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  • Aug 23 / 2020
  • Comments Off on Jesus’ Healing Word (Matthew 8:5-13)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

Jesus’ Healing Word (Matthew 8:5-13)

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Jesus Healing Word

Matthew 8:5-13 (Pastor Brian)

The Faith of the Centurion

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”

7 Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.


Jesus entered Capernaum Matthew 4:13 – that was where Jesus dwelt.

A Centurion (officer in the Roman army – leader of 100 men, part of the occupation of Israel – a Gentile, probably not very popular (many Jews hated the Romans for occupying Jerusalem)) – this man came to Jesus (a Jewish teacher and rabbi) for his servant (not himself).

Whenever the NT mentions a centurion, there is something to admire.

1.

This one came to seek the help of Christ for his slave and uttered the remarks we see here.

2.

At the crucifixion, another centurion observed the death of Jesus and said, “Truly this was the son of God.” Many had mocked him, but the centurion saw him utter his last words “Forgive them, for they don’t know what they do” and realized he was the Son of God.

3.

Cornelius, another centurion, was a good man, able to minister to the poor, friendly with the Jews, and had a visitation from an angel and said, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up before God.”

We know that God also orchestrated things so that Peter was instructed to go to his house and show him more fully the way to salvation. He was the first Gentile to be baptized into the church at that time.

4.

Another, involved with Paul – after he was arrested (falsely) for taking Greeks into the tabernacle. He was ordered to be flogged, but Paul confronted the centurion there about it, “Is it lawful to flog a Roman citizen?” The centurion stood up for him and those who were to flog him stepped back. So, Paul was spared due to his citizenship and the advice and counsel given by the centurion.

5.

Acts 23, there are two centurions taking Paul (and protecting him) to the Governor Felix.

6.

Another, Julius, in Acts 27:1-28 was responsible to take Paul to Rome. He acted capably and was interested in what Paul had to say, and he saved Paul from the hands of the soldiers in the hour of the shipwreck. They had planned to kill the prisoners, but the centurion had wanted to spare Paul.

So the centurions mentioned in the NT seem to be honorable and good men.

This one, came pleading for his servant who was very sick. It is interesting that he was so concerned for his slave. Under Roman law, the master could kill his slave, and it was expected that he would esp if the man could no longer work.

However, this centurion came entreating Jesus (pleading) for his slave.

Jesus immediately said, “I will go.”

This was against Jewish custom, for a Jew to enter a Gentile house (not against God’s law, but against custom). The centurion sensed this and said, “I’m not worthy.”

He realized it might have been awkward for Jesus – a Jew – to not want to enter a Gentile home (but of course, Jesus, wouldn’t feel that way). The centurion said, “Speak a word, and he will be healed.” He recognized the authority of Christ – believing that he could heal with his word, just as easily as with his touch (last time we looked at Jesus healing the leper with a touch – Matthew 8:1-4). In the case of the leper, he touched the untouchable. In this case, he speaks a word.

“Because I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me.”

He understood the military chain of command, the orders from above were to be obeyed without question. Jesus remarked elsewhere, “I do nothing of my own will, I do the will of my Father.” He also was obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit.

So, the centurion recognized that Jesus was under authority, but also that Jesus HAD authority over nature, disease, sin.

The authority of God of disease, demons, and all else would flow through Christ.

v. 10-13, Jesus praised the centurion’s faith and healed the servant. He “marveled” (filled with wonder and astonishment) and said, “Truly, I have not found such great faith, even in Israel. Many will sit with Abraham and Isaac in the kingdom,… but the sons will be cast out…”

Jesus said, “Go, and it will be done as you have believed” and it was done that very hour.

This great faith, worthy of praise from Jesus was from the centurion – even more so than among the people of Israel.

“many from east to west” – this was a radical idea to the Jews – they thought that all Jews would be there, but no Gentiles. But Jesus corrects this misunderstanding. The Jews who didn’t believe (the “sons”) would be cast out into the darkness with “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” and the Gentiles (those who believed) would be allowed in.

“Gnashing of teeth” = only in great pain and agony – in hell there is ALWAYS gnashing of teeth.

We see Jesus was unafraid to speak of hell and did so more than any others in the Bible. Some ministers never mention hell. Some say, “If you don’t believe in Christ, you’ll be sent to THAT place that we shouldn’t speak of.”

Jesus used plain words, and there was no mistaking what he meant. “If you don’t believe I AM, you’ll be lost in your sins.”

He came from heaven to show the people the way to heaven.

He was the healer of bodies (leper, centurion’s servant), but also the saver or our souls. After we die, our souls will live on in one place or another – heaven or hell.

The centurion at the cross, for example, must have truly recognized what was going on.

Jesus:

1. Faced our guilt

Ex:

Rationalized guilt

A man sped down the highway, stopped by a police officer, and said, “Well, there are so many accidents, I was rushing to get out of here…” – he rationalized his guilt.

Denied guilt

A man had his machine fixed, but never received a bill. He sent a letter saying, “where’s my bill for the repairs?” but the company said, “We have no record of anything needed repairs.” (denial of guilt)

Postponed guilt

A man stole a watch, and later gave some money to repay it. He tried to postpone his guilt.

But for us, our guilt, our judgment, our time is coming, and Jesus faced our guilt for us, he erased the litany of things that caused us to be guilty. He took it away from us. He faced it, born our sin, because leprous, our substitute, taking our place on the cross in death.

“Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.”

He faced our sin.

2. Forgave our sin.

“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”

3. Forgot our sins.

By the erasure of the statutes that were against us, God would also forget our sins.

  1. Jesus faced our guilt
  2. Forgave our sins
  3. God forgot our sins

“I will remember them … NO MORE.”

That’s what makes salvation so precious. That the omniscient God can choose to forget (or not remember) our sins.

Q: Have we believed that Jesus has faced, forgiven, forgotten our guilt?
That’s what the good news is.

