The scene was amazing.
Coats and jackets – big and small – new and old-- strewn on the ground – a make shift red carpet for the coming of the Messiah.
Palms branches broken off of trees and lining the streets – waving in a jubilant fashion. Like big foam fingers long before big foam fingers existed.
And shouting. Oh the shouting. Shouting from people to the left and the right. From the balconies and the gutters. Shouting for Jesus:
Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!
It was a straight up street party.
But not everyone was happy.
There was a certain group that was strangely silent on this occasion. Normally, they loved to be heard; but today they sat aside in bitter silence. They were standing at the entrance to the synagogue, wearing their finest religious clothing and decadent religious jewelry. They also had on their very best SNEERS.
They made a beeline for the ceremony. A group of them stood in the middle of the road – protestors. They were there to stop the celebration. As Jesus stopped the young colt and motioned for their leader to come near – the one with the longest beard made his way over. He leaned his mouth to Jesus ear and protested:
“Teacher, rebuke your disciples. Tell them to SHUT UP! Stop this party!”
And Jesus looks at him thoughtfully.
And Jesus smiles.
And Jesus leans in real close- - “I would; but then the stones would cry out!”
In other words – this party is off the chain – and there’s no stopping it.
Now if you’re a fan of parties, you might think of the Pharisees as a bunch of wet blankets – the bad guys in the story. But I think the situation is deeper than that. It poses an important question:
Is Palm Sunday worth it?
Is Jesus worth shouting about?
Is Jesus worth getting your kids to shout about?
Today we hope to find the answer as we study the account of Luke 19. Before we begin, let’s say a prayer: Lord, strengthen us by the truth, your Word is truth. Open our eyes to see what you want us to see; open our ears to hear what you want us to hear; open our hearts to believe what you would have us believe. Amen.
I. Why so quiet?
A bit about the Pharisees -- The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the day. They were the ones that told people about spirituality. They were the people you would go to for all your spiritual needs. They were the ones who knew the names of every religious fabric and when to use what incense on what day and how many minutes of fasting a particular sin needed to be fasted for in order to bring you back to God.
But recently – with the arrival of Jesus – less and less people had stopped to question them. Less and less people looked up to them. More and more people went to Jesus.
And the thing about Jesus’ message -- it was completely different from what they taught. In fact, we could summarize their problems with Jesus’ message in 3 BIG ways.
1) He Treated Bad People the same as Good People.
If you want to find an example of this, back up in the very chapter of Luke 19 that we’re examining. In verse 1, Luke writes about a man named Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a tax collector. That means he worked for the Roman government. It means he got paid by telling people they owed more money than he did. It means he stole.
The Pharisees considered people like Zacchaeus a lost cause -- a sinner through and through. There was no hope for his soul. No hope for his righteousness. No hope for God to ever love him and no hope for them to ever spend a moment eating with them. He was bad; they were good.
He ate with the man!
He had dinner with the sinner! (Sounds like a failed Dr. Seuss book.)
That’d be like Jesus holding a party for all of his closest friends. You pull up in the parking lot and there’s the people you expect. The usher, the lady who arranges flowers, and the organist. But as you walk through the parking lot there’s a car or two that’s unexpected. You get into the fellowship area and find your spot at the table.
Hi – I’m a member of this church. What do you do?
Me? I’m a drug dealer. Jesus invited me. This is my friend the pornography actress – she’s sitting over there next to the known terrorist. I can’t believe he sprung the money to get us all steak dinners.
Does that sit well with you?
Steak dinner just like all the other “Sinners?”
Then you understand the Pharisees.
2) He Acted like He was God.
This is illustrated in one particular occasion. There’s this paralyzed man. He’d never been able to walk in his life. His friends bring him to see Jesus. The house that Jesus is inside of is so packed that friends have to climb up to the roof of the house. They use a handsaw to cut a hole in the roof. They lowered than man down via rope until he lands at Jesus’ feet.
What an entrance! If Jesus can help him walk, awesome.
But that’s not what Jesus does first. First, Jesus turns o the man and says, “Take heart, your sins are forgiven.”
The Pharisees – again – lose their minds! How can he say that? He’s not God! No one can forgive sins but God. This guy needs to be shut up! He’s teaching a deadly, false doctrine.
He’s telling people that he’s God! He’s teaching the children that he’s God!
Not that long ago there was some confusion at Precious Lambs. It was one of the kid’s first days. It just happened to be a chapel day. At the end of the day as mom was picking her up and she was leaving past my door she said, “Bye God!”
I immediately of course corrected her. “I’m not God.” I apologized and pointed out repeatedly, obnoxiously, “We definitely do not teach that I am God in any way shape or form.” If I did, I imagine that we would not have so many kids in our program.
But Jesus did teach he was God.
And he looked like an everyday, normal person.
Can you understand as to why the Pharisees wanted him to shut up?
Why they wanted him to stop teaching the children such stuff?
3) He Revealed their Evil Plans.
Fast forward two days from Palm Sunday. Luke 20. Jesus tells the Pharisees a parable:
A man planted a vineyard. He rented it out and went away for a long time. Then he sent some servants to give him rent payment. They refused. He sent another servant. They beat him up. They sent a third. They left him for dead. Finally, he sent his son, “They’ll respect him. He’s my son.”
They didn’t. They killed him.
When Jesus finished the story, he said to the Pharisees, “What do you think will happen when he owner of the vineyard comes back?” The Pharisees – in all of their arrogance and pride answer correctly: “He’ll kill them. He’ll get revenge. He’ll get justice.” Jesus looked directly at them and said,
“The story is about you.”
Can you imagine the backlash from the crowd? “The Pharisees are planning on killing Jesus? How awful? They really are #Insecure.” Their personas took a nose dive! This was horrible press. I’m sure they started telling everyone that this was Fake News at its finest!
Never mind the fact that as soon as they get behind closed doors -- they respond to Jesus’ claim that they are trying to kill him by finalizing plans on how to kill him. Who would like a guy like this – that has no problem dropping truth bombs – that you are all sinners in front of all your friends?
