Posts Tagged ‘Easter’


Death with an exclamation point

A 21-year-old University Student wrote to a forum about death: “I am perfectly fine with death myself. But, I love my father very, very much. And I cannot imagine how it would be like for him to be gone, forever, one day. To know he has ceased to exist; that I will never talk with him again. It feels like having a short circuit inside the brain; life seems so vain and entrapping. Whatever I do seems pointless as one day, he will cease to exist and only a memory of him will remain. And the more joyful the memory, the greater the pain. It makes me want to scream, cry, and run away.”[1]

There are deaths that people expect, in fact even welcome. Death for many is a welcome relief from suffering. When my mom died from cancer that spread to her liver and finally brain, it was a relief to see her suffering end. However, some deaths are followed by an exclamation point. When we came home from church and saw my brother Tim sitting on our front steps, we knew something was wrong. When he cried out “Dad’s gone!”, that exclamation point hit me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. My dad was only 63. His death was a total shock to all of us, especially Mom.

Nothing shakes our world like the unexpected death of a close friend or loved one. That exclamation point shakes our world. However, one death shook the whole world, indeed, the whole universe. This death was no surprise, for it was planned. This death came with a HUGE exclamation point!!!!

Join me in listening in to Peter as he addresses a huge crowd in the Temple, just 50 days after the crucifixion of Jesus:

Acts 2:23-28 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him(Psalms 16), “ ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

As we celebrate this Easter Sunday, I want us to consider three things that Peter wants us to see, for they are Life Changers!

In this part of Peter’s sermon, we see God’s PLAN, God’s PRESENCE and God’s PROMISE.

  1. The Plan of God gives US power over Death
  2. The Presence of God gives US power over Life
  3. The Promise of God gives US power for Eternity

I. The Plan of God – Power over Death

God NEVER intended for His creation to die. We are made in His image. We were meant to live forever, to enjoy Him forever. He placed the Tree of Life in the middle of the Garden of Eden. After Adam sinned,

He drove out the man, and at the east of the Garden of Eden, he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24

Sin corrupted God’s design. Sin brought the curse of death and decay to God’s creation. Yet this came as no surprise to God. God loved His creation, and already had a plan to remove the curse of death. His plan was made before time began.

A. The Death of Jesus was no Happenstance

Verse 23 says God delivered up Jesus Christ. His own son!

  • Definite plan
  • Foreknowledge of God

After Peter and John were threatened for preaching about Jesus, they were released and returned to the disciples. They prayed in Acts 4. They started their prayer Sovereign God and they prayed to God saying that Pilate and Herod and the Gentiles and Jews had only done WHAT YOUR HAND AND YOUR PLAN HAD PREDESTINED TO TAKE PLACE.

It may have been Judas who betrayed Jesus, but Judas was doing exactly as God had planned. It may have been the Romans who crucified Jesus, but the Romans were doing exactly as God had planned. It may have been the Jews who screamed, “Crucify Him!”, but the Jews were doing exactly as God planned. Jesus had to suffer this horrible death as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. There was no other way for God to rescue His creation from the curse of sin!

B. The Death of Jesus was Committed at the Hands of Lawless men.

(Even though it was God’s plan, there is no excuse for what these people did).

Jesus had to die because of the truth in Romans 3:

Romans 3:9-19 …For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” …“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Innocent men have been murdered throughout the ages. Cain murdered his brother Abel. The prophets were stoned and ridiculed, even put to death. The 12 apostles were all murdered except John, although tradition says they tried. Every day it seems we hear news of some other psycho who starts murdering innocent people. It seems that lawlessness is getting out of hand.

Yet the truth is each one of us is born lawless. We each fail to live by God’s Law, and even our own internal law. We resist, we rebel, and we have a natural bent away from total obedience to God’s Law.

The truth is that Christ died at our hands. No one can say they would not have consented to Christ’s death on the Cross. We must admit that we put Jesus on the Cross. We drove those spikes into His hands and feet. We mocked at Him as he struggled for each breath. We are the lawless ones for whom Jesus died. We deserve as Romans says, “The wages of sin is death.”

