Who is Jesus to You?
This morning, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, we are picking back up in our study of the Gospel of Mark.
If you’re new to MCF, it would be good for you to know that we practice a form of preaching called “Expository Preaching”. What that means is we believe the Bible is best taught by taking a book of the Bible and studying it from beginning to end, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, in order to understand what it means in our lives today.
That being said, we are currently working our way through the Gospel of Mark. A gospel written primarily to tell us who Jesus is, what he came to do, and what it means to follow him.
Today we are picking back up in Mark chapter 12 as we work our way through the final section of this Gospel, a section called “The Passion of the Christ”. A section that highlights the final week of Jesus’s life leading up to his arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection.
And as we’ve learned, it’s been an eventful week. A week full of verbal battle between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day as the religious leaders work to discredit, disqualify, and hopefully bring an end to Jesus.
To date, we’ve looked at five of these verbal engagements, and today we will look at the 6th one as Jesus is now back on the offensive. In other words, Jesus will instigate this next round as he poses a question. A question that strikes at the heart of the Gospel message.
Now, you might be thinking, “Pastor, since it’s Easter, shouldn’t we skip ahead to the part where Jesus rises from the dead? Shouldn’t that be our focus today?”
Now, you might be thinking, “Pastor, since it’s Easter, shouldn’t we skip ahead to the part where Jesus rises from the dead?”
Well, we could do that, but to be honest with you, the question that Jesus is about to pose has as much to do with the resurrection as the resurrection itself.
So, in order to set up Jesus’s question, and help give us some framework, I want to begin by asking you a question concerning Jesus. The question is this:
Question - When it comes to Jesus, who is he to you? In other words, what is your view of Jesus and what purpose does he serve in your life?
I think that’s a great question for us to consider on Easter Sunday. Because the truth is, depending on how you were raised, what you’ve been exposed to, or even what somebody has told you about Jesus, you have a certain perspective of Jesus.
So as a result, it goes without saying, that in this room and even for those watching online, many of us may have differing views of Jesus. Differing view of what he came to do. Differing view of how we should view him. And differing views of how we should relate with him.
Let me give you a few examples of what I’m talking about:
For instance, if you grew up Catholic, you have a certain view and perspective of Jesus.
Father Donald Senior, professor emeritus of New Testament studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago puts it like this. He writes, “For a lot of Catholics it’s not quite that clear,” he says. “I think for some, Jesus is an example. He’s understood to be divine, to be God incarnate. But it’s not like some other person—not that unctuous, immediate emotional contact that I think evangelical piety has.”
He goes on to say, “Some Catholics misunderstand the Jesus of the gospels because they’re not as familiar with the gospels,” he says. “They’re familiar mainly with the passages read out loud on Sunday. So because there’s not a history of Bible study as much [in the Catholic Church], they miss out.”
What do they miss out on? Father Donald Senior, professor emeritus of New Testament studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago puts it like this. He writes, “For a lot of Catholics it’s not quite that clear,” he says. “I think for some, Jesus is an example. He’s understood to be divine, to be God incarnate. But it’s not like some other person—not that unctuous, immediate emotional contact that I think evangelical piety has.”
So, that’s one example. Growing up Catholic gives you a certain view or perspective of Jesus.
But let’s say you grew up in a protestant church. Maybe you grew up in a Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, AG, or Presbyterian church. And as a result, you too have a certain view or perspective of Jesus.
For instance, as a protestant, maybe your view of Jesus has been based more on knowledge and association. In other words, because you grew up in a church, you were associated with Jesus.
In Sunday School you were taught that Jesus was the Son of God. You were taught that Jesus came to die for our sins. You were taught that Jesus rose from the dead.
But the truth is, that’s about as far as you go with Jesus. Your understanding of Jesus is based on a knowledge and church association, and so as a result Jesus is more of an idea than an active living agent in your life.