We have put our trust in the living God. “that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

I was brought up in a very liturgical church, and we were taught something similar to what we’ve heard. “I’m not worthy for you to enter my house, just say the word and I’ll be healed.”

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 09 / 2020
  • Comments Off on The Willingness of Jesus (Matthew 8:1-4)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

The Willingness of Jesus (Matthew 8:1-4)

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Send to: NongHyup bank 351-0158-2802-13 Song Ki-Joong

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The Willingness of Jesus

Matthew 8:1-4 (Pastor Brian)

The Man With Leprosy

1 When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”


This is the first personal miracle that’s recorded in Matthew (also recorded in Mark and Luke). It shows how important this was to God that it was recorded in the three synoptic gospels.

Mark: “The man was covered in leprosy.” (There are different stages)

It was regarded as “living death” – losing nerve sensation, fingers falling off, toes falling off, stop blinking (become blind) – it’s a degenerative disease. Thankfully today, there are cures although many people still contract it. Now it is controllable – you can’t back up what’s already happened, but it can be controlled.

This disease is often a picture of sin in our lives. It starts small, but increases, increases, increases, and eventually brings death.

Luke knew that this person was in the last stages of leprosy (covered with leprosy).

Jesus had just taught the Sermon on the Mount (Beatitudes “Blessed are the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, …”). He’d been teaching up there, coming down and the multitudes followed him. One of the gospel writers wrote, “Behold, a man with leprosy came to him and worshiped him saying, ‘If you are willing, make me clean.'”

This must have been surprising – this guy should have been socially distanced from the crowd. He was not supposed to have been in that environment, near other people. He should have been in isolation (quarantine), desperation, adoration (later).

This wasn’t the only person who came to Jesus who wasn’t supposed to. Remember the woman who was bleeding for 12 years? Ceremonially unclean, but she pressed into Jesus, and touched him garment. “Your faith has made you well.”

This is now the masculine version of that story. The man pressed in and said, “If you are willing, make me clean.”

It was forbidden to even touch lepers, it was like touching a dead person. Yet, he said, “I am willing.”

But this is not the only instance where he was “willing” – sometimes, he did miracles even from a distance. But to show compassion to the leper, he reached out and touched him. And “immediately” the leprosy left him.

This also is a kind of new birth – being born again. “I’m no longer a slave to fear; I am a child of God.” (How do you know?)

Paul “We are also his offspring, his children” (God as Creator). We are all born and exist because God exists and gives life. But there’s a spiritual death that’s attached to that. There’s a need to be “born again” – “born from above.”

To do so, we need to recognize our sin nature, and receive a new birth.

That song, “I’m no longer a slave to fear” reminds me of John Wesley. He was brought up religiously, went to the US, taught people, tried to do good to lots of people, was on his way back from America and the ship was in trouble. He was very fearful.

He noticed Moravians – they were praying, they weren’t concerned with death / destruction. He was amazed that they were so calm. As he spoke to them, he realized he was lacking. He needed Christ and the new birth.

He changed, his heart was “strangely warmed” and was experiencing the “new birth.” It was changing him and would change his ministry. Have you experienced this new birth? Are you a child of God?

Jesus challenged the religious leader, Nicodemus, and said, “It is necessary to be born from above” (by the spirit of God).

The picture of the leper is the picture of us before we encounter Christ. John Wesley experienced that and changed history in England (during the French Revolution). It is said that due to the preaching of Charles and John Wesley to be “born again” that there was not so much destruction in England during that period as there was in France.

This leper now was in isolation, and therefore (on the point of death) in desperation. He came to Jesus and called him “Lord (Yhwh)” for the first time. He knew that Jesus had the power, but…was he willing?

“If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

For Jesus to touch the man, that would have made Jesus ceremonially unclean – but he wasn’t an ordinary man – and he wanted to show his willingness to cleanse him, so he touched him.

“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifice that Moses commanded.”

In Mark, he didn’t obey this command, but rather went around and told everyone of his healing.

He went and told when Jesus had told him not to. But WE do the opposite. Jesus says, “Go and tell” but we don’t.

So we should be ready to let our light shine and go and tell.

Leprosy was a terrible disease. In the OT, Naman was a great general, had great victories, had such wonderful things going for him, but “was a leper.” He sent to the Israeli king who said, “How can I do this thing?” So then he sent a servant to Elisha the prophet.

He expected Elisha to come out and pray and lay hands on him, but he didn’t. He said, “Go and bathe in the (dirty) river 7 times” (via messenger).

Naman was upset! What? But his servant said, “if he’d told you to do something hard, you’d have done it without question, so why question something so easy?” He “ate humble pie” and went and did it.

Now, in church, it’s not enough to just observe and show the outward signs of “religion.” Have you truly acknowledged your leprosy? Have you humbled yourself? Have you experienced the new birth?

Miram – sister of Moses – on the way out of Jesus, she (and her brother Aaron) spoke out against their brother (also upset about his marriage to an outsider). God came to them in the Tabernacle and honored him. “With Moses I speak face-to-face.” When the cloud went up, Miram had leprosy on her. Aaron cried out “Pray that this will be taken away!” Moses did and it was healed. It is said of Moses he was the most humble person on earth (generally).

The leper is on his way to see the priest and the problem was that the priest had to get out his manual to see what to do (he didn’t know offhand because cleansing from leprosy was so rare – maybe he checked Leviticus 14).

In Leviticus 14, we read about what happens when a person is cleansed from leprosy. It doesn’t say HOW he is cleansed, but if a person HAD leprosy, they were to be isolated outside the camp (so as not to be contagious). If, while outside, he saw that the leprosy had gone, he would have to tell the priest, who would have to go out to examine him. Now, the ordinances / rituals to consider him clean in the eyes of God / people involved some symbolism in the sacrifices:

  1. Two living birds were taken,
  2. one killed in a clay pot over running water (living water – taken from a stream – not from a well),
  3. this bird was sacrificed over the pot, the blood going into the water.
  4. The other bird was dipped into the blood of the dead bird,
  5. with cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and hyssop

Hyssop was a herb used to paint blood of the lamb on the posts in Egypt during the Exodus – remember the last plague was death of the first born – and this causes the Pharaoh to release the Israelites – this also is a picture of God’s judgment and mercy,

Hyssop was also used at the cross. He said 7 statements, one of which, “I thirst.” They put sour wine on a clump of hyssop and he drank of it

Also David – in his Psalm of Penitence after committing adultery and murder (he paid for it), acknowledging his sin. The prophet said his sin was forgiven, but that the sword would never pass from his house. He wrote, “Cleanse me with hyssop and I’ll be white as snow.”