No wonder they didn’t want to join the party!
No wonder they weren’t making any noise.
No wonder the rocks were louder than them.
II. Why so Loud?
But the Pharisees were the minority at the impromptu block party. The majority of the people there were shouting his praises and having a blast. Why? Right kind of music? Nope. They also had their reasons:
1) He Treated Bad People the same as Good People.
Take Zacchaeus. (We mentioned him earlier). He probably didn’t have a lot of friends. Stealing from others and working for the IRS are not exactly the best recipe for friendships.) Zacchaeus had a lonely life. A friendless life. A life filled with guilt. No matter how he tried to ask for forgiveness, to change, to invite people over for hot wings and watching the big game – no one came.
No one forgave him.
No one thought he could ever be good.
Except for Jesus.
In fact, that’s exactly why Jesus came to Zaccahaeus’ house. He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. I have come to seek the lost.” Zacchaeus was lost. Zacchaeus was found.
I bet you Zacchaeus was showing off his best dance moves on the streets of Jerusalem.
This is good news for you.
If you’ve done bad.
If you’ve done wrong.
If you think of yourself as the hussie, the jerk, the manipulative, the heathen, the drunkard, the addict, the homosexual, the one that God could never love! --- Jesus does.
Jesus loves you.
Jesus lived for you.
Jesus died for you.
Jesus wants to be with you.
And he has the power to do something to change you.
2) He WAS God.
Remember the story of the lame man that Jesus told his sins were forgiven?
Remember how people didn’t exactly believe that Jesus could do such a thing?
Remember how they were mad that they were equating himself with God?
Look at Jesus’ response. He said to the crowd of Pharisees:
“Which is easier to say: Your sins are forgiven OR get up and walk?”
Answer: Your sins are forgiven. Because I can say it and there’s not any proof in any way that what I just said actually happened. (Sins don’t start flying off of the body nor do you see someone’s heart change from black to bright pink!)
But if you tell someone to get up and walk – who has never gotten up and walked before in his life—he better do it. Or everyone will know you’re a phony.
So…to give people visual proof of the invisible truth?
Jesus turned to the man and said, “Get up. Take your mat and walk.”
And the man does just that.
Visible proof of the invisible truth.
And it’s not the only visible proof.
He made the blind see.
The deaf hear.
The mute talk.
He made storms clouds stop storming.
He made sick people stop being sick.
He made people who were dead come back to life.
The reason people were shouting his name in the streets? Because they had seen these miracles! They knew he wasn’t a phony. They knew he was the Son of God!
They knew he could do what he said he was going to do.
He was going to win them forgiveness.
He was going to restore peace with God.
He was going to bring peace between them and heaven.
He was going to -- and now has – brought peace between you and heaven.
Between you and your God.
3) He Revealed His Plan to Defeat their Evil Plan
Because if you follow the Holy Week narrative – Jesus doesn’t seem ready to defend himself. If he knew the Pharisees were plotting to kill him, why does he go out into the temple courts preaching and teaching in front of their face? Why did he approach the mob that met him in the garden with his hands turned upside down – peacefully ready to be arrested?
It was all a part of his plan.
Because three days after he dies.
Three days after he was silenced.
Three days after the shouts of the party had been replaced with shouts of CRUCIFY…
…A rock shouts Jesus’ praises.
…A rock quakes with the loudness of a magnitude 7.
…A rock rolls away from a grave and screams for the world – for you and me to look inside.
He is not dead. He is alive. – The best visual proof of the invisible, incredible truth.
You have a Savior.
Your Savior won.
Death has been defeated.
By faith in him, you will live in heaven.
III. What Now?
What about you? Are you louder than a rock?
Here’s a rock. Notice – there’s nothing all that impressive about it. I’ve flip it over and over and over again. There is not a mouth on his rock. There is no way for it to shout. No way for it to whistle. No way for it to hoot or holler or even blow a kazoo!
Are you louder than a rock? If you have a mouth, a pair of hands and feet, the answer is yet.
But – the question you need to ask yourself on a week to week basis – Am I louder than the rock about Jesus?
Who mentions Jesus more times on a daily basis? Or are you about the same?
Whose Facebook account talks more about the Savior? You? Or this inanimate chunk of minerals?
Who has said Hosanna more this year? Is it tied at zero? Are you winning by the number of Hosannas that we already mentioned in this service?
Wherever you’re at in your life -- be louder.
Be louder than this rock.
Talk more about Jesus than the rock.
That’s what the people did. Whether it was a hand me down coat, or a branch from a tree or their hands – the people used what they could find to shout Jesus’ praises.
Pastor – I don’t know how to play trumpet! Sing some Gospel music.
Pastor – I don’t sing very well. Tell your next-door neighbor Jesus’ loves them.
Pastor – I don’t know what to say. Bring an Easter invite along and invite them to see their Savior.
Pastor – I feel nervous to do that. Send an email. A text. Snapchat a video of you dressed as a dog inviting them to come learn about Jesus.
I don’t care. Use what you got. Use what you have. Share the message of Jesus. Be louder than a rock.
Because here’s the truth – there’s no stopping this party. HOSANNA! Jesus is the Savior! Hallelujah. He defeated sin. He defeated death. Such that – even when we die, we enter into an eternal party that makes Palm Sunday seem like a Sunday School picnic.
The party will go on.
The party will be loud.
There’s a spot for you at the party – consider yourself invited.
My only question is –
Will we need a rock to fill your spot?
Or are you joining in?
I. The Worst Kind of Fear
The doors were locked.
A deadbolt. Another deadbolt.. A few boxes stacked in front of the door. One of those giant wooden planks that sits atop two metal supports on both sides. There was no way anyone was getting in.
It was evening on the very first Easter Sunday. The disciples were gathered together and talking in hushed voices:
“Do you think the Pharisees will come after us?”
“Do you think they’ll want us dead? Or was Jesus enough?”
“Do you think they know who I am? I can’t remember if they saw my face when we were running away last Thursday night!”
“Do you think crucifixion will be as bad as it sounds?”
