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Jesus Takes the Initiative

The Fulcrum of Time  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:51
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Jesus' identity and work is more significant than religious trappings.

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Title, Header, Content & Quote is “USER:Fulcrum”, and Scripture is “Hidden Hand of God
Last Sunday our children told us that they have been learning about initiative. What is initiative? Jesus’ accusers have been stunned into silence, but Jesus knows there are some things that they and his disciples need to learn, so Jesus scoots over to the driver’s seat.
For the last few weeks our Scripture lessons have been dealing with Jesus responding to the challenges of others. But now He determines to speak before being asked and He gives some clear instructions that remain relevant even to this room at this time.
One of the reasons I support the work of Gideons International is because of their core commitment to the Word of God. The Word that they print and distribute not only tell how to become children of God, but then how to live as children of God.
Today’s Bible reading gives us 3 instructions that we must heed if we are to live right, as God intends.
Transition: First a VERY quick review of how we got to this place in Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Jesus Invited the Crowds to Embrace the Kingdom (Luke 7-19)

The earliest chapters of Luke (1-6) established with historical reliability who Jesus was and His right to claim Lordship
The next 12 chapters are filled with various invitations for people to align themselves with the coming Kingdom

Jesus was Interrogated by the Chief Priests who Rejected the Kingdom (19-20)

Organized religion had setup a profitable kingdom for themselves They had perverted what God intended as an expression of His mercy in their midst and they twisted it into a self-serving sweetheart deal. The realize the devotion of the crowd is beginning to swing so they attempt to intimidate and shame Jesus.
Jesus’ answers are like mic drops that echo off the walls of Jerusalem.
Transition: Having hushed all His critics, Jesus now asserts Himself to answer the questions that are not being asked.

Jesus Invests in those who accept the call to Kingdom Living (20:41-21:6)

Rightful Throne: Jesus> David (20:41-44)

1. In the preceding verses Jesus taught his authority from the teaching of Moses—Israel’s greatest leader (God delivered, but Moses led) Now Jesus clearly says He is also greater than Israel’s greatest king! (David was the last king to rule over the united kingdom before it split into Israel and Judah). To this day the emblem on Israel’s flag is the Star of David.
2. Luke has made a point of Jesus’s descent from David (1:27, 32, 69; 2:4; 3:31), and Jesus has not objected to being addressed as “Son of David” in 18:38–39 and subsequently as “king” (19:38).[i]
3. But if Jesus descended from David, how could He be greater than David? Jesus answers this question by quoted David’s own writing Psalm 110:1.
Psalm 110:1 ESV:2016
1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The Lord (YHWH) says to my (David’s) Lord (Adonai): “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
4. Luke has already established Jesus as the son of David, so why does he now question it? Jesus regards the title as true, but inadequate: He is more than just another David; He is David’s Lord[ii].
Transition: Having established Jesus’ authority as being greater than both historical Moses and David, Jesus moves toward an example right in front of their faces..

Rightful Devotion: Faith> Fanfair (20:45-21:4)

1. Matthew’s account (ch.23) Jesus rips on the leaders for a whole chapter, but Mark and Luke both shorten the exchange to emphasize the contrast setup by Jesus between the powerful and the faithful
2. Earlier (11:43) Jesus pronounced a woe and warned the Pharisees about seeking honor, now He explicitly warns his disciples of this same danger by shaming the pretense of the scribes and honoring the presentation by a widow.
3. As Scribes (writers of law) I conclude that they wrote contracts that exploited the poor for their own gain and when questioned about it they would pivot by droning on in long prayers so that the questioner would forget the question.
4. These legal experts had forgotten Micah 6:8
Micah 6:8 ESV:2016
8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
5. Their deeds were anything but just or kind because they had long forgotten what a humble walk with God looked like.
6. Jesus warns those around Him to exchange the swagger of the scribes for the worship of this widow.
7. Back in Luke’s first chapter, Mary offers a song of praise when she finds out she will bear the Christ child. The praise of young Mary foreshadows the faith of this elderly (I presume) widow”
Luke 1:50–53 ESV:2016
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
8. This woman’s worship put her faith to the test
Romans 14:23 (ESV:2016)
For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
This woman’s diet was an expression of faith. These coins were all the money she had.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV:2016
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
9. She was living out Mt 6:33 by seeking first God’s kingdom and trusting Him to supply.
Transition: With a clear understanding of the rightness of trusting faith, Jesus returns to His rightful place as object of that faith. People could not rest in Temple life because the importance of Temple was about to change.

