su vida Para sus amigos 14 Ustedes son mis amigos si hacen lo que yo les mando “.Cómo lo minimizamos en nuestro calendario eclesiástico me desconcierta, que Jesús nos da esta increíble dirección, que no encontrará en ningún otro sistema de creencias, el amor a uno Otro, que Él les está diciendo, otra vez, que así es, yo estoy dando mi vida por los que amo, por mis amigos, que Él también les está diciendo, ya nosotros, Sus discípulos, que somos Sus amigos. Tienes un amigo en Jesús, pero es la amistad más unilateral que puedes imaginar, Él me da todo, hasta e incluyendo Su vida para que yo viva verdaderamente ahora y la vida eterna de la resurrección Pero hay más, Él pone un punto de exclamación en esto dando a sus discípulos su cuerpo y sangre, nosotros que somos su disco Ahora los iples son alimentados con el Cuerpo y la Sangre de Jesús para fortalecer nuestro cuerpo y alma. Recibimos este alimento real de Su Cuerpo para edificarnos y hacer nuestra relación con Él tan fuerte como es concebible.

Viernes Santo, ese es un día difícil. Para ver Aquel que nos llamó amigo, que está allí para nosotros todo el tiempo, y observamos impotentemente mientras es golpeado sin piedad, abusado y luego brutalmente asesinado. Completamente inocente, completamente santo y abusado tan despiadadamente, mostrando cómo podemos ser tan degradados y tan crueles como un pueblo.

Parece innecesario tener un escenario tan brutal. Pero sabemos que nuestro mayor temor es la muerte, parpadear en la inexistencia, dejar atrás todo lo que hemos conocido y dejar de vivir. Para que nuestro mayor temor, terror, nuestra mayor ansiedad de ser derrotado, tuviera que ser enfrentado de frente, ¿cómo otra cosa podría ser la muerte derrotada sino para que alguien muera y luego sea restaurado a la vida? Todos estamos condenados a morir, sin Jesús no hay nada más que la muerte. Ningún ser humano podría vencer la muerte, porque por nuestras vidas, ya estamos muertos en nuestros pecados y ofensas, merecemos la muerte. Pero no a Jesús. Jesús, El que es completamente santo, completamente sin culpa, sin pecado. Él no está destinado a morir, Él tiene vida eterna porque Él es eterno, Dios el Hijo. Podía pagar la pena, vencer la muerte, que ninguno de nosotros podría hacer. En la economía de Dios, para tener misericordia de nosotros, para evitar que paguemos eternamente el castigo por nosotros, Dios permitió que Su Hijo fuese la víctima pascual. Él hizo todo lo que era necesario sobre todo durante esta estación para darnos la promesa de la vida y de la vida eternas en este mundo de la alegría y de la promesa.