Then, their hushed panic was interrupted by a knock on the door. A few of them jumped. Quietly Matthew peeped through the tiny hole in the door.
It was Mary Magdalene. They let her in, they told her not to scare them like that. But she wasn’t listening. She was a sobbing mess. “They’ve stolen his body!” She sobbed. “I couldn’t even see him.”
Peter and John put their arms around her. They lifted up their hoods so that they wouldn’t be seen. They ran with her to investigate.
As the other disciples waited, they heard another knock. Their breaths were short again. Slowly they opened the door to reveal the group of women that Mary had abandoned. They weren’t nearly stressed. In fact, they seemed joyful.
“Shhh!” Nathanael tried to quiet them down. “You’re making too much noise. They’ll hear us.”
“What of it!?!” Today is too great not to shout HALLELUJAH!” They began talking about angels – and resurrection – and how they had seen Jesus.
Okay. That was impossible. Jesus was dead.
Maybe, they needed to lay down. Maybe their emotions were getting the best of them.
But then, Peter and John returned. Yep. The tomb was empty alright. There wasn’t a trace of a body in there. And if you didn’t trust John, you could trust Peter. He was thorough like that.
Then, a third knock. “It’s Clopas!” said a voice. As they opened the door Philip exclaimed, “I thought you were heading to Emmaus today!”
“We were, but then…we saw Him….Jesus….He’s alive.”
As all of these stories marinated, the mood of the room changed. There was a buzz. Could it be? Could he really…? Could Jesus be...alive?
Then, someone else joined them.
Someone else who didn’t knock.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them.
And at first, the disciples were shocked. Was this a hallucination? No, the others saw it too. Was it a ghost? No…the floor creaked when he walked. Was it a look alike? No…they had spent three years with the Lord, they knew his unmistakeable face.
Suddenly, a dread fell over the disciples. Jesus wasn’t a hallucination. Jesus wasn’t a ghost. Jesus wasn’t a vision. It was much worse than that.
Jesus was alive.
(1) They Had Wronged Him!
You might be thinking. Why? Why would that be bad news to them? Jesus was alive!
Tell me -- Have you ever had a bad morning? You’re on the way to work and you kind of brush past some guy to get into the elevator – you force him to take the next one – and about fifteen minutes later as your boss is leading the morning meeting for work – you see the elevator guy again – turns out; he’s the C.E.O.
Or maybe you’re at the edge of Falls of Neuse. You’re waiting…and waiting…and waiting to turn left onto it. Finally, you pull out just a tad close to a car that looks like its pretty far away, but as soon as the car turns on it’s flashing blues and reds, you realize that cop car was a lot closer than I thought.
This is exactly how the disciples felt!
Jesus was alive, sure. But he was also the guy they had just abandoned. He was also the guy some of them had just denied knowing. He was the guy they had let die on that cross.
(2) They Couldn’t Hide from Him!
Remember: The doors were locked. And that locked door was meant for the Romans. But when they looked behind Jesus, the doors were still locked. They couldn’t hide from Jesus.
That meant when Matthew tried to slip behind Simeon – “Maybe he can’t see me.” Or Andrew pretended to be asleep. And Philip sat in back thinking – “If I don’t move, maybe he won’t see me.”
Jesus still saw them. They couldn’t hide from Jesus.
(3) He was God!
Here’s the scariest part of all. It wasn’t like they had sinned against one another. It wasn’t as if one of them was yelling at the other one for stealing his favorite tunic without asking. It wasn’t as if they had sinned against another human.
If Jesus was really standing before him, it meant He had really risen from the dead. If he had really risen from the dead, it meant he really was God!
The God of heaven. The God of hellfire and brimstone. The God who when he got sick of storms told them to buzz off. The God who when he was angry with demons sent them away from this earth. The God who spoke to terrible disease and sent them packing with his burning anger.
What was to stop him from doing just that. To them. Right now.
Do you understand the disciple’s fear? Maybe you’ve wronged God. Maybe you’ve done some pretty bad sins. Maybe you came here today troubled by something awful that you did just last night. In fact, maybe that’s why it was hard to get here today. (Or maybe it's why you are only reading this online.)
But here's the problem...
Have you ever played hide & seek with some kids before? Kids have pretty good hiding spots. They can get into a lot better hiding places than dad. Dad gets to hide behind the shower curtain and behind the door and that’s about it. (And now I just gave away my two best hiding spots.) Kids can get into really good spots though. Behind the washing machine, inside the cupboard, under the bed.
But what happens when you find them. What do kids do? They cover their eyes. They cover their eyes because they figure that somehow you can’t see them, if they can’t see you.
Do you ever get so scared of God that you think like that? That you figure – as long as I don’t approach God – as long as I don’t go to church – as long as I don’t read that one part in the Bible – then, I’m good.
That doesn’t work. You can’t hide from God.
He sees your sins. He sees all your sins.
Even the sins that you think he doesn’t see – He sees.
The pornography at night?
The flirting with the guy that’s not your husband?
The cheating on the test when the teachers isn’t looking?
Stealing that money from your friend's purse?
Others might not see it. God does. God hates sin. He hates it with a hellfire vengeance.
II. The Best Kind of Antidote
Do you feel that? I do. It’s fear. Fear because we’ve sinned. Fear because God knows it. Fear because that sin was against God.
That’s the kind of fear the disciples were experiencing. They trembled. Each hoping that Jesus would make it quick and painless. Then, Jesus moved. His mouth opened. The disciples braced themselves. He spoke:
“Peace be with you!” As in…It worked. As in…You have been saved. As in…You’re forgiven.
Can you imagine that collective breath that was let out in that room? Jesus wasn’t there to get revenge. He was there to give them assurance. He was there to tell them of their salvation. He was there to tell them that his sacrifice had worked. He was there to tell them that He was victorious and they were at peace with God!
Because that’s what the resurrection means. Jesus’ resurrection means that he defeated sin, death, and hell. It means that those who believe in him are forgiven. It means that you are forgiven!
Pastor, I know all that. But I still get scared. Life is tough. Finances are difficult. Relationships are hard. My job is in the air. The devil…the devil loves to make me doubt this peace I have with God. What do I do when I’m scared?
