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2016-10-16 Luke 18:31-34 It Was No Accident!

Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:04
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IT WAS NO ACCIDENT! (Luke 18:31-34) October 16, 2016 Read Lu 18:31-34 – The photographer for a national mag went to photograph a raging fire. A plane rental was arranged, so when he arrived, he saw the plane on the runway, hurried aboard and ordered, “Okay, let’s go.” The pilot swung around and took off. Once airborne the guy said, “Can you make a low pass over the north edge of the fire?” The pilot said, “You’re kidding. Why?” “So I can take some pictures.” “Pictures? You mean you’re not the flight instructor?” Slight misunderstanding there – potentially fatal to both. But not nearly as bad as most people’s misunderstanding about Jesus and His mission. That misunderstanding could be eternally fatal. Jesus’ own disciples had a hard time getting over their own preconceived notions. They just knew He was going to send the Romans packing. So for the 3rd time directly and the 7th overall in Luke, He predicts His future. He hadn’t come to save them from the Romans; He’d come to save them from sin. But they weren’t getting it. Perhaps you are not getting it either. Perhaps you see Jesus’ death as a kind of tragedy like the assassinations of President Lincoln and Kennedy. An awful accident of history. If that's the case, I’m glad you’re here today. Far from an accident, Jesus’ death was the most carefully planned and executed event in world history. The disciples eventually got that. Perhaps you can too if you will open your heart to the greatest plan God ever made. And for you! I. The Prophesy of the Plan The context. The rich young ruler just left sadly rejecting Jesus in favor of his money. Then Jesus assures His disciples that their trust in Him has secured eternal life. What they still don’t get is that life at a price – a price Jesus must pay in Jerusalem. So, He pulls them aside one more time to tell them the plan. It’s not what they think. He is going to suffer and die. His prediction of His own death reinforces that it’s not an accident. It is a carefully staged, purposeful event. And if they don’t get it yet, it is important that they can look back later and realize He knew all along. He knew in detail, beginning mid-v. 32 saying the Son of Man “will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him.” Nothing surprised Jesus. But rather than run away, He ran right into the teeth of the storm. 1 V. 31: “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.” It wasn’t just Jesus predicting His death, prophets had been doing it for hundreds of years. His death was no accident. Those prophecies are like a neon sign blaring the message: “This is no accident. This is the most purposeful event in history!” The detailed prophecies that were fulfilled in this very trip by Jesus of Nazareth to Jerusalem are astounding. Zech 9:9 predicted, “Behold, your king is coming to you . . . humble and mounted on a donkey,” exactly as happened. Psa 41:9 predicted, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me” depicting Judas’ betrayal right after taking Communion with Christ. Zech 11:12 predicted the betrayal price would be 30 pieces of silver, and Zech 11:13 predicted Judas would eventually take the “thirty pieces of silver and [throw] them into the house of the LORD, to the potter,” exactly as happened. Psa 38:11 predicted, “My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,” a prophesy fulfilled in Lu 23:49: “And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.” Psalm 22:16 and Isa 53:5 predicted death by crucifixion. Psa 22:18 predicted they would cast lots for His clothing. Psa 34:20 predicted that no bones would be broken, tho that was common in crucifixions. Isa 53:9 predicted He would die with the wicked (thieves on each side), but be buried with the rich – in Joseph of Arimathea’s donated grave. Prophecy after prophecy after prophecy. Think the death of Christ was just an accident of history? Think again. It was one of the most meticulously planned events in history, prophesied by Jesus Himself multiple times, and by various prophets hundreds of years in advance, leaving no doubt. When Jesus said, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished,” He wasn’t kidding. He knew exactly what He was doing. II. The Participants in the Plan Now, this may surprise you, so hang on. 32 “For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles.” Gentiles are clearly involved, but note first – “he will be delivered over.” Who is doing the delivering? The Jews, right? They’re in it up to their eyeballs. Lu 9:22, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes.” And that’s exactly how it played out. The Jews led! But the Jews, operating under Roman authority, were not allowed to assign the death penalty. They needed Roman approval. 2 Thus Pilate and Herod, were pulled in. And it was Roman soldiers who carried out the execution. So, who killed Jesus? Well, it was both Jews and Gentiles. But wait! Someone else is involved. Back to v. 31: “everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.” Looks clear enough, but the word “by” translates δια which is normally translated “thru”. Both the NASB and the Holman Xn Standard Bible use “thru.” That shows the predictions of the prophets were not made by them, but were transmitted thru them. They were made by God Himself. That clarifies. The prophets didn’t know the future on their own, but God did and transmitted thru them. So if God is predicting the death of Christ, He is an active participant. In fact, He was the ultimate participant. The prophets confirm that. Isa 53:4: He was “smitten by God, and afflicted.” Jews and Gentiles were mere instruments of accomplishing His purposes just like the prophets. Isa 53:10: “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief.” Peter adds that the life and death of Christ “was foreknown before the foundation of the world” (I Pet 1:20). So get the big picture. The death Jesus is heading for in Jerusalem has been in the planning stages since before time began! It was no quirk of fate that took Jesus to the cross. It was the eternal will of the Father. But people are accountable. Peter reminds the Jews that the blood of their own Messiah is on their hands: Acts 2: 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” But the most active participant of all in the death of Christ was the Father Himself. So why? Why would the Father impose this horror on His Son. There had to be a stupendous purpose. And there certainly was. III. The Purpose of the Plan It’s not specifically stated here, but there’s no question what Jesus was doing. He was going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of the Passover – only this time, instead of bringing a lamb – He will be the Lamb. The Bible persistently points to the cross as the pivotal point of history. This is where the spotless lamb of God became sin for everyone who will follow Him. The concept of substitution is there from the beginning. Just after Adam and Eve sinned, while they are still blaming everyone else, God promises in Gen 3:15 a redeemer who will defeat