En todo esto es muy poco acerca de los sentimientos. Sí tenemos sentimientos, pero el punto no es acerca de cómo te sientes, por qué, etc, lo que “sientes”, simplemente no cambia nada. Sam Storms escribe: “Lo que tú y yo” como “es completamente y absolutamente irrelevante. Dios no establece su agenda eterna basada en lo que “preferimos”. Lo que podríamos “esperar” que sea verdad simplemente no importa. Lo que nos hace o no “sentirnos cómodos” no tiene nada que ver con la verdad o la falsedad de esta cuestión. El hecho de que tengamos un sentido intuitivo de lo que nos parece “justo” o “justo” realmente no importa, lo que realmente es, es lo que le importa a Dios. “Para nuestro daño dejamos que nuestros” sentimientos “nuestras opiniones, la Manera que pensamos que las cosas deben dictar demasiado de lo que pensamos. En la providencia de Dios, en Su Señoría, Su creación es acerca de lo que Él piensa. Va a ser Su manera, si pensamos que es justo o no. Sin embargo, Él hace mucho por nosotros. Vivimos las vidas pecaminosas, no lo hace, Jesús no lo hizo y no lo hace, pero ¿quién fue hecho el camino a Dios ya la vida eterna? Jesús. No sobre nuestra opinión o nuestros sentimientos, enteramente sobre lo que Jesús hizo por nosotros. Lo que nos gusta y no nos gusta es sin duda sobre nuestros “sentimientos”. Podríamos marcharnos el Viernes Santo, decidir “cuál es el punto”, renunciar, ceder a nuestros sentimientos de pérdida y depresión y no esperar la verdadera alegría. La resurrección de Jesús no es un salto arriba y abajo los Patriotas ganaron el Super Bowl feliz. Eso es superficial, está ahí por un momento y luego vuelve a la realidad. Es el momento en que te paras en tu vida, una sonrisa se extiende sobre tu cara. No es una sonrisa torpe y vertiginosa, sino una sonrisa de saber, de contentamiento, una sonrisa madura y reflexiva sabiendo que la superficialidad que nos rodea está pasando. Que hay alegría verdadera, satisfacción. ¿Alguna vez te has dado cuenta de que cuando estás alegre, feliz, es seguido rápidamente por una especie de accidente? Eran todos yippy, entonces sólo una especie de establecidos en un descontento de “¿por qué hice eso”? El giddy-up temporal está bien, siempre y cuando no nos enganchamos y necesitamos disparos continuos de “feliz”. No dura. Ha sido un duro los últimos meses para mí. El viernes tuve que estar con una madre cuyo hijo de 22 años fue asesinado. Hace unas semanas hice un funeral para un niño de diez años, la semana anterior a la muerte de mi padre, unas pocas semanas antes tuve que estar con una madre y un padre cuyo hijo de 22 años se suicidó. Tiro en los problemas del coche, otros temas variados, la tensión ha sido enorme. Si dependía de mi felicidad, ¿cómo crees que seguiría funcionando? Ser cristiano significa que tienes el apoyo de hermanos y hermanas en Jesús y pastores que están allí para ti durante las pruebas y animarte. Realmente aprecio cómo algunas personas aquí intensificaron para alentar y apoyar. Ken intensificó y realmente ayudó con muchas de las adoraciones de las últimas semanas. ¿Cómo puedo estar ante las personas que han perdido a un niño y hacerlas felices como el mundo piensa que deberían ser? ¿Divertirse con ellos, hacer comedia, platitudes? ¿Acabo de dejarlos allí para tratar con él, superarlo? Por difícil que creas que sean tus pruebas, imagina que los padres están pasando por tales pruebas. No hay nada que los haga “felices”. Pero como pastor, voy a hacer todo lo que pueda para darles verdadera alegría. Ese es el propósito de la resurrección. Tertuliano escribió sobre la resurrección: “Es por todos los medios ser creído porque es absurdo”. Habrá tragedias en nuestras vidas de distinto grado, cuanto más larga sea la vida, mayor será la oportunidad y más tragedias. Podríamos pensar que Jesús fue horriblemente asesinado el Viernes Santo como tragedia, sin embargo, de Su sufrimiento en ese día, llegó la promesa más grande que podemos imaginar y como pastor que es lo que puedo compartir con personas que han sufrido tragedia horrible . Al hacer esto voy a ayudarles a conocer la alegría. Que nuestro Dios es muy consciente de lo que están pasando. Vio a Su propio hijo brutalmente brutalizado, golpeado, clavado en madera y abandonado para sufrir. Dios entiende nuestro horror cuando tenemos que soportar la tragedia, Él está ahí con usted alcanzando a través de las capas que usted experimenta para ayudarle a entender que hay una promesa mucho más grande que vence el horror. El horror es por un tiempo, la promesa de nuestra vida eterna, la alegría que tenemos en Jesús aquí y ahora nos da la alegría, la esperanza, la promesa que nos restaura, nos renueva y nos energiza ahora. El mundo nos dice que sólo para aceptar la tragedia y seguir adelante, para encontrar la felicidad o recurrir a las drogas, el alcohol, el juego, el sexo para superar la tragedia, porque no importa de todos modos. Esa es una mentira desesperada y espantosa que viene directamente del Infierno. Fuimos creados por nuestro todopoderoso, todo amante de Dios. Él conoce los horrores, pero también sabe que no es el fin y nos da esa promesa, que hay más y más grandes alegrías eternas que Él tiene para nosotros en nuestra vida eterna y que nos restaura y nos renueva en nuestra vida ahora. Esa es la promesa de la tumba vacía de Jesús, que al final de los tiempos todas nuestras tumbas estarán vacías. Nuestros cuerpos serán resucitados, restaurados a una vida perfecta que siempre fuimos destinados a tener. Martín Lutero escribió: “La resurrección No consiste en palabras, sino en vida y poder. El gozo, la paz y la promesa de Dios el Padre en la resurrección de Jesús, Dios el Hijo, nos da gozo ahora, que cuando Tenemos la tragedia de la muerte de alguien que amamos, sabemos que cuando estamos todos en Jesús, esta vida y todas sus tragedias serán un recuerdo débil mientras vivimos juntos en la vida eterna, perfecta y perfecta de la resurrección.