  • We must accept God’s judgment of our sinfulness.
  • There is nothing in us that permits fellowship with Holy God.
  • We are each guilty of lawlessness before God.
  • EACH ONE OF US IS BORN WITH THE SENTENCE OF DEATH UPON OUR HEADS, FOR DEATH IS THE WAGE OF SIN.

As Peter was preaching, the people were cut to their heart, they felt the tremendous pressure of their sins, and they cried out: “What shall we do?”

C. God Had Jesus Crucified to Destroy Death.

Verse 24 says:

  • God delivered up Jesus and RAISED HIM UP!
  • He loosed the pangs of death.

Literal Translation (v 24):  HAVING DESTROYED THE BIRTH PAINS (travail) of DEATH,

Having loosed the pains of death. The word loosed, lusav, is opposed to bind, and is properly applied to a cord, or to anything which is bound. See Matthew 21:2; Mark 1:7. Hence, it means to free, or to liberate, Luke 13:16; 1 Corinthians 7:27.[2]

  • Death could not hold Jesus.

“Because it was not possible for him to be held by it”

We must face that fact that just as a the birth of a child issues from the pangs of a mother’s travail, so does the passing of each one of us follow the travail of the pains of death.

When Jesus cried out from the Cross, “It is finished” He willingly laid down His life and faced the travail and pangs of death. His heart stopped. His breathing stopped. His bodily functions ceased. His brain was lifeless. They took his crucified body and wrapped Him in burial rags and laid Him in a borrowed tomb. Jesus, the Son of God died.

If we could see with spiritual eyes, we could see Satan’s demons in that tomb, wrapping a million cords of rope around Jesus. They were doing everything in their power to hold Jesus down! However, it was no use. Satan could have used a trillion ropes and that would not have been enough to hold Jesus in the grave!

God’s Word says they could not hold Him. They had no strength! Death had no power over Jesus! Jesus raised His body up from that stony grave and those cords melted away. Jesus stood up and kicked those demons out of that tomb.

Jesus had broken the strength of death. It had no power over Him! Jesus loosed the ropes of death stood up and kicked the Devil out of the tomb! Take that you old devil, for I have defeated death forever more. Your power over my children is forever destroyed!

DEATH WAS RENDERED POWERLESS BECAUSE JESUS DESTROYED THE DEVIL:

kratéō; from krátos strength. To take hold of, grasp, hold fast, followed by the gen. of person meaning to have power over, rule over.[3]

1.) Jesus destroyed the one who has power of death

Hebrews 2:14-15 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

2.) Jesus holds the Keys to Death and Hades

Revelation 1:17-18 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” One day he will throw death and Hades into the Lake of Fire!

Next in verses 25-26 Peter quotes Psalms 16, and we see the Presence of God in His Christ’s life

‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope.’

II. The Presence of God – Gives us Power over Life

A. The Lord was always before Him

Isaiah 49:16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;

B. God was at His right hand

To have the Lord at one’s right hand signifies protection.

  • Advocates would sit to the right of their clients to defend them in court (R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles [Augsburg], p. 86).
  • Bodyguards would stand on the right side so they could cover the person they were protecting with their shields and still have their right arm free to fight (John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Acts 1-12 [Moody Press], p. 65).[4]
  • The right hand is mentioned because that was the place of dignity and honour. God had the place of honour, the highest place in Jesus’ affections, Psalms 109:31.
  • In our dependence on God, we should exalt him. We should not merely regard him as our help, but should at the same time give him the highest place in our affections.[5]

We Have the Promise from God!

  • TO ISRAEL – Isaiah 43:1-2 “The LORD… who created you, (says): “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
  • TO THE DISCIPLES – Matthew 28:20 “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”


Understand that God was at the right hand of Jesus every step down the Via Dolorosa. He was there through every lash, through every pounding of the spikes. He was there in the jeering crowd. Yet God forsook His only Son to the cross and to your sin, because it was His plan foreordained before time even began.