A couple things.
1) Don’t Hide.
We already said that doesn’t work. God sees all things. God is there for all things. It’s like when you see your kid do something he isn’t supposed to. He might as well come clean. You saw him do it.
God’s already seen it. Don’t lie. Don’t hide it. Bring it to him.
Secondly, bring it to him, because he wants PEACE with you. Even though He isn’t the one who wronged your relationship – that’s on you – God still wants peace with you. That’s why he came to this earth. That’s why he died on the cross. That’s why he rose from the dead and spoke to the disciples and had the disciples write it down so that you would hear His desire. PEACE.
Scripture says this, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just. He will forgive us all our sins.”
Confess your sins to God. Confess the ones that are public. Confess the ones that are obvious. Confess the ones that are private, hidden, known only to you and God. Confess your sins – and hear his promise of forgiveness.
2) Come Back to Reality
I remember the very first haunted house I ever went to. It was a gym at our local grade school – with a few spooky cobwebs hanging from the basketball hoops. But there was one part that was creepy. They made me put on a blindfold and reach my hand into a bowl. I grasped what I thought was earthworms and eyeballs!
I was bawling. I threw them on the ground. I was panicking as we left – so badly that my dad took me back inside to show me that I hadn’t touched worms and eyeballs but spaghetti and meatballs.
Oh. Thanks for that reality check.
That’s what Jesus helped the disciples do. A smile. Kindness. Words of promise. The reality was that Jesus wasn’t dead. He wasn’t dead and he wasn’t mad at them. He had died for their sins and there was no reason to be afraid.
When you’re dealing with fear, come back to reality.
When you think you’re all alone, come back to reality – Jesus is with you.
When you think everyone is against you, come back to reality – Jesus has your back.
When you think God can’t handle this, come back to reality – Jesus died and came back to life!
3) Examine His Wounds
That’s one of the things Jesus did for his disciples. He showcased that it was really him. He let them run their hands on the nail marks in his hands and place their hands into the spear mark in his side.
When they touched his wounds, they didn’t just see some kind of really cool scars.
They saw his love. “He did this for me?”
They saw his power. “These scars defeated death?”
They saw his resurrection. “They are moving; he is still alive; praise God!”
Pastor – how can I do that? I don’t get the privilege of seeing the resurrected Lord Jesus with my physical eyes like the disciples.
I’m gonna tell you the same thing we said last week. If you want to examine his wounds, examine the Scriptures. Read his Word. It’s not overkill that God’s telling us to do it a second time. In his Word we see the pain God went through. We see the pangs that his heart goes through as we sin against him. We see the pain he suffers at his betrayal. We see the awful suffering of his crucifixion. You’ll see that he did this for you. Because he loves you that much.
4) Understand this Phrase: “Peace be With You.”
That’s God talking! There is no one higher. It isn’t me talking. It isn’t an angel talking. This is a message of peace, straight from the top!
If you’ve got peace with him…
Romans 8 says just that. Take a look. It says this, “31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things…35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" Can money troubles? Bill collectors? Cancer or AIDS? Drugs or alcohol? Divorce or loneliness? Terrorists, explosion and attacks? NO!
"37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!"
May these words keep us from fear now and always. Amen.
According to Luke 4:22-30
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. 23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’” 24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been looking at some of Jesus’ FIRSTS. His first Outreach Program; his first miracle and just last week his first sermon – which was a pretty awesome sermon. Jesus revealed that He would open the eyes of the blind, that he would free the oppressed from the guilt of their sins, that he would release people from Satan’s power and that he would bring to the poor the riches of eternal life.
It’s sounds great, right? You’d expect people to start giving each other high fives. You’d expect a few “Hallelujahs!” from the back of the room. You’d expect some people to get up and start dancing and teens to start texting, #NazarethRules #TheMessiahIsHere! #ImSaved
Nope. None of that. (And not just cause SmartPhones weren’t invented back then.)
The reaction of the Nazarites was far less receptive and yet eerily familiar.
I. Familiarity Breeds Rejection
Take a look at Luke 4:22. It says, “All were spoke well about him and all were amazed at his words of grace. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they said.
Those English words are kind of deceptive. The Greek text there simply means that they began “talking about him.” More neutral than positive or negative. You can understand why – He had just claimed to be the Messiah -- something that no one else had done before…ever!
The phrase “all were amazed” has a positive English connotation. Like “I was amazed at the singer on American Idol.” But the Greek word doesn’t have that positivity. Again – it’s neutral amazement – almost shock. As in, “Donald Trump just what?”
Look at their reason for being shocked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” Isn’t this the kid who used to go to Ms. Mertz’s Saturday school? Didn’t he have the lead in the annual Passover pageant a few years back? Wasn’t he a part of the teen choir? Didn’t I pay him a few dollars to come and help rebuild my wooden parlor table?
He’s familiar. He’s too familiar.
To help grasp what the Nazarites were going through. Imagine this. Imagine that you were scrolling through Facebook and you came across an friend from high school that you haven’t seen for years. You click on his profile and immediately you get an eery feeling. His last post says, “Trust in me and you will be saved from eternal hell.” His profile picture has some fuzzy cloud effect and the phrase “Trust in me” in front of it. Then, under his profile it says that he’s from HEAVEN, that his age is infinite and that his dad – is God himself.
Sound a bit crazy?
Jesus sensed that tension. Look at his response: Surely you will quote me this proverb: Physician heal yourself! Which is an interesting proverb. Imagine walking into a doctor’s office. You’re sitting on the cold, metallic stool. The doctor enters his face engrossed, not in your patient notes, but a handkerchief. He looks pale. He’s sweating. He’s sneezing. When he listens to your heartbeat you can’t tell if the icy cold is coming from the metallic end of the stethoscope or his sickly fingers.
Don’t worry about me, doc. Heal yourself!
Jesus was revealing what these people’s hearts were saying. “Jesus, heal yourself!” Bub, stop talking to us about sin and our need for a Savior. Don’t tell us you’re the Messiah. Don’t tell us you will lead us to heaven. In fact, don’t tell us anything else. Just do some of your magic tricks so we can all go home.