La paz de Dios que sobrepasa todo entendimiento guarda sus corazones y mentes en Cristo Jesús. Amin y Shalom

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Renew and energize your disciples Lord Matthew 28 First Saint Johns Lutheran Church April 17, 2017

[for the audio of this sermon click on the above icon]

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know the hope and joy of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ said … AMEN!

For us in a liturgical church, this season, starting on Ash Wednesday, for many people seems to be such a dreary day, I put ashes on your forehead, which in itself is certainly counter-cultural what the world would see as “weird” and then I quietly tell you from dust you came and dust you shall return. Not exactly a “whoopee do” moment. Then we spend the next 40 plus days sacrificing something, hopefully, and remembering our sins. In a world that is all about lurching from the next exciting/breathtaking event, again seems weird that we should invite such reflection when the world around us is all about denial and minimizing their sin. But we get it, we get the whole human condition, when we are serious about our faith, we are equipped by our yearly liturgical calendar to deal with all the conditions of life. We don’t live in a zippity-do-da world, that when the trials strike, we don’t just curl up in a cocoon and become a zombie. That is part of what being in the church, in the Body of Christ is all about. We know that we have a pastor and brothers and sisters in Jesus that are there to strengthen us and remind us of the glorious promises that we have in Christ. While the Words and promises of Jesus give us inspiration and strength, the resurrection of Jesus is what gives us the ultimate, slam dunk hope that it really isn’t about this world and the trials. It is about the New World of the resurrection that gives us the deep down peace and joy that we will live an eternal, perfect life of true living and fulfillment.

Palm Sunday is good, but we know what it’s leading to, it’s kind of a interval, but certainly not the end. Maundy Thursday doesn’t really get the notice it should. Maundy is Latin, mandate or commandment, when Jesus told His disciples “ESV John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this that someone lays down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.” How we minimize this in our church calendar mystifies me. That Jesus gives us this incredible direction, you will not find in any other belief system, to love one another. That He is telling them, again, this is it, I am laying down My life for those I love, for My friends, that He is also telling them, and us, His disciples, that we are His friends. I certainly have a friend in Jesus, but it is the most one –sided friendship you can imagine, He gives me everything, up to and including His life in order for me to truly live now and the eternal life of the resurrection. But there’s more, He puts an exclamation point on this by giving His disciples His Body and Blood, we who are His disciples now are fed Jesus’ Body and Blood to the strengthening of our body and soul. We receive this actual nourishment of His Body to build us up and make our relationship with Him as strong as conceivable.

Good Friday, that’s a tough day. To see Him who called us friend, who is there for us all the time, and we helplessly watch as He is mercilessly beaten, abused, and then brutally murdered. Completely innocent, completely holy and abused so ruthlessly, showing how we can be so debased and so cruel as a people.

