"And taking the twelve, he said to them, 'See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.' But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said" (Luke 18:31-34 ESV).
Hear this part of the story of Jesus. Jesus was going up to Jerusalem with His disciples. He knew by prophesy that He would be crucified there and that He would rise again.
See how Jesus foretold to His disciples what would happen. Jesus loves to tell His friends what He is doing. Long ago God came to Adam and Eve in the garden to converse with them. When the cry came up from Sodom and Gomorrah that the place was full of sin, ripe for destruction, God came to Abraham to converse with him about it. When God wanted to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage, He came to Moses again, appearing in a bush in a flame of fire, presenting Himself so humbly, inviting Moses to come aside and see that great sight.
Then at last God sent His only begotten Son Jesus. He chose to enter into the world He had made. He was born a babe in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. In Jesus God came to His people. The four gospels tell the story of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, our elder brother, God come in human flesh. He, worked healings, taught, conversed, counseled. He did not bend. He upheld God's Kingdom in every way. The twelve were told what was coming ahead of time because they were His own.
You and I are His own, too. It is our privilege to be disciples of Jesus. Have we been left out in the cold, in darkness, unable to understand or explain the prophecies? In the divine plan His church was given His Scriptures. In the Scriptures in particular we find the books Daniel and Revelation. And to we who live at the end of time, Heaven is opening its secrets. The future is revealed. Jesus is coming soon.
The text we look at today shows Jesus, full aware of His destination. He is traveling to Jerusalem, the city of peace, to be murdered. He predicts the abuse He will receive, the treatment of evil, and His own murder by dirty human hands.
Jesus foretells His death. But they do not understand. Their minds are filled with their own ideas, their own plans, their own goals, their own agendas. Jesus' heart is filled with His Father's will. He knows His Father's will. He knows He can trust His Father, even die in His arms, "and on the third day He will arise." That is faith.
You can kill Jesus but He will rise anyway. You can understand who He is or not understand who He is. But He will rise anyway. You can try to explain away parts of His teachings and keep the parts you prefer. But He will rise anyway.
He never sinned. His Father, our Father in heaven accepted His sacrifice for us. His heart and mind were completely committed to God. He was the law enfleshed. The law was His character inscribed. It can be inscribed in stone or in flesh. Stone will fight it, and be broken in the inscribing process; but flesh is warm and it can yield to His gentle moving and be changed. Jesus did not die for your stony heart but to give you His life and to give it to you more abundantly.
We can focus on the things we think we cannot do. But the apostle Paul who has gone before us says "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Because although Christ died, He is not dead. He is risen. He has power. And to us He has given the power to become the sons and daughters of God.
And so today, we have gathered to worship Him as our Lord. Not as our indulgent grandparent, nor as a well-meaning sage, nor a misplaced rebel, nor as a dealer in the forgiveness drug. He forgives but He also heals. Jesus came to this world to bring to you and to I His very own kingdom. He is God. He is worthy to be praised. His blood is human blood. He become one of us to uplift us. His mission was costly. Why?
"It is not enough that now and then you offer a prayer, and now and then deal righteously. You are to have the attributes of an abiding Christ working out in your life constantly. How many of us have this experience? Yet we may have it, and having it, we will be the happiest people on the face of the earth. With Christ’s Word abiding in us, we shall give evidence that we have wholly received Him who in His humanity lived a sinless life. In the strength of divinity we shall overcome every tendency to evil" (The Upward Look, p. 303).
We can ask ourselves today, are we experiencing this working? Are our hearts open for Jesus to do carpenter work? Do we have the attributes of an abiding Christ working out in our life constantly? As we proceed in worship today, let us not condemn ourselves for failing of this experience. Rather, let us in the strength of God avail ourselves of this experience. Jesus wants to abide in you. He wants you to know His presence.
We have waited too long, become too engrossed in the cares of this world. We have been living below our privileges. We have been living in a spiritual poverty. O, may we this day turn to Jesus with fresh thinking, renewed heart-service, clearer vision, and see Him stretching forth His hands to us to change and embrace us. He is Jesus. He is risen. He is Savior. He is Lord. Hallelujah.
Bonners Ferry ID SDA 2013-11-08