Then, Jesus drops some truth on them: 24 No prophet is accepted in his hometown. His hometown is too familiar with him. They refuse to see the prophet as the prophet. They can only see him as the familiar little boy, as a going-through-puberty teenager, as a not-the-Messiah-just-an-ordinary man.
Familiarity breeds Rejection.
Can we take this as a warning? Especially if you’ve been a part of this church/a Christian for a long time. (Myself included). Familiarity breeds rejection.
Careful: Familiarity Breeds rejection.
II. Rejection isn’t good
You might be thinking, so what? I might have done that. I might not always listen to Jesus. I haven’t really acted like he’s all that important. I guess I kinda rejected him…but so what? It’s no big deal.
NO BIG DEAL!?! I’ll let Jesus handle this one:
25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Did you catch that? It was a drought. No rain in all of Israel and the surrounding areas for three and a half years. 1277 days. No irrigation. No bottled water. Crops dying. Food scarce. There were all kinds of people who needed help. All kinds of Israelites. All kinds of long time, familiar with God, people!
26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. God told Elijah to tell her to go back to her flour jar…to make some bread…to use all she needed…ONLY to come back the next day and find it filled with flour all over again. A miracle for the foreigner.
To those who were too familiar with God to care? NOTHING.
27a And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet. Leprosy was a horrible disease. It was highly contagious. It flaked off your skin. It rotted your cartilage. It caused your finger tips and ear cartilage to fall off. It was fatal. There were all kinds of people who had this disease. All kind of long time, familiar with God, people!
27b Yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian. God told Elisha to tell him to go to a river…to wash once…to wash twice…to wash seven times…to look down at his skin in astonishment: HE WAS HEALED. A miracle of God. A miracle for the foreigner.
To those who were too familiar with God to care? NOTHING.
REJECTION IS A BIG DEAL! If you rejected Jesus, you are rejecting your salvation.
Imagine if someone invented a cure for cancer. If the doctor offered it to you and you said, "No," then,(get this) you won't be cured from cancer! With Jesus it is the same thing. Jesus is the cure for sin. Jesus is the cure for death. Jesus is the cure for hell.
If you reject him...
...it's a big deal.
Repent. If you’ve been away from God for a long time, if you haven’t cared, if you’ve let God become too familiar for you to care, repent! Turn around. Turn back to the LORD!
Because you can’t stop him. They couldn’t stop back then. Look at verse 28. 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this and they got up and drove him out of the town. They took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.
They didn’t want to listen to his warnings. They didn’t want to hear him talk about sin. They were tired of this carpenter’s son – who was a Nazarene just like them – telling them that they needed saving! The best way to shut him up was murder. Plain and simple! And they had the numbers; a synagogue full of people. Hundreds. He only had a few, measly disciples. They could bull rush him. They could take up to the cliff. All it would take was one push and they’d never have to hear from him ever again.
Except….except….30 he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
You can’t stop Jesus.
And can we point out this is one of those hidden miracles in Scripture. One of those times you might not see it the first time. He’s surrounded by people who are blood thirsty and ready to kill him. He walks “RIGHT THROUGH THEM.” It doesn’t say he went around them. He didn’t throw a smoke bomb and ninja out of there. He walked right through them.
Because you can’t stop Jesus.
Even though they tried again. Much later many people would try to stop Jesus again. They had him arrested; they had him imprisoned; then they sentenced him to die and instead of risking the chance that he might walk off again, they made sure he would stay.
They nailed him to two large pieces of wood and watched as he died.
But three days later, death couldn’t stop him.
The giant rock in front of his standing tomb couldn’t stop him.
The locked door that his disciples were hiding behind couldn’t stop him.
Jesus defeated sin, death, and hell. He did everything the sermon claimed he would. He made the poor rich by bringing eternal life. He made the blind to see as he showed himself the truth Savior. He released the prisoners from the guilt of their minds and the oppressed from the pangs of their sins. He proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor!
Nothing could stop Jesus.
That’s still true. When you come to Jesus in faith, your past sins will not stop him from saying, “I forgive you.” Your past rejections will not hold him back from saying, “You are forgiven for your rejection.”
No matter what you have in your past, it will not stop Jesus from saying, “You are mine.”
And with Jesus on your side? Nothing can stop you!
The struggles you are having with finances? They won’t stop you, because you've got him.
The troubles in relationships? They can’t stop you, because you've got Jesus.
The terrors of this world? The scares of declining health? The torments of the devil? They won’t stop you because you are connected to Jesus – and nothing stops him!
It's simple. Don’t reject Jesus.
Connect with Him.
He won’t reject you. Amen.
Do you have anyone coming over for the holidays? Family? Friends? Third cousins twice removed? Ever notice how your preparation for guests depends on who the guest is?
For instance, if my mom is coming to visit I’ll deep clean the house, strategically place photographs of my family on all of the walls, and make sure that there are only organic, Gluten free, healthy food choices lining our shelves.
It's different with my college buddies. No cleaning required, a couple of old WWF DVDs on hand, and a bunch of bags of Doritos ready for supper—and lunch.
What if Jesus was coming to your house? What would you do? Throw out your explicit rap CDs? Dust a few Bibles off their shelves and place them opened on the tables? Print off some inspirational Scripture verses and hang them on your wall? ("I always have these up Jesus!") Train your live in boyfriend to say, “No, I’m just stopping by for a visit. I don’t live here.” What would you do if Jesus was coming?
Guess what? Jesus is coming. He’s coming for you! Take a look at Revelation 22. It’s our final vision and in this vision John sees and hears Jesus saying this, “Behold, I am coming soon!” Listen to the words that John hear from Jesus himself:
Take a look at that first phrase. Notice that adverb. “Soon.” That’s very nonspecific, isn’t it? The Packer game will happen soon. Thanksgiving is coming soon. Christmas is coming soon. This sermon might get done…’soon.’
