Guest Speaker: Pastor Sandy Martin
ON THE LAST NIGHT
IN HIS VERY FINAL HOURS OF FREEDOM BEFORE HIS ARREST AND CRUCIFIXION
ON THE EVE OF THE CROSS,
JESUS HAD TO MAKE HIS DECISION –
HIS FINAL DECISION ABOUT YOU –
OF ALL THE DISCIPLES –
PETER WAS EVERY MAN – HE WAS ALL OF US
IF ANY DISCIPLE HAD FOOT IN MOUTH DISEASE – IT WAS PETER/
IF ANY DISCIPLE TENDED TO SPEAK FIRST THEN THINK LATER IT WAS PETER.
HE HAD ALL THE SYMPTOMS OF ADHD
ONE EXAMPLE WAS WHEN THE DISCIPLES WERE IN THE STORM WHEN JESUS CAME WALKING ON WATER
Matthew 14:28-29 – Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Matthew 14:30-31 – But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
JESUS KNEW THE TRUTH ABOUT PETER
JESUS KNOWS THE TRUTH ABOUT YOU
LIKE US, PETER WANTED TO BE SEEN AS GOOD
IN THE EYES OF GOD.
PETER AND THE OTHER DISCIPLES DIDN’T GET IT
AND SADLY TOO OFTEN WE ALSO FAIL TO GET IT.
THAT’S WHY, I BELIEVE, ON THE NIGHT BEFORE
JESUS WAS TAKEN TO BE CRUCIFIED,
ONE LAST TIME,
JESUS SPENT EVERY POSSIBLE MOMENT,
EVEN HIS LAST THOUGHTS AND HIS LAST PRAYER – FOCUSED ON US –
TRYING TO TEACH US
TRYING TO SHOW HIS FOLLOWERS –
THAT’S US – BY EXAMPLE –
THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT OUR EFFORTS
IT’S NOT ABOUT OUR BEING GOOD ENOUGH.
THAT NO AMOUNT OF OUR EFFORT IN OUR OWN STRENGTH CAN EVER –
MAKE US GOOD ENOUGH IN GOD’S EYES.
FRIENDS IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS – AND LEARNING HOW TO LET HIM BE WHO HE ALREADY IS –
IN US, FOR US AND THROUGH US…
ALLOW ME TO SET THE SCENE:
THEY DON’T KNOW IT, BUT IT’S THE LAST DAY BEFORE JESUS’ CRUCIFIXION.
IT’S BEEN A LONG DAY.
JERUSALEM IS PACKED WITH THOUSANDS OF PASSOVER PILGRIMS,
MOST OF WHOM CLAMOR FOR A GLIMPSE OF THE ONE CALLED “THE TEACHER.”
THE SPRING SUN IS WARM. THE STREETS ARE DRY AND DUSTY.
AND THE DISCIPLES ARE A LONG WAY FROM HOME.
A SPLASH OF COOL WATER WOULD BE REFRESHING.
THE DISCIPLES ENTER, ONE BY ONE, AND TAKE THEIR PLACES AROUND THE TABLE.
ON THE WALL HANGS A TOWEL, AND ON THE FLOOR SITS THE PITCHER AND BASIN OF WATER.
ANY ONE OF THE DISCIPLES COULD VOLUNTEER FOR THE JOB, BUT NO ONE DOES.
IN JESUS’ DAY THE WASHING OF FEET WAS THE TASK RESERVED NOT JUST FOR SERVANTS,
BUT FOR THE LOWEST OF SERVANTS.
IF YOU WORKED ON THE JANITORIAL CREW – IT WAS YOUR JOB TO SCRUB THE TOILETS.
IF YOU WORKED FOR THE PORT-A-JOHN COMPANY, IT WAS YOUR JOB TO GO DOWN INSIDE THE TOILETS FOR THE FINAL DETAILED SCRUBBING.
IN JESUS’ DAY THAT WAS THE LEVEL THIS JOB HELD – CRAWLING AROUND THE TABLE, PICKING UP DIRTY, SMELLY FEET, HOLDING THEM IN YOUR LAP AND SCRUBBING THE FEET OF THE HOMEOWNERS AND THEIR GUESTS.
THE SERVANT AT THE VERY BOTTOM OF THE TOTEM POLE WAS EXPECTED TO BE THE ONE ON HIS OR HER KNEES WITH THE TOWEL AND BASIN OF WATER.