Rest assured, Jesus has promised all His children, that He will never leave you nor forsake you, that He, through the Holy Spirit, is always at your side. Does Jesus hold a place of honor in your life? Do you thank Him for His comfort, protection, and love?

God was with Jesus so that:

C. Life Did Not Shake Jesus

Verse 25 – “That I might not be shaken”

God was at the right hand of Jesus, ever before Him, so that He might not be shaken by this life. KJV says, “moved.”

The phrase pictures “to sink into calamities, or to fall into the power of enemies.” Even though Jesus was facing the most horrible catastrophe devised by man, He never lost His confidence in God to take Him through it. As He willingly submitted his back to the cat-o-nine tails, He knew God was with Him! When they hoisted the cross up and he could feel the searing pain, and struggled to breath, He knew God was with Him and would take Him through it. Jesus could rejoice with David in Psalms 62:

“He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalms 62:2

Has your life ever been shaken?

When you take your two-year-old boy to the Emergency Room with high fever and an inability to hold his head up, you are worried. When the Doctor says they need to do a spinal tap, you get more worried. When the Doctor comes back and says your son has spinal meningitis, your are literally shaking. My wife and I prayed right there, and we committed our son into God’s hands! We knew that God was not shaken! Praise the Lord, the Doctors were wrong, and our son soon got better!

Even on the Cross:

D.    His Heart was Glad & His Tongue Rejoiced

  • Verse 26 -“therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced”

Jesus could proclaim His joy and gladness because God was near Him in time of calamity. His confidence in God to deliver Him was all He needed to overcome any fear of crucifixion and becoming the lamb slain for the sins of the world. Instead of fear in His heart and woe upon His lips, Jesus said His tongue rejoiced. Tongue in the Hebrew can mean “my glory or my honor.” The tongue is man’s means of expressing honor and glory to the Creator God. As Psalms 30:12, “To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent.[6]

Jesus used His tongue to express His Honor of His Father, for He knew that through Him, there was a “joy set before me.The Greek word actually means to “jump for joy.” Yes, you can honor God as you “jump for joy”!

One of Satan’s most successful lies is that God is a cosmic killjoy who wants everyone to be miserable. People view God as a great sadist in the sky, who gets perverse delight in making His creatures miserable. Nothing could be further from the truth! Jesus wants His joy to be our joy. His joy in the midst of the worst calamities can be our joy in the worst of times!

  • Jesus tells us that His joy is made complete in us (Jn 15:11, Jn 17:13)
  • He told the Disciples when they saw Him alive again, they would rejoice, and no one could take that joy away from them (John 16:20, 22).
  • Having Joy from Jesus does not deny times of sorrow and grief. (Jesus was a man of sorrows)

Nevertheless, it does overcome such times because it rests on the sovereign God and His promises to every believer.

E.  Jesus Dwelt in Hope.

  • Verse 26 – “my flesh also will dwell in hope (CONFIDENCE)”
  • Literally: MY FLESH IS GOING TO PITCH A TENT WITH CONFIDENCE.

Like the expression “You can take that to the Bank” Jesus hung on the cross in confident expectation of the Resurrection. His earthly body was temporary, it was a tent, but Jesus dwelt in that tent in Full Confidence of His Father!

The word Greek word elpís “hope” best expresses confidence rather than hope. The passage means, My body will I commit to the grave, with the firm confidence that I will never see corruption, but arise to the Joy of my Father![7]

Jesus was confident in the power of His Father. He was confident that He was fulfilling His will. He expressed that confidence at the beginning of His ministry:

He expressed that confidence at the end of His earthly ministry: “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46)

III. The Promise of God – Power for Eternity

A. You Will Not Abandon My Soul to Hades (vs 27)

  • NKJV For You will not leave my soul in Hades.

