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The Determination of the Christ (4-1-07)

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I.       The Determination of the Christ

A.   When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem;  (Luke 9:51)

1.      Other translations use the phrase “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” which fulfilled the word in Isaiah.

2.     Isaiah 50:7 (NKJV)   “For the Lord God will help Me;  Therefore I will not be disgraced;      Therefore I have set My face like a flint,   And I know that I will not be ashamed.

3.     If you knew you were going to die a cruel death on a Roman cross, would you be thinking about others? I’m afraid most of us would be thinking about ourselves, and perhaps feeling sorry for ourselves. BUT NOT JESUS!!!

B.   The journey to the cross began outside Jerusalem.

1.     You see, from the very beginning, Jesus was controlled by a master purpose. At the age of 12 He said to Mary & Joseph when they found Him in the temple, “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

2.      But this trip was different than those that came before.

3.     As He makes that last trip to Jerusalem, He pauses to teach people; to preach the gospel; heal the sick; to give new life; and new hope to sinners!

C.   Jesus knew where he was going and what awaited him.

1.      WHEN JESUS FIRST TOLD HIS DISCIPLES ABOUT THE TRIP TO JERUSALEM, THEY SIMPLY COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, 9“Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”[1]

2.     But it was true. He was going to Jerusalem, not to be crowned, but to be crucified!

a)       So when Jesus set out to make that last journey to Jerusalem, it was not as a traveler seeing the sights of the Holy City, nor as a spectator at a religious festival. NO! He made that last trip as God’s sacrifice for sins! He was going to Jerusalem to die for you and me as well as the rest of the world.

3.     David Ogden (The New Reformation) tells the story of Oliver Wendell Holmes. "Holmes once boarded a train, but was unable to find the ticket. After watching Holmes fumble through his pocket in growing dismay, the conductor politely said, ’It’s all right Mr. Holmes, I am sure you have your ticket somewhere.’ Looking the conductor straight in the eye, Holmes replied, ’Young man that is not my problem at all. I don’t care about giving my ticket to the railroad. I just want to find out where in the blazes I’m going.’

4.     Travel agencies in Brussels have struck a bonanza with their sale of “Mystery Tours.” Tourists have no idea where they’re going, but look forward to the trip.

5.     Jesus knew where He was going

D.   Jesus was subject to weakness and He overcame all of the same temptations that confront us.

1.     Hebrews 4:15 (NASB95)  For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

2.     Hebrews 5:8-9 (NASB95)  Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.  9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

II.    What Obstacles Did Jesus Overcome on the way to Jerusalem?

A.   His disciples’ desire for power and authority.

1.     Luke 22:24-27 (NIV)  24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

2.     Matthew 20:20-21 (NKJV)  Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”

B.   The praise and hero worship of the crowd.

1.      Luke 19:36-38 (NLT) 36 As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. 37 When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen. 38 “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!”

2.      They worshipped Him, but they didn’t really understand that Jesus was going to Jerusalem to die not to set up His Kingdom on earth.  He warned them many times, but they chose to believe what they wanted to believe.

3.      Their understanding of Jesus' last journey to Jerusalem was flawed. They saw him as a king moving in to take control. And he was. But they could not grasp that the victory Jesus would win in Jerusalem over sin and Satan and death and all the enemies of righteousness and joy -- that this victory would be won through his own horrible suffering and death; and that the kingdom which they thought would be established immediately (Luke 19:11) would, in fact, be thousands of years in coming. And their misunderstanding of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem results in a misunderstanding of the meaning of discipleship. This is why this is important for us to see, lest we make the same mistake.

4.      But  Jesus did not allow the crowd to influence or alter His determination to go to Jerusalem..

5.      How many men and women have started well on the journey but were sidetracked by the praise, adulation and flattery of people.

C.   The opposition of religious leaders.

1.     -These foes that the Lord would now face:

a)      They were seeking to destroy Him.

b)      They hounded Him.

c)      They worked to discredit Him.  The said the cast out demons by the power of Satan.

d)     They worked to entrap Him.  The accused Him of violating the law for healing on the Sabbath

D.   The people were unaware of their desperate need.

1.     Luke 19:41-42 (NIV)  As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.

2.     It can be disheartening when one sacrifices everything for people who are oblivious to the desperate need.

E.   He was betrayed and abandoned by His friends.

1.     The fact that Judas’ betrayal was the fulfillment of scripture did not lesson the pain.

2.     Peter may have denied knowing Jesus, but only John was found at the foot of the cross.

F.    The great difficulty of the mission.

1.      Matthew 26:37-38 (NLT) 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

2.     Luke 22:44 (NLT)  44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.

3.     We can offer illustrations that enable us to relate to the other obstacles that Jesus faced, but there is no way that we can relate to the magnitude of grief and suffering that He bore for our sins on the cross.

III.  What Options Did Jesus Have?

A.   He could ask the angels to deliver Him.

1.      Matthew 26:53-54 (NIV)
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

B.   Or, He could look forward to the joy.

1.      Hebrews 12:2 (NASB95)     2     fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2.      Hebrews 2:9-10 (NLT)  What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. 10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.

! IV.What Options Do We Have?

A.   Short term loss, long term gain.

1.      24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.

B.   Realize that we have nowhere else to go.

1.     John 6:66-69 (NIV)  66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

2.     But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. —Acts 20:24

C.   Do we recognize our desperate situation?

1.     Programs follow power

a)     Form follows function is a principle associated with Modern architecture and industrial design in the 20th Century, which states that the shape of a building or object should be predicated on its intended purpose.

b)     In Acts, first the Spirit’s power came upon the Church and then they later organized and setup the program to feed the widows.

c)      We are not in a position to “out-program” the world or other churches for that matter.

d)     Our mission statement says,  “Where God’s Power changes lives to impact or community.

e)     An idea I had was like this, they used to designate certain hospitals as “Regional Trauma Centers.”  This is where they took the patients who were in the worst condition.

2.     How serious are we?

a)      Genesis 32:24-26 (NIV)  So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.

V.   Conclusion

A.   But drops of grief
can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
’Tis all that I can do.

B.    “My memory is nearly gone;  but I remember two things; That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior”

1.     John Newton (1725-1807) English minister and hymn writer


9 Lit. Merciful to You (May God be merciful)

[1]The New King James Version. 1982 (Mt 16:22). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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