THEY WERE IN A BORROWED ROOM, SO THERE WAS NO DESIGNATED SERVANT.
BUT JESUS KNOWS THIS IS HIS LAST NIGHT TO TEACH US EVERYTHING HE HAD LEFT THAT HE WANTED TO POUR OUT INTO OUR HEARTS AND MINDS
2100 YEARS LATER, SITTING HERE IN OUR COMFORTABLE SEATS IN VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.
SO ONE MORE TIME – HE TEACHES US BY EXAMPLE WHAT HE MEANT BY LOVING ONE ANOTHER,
TO TEACH US WHAT HE MEANT ABOUT GOD’S DEFINITION OF LOVE BEING ABOUT ALWAYS PUTTING THE OTHER PERSON FIRST.
THAT REAL “LOVE DOES NOT PUT SELF FIRST.” – 1 CORINTHIANS 13:5
John 13:1-3 TELLS US THAT – “It was almost time for the Passover Feast… Jesus and His followers were at the evening meal. The devil had already persuaded Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to turn against Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given Him power over everything and that He had come from God and was going back to God.”
John 13:4-5 “So during the meal Jesus stood up and took off His outer clothing. Taking a towel, He wrapped it around His waist. Then He poured water into a bowl and began to wash the followers’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.”
IN THIS CASE THE ONE WITH THE TOWEL AND BASIN IS THE KING OF ALL CREATION.
HANDS THAT SHAPED THE STARS NOW WASH AWAY FILTH.
FINGERS THAT FORMED MOUNTAINS NOW MASSAGE TOES.
AND THE ONE BEFORE WHOM ALL NATIONS WILL ONE DAY KNEEL –
NOW KNEELS BEFORE HIS FOLLOWERS.
HOURS BEFORE HIS OWN DEATH, JESUS’ HAS THIS ONE SINGLE CONCERN –
HE WANTS US – YOU AND ME – TO SEE HIS EXAMPLE OF HOW MUCH HE ALSO LOVES US;
TO UNDERSTAND HOW WE TOO ARE TO EXPRESS HIS LOVE TO OTHERS.
WHAT A PASSIONATE MOMENT WHEN JESUS SILENTLY LIFTS THE FEET OF HIS BETRAYER AND WASHES THEM IN THE BASIN!
WITHIN HOURS THE FEET OF JUDAS,
CLEANSED BY THE KINDNESS OF THE ONE HE WILL BETRAY, WILL STAND BEFORE THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS BETRAYING JESUS.
AND WAS IT TOUGH AS HE LIFTED THE FEET OF THOMAS, KNOWING THAT THOMAS WOULD ONE DAY SOON QUESTION WHETHER JESUS HAD TRULY RISEN FROM THE DEAD?
MORE THAN REMOVING DIRT, THOMAS DOESN’T REALIZE THAT JESUS IS REMOVING DOUBT AND FORGIVING HIS DOUBT EVEN BEFORE HE REVEALS IT.
BY THE NEXT MORNING THESE FOLLOWERS – NOT UNLIKE OURSELVES AT TIMES –
WILL BURY THEIR HEADS IN SHAME AND LOOK DOWN ON THEIR FEET IN DISGUST. AND LIKE US – HE WANTS US TO REMEMBER THE KNEES THAT KNELT AND WASHED THOSE FEET.
AND WHEN WE DO –
HE WANTS US TO REALIZE THOSE FEET ARE STILL CLEAN.
JESUS SAID IN JOHN 13:7, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later.”
LIKE THE FOLLOWERS SITTING AROUND THAT TABLE, “GOD DEMONSTRATED HIS LOVE TOWARD US, IN THAT WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS CHRIST DIED FOR US.” (ROMANS 5:8)
HE FORGAVE THEIR SIN AND OUR SIN – YOURS AND MINE – BEFORE EVEN COMMITTING IT.
HE OFFERED MERCY BEFORE WE EVEN REALIZED WE NEEDED IT.
NOW GETTING BACK TO PETER –
WE COME BACK TO THE EVENTS OF WASHING THEIR FEET THAT EVENING.
WE CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT JESUS MUST HAVE BEEN THINKING, THE HEART-WRENCHING LOVE HE MUST HAVE BEEN FEELING –
LIFTING THE FEET OF THE MAN HE KNEW WITHIN HOURS WOULD BE CURSING HIM AND DENYING HIM.