As Death could not hold Jesus, so Hades could not keep Him. The place that Jesus Himself described was the place souls await judgment. Those who trusted in God such as Lazarus, Abraham, and the Old Testament saints, until the resurrection, those who hardened themselves against God until the Great White Throne Judgment. Satan had no hold on Jesus, in fact, Jesus freed those Old Testament Saints who were looking for their Messiah:

Ephesians 4:7-8 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”

B. You will not let Your Holy One see Corruption

Jesus is the Holy One. Hebrews 4:15 declares, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

Jesus had no part in sin, therefore His body was exempt from the corruption and decay that a dead body experiences. Instead of the stench of decaying flesh, Jesus was a sweet aroma to His heavenly Father!

Destruction in a moral sense. It refers to the change of the present constitution of the body or the change of the moral makeup of a person[8].

Jesus body never decayed because He had defeated Sin and Hell!

C. You Will Make Known the Paths of Life (v 28)

Jesus is declaring that the Cross is the Path of Life! It has Power for all Eternity. The cross towers over the train track of ruin and damnation. The unstoppable locomotive of death and destruction was bearing down on Jesus, but that old Cross stopped that locomotive cold, throwing it off the tracks. For the Cross became a new track, the track that leads to Eternal Life! Jesus is our Path of Life!

This properly means the path to life; as we say, the road to preferment or honour; the path to happiness; the highway to ruin, etc. See Proverbs 7:25, 27. It means, Thou wilt make known to me life itself, i.e. thou wilt restore me to life. The expressions in the Psalm are capable of this interpretation without doing any violence to the text; and if the preceding verses refer to the death and burial of the Messiah, then the natural and proper meaning of this is, that he would be restored to life again.[9]

D.    You Will Make Me Full of Gladness With Your Presence (Countenance).

There is nothing that Satan could throw at Jesus that could steal His joy! Not torture, not crucifixion, not even death!

Jesus knew that God would raise Him from the dead before His body would undergo decay. He knew He would once again enjoy the Presence of His Father.

1.) The Resurrection Assures us that Death will never hold us.
  • Sin is Forgiven
  • NO PAYMENT DUE.
  • NO CONDEMNATION!
  • Our body will experience decay, but our soul will be with God the very millisecond we die. Death will never destroy us, because Jesus conquered Death!
2.) The Resurrection Assures us that Life doesn’t have to Shake us.
  • We have Power over Life through Jesus Christ. We can know Gladness and Joyfulness in the midst of the worst of times.
3.) The Resurrection Assures us we will Spend  Eternity with Christ
  • We can rejoice because we have an unshakeable confidence that because Jesus defeated sin, death and the Devil, even so we will conquer death and sin and the devil because we are in Him by faith!
  • To absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!

However, our bodies await that great moment when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

We Have a New Victory Cry!

1 Corinthians 15:51-57. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We can Jump for Joy!

  • We can cry out “Thanks be to God for the Victory He gives us through our Jesus Christ!”
  • We have a New Exclamation Point for our Life! He is Alive! He is Alive!!!!!!

How is your gladness this morning? Are your rejoicing? WHO IS YOUR TRUST IN? Jesus was rejoicing even on the Cross. His behavior was so unbelievable that a cursing thief had a change of heart and confessed Jesus was a righteous man. A roman soldier declared that truly this was the son of God!

You do not have to settle for a trickle of joy now and then. You do not have to be shaken by what life throws at you. You do not have to fear tomorrow. You do not have to fear death. Give you life to Jesus Christ. Trust Him and Him alone for your salvation.

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

  • The pangs of childbirth turn into the Joy of parenthood.
  • The pangs of death turn into the Joy of life with our Father forevermore!

Through the Resurrection we have a Legacy

John Newton calls our legacy, “solid joys and lasting treasure.”

What is the Key to Knowing His Joy and Gladness?

  1. Spend time often with God in His Word and in prayer. Even if it is a short time, get up early enough to meet with God before you head out the door. Start keeping an ongoing dialogue with God.
  2. Relate everything, even little events, to God’s Hand. Learn to say thank you God! See everything from His loving hand. Nothing happens by chance. Even the bad things, we thank Him for!
  3. Take time often to enjoy God in His creation. Take time to garden, grow flowers, feed the birds, and take a walk. Turn the TV off, stop watching the news, and make time to see God’s creation! If you cannot sense God’s presence and glory at a time like that, you may not know God!

