Tag Archives: Jesus King

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


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

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

I have set my face like a flint First St Johns Apr 13, 2014

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Father, set my face like flint, give me, that strength, that character, that determination, that conviction of faith that Jesus showed in His march to the Cross. 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 have set their face like flint to serve and glorify Jesus said … AMEN!
This is the deal, we have a crowd that has decided that they have the King of Israel, the run who will run the Romans out and even more, He’s the Bread King, He’s going to feed them and heal them and bring them back to life, heck he just did that with Lazarus a few days ago. When we were in Israel at Lazarus’ tomb, it was pointed out how close his tomb, where he lived, was to Jerusalem. All of Jesus’ other healings and raisings, were done in the northern part of Palestine. As far as the shakers and movers in Jerusalem were concerned the people in the north were just huckleberries, right off the tuna trolley. They had created these crazy stories, no one but this rabble took them seriously. But remember how Jesus had waited three days after He knew Lazarus was dead? He wanted there to be no doubt, Lazarus was dead, beyond all hope. Martha had given up hope, she chastised Him; “if you had come Lazarus would be alive, why did you dwaddle, I thought you loved my brother, how could you fail us and him?” Why? Jesus wasn’t going to get into it with her, He had a plan, “His face was set like flint.” It’s interesting the use of “flint”, flint was used to start a fire, Jesus was going to start a fire. The crowd may be cheering now, but the fire was sparked and the crowd would be on fire to crucify Him five days later. The world as everyone knew it at that point, would go up in a metaphorical burst of fire and three days later Jesus would overcome the ultimate enemy death! He started to chip on that flint with Lazarus. Right under the leader’s noses. Why this dramatic resurrection of Lazarus? The other people Jesus raised had just died, so even if the stories were true, from these hayseeds, it could be explained, somehow Jesus managed to resuscitate them. So even if the stories were true and not just the imagination of some hick, they were explainable. Not so with Lazarus, he was raised right next door, the memory was fresh in the mind of everyone who mattered. It was immediately following the raising of Lazarus that the Jewish leaders met and Caiaphas had decided his prophesy needed to happen immediately, Jesus must die to save the nation, more importantly to save us and our positions so the Romans wouldn’t decide to take matters into their own hands about Jesus. Just to underline the event, chapter 12, the chapter we are reading, starts with; “ Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at the table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 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.” (John 12: 1-6 ESV) There it is the table is set, Jesus was making a statement without any words. He sat down to dinner with Lazarus the day before He makes His Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem. “Remember what I did with Lazarus? You either acknowledge who I am, because no one but God could have done that or take the worldly way out. Judas? It is now plain what he is all about. Why are you wasting all that good stuff on Jesus? We could get a lot of money for that. The passage says he said that not because he cared about money for the poor, he wanted the money for himself. Jesus said he was being anointed for his burial. You are always going to have the poor, but this is where it all comes together, starting now. Six days after this Jesus would be buried and not one of those people at this dinner, none of the disciples saw Jesus’ death coming at all. Six days later Judas would receive a nice little payoff, that was his concern, until the reality of his action hit him right in the face.
Isaiah is telling us five hundred years earlier what is going to happen on that Palm Sunday. Jesus has hit the high note, he raised Lazarus, He is being hailed by the crowd, after hiding the last few days from the Jews, He is riding into Jerusalem in triumph. We have no other evidence in the Bible that Jesus did anything but walk anywhere He had to go, but not today, He’s set this up, told His disciples where to find the donkey and what to say to its owner. He’s riding into Jerusalem in a way that everyone would understand, He’s doing it in a way that a king of his day would demonstrate that he has conquered. He has drawn the line in the sand. The Jewish leaders can accept what He has made very clear, that He is the Messiah or they can chose to fight against Him and all the players are set to play out their part.
The Key Word Study Bible explains the word “set” in the Isaiah passage the Hebrew word :~yf which means to “to committ, to determine, “The verb indicates that which God put on the earth, as noted in Genesis where God put the man and woman that He formed in the Garden of Eden. The usage of the verb in this sense indicates God’s sovereignty over all creation … The word is used in Exodus in response to an interaction between Moses and God, in which God gave a new decree and law to the Israelites (Ex 15:25). In this setting, the verb again emphasizes God’s sovereignty, His ability to establish the order of things”1 Isaiah is describing Jesus at this pivotal moment, He is setting a new order, He has stacked the deck and the outcome is going to be according to His sovereign Lordship, Jesus is deciding what will happen here and the priests, Pharisees and lawyers are playing out the parts that Jesus has put them into.
The word shame in the same verse in Isaiah is the Hebrew word vAb to put to shame, disgrace, guilt. The Jewish leaders have tried to make Jesus out to be a shameful, fool, one who is trying to convince people that He is God and He’s not, they are sure that He is a charlatan or just a naïve bumpkin. In either case a very real threat, one that they can no longer allow to live. The Key Word Study Bible explains” disgrace, guilt “as farmers with no harvest”2, that is to say that after they are through with Jesus He will have nothing to show for His efforts, His intention is to raise a great harvest and now He will be tortured, shamed, humiliated on that cross, they intend to make it so that Jesus’ world will crumble around Him.
No brothers and sisters, His face is set like flint, He has become hard, He intends to be the ignition of that fire that will consume the world of the Jewish leaders and the whole world. Those people are cheering Him now because He is the “Bread King”, the one they can make do their will, feed them, heal them. They will be crying for Him to be crucified in five days because He didn’t do their will. He did His will, they wanted bread and health, He gives them something that they don’t understand, Life and life eternal. By lighting this fire, He will be sacrificed for all of them for all of their sins, He will put them back into relationship with the Father. Those who know Jesus as Lord will know true life, now and in the resurrection. Jesus set it all up so that He would be their salvation, He would be our salvation, He would die for the sins of all mankind on that cross and would rise and defeat death three days later. For those who know Jesus as Lord, that would be their promise of eternal life.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.