WE COME BACK TO JOHN 13, PICKING UP IN VERSE 6
So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Jesus, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”
THAT PETER! HE WAS SUCH A CARD (LOL)!
AGAIN – LIKE US – PETER OPENS HIS MOUTH TO TRY
TO CONVINCE GOD HIMSELF HOW RIGHTEOUS –
HOW GOOD – HE IS.
LISTEN TO PETER TALKING THAT NIGHT IN LUKE 22:33, “But he said to JESUS, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
LIKE PETER – WE ALSO SOMETIMES MAKE ALL THESE LOFTY PROMISES TO GOD.
WE MAKE ALL THESE DEALS WITH GOD.
WE MISUNDERSTAND IF WE THINK
GETTING INTO HEAVEN IS BASED ON
HOW GOOD WE ARE.
BUT LISTEN TO WHAT JESUS SAID TO PETER, AND HE WAS SPEAKING TO US AS WELL:
BY NOW IT MUST HAVE BEEN DARK OUTSIDE WHEN “Then JESUS said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow IN THE MORNING before you will deny three times that you EVEN know Me.” (LUKE 22:34”)
AFTER WASHING THEIR FEET, JESUS SAT AT THE TABLE AND REPLACED THE OLD LAW –
HE REPLACED HUMAN EFFORT WITH TRYING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH, HUMAN FAILURE,
AND NEEDING THE DAILY 3PM JERUSALEM TEMPLE SLAUGHTER OF INNOCENT LAMBS WHOSE BLOOD
WOULD PAY THE PENALTY FOR EACH PERSON’S FAILURES –
JESUS AT THIS TABLE DECLARED THAT HE WAS PROVIDING A NEW COVENANT – A NEW TESTAMENT
FOR ALL OF US WHICH HE SYMBOLIZED WHEN HE BROKE THE BREAD SAYING “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (LUKE 22:19)
THEN AFTER THE MEAL TAKING A CUP SAYING, “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Testament in My blood.” (LUKE 22:20)
AS MOST ALL OF YOU KNOW – WITHIN HOURS FROM THE TIME WHEN THEY LEFT THE ROOM JESUS IS ARRESTED.
THE LEADERS AND THEIR HENCHMEN HAVE BOUND JESUS.
THEY HAVE BEGUN TO BEAT JESUS – LIKE A GANG ATTACKING A DEFENSELESS PERSON IN THE STREET, OUT IN THE PARK, IN A PARKING LOT.
THEY ARE SPITTING IN HIS FACE.
THEY ARE TAUNTING JESUS.
THEY ARE CURSING HIM.
THIS IS THE SETTING WHEN WE COME TO MATTHEW 26:67-68, “Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”
WHILE THIS IS GOING ON IN THE HOME OF ONE OF THE LEADERS,
PETER IS OUTSIDE WITH THE CROWD IN COURTYARD OF THIS RELIGIOUS LEADER
MATTHEW 26:69-70 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”
MATTHEW 26:71-72 And when he had gone out to the gate OF THE COURTYARD, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus.” But again he denied with an oath, “I swear I do not know the Man!”
MATTHEW 26:73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you” – YOU SOUND LIKE YOU COME FROM THE SAME PART OF THE COUNTRY JESUS COMES FROM – YOU DON’T SOUND LIKE YOU ARE FROM AROUND HERE.”
MATTHEW 26:74-75 Then PETER began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
THE TRUTH IS – WE HAVE ALL DENIED CHRIST.
YOU DENIED CHRIST WHEN YOU:
1 – TOOK SOMETHING THAT DID NOT BELONG TO YOU
2 – DID NOT TELL THE TRUTH
3 – LOOKED WITH LUST AT ANOTHER PERSON
– COME ON NOW ADMIT TO YOURSELF.
4 – TOOK GOD’S NAME IN VAIN
5 – REPLACED GOD WITH ANYTHING:
WITH YOUR CAREER,
WITH PARTYING LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW,
WITH DRUGS, ALCOHOL
6 – WORST OF ALL WHEN YOU HAVE TRIED TO CONVINCE YOURSELF THAT ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SHOW UP AND SIT IN CHURCH – DOING NOTHING MORE THAN SITTING IN CHURCH ONCE A WEEK DOESN’T MAKE YOU GOOD ENOUGH TO GET INTO HEAVEN ANY MORE THAN SLEEPING IN A GARAGE MAKES YOU A CAR; – OR
7 – THAT SOMEHOW DOING GOOD DEEDS, OR
8 – MAKING A SHOW OF BEING THIS WONDERFUL GOOD PERSON
WILL SOMEHOW GET YOU INTO HEAVEN
YOU SAY, “BUT GOD IS A GOD OF LOVE AND FORGIVENESS AND HE WOULD NEVER DENY ANYONE THE RIGHT TO GO TO HEAVEN.”