For other protestants, maybe your view of Jesus is based more on a relationship. Growing up you were taught that not only is Jesus the Son of God, not only did he dies for our sins, but he’s also somebody you can have a relationship with. And in a way, he’s kind of like a facebook friend. Meaning, at some point in your life, you made a decision to invite him into your life.
Meaning, at some point in your life, you made a decision to invite him into your life.
But the truth his, it’s a distant relationship. It’s more like a Facebook friendship. Sure, you might tag him from time to time on your timeline as you give a shout out for Jesus. You might even send him a private message when life gets hard and you need help or have a question. And because he’s like a Facebook friend, the reality is your relationship with Jesus is distant, it’s guarded, and you don’t really know him that well.
And truth be told, if Jesus ever said something that bothered you, or if Jesus didn’t approve of your lifestyle status, you might even consider unfriending him. Your relationship with Jesus is surface at best.
But maybe your one of those radical protestants. You know, like an Evangelical or a Pentecostal protestant. You’re the person that goes to that church out by Taco Bell. As a result you grew up in a church that primarily focused on the relationship aspect of Jesus. And for you, Jesus is more than knowledge, he’s more than just a Facebook friend, in fact, he’s a personal friend. A close acquaintance. He’s your BFF. And so for you, Jesus is your buddy, he’s your pal, somebody you can hang out with. And as a result, your view of Jesus isn’t maybe as reverent as it should be.
So, that’s another example. Maybe instead of a Catholic view you have a protestant view of Jesus.
But it could also be that there are some here today, and you didn’t grow up in the church at all. You’re not Catholic, you’re not Protestant. In fact, you don’t have a religious heritage. Your parents didn’t take you to church. You didn’t go to Sunday school. So as a result, your view of Jesus is based more on a historical or secular view. A view that maybe doesn’t see Jesus as anybody but another person that lived and died in history. And as a result, there’s a good chance you really don’t know anything about the Biblical Jesus.
My point is simply this. Because we all have differing religious upbringings and backgrounds, more than likely we all have differing views of Jesus. Differing views of who he is and what he offers us.
So, here’s my question to you again on Easter Sunday morning, “When it comes to Jesus, who is he to you?”
I ask you that question, because as we come back to today, that’s the question on the table. This is the question Jesus will pose. Because just like today, in Jesus’s day there were varying views of who Jesus was and what his purpose in our lives was to be. But thankfully Jesus is going to give us some insight into this question.
So, here’s what I want to do this morning. In order for us to better understand what our view of Jesus should be, I want to read through the passage, give some explanation, and then apply what we’ve learned to our own view of Jesus.
So, let’s pick back up in as Jesus poses this question to the religious leaders of his day. Beginning in verse 35 Mark writes:
“And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ 37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.” (ESV)
“‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’
Mark begins by telling us Jesus was teaching in the temple, and as he taught he posed a question to those standing around him. So maybe a good place to start would be to ask the question, “Who was standing there?” You might be wondering, “Why is that important?” It’s important because it tells us who this question is intended for.
37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.
So, if we fast forward to the end of the passage in verse 37, Mark says there was a “great throng” standing there listening to Jesus. The word here for “throng” comes from the Greek word “ochlos”.
It’s the idea of a casual crowd that doesn’t represent any particular membership. In other words, it’s not just a group of Catholics standing there. It’s not just a group of Lutherans. It’s not just a group of Methodists. It’s not just a group of Pentecostals. In fact, there were probably non-religious people standing there as well. The fact is, this is a mixed crowd. This is a mixed group of people who come from different places of religious influence, thought, and background.
In a way, it’s just like the group in this room and online today. We are a mixed group. Some of you are faithful attendees, you’re here every week. Some of you are “sometimers”, meaning you’re here occasionally. Some of you are C&E’s, Christmas and Easter only. Some of you have a Catholic background. Some a protestant. Some no religious background. The truth is we are a mixed group and more than likely our views of Jesus differ. What that tells us then is, “This question isn’t just for those standing there, it’s for us as well.” We are a “great throng”.
So, recognizing the type of crowd before him, Jesus asks a question that every person needs to consider when it comes to a relationship with God. A question we all need to consider.