  1. Cedar wood
  2. Scarlet yarn
  3. Live bird
  4. Hyssop

Dipped into the blood of the killed bird.

This is a picture of Jesus. He died, and shed his blood. The second bird, dipped, and released.

  • Dead bird = Jesus’ death
  • Live bird = Jesus’ resurrection

This is a good picture of the foreshadowing of the coming of Christ – that those who believe in him would be declared righteous before a holy God.

Leprosy: The priest would go out, inspect, declare him clean, perform the sacrifice, the person would come back but stay outside his tent for 7 days. On the 8th day, lamb sacrifice:

Guilt offering, to the Lord

Then, the priest (usually did the same when set apart for ministry), applied blood from the lamb to the earlobe (hear the word of God), the thumb (do the will of God), and the big toe (go, work for the will of God).

There was also a drop of oil, that would be smeared over the blood on the three locations. This is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

  • Cleansed by the blood,
  • Filled / led by the Spirit

These things are very symbolic of Jesus and his ministry. The disciples walked with Jesus, were cleansed by him, but also told to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit after he rose again.

Even after Jesus’ Resurrection, they didn’t quite have the whole picture. They thought that Israel would be restored as a great kingdom, but Jesus told them to wait for Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came, filled them, and they were emboldened to speak the Word – they had yet been slaves to fear, but the Holy Spirit gave them courage and power.

Peter, denied Christ 3 times in fear, yet after receiving the Holy Spirit, he preached in the public square and thousands came to Christ in one day.

Sometimes getting “born again” isn’t easy.

Philip Yancy became friends with Dr. Paul Brand who did tremendous things in finding healing for leprosy. He was able to recover parts of the body that had been destroyed. Yancy spent about 10 years with him and was amazed.

In India, the lowest of the low castes were those with leprosy. But these were the people that he ministered to. Yancy said once, “Pain is a gift” because lepers lose their sense of pain. Much of their trouble comes from doing dangerous things and not feeling it (fire, nails, knives, etc).

“Pain is a gift” – if you feel hurt, you know to avoid it or fix it. But a leper can’t feel the pain. This increases the problem, the hurt, etc.

In the spiritual realm too, there is an application. “When the HS comes, he’ll convict the world of sin, righteousness, judgment.”

CS Lewis also wrote that during the process of his coming to Christ, he was probably the most reluctant person in England. There was a wrestling “Will I really receive Christ? Am I really in need of forgiveness?” There can be pain in spiritual things and the new birth, it’s not easy, but it’s important to recognize our own leprosy “I need to get cleansed” and not let it back into our lives.

If you die in your sins, that’ll be a lot more pain that the pain you’re currently experiencing or the pain of acknowledging Christ as Savior. Receive that pain as a gift. Become a part of the family of God.

The priest, later, after the man was cleansed would speak of his healing, and the man would become a child of God.

Once we acknowledge that Jesus takes our sins away, this is a gift. Have you received this gift? Are you appreciating it?

Keep on keeping on – appreciate it, we need constant reminders.

Some Christian leaders are now abandoning their faith – why? There’s a need for continuance. “Make your calling sure; persevere.”

Remember the 10 lepers who were healed? They weren’t as daring as this one. They stood far off and cried out to him. Jesus said to show themselves to the priest – and on the way they were cured. ONE came back and praised and thanked him, “Where are the other nine?” (He was a Samaritan – despised). “Go, your faith has saved you.”

Remember to be thankful for what God has done for you.

“Once you were dead in your trespasses and sins, but now you are alive in the Lord.”

During Jesus’ ministry, lepers were looked down on. Even rabbis would throw stones at lepers and not even walk down the street where one was.

Yet, Jesus was willing to put his hand out and touch the leper and heal him. He’s willing to touch and heal us.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 24 / 2019
  • Comments Off on The Serpent, the Sorrow, and the Savior (John 3:10-21)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

The Serpent, the Sorrow, and the Savior (John 3:10-21)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Serpent, the Sorrow, and the Savior

John 3:10-21 (Pastor Brian)

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”


Pauline and I were discussing the comparison Jesus makes with himself and the serpent in the desert (this is a symbol of evil – Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the shape of a serpent). Yet, Jesus says, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent, so must the Son of Man.”

This passage is very familiar – when Jesus meets with Nicodemus at night. Nicodemus said, “I believe you must be from God because no one can perform such miracles without help from God.” Jesus said, “You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. Unless born of water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Then, he brings up this comparison – like Moses in the wilderness.

If you go back to the OT and see the real events that happened there (Numbers 21) Because the Israelites disobeyed the Lord, they would not enter the Promised Land.

Numbers 21:4-9

Arad Destroyed

1 When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. 2 Then Israel made this vow to the LORD : “If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy their cities.” 3 The LORD listened to Israel’s plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They completely destroyed them and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.

The Bronze Snake

4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” (Manna = wafers with honey – God provided – but this was ALL they could eat day-by-day. So they complained.)

6 Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

8 The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.”

Bronze / brass = symbol of judgment. The people who complained were judged, but the Lord told Moses to make a bronze serpent, raise it up, and the people who were bitten and looked UP – would live.

Ever get discouraged? It’s much better to complain TO God than complain AGAINST God. Check out the Psalms, Jeremiah, the prophets, Habakkuk.

Interview: Ever get overwhelmed by problems? Yes, I give them over to the Lord. I think about Psalm 44 and 88. David poured out his heart to the Lord and complained TO God. (In fact 88 ends “in darkness”).