Since it is so general, I fear we can often delay getting ready. But that's not smart NOR is it what Jesus wants us to do. The word implies urgency. Jesus is very specific. He is coming soon. Not later. Not after a while. Not after a delay. “I am coming soon.” Whether he comes for you specifically to take you to heaven OR whether returns on the Last Day – Jesus wants you to be ready, because either one of those things could happen at any time.
Now you might be thinking, “So what? Why should I prepare to see Jesus? What’s the big deal? What makes him any different than preparing to see my dentist?” The next part of the text gives us three reasons why Jesus coming is a big deal. Look at verses 12-13, “My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
1) Jesus is Bringing an Awesome Reward
Whenever my grandma visits, she always brings gifts. Specifically, she always bring Chex Mix. It’s delicious. So…when I know she is coming, I get excited for such an awesome gift.
What is Jesus’ gift? It’s better than Chex Mix. It’s heaven! Remember last week’s sermon – Heaven is a pretty sweet gift. Heaven means no more evil. Heaven means no more sin. Heaven means Jesus is completely and absolutely victorious forever. Heaven means Jesus wins. Heaven means no more temptation, no more fear, no more guilt, and no more pain! Heaven means that Jesus rules and we are servants in his kingdom. Heaven means people of all races, nations, and cultures joining together in one loud continuous Hallelujah to the King!
Heaven is awesome. It’s the awesome gift Jesus brings. Since he is the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, Jesus is in control of all things. He's the start of all things. He is the end of all things. He alone is the reason that you have life on this earth. He alone will be the reason that anyone has life in heaven!
Heaven is not too difficult of a gift for Jesus to produce.
2) This Reward Depends on What You have Done
Look at what verse 12 reminds us, “I will give to each person according to what they have done.” Simply put. God will give you heaven if you have earned it.
Remember the old Raisin Bran commercials? They said, “You deserve to scoops of Raisin Bran.” And maybe you do. Maybe you smile enough to deserve two scoops of oats and raisins. But…what about heaven? Have you done enough to earn it? Have you done enough to earn an eternity of evil-less, joyful existence with the perfect and all holy God?
Look at what happens if you haven't done enough to earn heaven in verse 15, “Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
Being outside of heaven isn’t where anyone wants to be. Time to rethink your actions.
3) This Reward Depends on The King’s Opinion
Now it’s real easy to hear that declaration and think, “I’m fine. God and I are good. I’m in a decent position to get to heaven.”
But consider verse 13. Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega. The First and the Last. The Beginning and the End.” There is no one else who has the authority he does. No one ever has. No one ever will. He is the one who always has ruled. He is the one who is ruling right now. He is the one who will rule into eternity.
Despite what the world wants you to think: YOU ARE NOT IN CHARGE. You never have been. You never will be. You aren’t in charge of your life. You aren’t in charge of whether your morality was good enough. You aren’t in charge of if you should be let into heaven.
If that were the case, we'd have hundreds of billions of different standards of morality each being declared by one person (the one who lived that morality) as "good enough."
Your opinion doesn’t count when it comes to whether you should get into heaven or not. That matter is decided by God himself.
Brothers and sisters, do you see the urgency? You don’t know when Jesus is coming and when he comes he will only hand out the reward of heaven to you if you have done enough good in his own eyes!!!!
So, stop putting this off. Stop waiting to get ready for Jesus "until I get older, have kids, and it's important for them." Get ready now!
How? How do you get ready to meet this Eternal, all Holy King when he returns? It has nothing to do with cleaning up your house or making a nice pie. It has everything to do with making sure your spiritual self is right with God. And there is only one way to do that. Look at verse 14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city."
Certain places enforce a strict dress code. Private schools might require students to wear a polo and khakis. A fancy restaurant might require a tie. Most gas stations require you to wear shoes and a shirt.
What do you need to wear to get into heaven? A clean life worn like a beautiful robe. As you might have noted, our sins sully our clothes. They set in deep. They are impossible to remove. Our clothing is filthy and grimy like the clothing of one of those Spartan Races who trudges through a mud obstacle.
But blessed are those who wash their robes.
Jesus' robes weren't white. Not on Good Friday. On Good Friday, they were stained by the blood of brutal beatings, the dirt of falling on the ground, and the sweat of a failing body.
But what happened to His clothing on the outside, is nothing compared to the staining that happened to his soul on the inside.
He took on your guilt.
He took on your sin.
He took on your impossible to get out stains.
And He got rid of them.
Blessed are those who wash their robes. Not in Tide. Not in bleach. Not in their own efforts. But in the blood of the Lamb. The blood of our Savior. Because in Jesus, the dirtiness of our sinful addictions is washed off. In the waters of baptism, the slime of sexual sin is removed. The blood of our Lord penetrates even the deepest stains of pride and completely clean us off! Then, with faith in Jesus as your Savior, you wear Jesus’ perfect life as your clean, white robe. You are dressed appropriately “You may go through the gates into the city.”
How is that last statement so confident? Through faith in Jesus I will be in heaven!?! How can anyone possibly say it so confidently?
Because they have been cleaned to the specifications of the one in charge of setting the cleanliness specifications for heaven!
Think about it: In your household, who does the best job on the dishes? It’s usually mom, right? Mom is picky about those dishes being clean. She doesn’t want any smudges on the glasses or an crusty food in the corner of the oatmeal bowl. So when mom does the dishes, there are no send backs. Every dish is clean. Every dish passes her inspection and specifications.
Similarly, the one who determines whether you are ‘holy’ and able to enter heaven – is also the one who promises in Scripture to clean up your sin filled life and makes it Holy. He promises “I really hate sin and I really demand perfection. So I’m gonna do this myself. I’m going to live perfectly. I’m going to die innocently. I’m going to rise triumphantly. Then, you will put your faith in me. And with your faith in me, all of your sin will be removed. You will fit my standard of cleanliness…You will be perfect.”
By the way, THIS IS ALL TRUTH!