So, what’s the question? Jesus puts the question like this, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.’ David himself class him Lord. So how is he his son?’”
Now, you might be thinking, “Pastor, that’s quite a question. But honestly, I have no idea what Jesus is talking about. That question kind of goes over my head. It sounds really theological and not very applicable. How can that question be meant for us well?”
Here’s what we need to understand. The question that Jesus is asking revolves around a belief and teaching concerning a promise that God had made back in . A promise made when Adam and Eve plunged mankind into a world of sin. A promise that one day God would send a redeemer. Somebody who would deliver mankind from sin and restore our relationship with God.
The Apostle Paul writes, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...” (ESV)
The fact is, we all need a deliverer. We are all sinners in need of a savior. So, God promises to send us one.
And while we are limited by time this morning, if we took the time to walk through the Bible today, what we would discover is this promise can be traced throughout the OT. We see it surface again in , as God declares to Abraham it will be through his offspring this promised redeemer will come.
We would see it continue in as God promises King David it will be through his family line that the promised redeemer would be born.
We would see mentions of it throughout the Psalms and in the books of the prophets. And we would see it culminate in , as through the line of David, a promised son named Jesus is born to Mary and Joseph.
And we would see it culminates in , as through the line of David, a promised son named Jesus is born to Mary and Joseph.
And what we would also discover is that over the centuries, the opinions and teachings concerning the promised redeemer varied. In other words, people had differing views of who the redeemer would be and what he would redeem them from. In addition to that, the common word used to describe this person had come to be known as “The Christ”, which literally means “The Anointed One”.
So as Jesus stands before this mixed group, Jesus asks a question concerning the promised redeemer. And simply put the question is, “Who is the Christ to you? and, What do you think he will he do for you? That’s the question.
It’s the same question before us today. The question Easter forces us to ask. “Who is Jesus to you? and, What do you think he will do for you?” And the truth is, I don’t think you’d be here today if you weren’t interested in knowing the answer to that question. In fact, you need to know the answer. Because who you believe Jesus to be, and what you believe he’s come to do for you, will largely determine Easter’s purpose in your life. Is it just another religious holiday? Or is it more than that? Is Easter something that could actually make a difference in your life?
So to simplify what Jesus is asking, and get the answer to this question, we are going to break it into two parts.
The first part deals with the common view most people held concerning the Christ. And the second part deals with the view Jesus wants them to see.
And the second part deals with the view Jesus wants them to see.
And my hope is as, that regardless of our religious backgrounds, that together we will discover the right view we should have of Jesus. And that by the time we leave here today, we all have a better understanding of who Jesus is and what he offers us.
So, to do that, let’s begin with the first part of the question. Jesus asks, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?”
Jesus begins by pointing to a common belief and teaching concerning the Christ. We know this because he references the “Scribes” teaching.
If you weren’t with us last week, we learned the Scribes were the religious theologians of Jesus’s day. They were the interpreters of scripture. And from their interpretation they had a particular belief concerning the Christ. And primarily, what they taught is that the Christ would be the son of David.
So, what does that mean? To be honest, it could mean a couple of things.
First, it could simply mean that the Christ would simply come from the lineage of King David.
Let me explain it like this. While my Grandpa died before I was born, my grandpa’s name on my dads side of my family was John. He was my dad’s dad. So, in the Jewish mindset, in order to identify myself as being a descendent of my grandpa John, I could say I’m the “son of John Wicks”. And all that would mean is that I am a descendant of my Grandpa John Wicks.
Same thing here. When the Scribes say the Christ is a “Son of David”. They could be simply stating that the Christ will come from the lineage of King David. That he will be a descendant of David. That David is the Christ’s great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather. So, they could simply mean that. So, the question then is, “Is that what they are saying?”
On the surface, yes, but there’s actually a deeper implication here that Jesus is challenging. How do we know? We know because in Jesus’s day everybody believed the Christ would be a son of David. That was a no brainer. That was never in question. So, for Jesus to question the Scribes on the Christ being a descendent of David would have been fruitless.