This interviewee had parents who were alcoholics, his “father” he recently discovered was not actually his father. But his hope was in the Lord and he was trusting Him.

About this passage: “How often we / I take our blessings for granted – to think them worthless.” (Is this manna just so-so?) Sometimes we lose the import and impact of the Word, but we need to continue treasuring it in our hearts.

“The only remedy is for fiery serpents to awaken us to our need – and how our very sinfulness has been crucified and laid on Jesus.”

It can be difficult and painful to experience our own wilderness journeys. But the Israelites did not do this – so they suffered the consequences of the Lord in discipline. Sometimes we also suffer the discipline of the Lord – but not because he is mean, but so that he can make us HOLY.

Sometimes, we go through struggles and discipline, and at the other side, we are more like Christ.

Why “fiery serpents”? Probably because the sting was fiery hot.

Paul: “Yield the shield of faith to extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy.”

Thankfully, the people realized their mistake and asked Moses to pray for them that the serpents would be driven away. They then trusted in the Lord to make them go away. And Moses interceded for them, prayed, made the brass serpent, raised it, and the people who were bitten looked upon it and were saved.

2 Cor 5:21 “He made him who had no sin to BECOME sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.” He was treated like a sinner, though he was holy and sinless. Yet he was making a substitutionary sacrifice for us – taking the death we deserved, and transferring us his own righteousness. Whoever believes in Christ receives this righteousness from Christ – who took our place in death in sin.

God in this way loved the world.

This harkens back to how Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert. Jesus, likewise was raised up on a tree (cross) and those who look to him will receive healing, forgiveness, and the gift of eternal life.

In the OT, we see the prophet Isaiah foretold of this sacrifice.

Isaiah 53:6 “All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned, everyone, to our own way. And the Father has laid on him the iniquity (sin) of us all.”

Isaiah 45:22 “Look to me and be saved all you ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.”

So the serpent represents our sin, and the curse that sin brings with it – the curse of the Law – which was placed upon Jesus.

Galatians 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (cross).’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus.” The Promise of God is now for ALL the nations – who accept Him.

We can be similarly blessed by having faith in Christ.

Deut 5:28? The blessings and curses that the Israelites pronounced on themselves: blessings for obedience, curses for disobedience.

It’s great to read about the blessings~! “You’ll be blessed in you life; the head, not the tail; blessed and fruitful in your work.” (The head decides, the tail gets dragged around).

IF they obeyed, they would be blessed.

But then, go read the curses – it’s pretty horrific. If they disobeyed, they’d be cursed: “The tail, not the head; families would not be blessed, etc.”

This all happened to them, because, as humans, they gave into temptation and sin; punished and disciplined. YET always with the Promise to return to him if they repented, forsook their sins, and returned to Him. This is the same for all humanity. Repent, forsake your sin, return to God.

The solution to the problem in the desert: LOOK upon the pole, and be healed. Jesus says the same, “Look upon me” – he bears the curse and our sins. When you look upon him, you also will receive forgiveness, and eternal life.

The Divine Exchange: Jesus became the curse of sin.

He was punished that we might be forgiven. He bore our shame and punishment. He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.

He was the Suffering Savior that we might be made whole and well. Spiritually, physically, emotionally – God WANTS us to be prosperous in these things in general. “He delights in the prosperity of his people.”

  • Jesus was wounded that we would be made whole.
  • He was made sin that we might be made righteous.
  • He died in our place that we might have life: abundant, eternal life.
  • He became poor that we might become blessed.
  • Poverty in that time was a “curse”.
  • He was buried in a borrowed tomb, that we might be enriched in life.
  • He was hung on a cross naked and shameful, bearing our shame that we might become partakers in his glory.
  • He bore rejection, the worst kind, betrayal, rejection of his own father. Jesus bore that rejection – he’d always had communion with his father, but as sin on the cross, the father turned his face away and Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”

It was bearable for the disciples, his closest friends to betray him and flee, but when his own father rejected him, it was unthinkable. Yet, Jesus bore this rejection so he is able to empathize with us.

He also bore the curse of sin so that we might receive his blessing.

Let me now share an extended testimony: Charles Spurgeon (prince of preachers) – in his autobiography, he shares how he was saved.


I think I might have been in darkness until now, if not for Christ sending a snowstorm one morning. I was going down the street, but turned elsewhere, and went to a Methodist church. There weren’t many people, but I wanted to know how I might be saved. The minister couldn’t make it, snowed in. At last, a small man, a shoemaker perhaps, went up to preach. It is well if preachers know how to preach – but this one was stupid. He was obliged to stick only to his text (this text) “Look to me and be saved all the ends of the earth.” He didn’t even pronounce the words correctly. He began, “The text says, ‘look’ – this ain’t hard. You needn’t go to college to look. You could be a big fool, a poor fool, or a child. Anyone can look.

Look unto ‘ME’ – many of you are looking to yourself, but you’ll find no comfort there. Some look to the father – yes, later. The text says, ‘Look to CHRIST.'”

After about 10 minutes, he was finished – unable to say much more. He then looked at me (15 years old) and noticed I was a stranger. He fixed his eyes on me: “Young man, you look miserable.” Mmm, that’s true, but strange. “And you’ll always be miserable in life and in death unless you obey my text; but if you obey now in this moment, you’ll be saved. Young man, LOOK LOOK LOOK to Jesus! You have nothing to do but LOOK and LIVE.”

I didn’t know what else to do. I’d been waiting to do 50 things. But when I heard that word, it seemed so charming, I LOOKED – the cloud was gone, and I could have risen that instant and sung with the most enthusiastic of them.

Oh, that somebody had told me that before! “Look to Christ and be saved.”

That happy day when I found the Savior was a day never to be forgotten by me. I listened to the word of God and that text led me to the cross of Christ.


He went home that day and his family could immediately see the change in him.