Look at what Jesus says next in verse 16, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.” It’s important that Jesus says this. It’s so easy to doubt the message of sins forgiven and the promise of Jesus’ righteous robes covering our sinful flesh. But look at these words again! This isn’t something the pastor made up. It is a message from Jesus himself. Remember: Jesus gave this message to John who wrote it down and who had his scroll copied at which point a translator translated it, then printers printed it, Biblegateway put up a web page, our church secretary copy and pasted and then printed, I presented and you read it. But it still came from Jesus! Your King! The Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End…the one who has the authority to make such powerful declarations again and again: He is the One who speaks this message to you!
Get Ready! Consider what the last couple of verses mean for your preparation:
1) He is The ROOT…so stay connected to Him. Just like a root sucks up nutrients and passes them on to the rest of the plants, so Jesus nourishes all who are connected to him. And the connecting point? That’ s faith. Through faith he nourishes you for your everyday life. He strengthens you with the peace of sins forgiven, the love of God the Father, and the promise of eternal life.
2) He is The Offspring of David…so say prayers to Him. David was a king. So was Jesus. Kings listen to requests. Jesus will listen to yours too. Whatever your requests may be, feel free to lay them at the feet of your king. He is always in charge. Always on the throne. Always accepting these requests – no matter when, no matter how much, no matter how great! Keep talking to your King – and you’ll stay ready for Jesus’ return.
3) He is the BRIGHT MORNING STAR…so gaze on his beauty. See the aurora borealis of salvation. Look at the bright sunlight of salvation. Gaze at the beauty of his bloodstained brow. Marvel at the joy of the cross. Take time each day…take time later this afternoon to appreciate just what Jesus had done for you. Don’t look away from Jesus and you’ll stay ready for his kingly return.
4) Come. Come. This is a message not only from Jesus, but also from the Spirit – the Holy Spirit himself, also true God – and the bride, that is the church, all the saints in heaven cheering down to you – say, “Come!” But come where? Come to Heaven, certainly! But heaven comes through the message of Jesus. Thus, again, the Bible – Jesus – the Holy Spirit—and the Christian church encourages you – come and learn at the feet of Jesus. Come to Bible study. Come to devotion. Come to church. Come to the radio. Come to WELS Daily devotions. Come to our website to check up on sermons. Come. Come anywhere you can hear the message of Jesus!
5) Tell others to Come! Literally it says, “Let the one who hears say, “Come!” Did you hear? Good. Then say “Come!” Tell your family. Tell your friends. Literally tell them to come to church with you next week. Do it! The message that Jesus is literally that fantastic!
In fact, now that I think about it, why wait? Why wait for Jesus to come? His gifts are so awesome – forgiveness, peace, love, and joy. Why wait for him to come?
Why not come to him...now?!?
Jesus says this, “Let the one who is thirsty come" – thirsty for forgiveness? Come. Thirsty for peace? Come. Thirsty for purpose? Come. Thirsty for love? Come. Thirsty for salvation? Come. Come…and take, "take the free gift of the water of life.”
So what are you waiting for? Jesus is coming soon, but why wait?
Why not come to Him now!?!
Last week we took a glimpse into the future. We saw that every human being will have to face the Ancient of Days – God himself as judge – a judge who absolutely hates sin and absolutely punishes it with eternity in hell. But we also saw that because of our awesome lawyer—Jesus Christ, we will be acquitted—pronounced guiltless and sent to heaven!
So…are you excited? Are you excited for heaven?
Maybe you’re thinking, “Sure, I guess. I mean…it’s better than the other options, but...I'm certainly in no hurry to go. I like life here. I’d miss building my career. I’d miss Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I’d miss Sunday afternoon football. I’d miss the sweet deal I got on Hulu Plus. Can you connect to the internet in heaven? I know it's in the clouds, but does it have The Cloud? Otherwise how am I going to keep my iPhone apps updated?”
But seriously, won’t I miss my friends? Won’t I miss my job? Won’t I miss my family? I don’t see how dying and going to heaven can be all that great of a thing to look forward to.
It’s too sad a thought.
What's heaven like? Today let's take a look at our second vision of the end. It’s from Revelation chapter 19. It’s actually, literally, a glimpse into heaven. See if you can decipher the tone:
"After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.
“Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.”
4 The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: “Amen, Hallelujah!”
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!" (19:1-6)
One word echoes throughout that section. “Hallelujah!”. It’s a Hebrew word. It literally means, “Praise to the Lord.” And this should give you a clue as to the atmosphere of heaven. Because “Hallelujah,” is not a word that you shout on sad occasions. It’s not appropriate when your football team gets blown out or your girlfriend breaks up with you.
Hallelujah is a word of the utmost excitement and praise and notice who’s saying it? A great multitude! That’s a lot. Think of all the football stadiums in America being filled to the brim with people and then some. That’s how many people are geeking out excited to be in heaven!
Ok. So why? Why is this heaven so great? Why is everyone so excited?
Look no farther than our text for the answer. Because these verses list 4 separate Hallelujahs for 4 different reasons – each one is so awesome, it’ll make you want to shout Hallelujah on this earth!
Verse 1 gives the reason for it, “Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments." This is something that we heard about last week. God is holy. He is just. He punishes evil. But this part of Revelation gets specific: "He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants!”
Who is he judging? “The Great Prostitute.” And this isn’t referring to an actual person. Literally in the Greek it says, “The Great Porn!” What an awful nickname, huh? It’s disgusting really.
The Great Prostitute desserves that disgusting nickname. Because it refers to evil itself. It’s a reference to the evil that is on this earth.
Why then are the people in heaven so happy? Because evil has been judged! It has gotten it’s due. God has no longer remained silent, but has destroyed the great evils of this earth.
This is something to be thrilled about? Will you really miss porn and how it ruins your marriage? Will you really miss drunkenness and how it ruins your relationships? Will you miss drugs? Murder? Angry Facebook posts that drive a stake between you and your friends? Will you miss the messiness that comes with sex outside marriage? Will you miss the lies, betrayal, and gossip of the office?
BOTTOMLINE: Will you really miss anything bad? If the answer is…"yes, I will miss my porn! I will miss my Jack Daniels. I will miss not getting to see the next episode of Scandal." You've got your priorities all mixed up!
