Archives for 10.23.06

on catching up with sermon summaries

The latter half of last week was overwhelming with work, hence no blogging. I still have things to say, but had no time to say them!

This post will give a condensed summary of the preaching for Week 8 in our Through the New Testament series, otherwise entitled “The Revelation of Jesus Christ“, since that is what I think the New Testament is from beginning to end.

Wednesday evening gave us “The Shock of Betrayal”, a message that covered the Lord’s shocking announcements of betrayal and denial at the last supper, the institution of communion, and the prayer in the Garden culminating in the actual betrayal. What is particularly interesting to me about these events is that the Lord was dealing with the disciples yet again about rivalry over place and position. Edersheim speculates that the dispute was over where the disciples would be seated at the table and gives a plausible suggestion as to how the seating ended up. John’s gospel reveals that the way the Lord taught them about this issue was with the footwashing, which Judas participated in. As the Lord is instituting something as momentous as Communion, he is also dealing with pride, rivalry and humility in teaching his disciples right to the end. The repeated lessons to the disciples on this subject (at least three separate occasions) point out to us the significance of the problem of pride and political rivalry among disciples and also point us to the Lord’s answer to it: service.

Sunday morning, we began with “The King on Trial“, a look at the Jewish trial of the Lord with its three hearings, then the Gentile trial of the Lord with its three hearings. In the Jewish hearings, the high priests are on a fishing expedition, first before Annas, the former high priest, then before Caiaphas (Annas’ son-in-law) the current high priest. In the second hearing, Caiaphas gets what he wants when he gets the Lord to respond to the question whether Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. The Lord replies in the affirmative, then ‘ups the ante’ by saying that the priests will see him seated at the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven (shekinah glory). The priests have the evidence they need. A. B. Bruce gives four reasons why Jesus answered this question when he was silent before all the other accusations:

  1. “The whole ministry of Jesus had made the question inevitable
  2. “The high priest was the proper person to ask it
  3. “It is an important opportunity for giving expression to His Messianic self-consciousness
  4. “Silence would, in the circumstances, have amounted to denial.”

[A. B. Bruce, “The Synoptic Gospels”, Expositor’s Greek Testament, Vol. 1, p. 320.]

After a daylight hearing to make the charges and sentence against Christ legal, the priests send Jesus to Pilate to get Roman approval for the sentence of death. Pilate waffles, realizing the charges are ludicrous, but with the vehemence of the Jews, finds no way out. He attempts to get Herod to take the monkey off his back (second hearing) with no success. Then he finally gives in as the mob joins the priests in shouting for the Lord’s crucifixion.

I centered this message around 1 Cor 1.18-25, especially the phrase “the Jews seek a sign, the Greeks seek after wisdom” and the bit about Christ being a “stumblingblock to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks”. This is on display in the whole trial scene. But to us who are saved, “Christ the wisdom of God and Christ the power of God”. The proposition for this message was: Your eternal destiny depends on what you see in the humiliation of Christ.

The second message was “The Dying Saviour Speaks“, where I focused on the four sayings of Christ on the cross that are recorded in the Synoptics. (There are three more in John.) My theme was forgiveness and my proposition went this way: The purpose of God in the crucifixion of Christ was fully accomplished: wrath against sin is eternally satisfied, escape from wrath for sinners is eternally supplied. My main points were

  1. Prayer for temporal forgiveness – for sins of ignorance (Father, forgive them… Lk 23.32-38)
  2. Promise of personal forgiveness – to a penitent sinner (Today you shall be with me… Lk 23.39-43)
  3. Place of all forgiveness – wrath outpoured on the innocent Son(My God, My God… Mk 15.33-34, Lk 23.44-45)
  4. Pathway to forgiveness – blazed by the faith of the Son
  5. (Father into thy hand… Lk 23.46)

The Son entrusted his soul to the Father, and so must we, based on the work of the Son.

The last message focused on the burial and emphasized the witnesses to the fact that Jesus really died. The title was “Witnesses to His Death“. In this message, we reviewed the Lord’s repeated teachings to his disciples concerning his death, the witnesses to his death, including the centurion, the soldiers, the councillors (Joseph and Nicodemus), the women watching, and even the chief priests and Pharisees as they asked for a guard against false claims by the disciples about a resurrection. We really didn’t cover anything new in this message, but I pointed out that it took the disciples a long time to understand the Lord’s teaching on this matter. On one occasion, the Lord said to the disciples

Luke 9:44 Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.

In the same way we need to let the teaching of Scripture sink down into our hears, to meditate upon it, to contemplate it again and again so that we might more fully understand the implications for our spiritual lives as we ground our hope of eternal life in the real death of the infinite Son of God.

Well, now I am caught up on summaries. I’m off to clean the gutters on our house … it’s cleaning day and my wife has some needs that must be met. I’ll post more later.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3