Spurgeon suffered much of his life with depression. In one of his first sermons, someone cried out “Fire!” as a joke. Everyone rushed out and a handful of people were killed – he carried that burden for years. He suffered depression for much of his life. But he never forgot that particular day when he was saved by grace and realized the Lord is his strength.

We all struggle, have trials and temptations because of our personal sins – OR just because we live in a fallen world. When these terrible things happen, sometimes we may be tempted to complain against God or authority.

But I hope this sermon is a reminder to cast your cares on him because he cares for you.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 14 / 2019
  • Comments Off on Christ in the Old Testament
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

Christ in the Old Testament

Luke 24:25-27 (Pastor Brian)

24:25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”

27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.


Context, two people were going to Emmaus and discussing the previous week’s events (quite depressing). Jesus met them along the way and spoke with them. They told him all about the events of the previous week – that Jesus had been crucified and they had expected the Messiah to be him and to save the people. They said that some women had gone to the tomb and seen he was not there.

Jesus then rebuked them with the words of Luke 24:25-27.

The disciples had only concentrated on the GLORY of the Messiah and not the suffering. But Jesus pointed out in the OT how the Messiah had to suffer FIRST before he could be glorified.

He went into the OT prophets, from Moses, and explained to them all these things. From redemption, to suffering, and so on.

“There’s no shadow you won’t light up” – from the music – there are many shadows and types in the OT, and Jesus, the Living Word was here revealing the Written Word. He was revealing that the Scriptures spoke of him.

Dr. Stephen Lawson says,

  • The OT says he’s coming,
  • The NT says he’s here,
  • The Acts proclaim him,
  • The Epistles explain him,
  • Revelation says He’s coming again.

Genesis “In the Beginning, God created…”

John 1:3 “Everything that was made was made by him. There is nothing that is made that was not made by him.”

Col 1:16 “All things are by him, and in him, and for him”

Rev 21 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

The Bible is really a “Him” Book (hymn book) – it’s all about him.

We see the perfect unity in the OT here as affirmed by the Lord – there is only one Creation, only one entrance into original sin, only one design for the family, only one judgment, only one redemption, only one final eternal state.

  • In the OT, the books are written more precisely.
  • In the NT, the books provide greater clarity and light on the books.

There were many “types” scattered throughout the OT – but they were all flawed – only Jesus is the perfect “anti-type.”

Adam

Adam – the first man – fell – the head

Jesus = the last Adam – a new race, those who believe in him and become part of his body

Noah

Later, due to the wickedness in the world, God judged the world with the flood. Only Noah and 8 in the ark were spared. “Noah” means “rest” and they were spared the judgment.

Jesus is “rest” – “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I’ll give you rest.”

Jesus bore the judgment that was due us on the cross and gave us his own righteousness to be accepted in him.

Samson

Samson – a mighty judge – but in his death, he destroyed more of the enemies than in his lifetime. In his typology of his death and conquering the enemies of Israel, this is a picture of Jesus in crushing the serpant’s head – victorious over death and all the demons were brought under subjection to him.

Samson’s death mirrors Jesus’ death in the conquering of enemies.

Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfilled the prophecy God had given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between your seed and hers… you will strike his heel, but he will crush your head.” That’s what happened on the cross – it looked like a defeat, but it was a great victory.

David

The shepherd and his victory over Goliath – David just used the sling and stones. He was a shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

David suffered under persecution from King Saul for a while before finally ascending to be king of Israel.

In him, we can see a shadow of Jesus.

Solomon

For most of his reign, it was a peaceful reign – until the end when he unfortunately succumbed to the lusts and idolatry that plagued the latter part of his life.

These men all seem to have lust / women troubles – so their typology only goes so far. Jesus was without sin.

These people are types / shadows of Jesus.

Joseph

Son of Isaac, sold by his brothers, falsely accused, suffered much – before he was raised to rule in Egypt.

Jesus likewise was betrayed, sold, suffered, and eventually rose to glory on the third day.

Job

An upright, wealthy man, but challenged by Satan – “God, Job only loves you because of what you’ve given him – but take it away and he will curse you.” God gave him access and Satan took it – Job suffered much – but in the end it was all restored doubly.

Jesus likewise was tempted by Satan and suffered greatly, but was more than wholly restored on the third day.

Melchizedek

king / priest was a picture of the King / Priest Jesus would become.

Joshua

a savior of his people into the Promised Land – leader into Canaan – name means “savior.”

There were also other types and shadows in sacrifices and feasts that showed Jesus.

The Passover Lamb

The Passover lamb, the scape goat, the Day of Atonement. One goat was sacrificed, another goat was laid upon with the sins of the people and sent out into the wilderness.

This symbolized how Jesus would also take on the sins of all humanity and go into the darkness, but emerge victorious.

Leprosy

  • destroys the body, but is also a picture of sin – how it destroys the soul.

Two birds for sacrifice

  • one dipped in blood (death), one released into heaven (his resurrection).

Guilt offering, sin offering, thankfulness offering

  • all are pictures of Jesus.

In the very places they were offered are also symbols and types of Jesus.

Tabernacle and temple

The tabernacle, the temple, he is our bread of life (they had show bread in the temple). “Man doesn’t live by bread alone but on every word proceeding from the mouth of God.”

The ark of the covenant

  • with the 10 commandments – was also a picture of Jesus bearing the wrath of God so that we don’t need to.

When Jesus had to die, it shows the terrible nature of sin – and how the holiness of God disallows him to look upon sin – so a sacrifice had to be made.

Dr. Lawson points out as well:

Emmaus was 7 miles NW of Jerusalem. The average person takes 17 min to walk one mile – so this walk should take 119 min (less than 2 hours). So Jesus couldn’t go into every detail in Scripture – so he probably just hit the “highlights” as we have here.

But in v 26 he asks them, “Was it not necessary for Christ to suffer?”

The disciples had only focused on his glory, not his suffering, but the 5 major prophets including Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc, clearly depicted this.