FRIEND – IF THAT IS WHAT YOU THINK –
YOU HAVE ALREADY BROKEN ANOTHER OF THE 10 COMMANDMENTS –
YOU HAVE RESHAPED WHO GOD IS INTO YOUR OWN
FALSE GOD – YOUR IDEA OF WHAT GOD SHOULD BE LIKE –
YOU’VE TURNED HIM INTO A GOD THAT YOU NEED TO MAKE YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE.
FRIEND – BY HIS OWN HOLINESS AND JUSTNESS –
GOD CAN NO MORE TOLERATE OR ACCEPT –
THOSE WHO ARE GUILTY OF SIN INTO HEAVEN –
NO MORE THAN A JUDGE CAN LET YOU WALK FREE OUT OF COURT FOR A CRIME FOR WHICH YOU ARE GUILTY AND HAVE BEEN CONVICTED JUST BECAUSE YOU SAY “I’M SORRY.”
HERE IS THE TRUTH – TOO OFTEN –
JUST LIKE PETER AT THE FOOT-WASHING MISUNDERSTANDING THE NECESSITY TO RELY ON
NOTHING BUT GOD’S GRACE – TELLING GOD HOW GOOD HE THOUGHT HE WAS:
SELF-effort HAS BEEN the story of OUR LIVES –
putting forth the effort to please God – BY OUR OWN STRENGTH AND OUR OWN EFFORT
SO WHAT DOES THAT LEAD TO?
MOST OF THE TIME IT JUST LEADS TO
weariness and emptiness.
IT LEADS to A WHOLE LOT
OF UNNECESSARY frustration and guilt.
but when YOU fall short – AND SOMEHOW WE
ALWAYS FALL SHORT –
THEN YOU JUST WIND UP TURNING away from God in shame.
LIKE THE DISCIPLES WHEN THEY TURNED THEIR BACKS ON GOD, THEN RAN AND HID FROM HIM –
WE WIND UP DOING THE SAME THING
SO WHAT DO WE TEND TO DO WHEN WE MESS UP?
WHEN THINGS GO WRONG; WHEN WE ARE ANGRY OR FRUSTRATED,
EVEN WHEN GOD HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW WE FEEL –
WE TURN OUR BACKS ON GOD;
WE TURN AWAY FROM GOD,
WE STOP READING OUR BIBLE,
WE STOP PRAYING,
MAYBE WE STOP GOING TO CHURCH.
WE JUST AVOID GOD.
IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR HEART AND MIND
LIKE THE DISCIPLES – YOU GIVE UP ON GOD
AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER –
IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER –
WE HAVE ALL FELT EXACTLY THAT WAY.
SO – MAYBE YOU STILL SHOW UP AT CHURCH
– OR NOT –
MAYBE EVEN IN PUBLIC YOU HIDE THE FACT THAT YOU’RE NOT REALLY SEEKING GOD FIRST IN YOUR LIFE –
SO YOU PUT ON A MASK OF BEING A GOOD PERSON, SHOW UP IN CHURCH AND HOPE FOR THE BEST.
YOUR life’s equation LOOKS SOMETHING LIKE THIS:
“more right behavior + less wrong behavior = BEING A GODLY PERSON.”
The problem IS –
YOU ARE STILL LEFT WITH THAT NAGGING INNER
SECRET QUESTION –
“HOW GOOD IS GOOD ENOUGH?” –
TO PLEASE GOD,
TO GET ME INTO HEAVEN?
HERE IS THE TRUTH:
IN GOD’S ECONOMY
IN THE END –
NO AMOUNT OF RIGHT BEHAVIOR CAN
OUTWEIGH OUR WRONG behavior.
FRIENDS, REALITY FAMILY –
WHEN WE TRY TO LIVE A SPIRITUAL LIFE BY OUR OWN EFFORTS,
BY OUR OWN STRENGTH –
WE END UP RIGHT WHERE SATAN WANTS US –
OVERWHELMED WITH A WHOLE LOT OF
UNNCESSARY frustration, AND
A WHOLE LOT OF UNNECESSARY guilt and shame.