Satan. And the first hint of a sacrificial, substitutionary death is symbolized by the animals that God kills to substitute 3 for the fig leaf covering they made themselves. Later, when Abe is asked by God to sacrifice his own son, Isaac gets curious. “Dad, Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abe replies, “God will provide for himself the lamb” (Gen 22:7-8). Substitution. When Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt, the plague that finally breaks Pharaoh’s back is when God says, “All the firstborn in Egypt are forfeit. They will all die.” But grace is available. If the people sacrifice a lamb and put the blood on the doorpost God promises: “The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exod 12:13). A substitutionary sacrifice, pointing forward to this moment in Jesus’ life when He leaves for Jerusalem to be the ultimate lamb of God. Isa 535) “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned —every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” You may not like this teaching. You may even reject it. But you must throw out the whole Bible to do so. And it will catch you out eventually. Paul tells us that based on Jesus’ death, 9 God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-10). No everybody’s saved? No! You must confess His Lordship on this side of the grave to get in on that. But make no mistake – His death was substitutionary, for all including you if you will accept it. Life comes from death! You ask a 6-year-old where food comes from. He’ll tell you, King Sooper, right? From the grocery store. But you ask someone in 1st century Palestine and they would tell you, “From plants, fish, animals.” They’ve grown or caught the food themselves. And they know. You live because the chicken died, right? You live because the carrots have been pulled up and killed. You think you are self-sufficient? Think again. For you to live, something dies. Either we die or it dies! Next time you are at MacDonald’s, what will you eat? Dead cow. Dead lettuce. Dead wheat. Everything you eat in a meal once lived and is now dead. All of it has given its life as a substitute for you. You can’t escape this truth physically. Either it dies or you die. It’s all a big object lesson, Beloved. Just as something has to die for you to live physically, so someone has to die for you to live spiritually. That’s Jesus. 4 Which explains His curious statement in John 6:51: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Cannabalism? No. He’s just saying that just as you must consume something that has died to sustain physical life, so you must consume someone who has died to live spiritually. That someone is Jesus. It’s all over the Bible. He died, so we can live. Deny that and you kiss your future good-by. This means that in addition to Jews, Romans and God – we also participated in Jesus’ death. It was for us He died. No other death was like His. All people of a broken race participated. The whole universe had a stake in this death, and the question is what are we going to do with it? IV. The Power of the Plan It’s hidden away in one little phrase in v. 33. “And on the third day he will rise.” Jesus never spoke of His death but He also spoke of His resurrection. This casual phrase speaks of unimaginable power. It’s the lynchpin of everything. Without this, nothing works. If there is no resurrection, the substitutionary atonement is a fake and a fraud. But if there is a resurrection, that tells you two things. It tells you this death was absolutely necessary. If God could raise Jesus from the dead, then He certainly could have prevented the death in the first place – so it must have been necessary. God would never have put His Son thru this if it were not totally necessary. The 2nd thing the resurrection tells you is that Jesus is not just a way – He is the only way to the Father. The popular view that Christianity is too exclusive and there must be multiple ways to God is a well-intentioned but Satanically inspired lie. It isn’t Christianity that is exclusive; it is Jesus. Those who honor Him as a way actually dishonor His own claims. The claims were as fantastic and as exclusive as you can get: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” That’s an astounding claim. But Jesus’ resurrection, planned by God before time began, prophesied for hundreds of years in advance, predicted on multiple occasions by Jesus Himself – Jesus’ resurrection proves His claim to be the only way. Just ask yourself, what other religion has anyone who made such claims and then backed them up with victory over death? It’s a small list, Beloved. The belief in multiple ways to God has become pervasive. Listen to this from Brian McLaren, the leading voice of the emerging church movement: “I don't believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian 5 religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish context.” That’s an incredible comment – indicating that you can be a follower of Jesus and deny His most basic claim to be the exclusive way to the Father. Wishing it so does not make it so. Jesus’ resurrection demonstrates there is only One person who has the power over sin, death and destruction. Thus John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” There simply is no other way. V. The Paradox of the Plan Look at the disciples after Jesus has told them this many times. 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.” Why could they not understand? Because what Jesus was saying did not square with what they had been taught and believed about Messiah. They knew Him only as a powerful King who would triumph over evil, leaving perfection in His wake. That’s what they were up for. They kept missing the paradox of the plan. They missed that given a fallen world, life comes out of death. There is a cross before the crown. That seems counterintuitive, right? But that is exactly what Jesus taught shortly before His death. John 12:24: “24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” There’s the paradox. He had to die in order to give life. And they would have to die to self to receive life. This has been God’s plan since before time began. Conc – So – are you in? You and me and every other person who ever lived went with Jesus on that trip to Jerusalem because it was our sin that nailed Him to the cross. But now He invites us to share in His resurrection as well. The purpose of this plan is to redeem you, but that decision is now yours. D. A. Carson writes in his book, Scandalous: “Do you believe? Or do you find yourself among the millions who begin to glimpse what the cross is about and dismiss the entire account as scandalous? A living-and-dyingand-living God? A God who stands over against us in wrath and who loves us anyway? A cross where punishment is meted out by God and borne by God? Scandalous! But what will you say when you give an account to him on the last day, and admit you heard this message and walked away?” Don’t walk away, Beloved. Don’t buy the scandalous denials of His grace. A 6 misunderstanding here is fatal. Embrace what He has done for you. It was no accident that Jesus died. He died for you. Accept Him now. Let’s pray. 7
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