The Prophets

We read of Jesus’ birth in Isaiah and Micah. Isaiah (the 5th gospel some say) also shows so many aspects of Christ’s ministry, life, and suffering – including his birth. Isaiah 53 in particular depicts his crucifixion. “…by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Primarily, we are healed spiritually through his suffering.

The return of Christ in Ezekiel and Daniel.

Jeremiah also promises that God will not remember our sins. Jer 31:34 “And they shall teach no more – every man his neighbor – for they shall all know me. And I shall remember their sins no more.”

Isaiah “I am he who blots out your transgressions and remembers your sins…NO MORE.”

Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah show the return of Christ.

You can see that we’ve only covered a handful of Scriptures that would cover the suffering of Christ as depicted in the OT.

The disciples said, “our hearts burned within us” and they invited him in to eat with them – and in the breaking of bread, he was recognized. This is also symbolic – when we break bread, we recognize he is present.

They returned and told the others. He’d also appeared to Simon (Peter) who’d denied Christ 3 times. He had wept and probably thought “It’s all over for me.” But the fact that Jesus appeared personally to him must have been incredibly meaningful to Simon.

Jesus spoke to them, “It was necessary for all that was written in the Prophets, and the Psalms to be fulfilled.” And he opened their understanding. We also need to ask the Lord to open up our own understanding.

“Thus it is written and necessary for the Christ to suffer and die and be raised on the third day. And repentance and remission must be preached to all nations in his name.”

This is still necessary today.

You know, there’s been a teaching in the church these days call “hyper grace” saying “we don’t need to confess because Jesus died for our sins yesterday, today, and forever.” But this is not true. “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Repentance is a life-long process – even in Revelation, Jesus rebukes some churches for not repenting. We also must confess to each other, but we need to keep a place of humility, and repent as Scriptures say.

This is just a short overview of some of the things Jesus would have highlighted as the necessity of his suffering.

Let’s pray.

  • Jun 11 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Force of Forgiveness (Luke 23:34)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

The Force of Forgiveness (Luke 23:34)

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The Force of Forgiveness

Luke 23:34 (Pastor Brian)

The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then “ ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ 31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.


Key verse = 34 “Father forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.”

Some thoughts from a book I picked up in England in Feb. The ministry is very helpful at helping people be restored. “Forgiveness: God’s Master Key” – focusing on this Scripture. “Pray the most powerful prayer on earth” (Father, forgive them).

Forgiveness is a master key.

As I came by SongCheon-Dong (where I work), I saw a phrase “I am the Key” on a building. Hmmm, what kind of building was this? It was on a nurse’s home (or educational center for nurses). That’s probably their motto. This was confirmation for my message today.

Jesus is the Way, Truth, Life, Door, also the Key.

Peter Horrobin points out that there are many rooms in a large house, with many doors and many locks and many keys. But a Master Key unlocks any of the doors in the building.

  • The life we live (have lived so far) is like this building.
    1. Each room contains the memories of important events in life (like the marriage of Pastor Heo’s son and other similar events). Those doors are wide open. We go in, enjoy them, walk out again.
    2. But other doors are closed – yet we can open them whenever we wish (because there is no pain associated with them).
    3. Other doors are closed and LOCKED. What’s behind them is too painful to open and look at. Here are some of their names: Rejection, Accidents, Divorce, Betrayal, Abuse, Pain, Trauma, etc.

Many people go through life with unresolved pain in their lives – caused by others or also by ourselves, our own sins. Sometimes, we don’t know how to resolve these situations. But as the years go by, it gets harder and harder to live with this pain. Some people have so many locked doors that there is very little space left in which to live.

  • They close the doors and expect that this will help them to live, but sometimes, there is so much hidden trauma, anger, and pain, that they become less and less like the people God intends them to be.
  • Sometimes the mess seeps out from under the door – everyone else can see the mess (esp those we are in relationships with), but people may ignore it, or try to clean it up from the outside only.

The only efficient way to deal with this problem is to unlock the door, go in, clean up the mess. Sometimes, this is too much for them alone. But Jesus is the Master Key. He can open even the most stubborn locked door. But he does require our help to unlock it. He wants to go in and clean it up with us. He wants us to cooperate with him.

This golden key is the most powerful prayer on earth – it’s life transforming.

There are many examples of people who were hurt severely but dared to pray this prayer and were miraculously changed.

Example 1

Frieda from Rwanda – she + 15 of her family members were killed. Given the choice of how to die. Do you want a bullet? But, they couldn’t afford the bullet. So, they chose a machete, and Frieda chose a blow to the back of the head. Yet, she wasn’t dead. Someone came along later and rescued her.

Following that trauma, she became a Christian and saw that Jesus said we must forgive them that persecute us. She went to prison and found the man who killed her father and forgave him. This gave tremendous relief.

Yet, even though she’d done this, she still had pain in her head and neck and terrible nightmares. So, at a Christian conference, she prayed to forgive them all and release them. God granted her this and released her also from the pain and the nightmares.

This kind of freedom is also available for us.

Even though we don’t go through these kinds of circumstances every day, we also need this kind of forgiveness. We need to let go. The letting go is through forgiveness.

Example 2

Hanna – almost suicide – but prayed the prayer and forgave her sexually abusive family. There was a struggle to forgive, but when she came through, she was set free.

You see, when we cannot or do not forgive, we are still UNDER THE CONTROL of THAT other person who hurt us. But when we forgive, we release that person and become free from the pain.

Example 3

Jesus is another example of this.

In Luke 23, we can see the different agents of persecution that were happening in Jesus’ life.