The key to joy and gladness is to walk and work and play with a constant sense of God’s presence. Then, even if you go through trials, you will keep your joy because it is coming from God and His presence with you.

I Dreamed I Stood at Calvary

I dreamed I stood at Calvary
And saw three crosses there;
On left and right were nailed two thieves,
The cross between was bare.

A soldier took his sword in hand,
Then pointing it at me;
He said, “You there, prepare to die.
That cross is meant for thee.”

I quickly fell upon my knees,
For mercy did I cry;
As strong hands grabbed my hands and feet,
I shouted, “Why, oh why?”

And then a voice both soft and sweet
Was heard above the din;
“Let this one go, take me instead.
I’ll pay his debt of sin.”

With his body torn and bleeding,
And thorn marks ’round his head;
With face bruised where they beat him,
He stepped into my stead.

Then Jesus laid upon the cross,
His life to freely give;
That all my sins be washed away,
And through his death, I’d live.

He stretched his arms out open wide,
No struggle did he make;
As they prepared to nail him there,
His life to gladly take.

They drove the spikes in hands and feet
And slammed the cross in place;
His bones were shaken out of joint,
And blood flowed down his face.

“Forgive them, Father”‘ was his cry,
They know not what they’ve done.
They do not realize that you,
Have sent your only son.”

Deep darkness filled the noonday sky
And trembling shook the ground;
As God, the Father, turned away,
While God, the Son, gazed ’round.

“It’s finished now”, the Saviour said.
“The door stands open wide;
Into thy hand’s my spirit comes.”
And then they pierced his side.

The graves were bursting open,
And dead men walked around;
The temple veil was rent in twain,
And I fell to the ground.

When I awoke, the night had passed
And sunshine flooded in;
I cried, “Dear Lord, forgive me please,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For you sent down your only son,
A ransom for the lost;
And I see you included me,
When counting out the cost.

Take o’er the reins that guide my life,
Remove my wilful pride;
Sweep clean my heart and enter in,
Forever, there abide.”

Yes, I dreamt I stood at Calvary
And saw those crosses three;
Yet no longer do I look with fear
Where Jesus died for me!

Are you living Life with an Exclamation Point! Are you jumping for Joy regardless of the circumstances?

The Death of Jesus was the greatest Exclamation Point this world has ever known, for it was followed by His resurrection! HE IS ALIVE! HE IS ALIVE!

  • Because He Lives We have Power over Death!
  • Because He lives we have Power over Life!
  • Because He lives, we have Power for Eternity – Life with Him!

Is there an Exclamation Point in your Life? Is Jesus in your Life?


[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 885.

[8] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “διαφθορά”

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we-would-see-jesusA little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch. The little boy was curious and asked, “Why do you have that palm branch, dad?” “You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, so we got Palm Branches today.” The little boy replied, “ Aw Shucks! The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!”

Have you ever though how wonderful it would have been to be there when the throngs of people lined the streets leading to Jerusalem. How marvelous to see Jesus riding through the Eastern Gate and shouting Hosanna to the Highest!

The whole city was a buzz of talk of the Messiah. The hubbub was so great that everyone was wanting to see Jesus.

The Pharisees were so jealous. In John 12:19 they exclaimed, “Look, the whole world has gone after him!”rock-star-jesus2

Jesus had become a Rock Star to use language you might understand. It was as if He had won American Idol. And with fame comes those who are curious. Look with me at John 12:20-36.

Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus. But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He said, signifying by what death He would die. The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them. John 12:21-36 (NKJV)

A simple request, Sir, we want to see Jesus! Yet John doesn’t record that they were able to see Jesus. In fact he says Jesus went and hid himself. Could it be that Jesus hides Himself from people today? We need to go back to the beginning of Christ’s ministry and see why Jesus reacted this way. Why He said and God said what He did. From the very beginning of His ministry people wanted to see Jesus.