So apparently there is something more to what the Scribes were teaching about the Christ that Jesus is challenging. Something else is in question. So, what is it? What’s in question is the kind of son the Christ would be. In other words, what’s in question is what does it mean for the Christ to be the son of David.
1. The Christ will be an earthly king and deliverer.
You see, the Scribes weren’t just teaching the Christ would be a descendent of David, they were teaching what kind of Christ he would be.
Let me explain it like this. While I never met my Grandpa John, because I am his descendent, it would be safe to assume that I share some similarities with him. For instance, my personality possibly reflects his personality. In addition to that, it would be safe to assume that there are probably some genetic similarities. In fact, I know there are, I’ve seen pictures. And more than likely there are even some mannerisms I have that would be similar to his. Why is that? It’s because I am the “Son of John Wicks”, and as a result there are some attributes or similarities that might be reflective of my Grandpa.
In a similar way, that’s what the Scribes were teaching concerning the Christ. But it wasn’t his genetics, his mannerisms, or his behavior that they were pointing to. When they said the Christ was the “Son of David”, they meant it in a role or functional sense. In other words, they believed the Christ would fulfill the role and function of King David.
So, what does that mean? It means in their minds, the Christ would be a warrior-king like David was. Because that’s what David was. He was a warrior king. A conqueror. It started when he killed the giant, Goliath, and delivered Israel from the Philistines. It continued as he conquered the King of Moab and Zobah. It continued as he conquered the Armenians, the Amorites, and the Amalekites. And the conquering continued until finally David had defeated all his enemies. Listen to what David himself says concerning this:
“But now the Lord my God has given me peace on all sides of my country. I have no enemies now, and no danger threatens my people.” (ESV)
You see along with coming from the lineage of King David, what the Scribes were teaching is that the Christ would be the deliverer of Israel. That like King David, when the Christ came, he would physically deliver Israel from all its enemies. For the Scribes, the Christ would be an earthly king. A king that would drive the nation of Rome out of Israel. A king that would establish an earthly kingdom and bring peace and prosperity back to Israel and expand their territory. This was their view of the Christ. And it was the wrong view.
You see along with coming from the lineage of King David, the Scribes had attached
Now, you might be wondering, “Pastor, that’s interesting, but how does that apply to us? We have a much different view of Jesus. That’s now how we view him.”
Are you sure about that? Because if I’m honest, it has been my observation that many Christians tend to have an earthly view of Jesus. In other words, often times, we only see Jesus as somebody that is meant to make our earthly life better. He’s an add on. A supplement. A component that adds value and prosperity to our lives.
What Jesus can do for their marriage. What Jesus can do for their financial situation. What Jesus can do for their health situation. What Jesus can do to make my life on planet earth better.
And the reason people have that view of Jesus is because that’s how Jesus has often been presented to us in the consumeristic church culture.
Church cultures where pastors have primarily focused on the earthly value of Jesus. So they say things like , “Come to Jesus and he can fix your marriage. Come to Jesus and he can bring you financial prosperity. Come to Jesus and he will heal your sickness. Come to Jesus and you’ll be happier. Come to Jesus and you’ll have peace in your life. Come to Jesus so you can have your best life now.”
And the truth is, Jesus can do all those things. He can heal marriages. He can bring financial prosperity. He can heal your body. He can bring happiness and contentment into your life. He can bring peace. But if that’s all Jesus is to you, then you have a limited and temporal view of Jesus. And there are a couple of problems with that view.
First, while Jesus can fix marriages, provide financially, heal sickness, and bring happiness, the truth is, those are temporal and fleeting moments.
Let me explain it like this, and I’m not trying to be negative or discourage you, but we need to give some thought to this. The truth is, a lot of times people come to church or seek out God because they have a crisis in their life. That’s why some of you are even here today. Your marriage is falling apart. You just lost your job. You just found out you have cancer. Somebody close to you died. Your kids are a mess and you don’t know what to do. And the list goes on. So you came to church hoping that God could deliver you from your present crisis.
