MATTHEW & MARK
Yesterday, I taught Sunday School at the Calvary Couples Class at North Valley Baptist Church and then preached on Sunday Evening. I enjoyed myself and yet missed my people at Grand View Baptist Church. North Valley is such a great church, but there is no place like home. We have such a special place at Grand View, and it resonates with me. Today through Wednesday, I will be teaching at Golden State Baptist College and Preaching in Chapel and the Wednesday evening message. I'm glad to see our students: Ben Hartle, April Hogle, and Zach Church. So proud of them. I'm in Matthew and Mark, and here are some highlights:
1) MASTER, IS IT I? What a dumb question Judas asks Christ in Matthew 26:25. Jesus answers: "Thou hast said." Did Judas really not believe that Jesus was God? He sat where the others sat, and yet... he missed it all. He really wasn't expecting Jesus to know all things. He asks the question like other disciples are asking and thinks he can blend in the crowd in that upper room. "Master, is it I?" Well, I'm looking at you Judas, you dipped the sop just like I said, you got the money in your pocket, your the one with the face flushed, who do you think I'm talking about? Yes, your the one!! Have you ever prayed: "Lord, it there is anything in my life that would hinder...." What a dumb question! Don't you know? It's it painfully plain what our failures and sins are? Do we have to ask so brazenly, "Have I done anything, LORD?" Dah...
Why not just be open and honest and truthful with God. My how things could have changed had Judas said: "Lord, I'm who you are talking about. I ashamed to say, I did it. LORD, I betrayed you for 30 lousy pieces of silver and I'm so ashamed and dirty. LORD, please forgive me. They are going to be coming for you soon, let's get into hiding. I'll meet them myself and tell them you've gone... I'll pay the consequences. I'm so sorry LORD, please, please forgive me. Now... how do you think the LORD would have responded? That's alright Judas, I forgive you, it was all a part of the bigger plan, but I'm so glad to see you are repentant. You are forgiven Judas, just like I'll soon forgive Peter. I love you Judas, I always have! Let us get over this: "Master, is it I?" syndrome.... please!!
2) THE POWERFUL TESTIMONY- One of the most powerful testimonies concerning Jesus, comes not from His disciples, but from a centurion who helped nail Jesus to the cross and has watched all of the events of His death. He is not a believer, he is not a sympathizer, he is a Roman soldier, hardened by life and duty, who delights in giving people the rightful punishment decreed by the Roman rule of law. He is just doing his duty, and he delights in doing so. But in Matthew 27:54, it says: "Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus..." Here is the key.... they were watching Jesus! An atheist, has never looked at Jesus! He looks at Christians and says: What phonies! (And, sadly sometimes we fall way short.) The agnostic looks at Christianity through the ages and see all the humanity, but none of the Deity. They fail to look at Jesus. When you do.... there is nothing to criticize. Nothing! So, here this hardened soldier who helped hang Jesus on the tree watches Him die. He see Him! He hears Him utter: "Father, forgive them...." He see Him reject the gall that would numb His pain, yet drink the vinegar that would refresh Him. He now sees the earthquake, the darkened skies, "and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God." That is the powerful witness. Not just someone from the outside looking in, but someone hating the inside looking inside, and seeing Jesus, and making his honest, heart felt assessment.... This is the Son of God!!!
3) WHAT DO YOU HAVE? In Mark 8:5, in the feeding of the four thousand, Jesus asks this question to His disciples: "How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven." At one time, Jesus used the five loaves and two small fishes of a boy, but this time, He looks at His own disciples and asks, "How many loaves have ye?" Jesus wants to use what we have to be a blessing to others. He knows what we have. He knows what we have... is His! He knows that we do not easily part with what we have... so He asks us what we have. He has big plans for what we have.... that involves others! What do you have dear friend that Jesus wants to use to be a blessing to others? That day, the disciples gave away what they had so that Jesus could use it to be a blessing to others. Now, they too were fed that day, but they gave up what they possessed. So, Jesus just wants to take what is His, that we have in our possession, and then we don't have anything... right? Well, consider this: Rev 21:14 "And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Is that worth seven loaves of bread? You bet!!! Give Jesus anything, everything, He asks for!!! It is worth it!!!