1. People Wanted To See Jesus For What He Could Do…

jesus-casts-out-unclean-spirits1

  • Luke 4:35 Jesus casts out unclean spirits. The report of what He had done went out throughout the region.
  • Luke 5:12 Jesus cleanses a Leper. More reports, Great multitudes. (vs 15)
  • Luke 5:19, A Paralyzed man is lowered through the roof.
  • Luke 6, A man with a withered hand.
  • Jesus heals a whole multitude (Luke 6:19)
  • Luke 7:2 A Centurion seeks Jesus
  • Luke 7:13 Jesus raises the son of a widow woman from the deadjesus-raises-widows-son1
  • Luke 8:4 Great multitudes assembled and Jesus taught
  • Luke 8:41 Jairus wants to see Jesus to get him to heal his daughter. Jairus is a ruler of a local synagogue.
  • hem-of-his-garment2Luke 8:44 A woman with an issue of blood (12 years) touches the hem of the robe of Jesus
  • Luke 8:50, Jesus raises the daughter to life!
  • Luke 9:21 Jesus predicts His death.
  • Luke 9:37 Great multitudes continue to seek Jesus.
  • Luke 9:44 Jesus pleads with them to let His words sink down into their ears. He is about to die!
  • Luke 16:31 Story of a Rich man and a beggar they all knew as Lazarus. “If they do not Hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”
  • Luke 18:31 Jesus for the THIRD time predicts his Death but also His resurrection.multitude-praises-jesus1
  • Luke 18:41 WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU?
  • Luke 18:42 He gives the blind man his sight
  • Luke 19:3 Zacchaeus wants to see Jesus.
  • Luke 19:28 The crowds reach the tumult, for His triumphant entry.
  • see-jesus-for-selfish-wants

    2. People Wanted To See Jesus For Their Own Selfish Wants

    • Luke 23:8 Herod was glad to see Jesus, for he thought he was a court jester, able to do miracles for entertainment.
      • He was a good luck charm, there for the Kings pleasure.
    • John 11:32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
      • They wanted Jesus to do their bidding, to bail them out of a jam, heal their brother. They thought they had a monopoly on Jesus.

    People just didn’t understand Jesus. They valued Jesus only as someone who could do something for them. They did not value Jesus for who He is.

    Mary and Martha saw Jesus as the Christ of God, able to do mighty miracles because God would respond to His prayers. But Jesus wanted them to see that HE is LIFE. He is the Resurrection. He is God.

    Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:21-27 (NKJV)

    BUT THEY DID NOT SEE THAT GOD HIMSELF WAS STANDING BEFORE THEM, THAT JESUS CHRIST WAS THE RESURRECTION AND LIFE. HE IS LIFE.

    If you do not see Jesus as He is, you might as well be like the countless multitude who every Christmas gaze upon the manger scene and think how wonderful baby Jesus is. Look how neat he is to be born at Christmas time so we can get all kinds of gifts. You might as well get you a charm or a cross and wear it and tell all your friends how good Jesus is to you and how you love Him so. In the meantime you go around sinning just like the world. Jesus is just a lucky charm that you pull out when you get sick or things aren’t going right at work or home. You only want to see Jesus because He can do something for you. Jesus loves me after all. He forgives me, he loves me just the way I am.

    3. Do You Really Want to See Jesus?

    do-you-really-want-to-see-jesusDo you want to see the real Jesus Christ? Do you want to know the Son of God? Do you desire as Paul Prayed in Ephesians…

    “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height– to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” EPH 3:17-19   Christ came that we might be FILLED WITH THE FULLNESS OF GOD!

    JESUS REVEALED THREE CONDITIONS THAT MUST BE MET BEFORE YOU CAN REALLY SEE JESUS.

    A. HEAR & OBEY THE WORD OF CHRIST

    hear-and-obey-word-of-christ2 IN OUR TEXT: “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world”

    • Three times Jesus told them that He would die and rise again.
    • He told Martha that He was the resurrection and the Life.
    • He told the Rich man that if they did not listen to Moses and the prophets they would not believe even if they witnessed a person raise form the dead.

    There is only one thing that can open your eyes to see Jesus. A willingness to OBEY the Word of God.