Rightful Future: Savior> Stones (21:5-6)

1. Next week we will drill down more into the Future of the Temple
2. Matthew’s Gospel drills down into this contrast by describing an event that would happen later in the week when Jesus said these words—the Temple veil would rip top to bottom indicating access to God would no longer be gained through a temple made with hands.
3. But as Jesus and the disciples are in the courtyard and impressed by the beauty of offerings being made in the this environment, Jesus hints that the dwelling place of God is about to be moved from the most holy place, to the hearts of believers.
4. Jewish historian Josephus described the scene this way: If the Jerusalem temple had not been built by the Jews, it would have been one of the seven wonders of the world. It was larger than even the Temple of Diana in Ephesus and more beautifully adorned than any comparable building. It took eighty-three years for Herod to build it (20 bc to ad63), and it was completed only seven years before it was destroyed by the Romans. He doubled its size and turned it into a truly magnificent structure. Many of the pure white marble stones were massive, sixty-seven by twelve feet in size, and when the sun hit the facade and the gold plates on it in the morning, it was blinding in its brilliance (Josephus, Jewish War 5.222–23).[iii]
5. Jesus starts this section by proclaiming that He is greater than their greatest king and in these verses, He says that way that God is worshipped is about to undergo a major change.

Conclusion:

It would be a misguided application to conclude that Because Jesus is David’s Lord and the Perfect Savior that I must give all my possessions and trust Him to provide for me.
However, there are times when God’s Spirit will prompt you to give extravagantly, prompted by faith and see His hand of provision.
One personal example of this comes to mind. Christmas time 2013 in Waukesha, WI Ann and I were attending a special holiday presentation at our church and they collected a special offering for homeless shelter. You can imagine being homeless in Wisconsin in winter! Although we were living paycheck to paycheck, God prompted me to give all that was in my pocket. We were preparing to grocery shop after church for our Christmas dinner. I conferred with Ann and she told me to obey the Spirit’s prompting. When we got home the mailman had delivered a check from my out-of-state Aunt (who had never sent me money before) for a little more than what we gave to the homeless shelter. The timing and the amount were too specific to be a coincidence.
R.T. France describes the setting where the woman gave her coins in this way: In the court of the women stood thirteen large chests to receive monetary contributions. Dr. Grant Osborne has described these 13 as having a large bell made out of metal (like the old Turnpike coin baskets) and the coins would clink as they made their way into the chest. Six of which were designated for “freewill offerings.”[iv]
As you leave this morning there are baskets available for your worship through giving, and our guest will be receiving a freewill offering for the Gideons.
I’m not going to presume to tell you how much or where to give, I believe the teaching of Jesus in today’s text simply tells us that God is pleased when we worship Him and give in faith. My challenge for each of us is to magnify our Love for God.
Song of Response #363..... “More Love to Thee
Benediction: Galatians 1:3–5 (ESV) — Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
[i] R. T. France, Luke, ed. Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton, Teach the Text Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013), 327. [ii] Ibid., 327. [iii] Grant R. Osborne, Luke: Verse by Verse, ed. Jeffrey Reimer, Elliot Ritzema, and Danielle Thevenaz, Awa Sarah, Osborne New Testament Commentaries (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018), 479–480. [iv] France, 326.
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