And the truth is, sometimes God uses a crisis to get our attention. Sometimes he uses it to get us into church. I know he did for me. And the good news is, He is a God that meets us in our need. And I’m glad people seek out God in those moments. It may be the only thing that gets them through the door.
But here’s the danger of only viewing Jesus as a crisis counselor or a fixer of problems. Even if Jesus fixes your marriage. Even if he pays the bill or provides a job. Even if he heals your body. The truth is, it’s only temporary.
The fact is, down the road, you’re going to have more marriage challenges. Down the road, you’re going to have more financial challenges. Down the road, you’re body is going to get sick again.
I know we don’t think about this very often, but the earthly miracles of Jesus were temporary fixes in people’s lives. Now, that doesn’t mean they weren’t amazing. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate them and give God praise. We should do that. But they were temporary fixes for temporal problems.
The fact is, down the road, you’re going to have more marriage challenges. Down the road, you’re going to have more financial challenges. Down the road, you’re body is going to get sick again.
I mean think about it. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, while it was miraculous, it was temporary. I know we never think about it, but Lazarus eventually died again, and this time he stayed dead. He didn’t’ live forever. His miraculous healing and resurrection was a temporary fix to a temporary problem.
Why do we need to recognize that? Because the fact is, down the road, even with Jesus in your life, you’re going to have more marriage challenges. Down the road, you’re going to have more financial challenges. Down the road, you’re body is going to get sick again. Down the road, somebody you love is going to die.
So, if your view of Jesus is, “He’s the person that gives me my best life now.” Then get ready for disappointment. Because you’re going to have marriage challenges again. You’re going to face financial difficulties again. You’re body is going to get sick, again.
Do you see the problem with this view of Jesus. And let me ask you this, “Why would you even want to follow a Jesus like that?” A Jesus that can only fix a temporary problem. A Jesus that offers limited solutions. An earthly deliverer. A Jesus that isn’t much different than a marriage counselor, financial counselor, or doctor. But, unfortunately, that’s the Jesus many follow and put their hope in. And this is what leads to the second problem with this view.
Second, when all Jesus is, is a fixer of temporary earthly problems, he becomes a disappointing Jesus. Because what happens is, when marriage problems surface again, when the finances get tight again, when the sickness returns, people begin to say things like, “Well, I guess that Jesus thing didn’t work. That pastor told me Jesus would fix my marriage, but my wife still left me. That pastor told me Jesus would provide financially, but I still had to declare bankruptcy. That pastor told me Jesus would heal my friend, but they still died of cancer. I was told Jesus was the cure all for my life, but Jesus didn’t come through like they said he would.” And so they abandon Jesus, they quit coming to church, and they seek out a different solution for their temporal and ongoing problems.
That’s the view Israel had of their redeemer. And that’s why so many of the people in Jesus’s day were disappointed with Jesus. Jesus wasn’t living up to their expectations. Jesus wasn’t delivering them from Roman rule. Jesus wasn’t acting like the king and Christ they envisioned him to be. So they eventually abandoned him. In fact, they crucified him.
And unfortunately we make the same mistake. For so many of us Jesus is an earthly king. An earthly deliverer. Somebody who is supposed to give us our best life now.
And the truth is, if that’s what Easter is about. If that’s what we are celebrating today. Somebody who gives us our best life now. What a disappointment that would be. What a waste of time that would be. I don’t know about you, but I need Jesus to be more than that in my life. I’m looking for more than just a temporary fix for my life. I’m looking for more than just dealing with a present crisis. I need a Jesus that offers me more than that.
And the good news of Easter is, he does. Thankfully, Jesus is more than that. Thankfully he’s more than an earthly king. Thankfully he’s more than an earthly deliverer. Thankfully he’s more than a fixer of temporary problems. He’s so much more than that.
So what is He? Who is He? What does it really mean that “The Christ is the son of David?”