  1. Religious leaders – jealous and threatened by his popularity, power, authority (the common people heard Jesus gladly)
  2. Judas – thought 30 pieces of silver was enough to betray him
  3. Pilate – weak-willed governor of Judea – tried to wash his hands of it all – but gave in to the insistence of the Jewish leaders
  4. Herod – powerless Jewish king – second opinion, but ridiculed and mocked him
  5. Teachers of the Law and Preachers – mocked him
  6. The crowds – visiting for a holiday, egged on to crucify him
  7. Barabbas – released instead of Jesus (though he was a murderer)
  8. Roman soldiers – obeying orders – drove the nails through his hands and feet into the cross, divided his clothes, mocked him, etc
  9. You and I – alongside all men from all time, because we’re all responsible (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”)
  10. Two common criminals also were beside him

In the Beginning, Mankind turned its back on God – so death entered into history. It was our sin that caused the Father to put the only possible rescue plan into action to restore our broken relationship. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…”

Jesus bore the penalty for our sin – to the full. “It is finished” (the work he’d come to accomplish). His love for us kept him on the cross to death though he could have come down.

No one else on earth has ever suffered more terrible injustice – no one else has greater excuse to cry out “not fair” – but he prayed “Father, forgive them” – and this was the most powerful prayer ever prayed.

He forgave and asked God to forgive. To do this in circumstances like this, was extraordinary. “Bless those who curse you”

Jesus was asking God to allow those who hurt him to enter into the blessings that God has prepared – joy, peace, restored relationship with God.

It’s impossible to ask God to forgive if we also have not forgiven from the heart. “If you do not forgive, God your Father will not forgive you.”

Yes, God wants to forgive US, but also that we meet the condition to forgive others as well.

As difficult as it can be sometimes, we need to come to that place to forgive others. The example of Frieda’s suffering is a valuable object lesson for this. Certainly we can forgive lesser offenses.

When we cooperate with God’s grace, we can forgive and find relief and walk in freedom. But if we choose not to forgive, we attach ourselves to the other people with a chain of unforgiveness and remain under their control.

  • Song “You always hurt the one you love, the one you should not hurt at all”

We are all still sinners – though redeemed – we have a proneness to wander, so we must continually forgive and ask forgiveness. “How often must I forgive my brother if he offends me? Seven times? No, no, seventy times seven.” (Stop counting, keep forgiving) – You continually sin, you continually need forgiveness, so continually forgive others. Even sometimes, we must forgive the SAME event up to seventy times seven times.

Parable

A servant owed a master a tremendous debt (impossible to pay in a lifetime), but he forgave it. The same servant went out and found a lesser servant who owed a much lesser payment and threw him in prison. The master heard of this and removed the second man, scolded the first, and threw him also into prison.

Jesus forgives, and we must follow his example.

There is constantly a need to forgive – in all kinds of relationships. And we may need to ask God for his grace to help forgive.

What does this do for us?

  1. Transforms our relationship with God – remember Stephen, the first martyr? He forgave them as they stoned him (this must have had a major impact on the future apostle Paul)
  2. Releases the power of the Holy Spirit into our lives
  3. Restores our soul – God is a God of restoration (as well as salvation) – God restored David after his sin and others as well
  4. Opens the door to God’s healing – there are many examples of Christians who’ve suffered physically and emotionally
    1. Linda – Australia – gone on a midnight hike with some others – she fell off a cliff and broke her back in many places – on a lifetime disability pension – heard this teaching – she forgave the guide, and was released.
    2. Another man, Michael’s wife fell for his best friend and left him – as he prayed forgiveness, he was released and able to rebuild his life.

There are some extreme examples – also examples in your and my life – but we need to forgive and our hearts will be transformed – this also releases others into the freedom of our forgiveness as well.

We can begin the process by saying:

“Lord, you know what happened. I’m hurt. Help me to be willing to want to forgive them.”

Let’s take a moment to pray for these others and release them into the freedom of forgiveness.

  • May 24 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Who is My Neighbor? (Luke 10:25-37)
Pastor Brian, Sermons, Subject Studies

Who is My Neighbor? (Luke 10:25-37)

05.24.2015

05.24.2015-PBrian

Who is My Neighbor? Sermon Notes

Luke 10:25-37 (Pastor Brian)

Download notes in a .RTF file

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

10:25-28pp — Mt 22:34-40; Mk 12:28-31

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

“Go and do likewise…”

This is a very familiar Scripture, but it’s interesting that Jesus said the final statement in the Continuous Present tense – this is something we should be doing continually – it’s not easy.

When I grew up, we used to go to Saturday matinees (movie – jo-jo ticket price). “When you’ve got friends and neighbors, all the world is a happier place…If you’ve not a penny, and your house may be tumbling down, with your friends and neighbors, you’re the richest man in town.” (song from one movie) Express your troubles to your friends and neighbors and it makes it easier.

In Canada, there was a show about a man (Mr. Rodgers) who always ended the show with the question, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

This Pharisee here was trying to discredit Jesus – testing him with difficult questions. He didn’t care about the law, justice, morality, truth, etc, they (Pharisees) just wanted to trap him. (Remember the woman caught in adultery from last week? – Jesus bent down and started writing – their sins? commandments? – on the ground – and they all left – “neither do I condemn you, go and sin NO MORE.”)

This kind of thing is also happening here with this lawyer who is questioning Jesus. “What should I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Love God – love others” – the entire commandments are summed up in these two.

“You are right” said Jesus “you know it, now DO it and you will live.”

Remember James 1:22? “Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves, do what it says.”

Jesus says, “Do this and you will live.” Is this salvation by works? No. Then what? Ray Steadman “he was merely pointing out that if you TRULY loved God and others PERFECTLY, you’d have eternal life – God demands perfection – every second of every day – from the moment you’re born until your final breath – and also loving others all the time, perfectly.”

Jesus is really telling the man, “Heaven bound? Be perfect and you’ll make it.”

Yet, we’re all sinners, and God doesn’t “grade on the curve.”

Here, the lawyer wants to change the debate, he wanted to “justify himself” so he asked, “so then… who is my neighbor?” To “justify” himself, he’s seeking to declare himself righteous. (God makes righteous those he justifies – but it’s only in HIM that we have eternal life). Here, it’s slightly different – he wants to show that he’s RIGHT in doing what he’s doing.

“Who IS my neighbor?” was the question, not “What can I do for him?” or “How can I love him?” He’s a lawyer, so he’s looking for a loophole – to love SOME people and not others.