It seems unnecessary to have such a brutal scenario. But we know our greatest fear is death, to blink into non-existence, to leave behind everything we’ve known and just stop living. In order for our greatest fear, terror, our greatest anxiety to be defeated it had to be met head on, how else could death be defeated but for someone to die and then be restored to life? We are all doomed to die, without Jesus there is nothing but death. No human being could overcome death, because by our lives, we are already dead in our sin and trespasses, we deserve death. But not Jesus. Jesus, He who is completely holy, completely without guilt, no sin. He is not destined to die, He has eternal life because He is eternal, God the Son. He could pay the penalty, overcome death, which none of us could ever do. In God’s economy, in order to have mercy on us, in order to keep us from eternally paying the penalty for us, God permitted His Son to be the paschal victim. He did all that was necessary mostly during this season in order to give us the promise of eternal life and life in this world of joy and promise.

In all this it is very little about feelings. Yes we have feelings, but the point isn’t about how you feel, why etc, what you “feel”, just doesn’t change anything. Sam Storms writes: “What you and I “like” is utterly and absolutely irrelevant. God doesn’t set his eternal agenda based on what we “prefer”. What we might “hope” to be true simply doesn’t matter. What does or does not make us “feel comfortable” has no bearing on the truth or falsity of this issue. The fact that we have an intuitive sense for what strikes us as “fair” or “just” doesn’t really matter, what actually is, is what matters to God.”[1] To our harm we let our “feelings” our opinions, the way we think things should be dictate way too much of what we think. In God’s providence, in His Lordship, His creation it is about what He thinks. It is going to be His way, whether we think it’s fair or not. Yet, He does so much for us. We live the sinful lives, He doesn’t, Jesus didn’t and doesn’t, yet who was made the way to God and eternal life? Jesus. Not about our opinion or our feelings, entirely about what Jesus did for us. What we like and don’t like is certainly about our “feelings”. We could walk away on Good Friday, decide “what’s the point”, give up, give in to our feelings of loss and depression and not wait for the true joy. Jesus’ resurrection isn’t a jump up and down the Patriots won the Super Bowl happy. That’s superficial, it’s there for a moment and then back to reality. It’s that time when you stop in your life, a smile spreads over your face. Not a goofy, giddy smile, but a smile of knowing, of contentment, a mature and thoughtful smile knowing that the shallowness around us is just passing. That there is true joy, contentment. Have you ever noticed that when you’re all giddy-up happy, it’s quickly followed by kind of a crash? You were all yippy, then just kind of settled down into a discontent of “why did I do that”? The temporary giddy-up is fine, so long as we don’t get hooked on it and require continuous shots of “happy”. It doesn’t last. It’s been a tough last few months for me. On Friday I had to be with a mother whose 22 year old son was murdered. A few weeks ago I did a funeral for a ten year old boy, the week before that my father died, a few weeks before that I had to be with a mother and father whose 22 year old son committed suicide. Throw in car problems, other assorted issues, the strain has been huge. If I was dependent on happy how do you think I would continue to function? Being a Christian means you have the support of brothers and sisters in Jesus and pastors who are there for you during the trials and encouraging you. I really appreciate how some people here stepped up to encourage and support. Ken stepped up and really helped with a lot of the worships of the last few weeks. How can I stand before people who’ve just lost a child and make them “happy” as the world thinks they should be? Amusing them, stand up comedy, platitudes? Do I just leave them there to deal with it, get over it? As difficult as you think your trials might be, imagine being the parents going through such trials. There’s nothing that’s going to make them “happy”. But as a pastor, I am going to do whatever I can to give them true joy. That is the whole purpose of the resurrection. Tertullian wrote about the resurrection: “It is by all means to be believed because it is absurd.”[2] There will be tragedies in our lives of varying degree, the longer the life the higher the chance and even more tragedies. We might think of Jesus’ being horribly murdered on Good Friday as tragedy, yet out of His suffering on that day, came the greatest promise that we can imagine and as a pastor that is what I get to share with people who have endured ghastly tragedy. By doing this I am going to help them to know joy. That our God is very much aware of what they’re going through. He saw His own son unmercifully brutalized, beaten, nailed into wood and left to suffer. God understands our horror when we have to endure tragedy, He is right there with you reaching down through the layers you experience in order to help you understand that there is a far greater promise that overcomes the horror. The horror is for a time, the promise of our eternal life, the joy that we have in Jesus right here and now gives us the joy, the hope, the promise that restores, renews and energizes us now. The world tells us just to accept tragedy and move on, to find happiness or turn to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex to overcome tragedy, because it doesn’t matter anyway. That is such a hopeless, appalling lie straight from Hell. We were created by our all-powerful – all loving God. He knows the horrors, but He also knows that it is not the end and gives us that promise, that there are more and greater eternal joys that He has for us in our eternal life and that restores and renews us in our life now. That is what the promise of the empty grave of Jesus is all about, that at the end of time all of our graves will be empty. Our bodies we will be resurrected, restored to a perfect life that we were always intended to have. Martin Luther wrote: “The resurrection consists not in words, but in life and power. The heart should take inward delight in this and be joyful.”[3] Happiness only lifts us up to drop us again, the joy, peace and promise of God the Father in the resurrection of Jesus, God the Son, gives us joy now, that when we have the tragedy of the death of someone we love, we know that when we are all in Jesus, this life and all its tragedies will be a dim memory as we live life together in the eternal, fulfilling, perfect life of the resurrection.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

 

[1] Sam Storms “Ten Things you should know about Hell”   http://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/10-things-you-should-know-about– hell.html?utm_content=buffere08f1&utm_medium=fbpage&utm_source=cwpg&utm_campaign=cwupdate

 

[2] Cal and Rose Samra “Holy Humor” p 59

[3] Ibid

Domingo de Ramos el siguiente paso a la cruz Juan 12 Primera Iglesia de San Juan, 9 de abril de 2017

[for the audio version of this click on the above icon]

Hacemos nuestro comienzo en el Nombre de Dios el Padre y en el Nombre de Dios el Hijo y en el Nombre de Dios el Espíritu Santo y todos los que gritan Hosanna, Dios nos salve dijo … AMEN!

El Domingo de Ramos ha sido visto por los cristianos de muchas maneras diferentes. Algunos dijeron que este era el gran movimiento de Jesús, que el pueblo estaba cayendo en la línea y que Jesús restablecería el reino de David. Ciertamente la gente que día lo vio como tal. Ellos gritan “Hosana, Bendito el que viene en el nombre del Señor, el Rey de Israel”. Hoy vemos esas palabras casi como una plausibilidad, algo que usted dice cuando el Hijo de David, Jesús, viene a cabalgar como Zacarías profetizó Y parece estar haciendo su movimiento político o militar. La gente que lo saludaba lo ve así, recuerda de las lecturas de la semana pasada: “ESV Juan 11:47 Entonces los principales sacerdotes y los fariseos juntaron el concilio y dijeron: ¿Qué haremos? Lo dejaremos seguir así, todos creerán en él, y los romanos vendrán y llevarán nuestro lugar y nuestra nación “. Incluso los discípulos de Jesús estaban seguros de que esto era un juego de poder. Que el crucificar de Jesús fuera un gran error de cálculo. Tal vez de su parte? Quién sabía, pero las cosas no salían como se suponía.

Para ser claro, el Domingo de Ramos marca el comienzo de la marcha directa e inmediata hacia la Cruz. No hay vuelta atrás, no hay planes de copia de seguridad. Tal vez algunos segundos pensamientos, realmente no puedes culpar a Jesús, en el Jardín de Getsemaní, sabiendo muy bien lo que le va a suceder en unas doce horas, por lo menos planteando la posibilidad al Padre de que tal vez no es así como nosotros ¿quiero ir? Pero el plan estaba en su lugar, todo está listo.

