Archives for 10.16.06

on the 10.15.06 sermon summaries

We are in the midst of the last week of the Lord’s life. The chronology of that week are somewhat of a controversy, depending on which day you think the Lord was crucified on. Thursday advocates point out that you have a ‘silent day’ in the week if the crucifixion is on Saturday and scoff at the notion that the three days and three nights in the tomg can be accounted for by the Jewish practice of counting part of a day as a whole day. Friday advocates will note, for example, that the women waiting to administer extra spices to the body of Jesus waited over the Sabbath singular, not the Sabbaths plural as is required by the Thursday view [instead of one Sabbath, the Thursday advocates say there are two Sabbaths, one a special occasion Sabbath due to the way the Passover works, etc.] The argument is all quite complicated and it is difficult for me to discern the significance.

I tend to support the Friday view and take the day of silence to be the Wednesday before Passover on Thursday evening, a sort of ‘self-imposed sabbath’ by the Lord in preparation for the trial that is to come.

All of that to say that the events we are looking at this Sunday occurred on the Tuesday of the Passion Week. The first event we covered is the Lord’s last public message, recorded most fully in Mt 23. The proposition of the message is: “The manner in which error is opposed depends on the spiritual condition of the people being addressed.” The first group addressed in the sermon is ‘the multitude’ and the disciples. The Lord teaches them to listen to the biblical teachings of the Pharisees, but warns them against following their practices. He contrasts the self-seeking practices of the Pharisees with the Christ serving practices of kingdom disciples. So the manner in which the Lord addresses the crowd is as a teacher. The second group addressed is the Pharisees – the Lord pronounces at least eight woes (curses meaning ‘you are as good as dead’) on the Pharisees. The point is that they have so twisted things that they themselves aren’t entering the kingdom and they are in fact preventing others from entering also. This part of the message is direct and pointed. The Lord minces no words in rebuking the Pharisees. So the manner in which false teachers are addressed is full of opposition, rebuke, and condemnation. [And we must beware lest in our zeal for the Lord we fall under the same condemnation.] The third part of the message is to the nation: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem”. The Lord acknowledges the nations wickedness but in compassion assures the nation that if she would turn, he would receive. But ‘ye would not.’ So the manner of addressing a sinning nation and a sinning world is the message of compassionate forgiveness to those who are willing to acknowledge their sin and turn to Christ.

The whole chapter is one of sober reflection, brought about by the Lord’s strong words against the Pharisees. It seems that this is the last provocation, and it brings about the crucifixion three days later.

The second message dealt with the Olivet Discourse in Mt 24. After leaving the temple area, the disciples remark on the beauty of the temple buildings. The Lord prophesies that not one stone will be left standing on another. The disciples are shocked, and, upon arriving on the mount of Olives outside the city (in the Garden of Gethsemane?) the Lord answers their questions concerning the end of the age. The proposition for this message is: “The Lord’s preparation of his people for the end of time provides assurance to saints who live in uncertain days.” The first point is that of reassurance to saints in a troubled church age (4-14). I realize that some dispensationalists do not see the church at all in this chapter, but in this section, the Lord describes general conditions that exist now, no signs, and states: “don’t be troubled … the end is not yet”. So I take this to be reassurance for the church age. The second point involves signs, and is II. revelation for saints in a time of great trouble (15-28). Here is the abomination of desolation and a lot of trouble and concern. Here Matthew tells the readers (not the hearers) to understand. Here the Lord clearly explains that the Second Coming will be unmistakable. The last point is this: relief for saints in the time of dire distress (29-51). The Lord gives these words to those who are in that time of great trouble to reassure them that he is coming and to warn them to be ready. We can apply this to us as well. We are in times of distress. We should not be discouraged, but we should be ready.

Our last message involved a few events recorded in Mk 14.1-16 (and elsewhere) that I called “Preparation for the Passover“. The chief priests and the scribes were preparing for murder, a preparation of malice. Mary (named in John’s Gospel) prepared the Lord for baptism (on the Saturday preceding) by anointing his head with spikenard, a preparation for burial. Judas was preparing the passover by joining the plot to deliver over his Master (did this occur on the ‘silent day’, Wednesday?), in a preparation for betrayal. And Peter and John (identified in Luke) were sent to prepare the passover in the upper room for the Lord and his disciples. I went through the steps of preparing the passover lambs found in Edersheim’s The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah for this section. This is a preparation of obedience. I didn’t really have a proposition for this message, but this is where I was going in the conclusion:

• The priests were preparing the passover – they wished to slaughter the Lamb of God.
• Mary prepared the passover – she wished to honour the Lamb of God.
• Judas prepared the passover – he wished to give away the Lamb of God.
• Peter and John prepared the passover – they wished to eat meat with the Lamb of God.

What do you wish to do with God’s Passover Lamb?

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

P.S. Sermon notes can be seen by clicking the links in the article.