Jesus is about to tell us. This leads us to the second part of Jesus’s question. After questioning the teaching of the Scribes, Jesus goes on to say:
After questioning the teaching of the Scribes, Jesus goes on to say:
36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ 37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.” (ESV)
In order to make his point, Jesus now turns to the OT, to a Psalm to be exact. A psalm that was known as a messianic psalm. In other words, it’s a Psalm that is prophetic and foretells something about the promised Christ. The prophecy is found in . Listen to what King David writes concerning the promised redeemer.
“The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit by me at my right side until I put your enemies under your control.” 2 The Lord will enlarge your kingdom beyond Jerusalem, and you will rule over your enemies. 3 Your people will join you on your day of battle. You have been dressed in holiness from birth; you have the freshness of a child. 4 The Lord has made a promise and will not change his mind. He said, “You are a priest forever, a priest like Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord is beside you to help you. When he becomes angry, he will crush kings. 6 He will judge those nations, filling them with dead bodies; he will defeat rulers all over the world. 7 The king will drink from the brook on the way. Then he will be strengthened.” (ESV)
4 The Lord has made a promise and will not change his mind. He said, “You are a priest forever, a priest like Melchizedek.”
5 The Lord is beside you to help you. When he becomes angry, he will crush kings. 6 He will judge those nations, filling them with dead bodies; he will defeat rulers all over the world. 7 The king will drink from the brook on the way. Then he will be strengthened.
What I want you to notice is that Jesus doesn’t quote the entire Psalm. In fact, he only quotes the first verse. He quotes, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’”. And then he poses a question in regards to that verse.
your view comes with temporary fixes, and in the end all Jesus is to you is a fixer of temporary problems. If all he is is a bandaid when your life goes sideways, then what kind of a savior is he, really? you’re still going to have marriage problems. still going to have financial worries. You’re going to get sick again. And yeah, maybe the cancer didn’t get you, but something else will. You are eventually going to die.
The question is, “If the Christ is the descendent of David, how is it David refers to him as Lord?”
So, why is Jesus pointing to this specific part? Let me show you where Jesus is coming from. Jesus says, “David writes, ‘The Lord said to my Lord’”. In other Words, David writes, “God said to my God.”
In this statement, what Jesus is pointing to, is that David is referring to the Christ as more than just a man. In fact, there’s something divine about him. Something that makes him more than just a son of David. How do we know? Because he refers to the Christ, his descendant, as Lord.
Think of it like this. It would be like me saying I’m the son of my Grandpa John, but I’m also his God. That would be kind of weird, right? But that’s what the Psalmist is saying. He’s saying, not only is the Christ a descendent of David, but he’s also David’s God.
So, the question is, “How can the Christ be the son of David and Lord of David all at the same time?”
There’s only one way he could be. If he was both. And while Jesus doesn’t come right out and say it, that’s what he is implying.
And here in this moment, what Jesus is declaring, is that there is a different kind of Kingdom coming. And it’s not a kingdom like David had. It’s not an earthly kingdom. It’s not a temporary kingdom. It’s an eternal kingdom. A kingdom that will be established forever with a throne that is established at God’s right hand.
This is what the disciple Stephen saw and was referring to in . In , as Stephen preached to a crowd that was getting ready to stone him, listen to what the Lord showed him:
“But he (stephen), full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him.” (ESV)
Stephen saw the fulfillment of this Psalm first hand. He saw the Lord Jesus, a descendent of David, standing at the right hand of God.
What Jesus is saying is, “There is a greater kingdom coming. A Kingdom that wont’ pass away. A kingdom that will never end. A kingdom much different than David’s kingdom.”
So, the question then is, “What does this mean for you and me?”
What it means is there’s a better kingdom than the one you’re trying to build on this earth. What it means is that Jesus is more than just a temporary fixer of earthly problems. What it means is Jesus isn’t someone we follow so we can have our best life now. Jesus isn’t an add on. Jesus isn’t a supplement. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is God. He’s more than we’ve made him out to be, and he offers us more than we could possibly imagine.