Vemos la profecía de la pasión que se remonta al tiempo de David en algunos de los Salmos que escribió: ESV Salmos 22: 7 Todos los que me ven se burlan de mí; Me hacen bocas; Menean la cabeza; 8 Confía en Jehová, que lo libere, que lo rescate, porque él se deleita en él. Claramente una profecía de la burla de los soldados romanos y los líderes de Israel. Mateo 27:41 es acerca de la burla acerca de Jesús siendo Rey de Israel, que si Él es el Hijo de Dios que el Padre sin duda lo salvaría. ESV Salmos 22:14 Yo soy derramado como agua, y todos mis huesos están desordenados; Mi corazón es como la cera; Se derrite dentro de mi pecho; 16 Porque los perros me rodean; Una compañía de malhechores me rodea; Ellos me han traspasado las manos y los pies, 17 Puedo contar todos mis huesos, me miran y me glotonan “. Es evidente que la descripción de un hombre que ha sido estirado en una cruz clavado en ella para que puedan ver claramente sus costillas . David está siendo mostrado por Dios que su descendiente, Jesús, va a ser asesinado de una manera que ni siquiera sabría. La crucifixión no sería usada como un medio de ejecución por al menos otros 500 años después de que David viviera. Sin embargo, escribe muy vívidamente lo que sabemos de la crucifixión de Jesús. 18 Y repartieron mis vestidos entre ellos, y echaron suertes sobre mi ropa. »Una clara referencia a Mateo 27:35. No, no podemos saber con seguridad, pero en términos de la profecía bíblica, nadie realmente cuestiona que el Salmo 22: comenzando con el versículo 7 es profecía de los eventos que claramente vimos en cada uno de los Evangelios. La escena se había establecido hace más de mil años cuando David escribió las palabras del Salmo 22. Yahvé le dijo a David claramente que su descendiente, Jesús, sería asesinado de una manera muy violenta.

Hoy es Domingo de Ramos y recordamos la entrada de Jesús en Jerusalén. Toda la comunidad de Jerusalén resulta ver a Jesús. Ciertamente ha tenido un impacto. Juan escribe: “La multitud que había estado con él cuando llamó a Lázaro fuera del sepulcro y lo resucitó de los muertos continuó dando testimonio. La razón por la que la multitud fue a recibirlo fue que oyeron que había hecho esta señal. “(Vv 17-18) Como señalé en el sermón de la semana pasada, Jesús había hecho sus milagros en Capernaum, a unos 117 kilómetros de Jerusalén. El lugar donde resucitó a Lázaro estaba a unos 2 kilómetros de Jerusalén. Todos los que importaban sabían perfectamente quién era Lázaro, sabían que él había muerto y sabían que Jesús lo crió. Es evidente que Jesús había establecido su notoriedad en anticipación de su entrada en Jerusalén. Si nada más, todo el mundo quería ver al hombre que levantó a otro hombre de entre los muertos. Si Jesús quería asegurarse de que había una multitud, logró eso, pero pronto esa multitud animadora sería una muchedumbre burlona, exigiendo su muerte que fue profetizada mil años antes de su entrada triunfal en Jerusalén.