    But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:8-10 (NKJV)

    Obedience to the Words of Christ will result in a change of heart. That change of heart will result in a heart that desires to obey Him!

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)

    But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say? Luke 6:46 (NKJV)

    You can say you LOVE Jesus. He can even be like a Rock Star to you. You can get you all teary eyed because He loves you so. But if you do not Listen to His Word, Believe His Word and OBEY it, take it into Your Heart and Life, you do not know the Real Jesus, and worst yet, He does not know you. Why should He reveal Himself to you if you don’t intend to fully obey Him. YOU ARE JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHERS WHO ARE TAKERS AND NOT OBEYERS.

    The Greeks wanted to see Jesus, and in answer, a Voice came from Heaven. It was the Voice of Jehovah, El Shaddai, Creator God. It was the Voice to be listened to and obeyed. “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world. Listen to the Voice of God, the Word of God. Obey, for Judgment has come.

    B. FOLLOW JESUS by SERVING HIM

    follow-jesus-by-serving-himIn our text: He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also.

    Jesus said: He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. MATT 10:37-39

    Seeing the real Jesus requires a total surrender of your life, all that you want, all that you have. Anything less and you just want a good luck charm, You want to live your life for your benefit, and not Jesus. Why should He show His true self to someone who doesn’t want to follow Him, who doesn’t want to know Him as THEIR LORD, AS THEIR LIFE? If you love your life, your possessions, your place in this world, you can’t see Jesus. If you want to see the Author of Eternal Life, you must see Him without holding on to anything. Jesus will never show himself to you if you merely want someone to tag along as you live your life.

    C. GLORY IN THE POWER OF THE CROSS

    glory-in-the-power-of-the-crossIN OUR TEXT: And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.

    For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 (NKJV)

    Jesus never came to the world to be a Rock Star, the King of newly liberated Jews. Some teach that if only the Jews had accepted Him. No. Jesus came for the cross. He came to be cursed for you and me.

    The Cross is the most powerful message Christians have. Christians are nothing without the Cross.

    On the Cross Christ experienced the most severe physical pain, the most severe psychological pain, but worse than all that, He experienced Hell for all eternity. He became sin, He became the most disgusting thing in the entire universe. He became you and me. He took our place. “that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:9

    He experienced an eternity of Hell for me. He experienced an eternity of Hell for you.

    It is curious that people who are filled with horrified indignation whenever a cat kills a sparrow can hear the story of the killing of God told Sunday after Sunday and not experience any shock at all.

    Jesus told his disciples, that if these men wanted to see Him, they must see Him on the Cross. “Judgment was now upon the world, and Satan was about to be dealt with. Jesus was about to be lifted up athe covenant sacrifice between God and man, Heaven and earth, Holy God and cursed man.

    Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He said, signifying by what death He would die. The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.

    The cross is what brought light into the world. To see the Light of the world is not possible without seeing Christ crucified on the cross. But that is not enough. You don’t gaze upon the cross and think of poor Jesus. You don’t think upon the cross and wonder such a waste. What could he have done…

    We MUST EXPERIENCE the CROSS of CHRIST

    experience-the-cross-of-christThis is where most pretend followers fail. Like Judas, like Demas. Paul tells us we IDENTIFY with the Cross. Paul tells us that the Cross must be central in our life, It must be the core belief in our Walk with Jesus Christ. If we are to See Jesus on a Daily Basis, we must take up the cross DAILY, without complaint, without regret.

    But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14 (NKJV)

    The cross is what seperates the Christian from being like the world. We die to self we die to what we want. To See Jesus we must serve Him, We must give our lives to the Cross. Paul cried his heart out over supposed Christians who became the enemy of the Cross.enemy-of-the-cross

    Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame–who set their mind on earthly things. Philippians 3:17-19 (NKJV)

    If you are a “professed” Christian, yet not embracing the cross, not dying to self, living in the world, loving the things of the world, doing shameful things, don’t pretend to be a follower of Christ. In reality you are an enemy of the cross, you are just like those soldiers beating and taunting Jesus. You haven’t seen Jesus on the Cross. The world has not been crucified to you.