And this is where we so often miss it church. Because while in our heads we have this knowledge, so often we fail to understand it or live it out in our lives
I mean we know Jesus is God. We learned it in Sunday school or Catechism class. It’s what our parents raised us to believe. But so often we don’t live like He is God. Instead, we live and view him as some temporary king, or even worse, like a buddy on Facebook.
And please hear me. I’m not saying Jesus isn’t relational. I’m not saying he’s not our friend. I’m not saying he won’t meet our earthly needs. I mean that’s what I love about the Gospels. In the Gospels Jesus is personal. In the Gospels Jesus meets temporal needs. In the Gospels Jesus calls us his friend. But he’s more than that. And if we stop there and we don’t see beyond our earthly view of him, we’re going to miss who he really is and what he truly wants to offer us.
And while he wants us to have a great life, his desire for us isn’t to have our best life now. It’s not for us to find heaven on earth. His desire is that we would see him for who he really is. That he’s the Lord. That’s he’s the Christ. That he’s the one who can deliver us from the destructive nature of sin and from the sorrow of this life. That he is the one who can restore us to right relationship with God.
You see, Jesus didn’t come and give us life to offer us a temporary solution to our problems. He came to offer us an enteral solution to a sin problem. Because that’s the kind of redeemer he proved himself to be. And the proof of that is in the fact that he rose from the dead. The proof of that is that he overcame something that we can’t overcome.
Because at the end of the day, our real problem isn’t our marriage struggles. Our real problem isn’t our financial situation. Our real problem isn’t the cancer. Our real problem is our sin. Because it’s our sin that is the root of all of our other problems.
I mean think about it. Sin is what has created your marriage problems. In , after Adam and Eve sinned, listen to what God says to Eve:
“Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” (ESV)
God basically says, “Eve, because of sin, your marriage is going to be hard.”
Sin is also what causes most of our financial woes as our insatiable desire for more overrides our desire for God. That’s what Jesus was talking about in when he said:
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (ESV)
Sin is also what causes sickness and disease. Listen to what the Apostle Paul says about this:
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned...” (ESV)
In this passage, Paul gives us some insight into how sin works.
First, he says it came into the world through one man. That man was Adam.
Second, Paul says Adams sin spread like a disease, and as a result, it spread to all men.
Third, Paul says sin produced death. A death that comes both physically and spiritually.
So, how does it kill us physically and spiritually?
It kills us physically through the decay that sin has brought into this world. Because while God created everything good and perfect, sin is working to undo what God created. It’s breaking life down. It’s undoing the life that he gave you. And it comes in all forms.
It comes through sickness. It comes through disease. It comes as sins affects on our bodies does it worse. As Abel learned, it even comes through the actions of others as his brother Cain took his life. And the reality for you and I is there is no escaping it. There’s no medicine, no procedure, and no miracle cure for death. Something’s going to eventually kill us.
And we’ll put a name to it. We’ll call it colon cancer. We’ll call it lung cancer. We’ll call it a tumor. We’ll call it heart failure. We’ll call it murder. We’ll call it an accident. We’ll even call it old age. But what it really is is sin. What it really is is the result of as two people made a decision to disobey a holy God. And in that moment sin and death entered the world.
But it doesn’t stop there. Not only is death physical, but it’s spiritual as well. Sin not only robs us of this life, but it robs us of the next as well. That’s why Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden. Their sin disqualified them from being in God’s presence. The prophet Isaiah puts it like this:
“Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.” (ESV)
Here’s what that means. When we die, not only do we die physically, we die spiritually. Why? Because we die outside of the presence of God. We die outside of the Garden. As Jesus put it in , as we die in our sins. And in that moment we die into eternal separation from God. The Bible calls that place hell.
Now, you might be thinking, “Wow Pastor, that’s depressing. Glad I came to church on Easter.” You know what, I’m glad you came on Easter as well. Because the fact is, that’s what Easter is all about. It’s about a Jesus who came to fix an eternal problem.