OVER THE COURSE OF MY LIFE NOT ONLY HAVE I VIOLATED EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE 10 COMMANDMENTS BY EITHER WORD, DEED OR THOUGHT,
BUT UNTIL I LEARNED A NEW AND BETTER WAY –
I ALSO EXPERIENCED SUFFERING THE OVERWHELMING BURDEN AND FRUSTRATION OF TRYING TO SERVE GOD IN MY OWN STRENGTH AND EFFORT,
RATHER THAN RELAXING INTO HIM AND ALLOWING HIM TO DO IN AND THROUGH ME WHAT ONLY HE CAN DO.
I CAN NEVER IN MY OWN POWER BE GOOD ENOUGH TO OVERCOME MY SINS OR DESERVE FORGIVENESS AND ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN.
BUT FRIENDS, GOD SHOWED US THAT –
“We can never resolve our sin by working on it” –
only God can resolve our sin –
AND THAT’S WHAT GIVES US THE victory.
If our primary motive is pleasing God IN OUR STRENGTH,
AND I THINK THIS IS WHAT JESUS KNEW PETER WAS STRUGGLING WITH AT TIMES
If our primary motive is pleasing God IN OUR STRENGTH,
we’ll never please Him enough and
we’ll never learn TO trust HIM BY OUR EFFORTS.
GOD IS NOT LOOKING FOR YOU TO BE
GOOD ENOUGH TO GET YOURSELF IN HEAVEN.
THE BIBLE SAYS, “CEASE STRIVING AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.”
JESUS SAID IN JOHN 14:6, “I AM THE WAY…”
GOD GAVE A GIFT – A GIFT WE DO NOT DESERVE BY
THAT’S WHAT THE BIBLE CALLS GRACE –
AN UNDESERVED GIFT.
I HAVE DECIDED THAT THE ONLY WAY FOR ME TO BE DELIVERED from my sin –
IS to trust IN JESUS AND WHAT HE DID FOR ME ON THE CROSS.
True Grace IS ALL ABOUT “Standing with God, OUR SINS EXPOSED WIDE OPEN TO HIM,
ALLOWING GOD TO CHANGE US INTO HIS LIKENESS.
I HAVE DECIDED TO ACCEPT THAT GIFT OF GOD’S GRACE, NOT BASED ON WHAT I CAN DO TO PLEASE GOD,
INSTEAD – IT’S BASED ON THE FACT THAT HE WANTS TO HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU AND ME THAT STARTS:
AND HE WANTS IT TO LAST FOREVER!!!
CAN I GET AN ‘AMEN’?
LET’S GIVE IT UP FOR GOD (APPLAUSE)
FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US! (APPLAUSE)
SO WE DON’T HAVE TO WONDER IF WE ARE GOING TO HEAVEN!
SO WE DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WHETHER WE ARE
GOOD ENOUGH TO PLEASE GOD!
FRIEND, JESUS TOOK CARE OF ALL THAT FOR YOU AND ME.
YOU SAY, I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TRUST GOD THAT MUCH.
LET ME HELP YOU WITH THAT.
IN ROMANS 10:9-10 WE READ THESE WORDS, “IF YOU CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH JESUS AS LORD” – IF YOU OPENLY ACKNOWLEDGE YOU ARE TRUSTING IN HIM AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR – “AND YOU BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, YOU SHALL BE SAVED, FOR WITH THE HEART WE BELIEVE, RESULTING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND WITH THE MOUTH WE CONFESS OUR SINS, RESULTING IN SALVATION.”
FRIENDS – THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY INTO HEAVEN.
GOD MADE IT SIMPLE FOR US – NOT SIMPLE FOR HIM – BUT FOR US.
JESUS SAID, “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES TO GOD IN HEAVEN BUT THROUGH ME.”
FRIENDS – EVER SINCE I UNDERSTOOD THOSE WORDS WE READ FROM ROMANS 10 AND DECIDED TO TRUST IN JESUS, NOT IN MY OWN GOOD WORKS –
my world has been rocked and changed forever –
so TODAY – with great joy,
WITH GREAT excitement and
WITH GREAT enthusiasm –
TODAY – I share God’s Grace with you!
MAY YOU TOO ACCEPT HIS GRACE AND IF YOU ALREADY HAVE,
LET HIM GIVE YOU HIS DESIRE TO USE YOU TO SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE YOU MEET!