Spurgeon: “He meant to say, ‘Actually, I have no neighbors – my family is all dead and gone away, and no one is close to me. So, I must be excused from ‘loving’ my neighbors.’”

Think of parents: “Pick up your toys.” “Which?” “ALL.”

Here’s the parable: A man was going down to Jerusalem and was attacked by robbers, who stripped him and beat him half to death and robbed him. A priest and Levite both found him and just passed him by – but a Samaritan found him and took pity on him and took him to an inn to be cared for and paid for it all – including the promise for reimbursement.

Here, we don’t know what man this was who was walking here – Jew? Gentile? Actually, doesn’t matter. He could have been anybody. This, in the first sentence is the beginning of the answer to the question: “Who is my neighbor?” A: “Anybody.”

The priest (like a pastor), and the Levite (perhaps like a deacon) – if ANYBODY would stop and help, it SHOULD be these “church people” yet they just cross the road to the opposite side and pass him by as if they don’t even “see” him.

They may have had good excuses – perhaps they would be “defiled” if they were on the way the temple. Sometimes people could pretend to be injured on the road and waiting in ambush to attack another passersby. But the fact is, they just passed him by.

The Samaritan stopped?? Ewwww~ Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with one another. Remember John 4, Jesus asked the Samaritan woman for a drink – she was shocked “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?” Samaritans were “impure blood” – Jews had intermarried with Gentiles and created the Samaritans. This would have provoked troublesome thoughts among his audience – to hear that the Samaritan stopped for him. Even James and John wanted to call down fire on Samaria when they didn’t let them through the place.

When Jesus revealed that the “hero” was a Samaritan, the people would be shocked. We might say “Shinchonji” went to him and helped him – nevertheless, he went and helped the person. There’s some real meaning here.

If he was taking a chance (is this a trick?) anyway, he took it. And then he ministered first aid. He helped him, bandaged up his wounds and poured him oil and wine and gave him his ride – he inconvenienced himself to help this man. He didn’t even just drop him off at a police station or a hospital, but he took him to an inn to REALLY help him – gave about 2 days wages to care for him and even promised to reimburse the rest.

After giving this story, shocking the audience, Jesus turned to the lawyer and asked, “so, who do YOU think was the ‘neighbor’?” Now, the lawyer is in the trap he’d been setting. The words likely stuck in his own throat as he said them (couldn’t even say “Samaritan”) – “the one who showed mercy.”

Jesus said, “Right, no go and do likewise.”

Now, why would one who’s been given mercy show further mercy? Eph 4:10 “Because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. It is by grace you have been saved and God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in order that in the coming Ages, he might show us his incredible grace – expressed in Christ – for it is by grace you have been saved and this not of yourselves, this is not works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in his likeness, to do good works that he’s determined for us to do.”

We are not striving to become worthy of God’s gift, he wants to demonstrate God’s kindness and mercy – he is showing something beautiful so that he might show this further in the history of humanity.

Ex: a grandfather is looking and showing his grandchild a trophy case with lots of trophies. See, in the ages to come, God will “show off” these similar kinds of “trophies” of his grace. “This one was a robber, now he’s mine. This one was a prostitute, now she’s with me. That’s what they used to be, look what they are now.” – because of God’s mercy and grace.

Now YOU go and show mercy.

Memorable poem from the Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare) – the lawyer in that one was pleading for the one who has been in need: “The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven on the earth beneath. It blesses him that gives and him that takes.”

God’s mercy is likewise – mercy is not strained, stretched, it’s poured out like spring rain so that we can be SOAKED in it. It blesses he who receives it and the one who gives it.

What is the takeaway?

“It all depends on your outlook.”

  • To thieves: the traveler was a victim to be exploited
  • To the priests: a nuisance to avoid
  • To the Samaritan: a neighbor to help

What Jesus said to the lawyer, he says to us, “From the overflow of the love and mercy of God in you, go and do likewise.” Love God with your whole being and love others as much as you love yourself – actually this “high standard” is really a “mission impossible” because you can’t do this without God’s love and mercy in you.

Yesterday, we noticed loads of “terrible drivers” who’d done “stupid things” and we realized “oops, wait, we aren’t being very ‘neighborly’” – where did all our love go? It was there just a minute ago. This happens throughout life.

Revelation – the Ephesians had been overflowing with love and joy and mercy and Paul praised them for their overflow to their neighbors and everyone else around them. In Revelation, they needed a wakeup call. Rev. 2: 1-7 – the message to the church in Ephesus had unique challenges to follow Christ – it was the home of the emperor’s cult and the worship of the deity Diana. Actually, Paul had gotten in trouble for preaching this there at that time.

Demetrius protested against Paul and he and his followers were dragged into the town hall and everything was in an uproar – but the town clerk calmed them and they were saved from a worse fate by the providence of God and Paul was able to continue his journey.

From the writings in Acts and others, when Jesus speaks to the church in Ephesus, “they had great discernment against false teachers and heresy, but are faulted for having lost their first love” (their zeal and ardor for their salvation – the love of Christ had made them alive in Christ – they’d been so overjoyed and that joy overflowed to the culture around them). Jesus (through John) commends them for their ability to detect heresy, but reprimands them for their love for him that’s cooled into “religion” – Jesus warns them that they’re in danger of falling away – “return to me and rekindle the love that’s begun to cool.”

We face the same kinds of difficulties in this modern world. The first love we have been given is love for Christ and others – speaking the truth in love, we will grow up into the head who is Christ.

We must take warning from the letter to the Ephesians concerning Christ from the letter in Revelation to not let that love grow cold.

If you look back to when you first met Christ, there’s nothing you wouldn’t have done to help others and make him known. So, this statement that Jesus said to the lawyer must be in the Present Continual tense – continually help those in need around you.

“He that does my Will will know the truth of my doctrine.” (Christ) – when you DO what he wants, you will KNOW that his truth is true.

This is a lesson that is constantly needed to be heeded by us.

If we see someone in need this week, HELP.

Let’s pray.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen