Faithlife Sermons

Then I saw Him

Evangelism  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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La obra de Dios a la vista de todos, sin embargo solo uno creyó


Why am I here?

Before I officially start this message, and against any normally accepted speaker rules, let me apologize in advance if I make any mistakes. English is not my native language and I may stumble a little so for that I am sorry.
I want to start also by expressing my gratitude to God for being able to be here with you all. I consider it a great privilege to share what I consider the most important message anyone can talk about and hear about. So I would like you think about a really simple question that might straighten our thoughts before we dig into deeper matters. Just ask yourself, why am I here? Try to go a little beyond the normal set of circumstances that brought you here. It could be to be with friends, to get a haircut, to eat, or maybe you didn’t have anything else to do, or maybe it is what you are used to doing every last Saturday of the month.
I want to present to you a different hypothesis of the reason of you being here. And that is that God wanted you to be here, so you could hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I understand that in a culture that is tired of clichés, you might as well get tired at the very beginning of this message.
We are “Free Beings” and we hear everywhere about our freedoms, our choices, mixed up with our longings, dreams, and desires. At the end of the day we are here because we want to be, and that’s it, plainly as that. We don’t need to add up any kind of superstition or divine wisdom to it, life happens.
The Bible tells us a different story. A story of hope, of redemption, of life-transforming situations that have occurred to human beings ever since God revealed himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

Ground Rules.

The message that you are about to hear is of tremendous importance, and it has nothing to do with the one who is speaking. I am not an interesting man. I do not have an interesting story to share. And I am here just struggling to get through this without sounding too much like a foreigner. Anyways, because of the importance of this message I would like to have your full attention. Please keep your distractions to a minimum. It is also required that you respect the author of this message, which is God Himself. Whether or not you believe in Him, this message has the power of changing your life forever, and the evidence is the very people hosting tables as I speak.

The Story.

Around 1950 years ago this Dude named Luke who was a doctor in times when getting a degree was difficult, not everyone was educated. He had, if you want to call it the luck, to have degree and be educated to perform a documentary on the life of a man who impacted his life. This documentary is well known as the Gospel according to Luke. Now, despite multiple attempts to bash the credibility of the Gospels, none of the claims against its credibility hold any weight to debunk the trustworthiness of its content. Think about any kind of information that can withstand the test of time, we are talking about “old news” here. 1950 years ago. I don’t even remember last week’s news. And here we have a documentary that can also portray characteristics of humanity that can be applied to people living in the 21st century.

The Purpose

The purpose of this message is to present the possibility of each one of us to experience a miracle right in front of us and we don’t even see it.
The second purpose is to show how the Gospel of Luke, being as old as it is can easily portray current human characteristics, reactions, and feelings.
The third purpose is to let God open your eyes to see the real reason why your life is not as you would like it to be. So you can believe in the message of the Gospel that is full of hope for you.
This story begins on a really dark day in Jerusalem, it was execution day for three guys. Two criminals, and Jesus. They were being taken from north Jerusalem to the outskirts of city to a place known as The Skull. Just the name of a place like that can really let you know that they were in death row, and they were taken to become a.... skull. That was it. No more hope. Back in those days, executions like that were not super common, but let’s say they were standard procedure. Some kind of freak show that people could enjoy. It was a good time for mocking people, and for the government of the Roman Empire to flex their muscles and show people who is boss.
The Bible is very clear about this, it says there was a multitude surrounding this execution. You have to remember that back in those days there were no mass media, pictures, internet, or TV. Of course there has always been gossip, but if you wanted to have a picture in your mind of something you would have to see it yourself. So people were following these poor souls, to see once again, how people got killed back in those days. So the Bible continues its narrative, and tells us they arrive to the place called The Skull, and the execution time was being prepared. This was not a short execution. It usually took a couple of days for a person to die. Some historians said that it could take some people up to a week.
So there we have the law enforcement officer obeying their orders, stretching out legs and arms, piercing hands and feet, cracking bones, beating up faces, moving people around, managing the crowd, and Luke gives us a particular detail on this execution date, and I want to draw your attention to this. It says that one of the guys being executed screamed “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing” Now take away your Easter religious mindset, and think about this. Sometimes people who are about to be executed say all kinds of crazy things. I’m not trying to commit blasphemy here. I am just trying to put us in the real context of that crazy day.
Right after Luke gives us an account of what Jesus said, we see the reaction of the crowd. Luke says that the crowd watched and scoffed at him, saying:
“He saved others, let him save himself, if He is really God’s Messiah, the chosen one.”
Not only the crowd mocked him, the soldiers were also mocking him, bowing down, and offering to drink sour wine.
They said “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself”
And now something really interesting happened. I would like to point out here, that we might have the first documented “meme” in the history of mankind, in the Gospel of Luke. Luke says that the soldiers grabbed a sign and fastened above Jesus’ cross with the words, “This is the King of the Jews.” In other Gospels it says they wrote it in three different languages so that everyone could read this super good joke.
It makes us wonder, why they were so interested in bashing this guy, and to be honest with you, many of us have done the same thing. Because in a really human perspective Jesus seemed to have a very very big mouth. Let me remind you what he said about himself. In a party, he stood up in the middle of the party and said “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” He not only said this in other passages, He said that He was the Resurrection and the Life, the He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that He was the door. That he was the Good Shepherd. In other words, Jesus could have easily embarrassed us if we were His close friends.
He was not politically correct either, He would call people out on their sin and call them to repent. He would call them hypocrites, thieves, sons of the devils, and during teaching sessions He would call His own disciples evil. Throughout history people have tried to make a more friendly version of this Jesus Christ, painting him just as a good teacher, or a revolutionary. Maybe even like a CareBear. But in this passage we see people doing the same thing we would have done and we actually do with someone who said so much about themself. “Oh and you are the one who is going to save us.” “Oh you are mister big somebody, look at you, you are being killed.” “You are going to die, probably today” “What was all of that about?” And Jesus remained silent. And this is something really interesting to me about Jesus. You cannot be neutral about Him. It is either He and all His followers throughout history are delusional losers, because he was a big fat fraud. Worthy of an ancient Meme, or He was actually telling the Truth, and we all missed it.