    All those people wanted Jesus to do something for them. They followed and praised because He was a great prophet who could do such wonderful things for them. He healed, he spoke amazing words. But it is not about what Jesus can do for us.

    Jesus is no rock star. He is no American Idol. He does not want us to think about him that way. He will never reveal himself if you have that mind-set.

    What he told his disciples many times, what he told the crowds at least three times, if you want to see the Real Jesus, the Son of God Jesus, the Savior Jesus, the Redeemer Jesus, Jesus the Lamb of God, you must look long and hard at the Cross. You must look and see Him upon the Cross, dying for you. You must be willing to die to what you want, you must be willing to follow Him by taking up His Cross.

    He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:37-39 (NKJV)

    In saving Private Ryan, we see a group of Army Rangers led by Tom Hanks trying to reach Private Ryan and bring him home. He wants to stay for one last fight, and in the battle, Tom Ryan is mortally wounded.

    Private Ryan leans over to him, and Tom Hanks whispers something to him. Private Ryan bent down and Tom Hanks said, “Earn this.”

    The truth is, no Army Ranger would ever say “Earn This”. Why? Because the Ranger motto for the past two hundred years has not been “Earn this.” The Ranger motto for the past two hundred years has been Sua sponte, “I chose this.” I volunteered for this.

    So, when Private Ryan bent down, if Tom Hanks was really a Ranger he would have said, “Sua sponte, I chose this. This is free. You don’t pay anything for this. I give up my life for you. That’s my job.”

    And so when you look at the cross and see Jesus hanging there, what you do not hear is “Earn this.” You never hear Jesus say, “Earn this.” He doesn’t say, “I’ve given everything for you. Now you need to gut it out for me.” What he says is “Sua sponte.” OF MY OWN ACCORD I volunteered for this. You don’t have to pay anything for it.

    take-up-your-cross-and-follow-jesusBut Jesus adds something else, that only the Son of God can say. He says, “Follow Me”.

    Because Jesus redeemed you with His life, Because He showed Sin and Satan and Death that His sacrifice was not in vain, for He rose from the dead as we will celebrate next week, He now says to you;

    Once you look upon the cross and turn away from your sin, this sinful world and being the boss of your life, then you must give your heart and life to me. I can give you Life. I can say to you FOLLOW ME.

    John Michael Montgomery sings “The Little Girl.”

    Her parents never took the young girl to church
    Never spoke of His name
    Never read her His word
    Two non-believers walking lost in this world
    Took their baby with them
    What a sad little girl

    Her daddy drank all day and mommy did drugs
    Never wanted to play
    Or give kisses and hugs
    She’d watch the TV and sit there on the couch
    While her mom fell asleep And her daddy went out

    And the drinking and the fighting
    just got worse every night
    Behind their couch she’d be hiding
    Oh what a sad little life

    And like it always does, the bad just got worse
    With every slap and every curse
    Until her daddy in a drunk rage one night
    Used a gun on her mom and then took his life

    And some people from the city took the girl far away
    To a new mom and a new dad
    kisses and hugs everyday

    the-little-girl-held-by-jesusHer first day of Sunday school the teacher walked in
    And a small little girl
    Stared at a picture of Him
    She said I know that man up there on that cross
    I don’t know His name
    But I know He got off

    Cause He was there in my old house
    and held me close to His side
    As I hid there behind our couch
    The night that my parents died

    This little girl saw Jesus. She didn’t know better. He came to her in her need. One time His light shown upon your life. He came to you in your need. What has happened since?

    Some of you have let your will, your life, your things, your world keep you from seeing Jesus. He is only a charm now. The cross is only something you wear around your neck. He is only a profession made years ago.

    For you to see Jesus, you must die to everything that is yours, you must embrace the cross, you must carry the cross, You must feel the cross. By the cross of Christ, disobedience, rebellion, hurts, bitterness, the flesh is crucified, and Jesus is allowed to LIVE in your life. Jesus becomes real.

    see-jesus-crucified-for-youDO YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE JESUS?