Thats’ why what Jesus says in our passage today is so important. In this passage Jesus reminds us that he isn’t just here to make our lives better. Jesus reminds us that he came so he can give us true life. A life beyond this life. A life eternal.
And the proof of that is found on Easter. The proof that is found in the resurrection. Because unlike us, Jesus was more than the son of a man, he was also the Son of God.
And because he was God, Jesus wasn’t guilty of sin like we are. The Apostle Peter writes, “ He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” (ESV)
And because he commited no sin, when he died, death couldn’t keep him down like it does us. Death couldn’t hold him. The apostle Peter put it like this, “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” (ESV)
You see, the good news of Easter is that Jesus isn’t a temporary fix to a temporary problem, he’s an eternal fix to an eternal problem. Jesus is the answer we’ve been looking for. Jesus is the solution to the sin problem. Because the promise that Jesus gives us, is that when we die, we won’t die. Jesus promises us that if we put our faith in him, if we believe that he died for our sins, that just like death couldn’t hold him, it won’t hold us as well. That when we pass from this life to the next, we too will be raised with him.
Here’s what we need to understand. In Jesus’s day everybody agreed the Christ would come through the line of David. Everybody believed the Christ would be a son of David. An offspring so to speak. So that wasn’t in question. What was in question was, “What kind of son will he be?”
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (ESV)
That’s who Jesus is. That’s what he offers us. So, I guess my question for you this morning is, “Is that your view of him? Is that who he is to you?”
You see, the challenge for you and I is we live in temporary world but we live like it’s eternal. We live like there’s a tomorrow. We live trying to build kingdoms that will never stand. We live to collecting stuff, building stuff and buying stuff that will eventually fade away
We live trying to sustain a life that is going to pass no matter what we do, and then we act surprised when we can’t sustain it.
We live like this life actually has something to off us. We seek day in a day out trying to find something in this life to fulfill us. For some its pleasure. For some its their work. For some its accomplishment. But the truth is, this life has nothing to offer us but sin and death.
We live like there is a tomorrow. But the truth is we aren’t promised a tomorrow. The Apostle James puts it like this:
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (ESV)
James says, “Our life is like a vapor. Here today, gone tomorrow.”
That’s how so many of us live our lives. Living like this is our life. Living like this is all there is. Living for temporary fixes to our temporary problems. What a roller coaster. What a disaappoitning way to live.
But what if today, on Easter, we decided to live differently? What if instead of living for tomorrow, we started living for him. And what if we did that by starting to view Jesus for who he really is. To see Him as Lord. And what if we put our hope in what he truly offers us. Not our best life now, but a life to come. A life that looks beyond this world. A life that is no longer focused on the temporal, but the eternal. Paul puts it like this in :
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (ESV)
Paul says Jesus offers us so much more than this life. But it starts with a different view of Jesus. It starts as you make Him Lord. It starts as you put your hope and trust in him. I starts with Easter, as you recognize that Jesus is more than an example. He’s more than a Facebook friend. He’s more than a crisis counselor. He’s more than your buddy. That on Easter you recognize that He is Lord. He is the one who came down from heaven. The one who loved you so much that he gave his life for you. The one that death couldn’t hold. The one who now stands at the right hand of God. The one who if you’ll put your faith in, can deliver you from your sin problem and its affects. The one who isn’t interested in giving you your best life now, but promises to give you true life and life eternal.
And the good news of Easter is, if you want that, you can have it today. Today you can begin to live that life.
And that doesn’t mean your life will be perfect. That doesn’t mean all the pain will go away. But what it does mean is you can start living with a hope you didn’t have before. A hope that there is more to life than this life. A hope in knowing that beyond this life, beyond this temporary moment, beyond this temporary pain, there is an eternal life. A life that Jesus promises for those who love him. The Apostle Paul puts it like this:
“But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 1 Corinthian 2:9 (ESV)
And that promise can be for you, but it begins with you making a decision. A decision to see Jesus for who he is. A decision to put your faith and hope in him. A decision to start living your life for Him.
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—