Answer this question:
Does the God who IS WILLING TO lavishly provide you
with His own presence,
by his Holy Spirit living in you,
working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves,
does He do these things –
because of your strenuous moral striving or
because you trust Him to do IN YOU AND FOR YOU –
WHAT ONLY HE CAN DO?
REALITY CHURCH – LET’S KEEP IT SIMPLE.
JESUS, THE ONE AND ONLY SON OF GOD –
WHOSE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD WE
CELEBRATE IN 2 SHORT WEEKS –
SAID IT BEST.
HE SAID, YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN – HE SAID YOU
MUST HAVE A SPIRITUAL REBIRTH.
A SPIRITUAL NEW YOU THAT ONLY
GOD CAN CREATE –
NOT BY YOUR EFFORT,
NOT BY YOUR STRIVING –
BUT BY HIS GRACE – HIS GIFT HE GIVES
UNDESERVED AND UNEARNED.
AS I HAVE BEEN SAYING TODAY – JESUS SPENT ALL OF HIS LAST FEW AVAILABLE HOURS THINKING ABOUT YOU AND ME –
TEACHING BY EXAMPLE;
TELLING US IMPORTANT TRUTHS THAT PROVIDE US COMFORT IN THE HERE AND NOW;
AND WORDS WE NEED TO RECALL FOR ETERNAL ASSURANCE.
BUT JESUS DIDN’T STOP THERE.
HE SPENT HIS VERY FINAL HOURS BEFORE HIS ARREST PRAYING FOR YOU AND FOR ME.
I ENCOURAGE YOU TO TAKE TIME IN THE COMING WEEK TO READ THE WHOLE PRAYER OF JESUS THAT MAKES UP THE ENTIRE 17TH CHAPTER FOUND IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN – THE 4TH BOOK OF THE NEW TESTAMENT,
BUT SO THAT YOU UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH YOU MEAN TO JESUS,
HOW MUCH YOU – SITTING RIGHT HERE IN THIS ROOM, RIGHT NOW –
HOW MUCH YOU WERE ON HIS MIND THAT NIGHT RIGHT UP UNTIL HE WENT TO THE GARDEN WHERE HE WAS ARRESTED,
LISTEN TO THESE EXERPTS FROM HIS PRAYER FOUND IN JOHN 17:
“Jesus …lifting up His eyes to heaven, said, “Father, the hour has come; …Now they” – THAT’S YOU AND ME – “have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.
I ask on their behalf… I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You.
Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are One.
I have given them Your Word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone who are in this present time, but for those also who later will believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and that You love them, even as You have loved Me…before the foundation of the world.”
“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these your children have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
ON THE EVE OF THE CROSS,
JESUS MADE HIS DECISION –
HIS FINAL DECISION ABOUT YOU –
WHAT WAS THAT DECISION?
JOHN 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
ON THE EVE OF THE CROSS,
JESUS MADE HIS DECISION –
HIS FINAL DECISION ABOUT YOU –
JESUS DECIDED THAT
HE WOULD RATHER GO EXPERIENCE THE DESPERATION THAT COMES WITH ETERNAL SEPARATION FROM GOD THAT IS THE HOPELESSNESS OF HELL FOR YOU
THAN GO BACK TO HEAVEN WITHOUT YOU.
“By grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the free gift of God; not a result of your works,” -YOUR EFFORT TO BE GOOD ENOUGH–“so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
JESUS PRAYED FOR YOU AND ME UNTIL
THAT VERY LAST MOMENT HAD COME.
LIKE THE PRISONER VOLUNTEERING TO BE TAKEN TO THE ELECTRIC CHAIR OR
TAKEN TO THE ROOM FOR A LETHAL INJECTION AS PUNISHMENT FOR ANOTHER PRISONER:
JOHN 18 BEGINS BY TELLING US THAT AFTER HE HAD PRAYED THE LAST TIME
WHERE HE SAID TO THE FATHER, “NOT MY WILL, BUT THY WILL BE DONE.”
HE WOKE HIS SLEEPING DISCIPLES IN TIME FOR THEM TO GET READY TO RUN AND HIDE AS
JUDAS LED A COMPANY OF SOLDIERS TO ARREST JESUS.
THE CROSS WAS WAITING FOR JESUS JUST OVER THE HORIZON –
THE TIME FOR HIS FINAL ACT OF SUPREME LOVE FOR YOU AND ME HAD COME.