Three Kinds of Spectators

The first one is the crowd. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about the Middle East, Asia, or the Pacific Northwest. Crowds are crowds. They are a massive amount of people with no brain, who seems to have to purpose. They are just there making noise. Instead of being a powerful, unified force, we are a mess of chaos. We are not that different.
Then we have the leaders. Political and religious. They are also mocking. They have power, they have everything to lose if this guy is telling the truth. Because He said that in what they have placed all their hopes will vanish and is not at all important, so he better be a liar. In following verses Luke says they were shaking their head and beating their chests in sorrow.
Then you have the law enforcement. They were in business, they were just obeying orders. I am not judging their motives, but we could easily say that this was normal business for them. The smell of blood, seeing people die often and in a horrible way. I have talked to law enforcement officers in my life and they always tell me they have seen the worst of humanity, and most of them, with PTSD have lost their faith in humanity.
Then Luke accounts for another mocker, and this is really startling. You might think we were done, but a criminal that was hanging in the cross that was actually dying the same day in the same circumstance, also starts to mock Jesus. Let me paraphrase him “Hey you, big mouth, save yourself and save us while you are at it.” Do you have another miracle to show? Make it to be our freedom right now. It could be that he tried to laugh, but the pain and the shortness of breath could not allow him to do so.
Do you feel that delicious feeling when you are mocking someone who was caught in fraud? That thought that comes to your mind “We got him…yeahhh! this is it we got him, let’s make a spectacle out of him.” Do you feel it? I really believe Luke was trying to make us feel that way.
And now the other criminal speaks up. In the last couple of hours something has changed in him. I mean, he is a thug, some historians said that he was likely a very bad man to have been on death row that day.
And he comes up with a plot turning statement. He says “Dude, knock it off, we are here because we deserve to be here, it was not the system, it was not the government, it was not our parents, it was not our mental disease, it was not our circumstances, it was not our upbringing, it is because of our own decisions, it is our fault, we are not innocent, in fact we are anything but innocent. And He, He IS innocent. Then he says something even more shocking. Remember he was not a religious man. They lived in a more religious era than ours, but he was a thug. He said “Don’t you fear God” says the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. This guy could have been a fool his entire life, but he was being the wisest person in the end. Then he says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom”
My dear friends, the Bible is describing humanity in this story. Who are you today? Are you just part of the crowd? You are just looking at your phone, just wanting me to finish so you can go on with your life. Are you a leader or an important person? You just shake your head, beat your chest and say “meh, religion, ugh people, they never change.” Are you like the soldiers? Are you actually in the business of death? You have lost all your hope in humanity. Or you are like the first criminal you are dying and you know it. You are no longer a healthy skeptic. You are a cynic. You see the truth and you couldn’t care less. You keep mocking Jesus. And you may ask I don’t see the cross here in this community meal. Where is the cross in this room? Where is Jesus in this room? That could be a fair question. We cannot see him with our eyes, but the fruit of that fateful day could be sitting next to you, talking to you, praying with you.
Are you done with excuses? Are you ready to start with the first step of the gospel? By saying I am not innocent, I have sinned and I need God. I need help, I need a Savior. The amazing thing is that our precious Lord never rejects a broken heart. Healthy people do not need a doctor, and He is the Great Physician. His name is savior. He said to that criminal “I assure you, that today you will be with me in paradise” Why would you walk out those doors being the same, why would you do that my dear friend. Let’s pray.
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