But it's more than just evil. The thing is that evil is personified in this verse. Evil is not a concept in existence on its own. Evil needs people to do it. Evil is done by evildoers. Then, this is an absolutely Biblical truth too: In order for evil to be judged, evildoers must be judged too!
Right away, you might feel a twinge of happiness! All evildoers will be judged to hell. And there’s a long list of people that most people agree to be evil – Terrorists. Angry Atheists. Serial killers. Rapists. Abortion Doctors. False Prophets. Racists.
But that’s not enough for God. God hates all evil. Not just some. All evil. Listen to 1 Corinthians 6:9, “Do you not know that evil people will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor people who tell lies nor deceivers will inherit the kingdom of God!”
So. You’ve got to add to your list of evildoers that will be judged – White lie tellers. Rumor spreaders. Government grumblers. Yelling at wife-ers. Not every Sunday church goers. Four letter word sayers. Sleeping with my girlfriend guys. Living with my boyfriend girls. Once in awhile porn lookers. “Think-that-they-are-better-than-others-because-they-didn’t-hear-a-sin-that-they-currently-do-on-this-list” –ers.
Panicking a little right now? Thinking: “Hey I do some of those things. I am a sinner. I’ve done evil! How can anyone be saved?"
Let me share with you the rest of 1 Corinthians 6:11 “Evil is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of your Lord Jesus Christ.” You were washed clean of sin in the waters of Baptism. You were sanctified and brought to faith in your Lord and Savior. You were justified--declared innocent of all evil doing by Jesus, Your Lord.
Brothers and sisters, that "you" is YOU! Jesus died for you. He suffered God’s angry judgment against your evil deeds on the cross. Through faith in Jesus, the crowd cheering in Revelation 19, that will be you.
You'll be cheering because you’ll be seeing it clearly. Seeing sin for what it was – an awful infection that leads to pain, sorrow, and death AND seeing God for who he is – your incredibly loving, awesome, undefeated Lord who experienced the awful pain and sorrow of sin as he gave up his life on the cross in order to get you a new life in heaven from sin, pain, and sorrow!
CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH!?!?
The crowd in heaven. Future “you” in heaven continues the celebration. Read verse 3, “And again they shouted: “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.”
Anybody ever played a Mario Bros. video game? Ever beaten Bowser, the big bad guy? Here’s the thing about Bowser, he’s persistent. He always comes back. You might have to beat him three or four times in the game and then there’ll be another money making game on the next entertainment system on which you have to beat him all over again.
Sometimes evil feels like that. It always comes back. There’s always bad news on the TV. One evildoer might get locked up for another evildoer to strike. One school shooting, then another. One terrorist bombing, then another. One murder, then another.
In heaven? That’s all over. “The smoke--from evil being smoted by God – goes up forever and ever.” There is no return! Evil is conquered. This victory by our awesome God is permanent! There is no sequel. There is no part two. There is no To Be Continued!
God wins; the end!
CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH!?!?
Our third Hallleujah builds on that last one. Take a look at verse 4, “The twenty four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried; “Amen, Hallelujah!”
Amen. Ever heard that word before? We say it at the end of our prayers. It means “This is the truth! So shall it be.”
The truth is that God is victorious and evil has lost. So the struggle is over:
No more temptation! No more getting distracted at the gym by ‘sexiness’ of someone else’s workout gear. No more smell of vodka that sends you into shakes unless you have a drink. No more waking up every morning, promising to fight off temptation, and then quickly losing your temper because someone ate all the Pop Tarts and feeling the guilt that goes along with another battle lost. TEMPTATION IS GONE!
No more fear! No more threats of terrorism. No more Ebola. No more AIDS. No more Cancer. No more poverty. No more not having enough money. No more gang violence near your house. No more getting worried that your alcoholic relative will call you at two in the morning to scream violently at you. No more fear! FEAR IS GONE!
No more guilt. No more waking up in the middle of the night with dreams of when you did something awful. No more reminders on Facebook of relationships that you have soured. No more nervousness to talk to people in church, because you wronged them once upon a time. GUILT IS GONE!
CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH!?!?
Then, verse 5, “A voice came from the throne saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!” That’s everybody. Long time believers and new believers. Young kids and mature adults, Caucasian Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino American – Duke fan Americans, State fan Americans, even Tarheel fan Americans—even non American! All believers in Christ will get to experience this awesome release from evil and they will join together for one final awesome celebration. One final hearty, incredible HALLELUJAH!
And listen to how much louder this one will be, “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!”
Of course, God has always been in charge. He has been in the past and is right now. But…it doesn’t always look like it, does it? Not when evil is in the streets, immorality is the law of the land, and governments across the world are corrupt.
But in heaven, there will be no doubts AND there will be no other ruler. God himself will reign and be with his people!
That means there will be no corrupt governments. No immoral media forcing us to accept sin. No peer pressure forcing us to tolerate evil. No anger taking control of our words. No addictions taking control of our actions. NOTHING and NO ONE in control but GOD!
God who is all powerful! God is all good! God who loves you with his dying divine breath!
CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH!?!? Rejoice and be glad and give God glory!
Sometimes I wonder. What are my Grandpas doing in heaven?
What about my Grandpa Dave? Maybe he’s eating handfuls of my Grandma’s famous Chex mix? Maybe he’s driving a semi truck? Cheering for Cornhusker football?
Then there’s Grandpa Kiecker. Maybe he’s driving a tractor to plow the fields for the next supply of heavenly corn? Maybe he’s a model for heavenly overalls? Maybe he is in charge of tweaking of entrant into heaven nose and pretending like he took it off with his thumb.
Honestly. I don’t know exactly. But what I do know. What I know is this: In heaven, with God, they couldn’t be happier.
Maybe you’ve got a Grandpa Dave or a Grandpa Kiecker—a beloved believer in Christ.
Know this: We might not know just what they’re doing right now, but we do know this: In heaven with God, they couldn’t be happier!
And one day – through faith in Jesus Christ – you will be the same kind of happy right with them.
Can I get a Hallelujah!?! AMEN.