El Salmo 118 y Hebreos 9 es el Gradual para la adoración de hoy. El Salmo 118 es referido como el “Gran Halliel”, un salmo de celebración que se refiere a la liberación Y ciertamente el pueblo de Jerusalén ve que su libertador está entrando ahora en Jerusalén: “Los gritos de alegría y de victoria resuenan en las tiendas de los justos” … “Bendito el que viene en el nombre del Señor” … ” Con ramas en la mano se unen en la procesión festal hasta los cuernos del altar. “(Vv 24, 27)

El Dr. Carl Fickenscher estaba hablando sobre el Domingo de Ramos el 4 de abril, sobre las cuestiones Etc. Afirmó que la multitud está gritando Hosanna, que significa “ven a salvarnos” que este Salmo es un salmo de coronación que perciben que Jesús viene a ser coronado Rey de Israel. De hecho, Jesús viene a entrar en los lugares santos, el Santo de los Santos en el templo. Sólo los sacerdotes podían entrar en el Santo de Santo y que sólo fue una vez durante el año y que fue en la Pascua. Si alguien entrara en el Lugar Santísimo, la pena sería la muerte. Jesús está entrando ahora en Jerusalén porque Él es el Gran Sumo Sacerdote, que por Su sacrificio, Su muerte, Su sangre, que Él está derribando la cortina que separa el Santo de los Santos porque por Su muerte Él ha asegurado la redención eterna para todos los que Están en Él. Jesús sabe que va a la Cruz, para ser ese sacrificio por el pago de todos los pecados del mundo. La Cruz se convierte en el Santo de los Santos para todos y Él está procediendo a Jerusalén a plena vista de todos para proceder a la Cruz al final de la semana. Mateo 27:51: “Y he aquí, la cortina del templo se rasgó en dos, de arriba a abajo.” ¿Por qué de arriba a abajo? La cortina tenía 60 pies de largo y 30 pies de alto. Ciertamente una cortina masiva y nadie intentaría arrancarla desde arriba. Pero en esto vemos ciertamente que por la muerte de Jesús, la cortina que separó al hombre de Dios fue removida ahora por Dios y Jesús es ahora ese lazo al Padre. Jesús entra a los lugares santos por medio de su sangre y seguridad, nuestra redención eterna. Jesús se convierte en nuestro Sumo Sacerdote al convertirse en nuestra salvación, nuestro intercesor con Dios el Padre a su derecha. La gente había salido a ver al hombre que resucitó a los muertos y ciertamente fue el hombre predicho por David, Isaías, Zacarías, todos los profetas. Ellos pensaban que Él venía a Jerusalén para salvarlos de los romanos. Él vino a salvarlos ya todos nosotros a través de la historia de nosotros mismos y nuestros pecados y entregarnos para que tengamos vida eterna en Él porque Él murió por nosotros en la Cruz y luego venció a la muerte cuando resucitó de la tumba y fue resucitado En la mañana de Pascua para darnos la seguridad de que estamos en Jesús de nuestra eterna resurrección en Él.

La paz de Dios que sobrepasa todo entendimiento guarda sus corazones y mentes en Cristo Jesús. Amin y Shalom

Palm Sunday the next step to the Cross John 12 First Saint Johns April 9, 2017

[for the audio of this sermon click on the above icon]

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who shout Hosanna, God save us said … AMEN!

Palm Sunday has been seen by Christians in many different ways. Some to the effect that this was Jesus’ big move, that the people were falling in line and Jesus would re-establish David’s kingdom. Certainly the people that day saw it as such. They are shouting “Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.” We see those words today almost as a platitude, something you say when David’s Son, Jesus, comes riding in as Zechariah prophesied and seems to be making His political or military move. The people greeting Him see it that way, recall from last week’s readings: “ESV John 11:47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” Even Jesus’ disciples were sure that this was a power play. That Jesus’s being crucified, was a huge miscalculation. Maybe on His part? Who knew, but things just weren’t coming out the way they were supposed to.

To be clear, Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the direct, immediate march to the Cross. There is no turning back, there are no backup plans. Maybe some second thoughts, you really can’t blame Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing full well what is going to happen to Him in about twelve hours, at least raising the possibility to the Father that maybe this isn’t how we want to go? But the plan was in place, everything is set.

We see prophecy of the passion going back to David’s time in some of the Psalms He wrote: ESV Psalm 22:7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Clearly a prophecy of the mockery from the Roman soldiers and the leaders of Israel. Matthew 27:41 is about the mockery about Jesus being King of Israel, that if He’s the Son of God that the Father would surely save Him. ESV Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet-17 I can count all my bones- they stare and gloat over me;” Clearly a description of a man who has been stretched out on a cross, nailed to it so that they could plainly see his ribs. David is being shown by God that his descendant, Jesus, is going to be killed in a way that he wouldn’t even know. Crucifixion wouldn’t be used as a means of execution for at least another 500 years after David lived. Yet he writes pretty vividly what we know of the crucifixion of Jesus. “18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” A clear reference to Matthew 27:35. No we can’t know for sure, but in terms of biblical prophecy, no one really questions that Psalm 22: starting with verse 7 is prophecy of the events that we plainly seen in each of the Gospels. The scene had been set over a thousand years ago when David wrote the words of Psalm 22. Yahweh told David quite plainly that his descendant, Jesus, would be killed in a very violent way.

Today is Palm Sunday and we remember Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. The whole Jerusalem community turns out to see Jesus. He certainly has made an impact. John writes: “The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.”(vv 17-18) As I pointed out in last week’s sermon, Jesus had done His miracles in Capernaum, about 117 miles away from Jerusalem. The place He raised Lazarus was about 2 miles away from Jerusalem. Everyone who mattered knew fully well who Lazarus was, knew that he had died and knew that Jesus raised him. Clearly Jesus had set up His notoriety in anticipation of His entering Jerusalem. If nothing else, everyone wanted to see the man who raised another man from the dead. If Jesus wanted to make sure there was a crowd He accomplished that, but soon that cheering crowd would be a jeering crowd, demanding His death which was prophesied 1,000 years before His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Psalm 118 and Hebrews 9 is the Gradual for today’s worship. Psalm 118 is referred to as the “Great Halliel” a Psalm of celebration referring to the deliverance of God, and certainly the people of Jerusalem see that their deliverer is now entering Jerusalem: (v 16) “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous” … “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” … “With [tree] boughs in hand join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.” (vv 24, 27)

Dr Carl Fickenscher was talking about Palm Sunday on Issues Etc on April 4. He asserted that the crowd is shouting Hosanna, which means “come save us” that this Psalm is a coronation Psalm that they perceive that Jesus is coming to be crowned King of Israel. In fact Jesus is coming to enter into the holy places, the Holy of Holy in the temple. Only the priests could enter the Holy of Holy and that was only once during the year and that was on the Passover. If anyone else entered the Holy of Holies the penalty would be death. Jesus is now entering into Jerusalem because He is the Great High Priest, that by His sacrifice, His death, His blood, that He is tearing down the curtain that separates the Holy of Holies because by His death He has assured eternal redemption for all who are in Him. Jesus knows that He is going to the Cross, to be that sacrifice for the payment of all the sins of the world. The Cross becomes the Holy of Holies for all and He is proceeding into Jerusalem in full view of all in order to proceed to the Cross at the end of the week.[1] Matthew 27:51: “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” Why from top to bottom? The curtain was 60 feet long and 30 feet high. Certainly a massive curtain and no one would try to tear it from the top. But in this we certainly see that by Jesus’ death, the curtain that had separated man from God was now removed by God and Jesus is now that link to the Father. Jesus goes in to the Holy places by means of His blood and security, our eternal redemption. Jesus becomes our High Priest by becoming our salvation, our intercessor with God the Father at His right hand. People had gone out to see the man who raised the dead and was certainly the man foretold by David, Isaiah, Zechariah, all of the prophets. They thought that He was coming into Jerusalem to save them from the Romans. He came to save them and all of us through history from ourselves and our sins and to deliver us so that we would have eternal life in Him because He died for us on the Cross and then overcame death when He rose from the tomb and was resurrected on Easter morning to give us the assurance who are in Jesus of our eternal resurrection in Him.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

[1] Dr Carl Fickenscher   “Issues Etc” April 3, 2017