I stand humbly before you in the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Please God let this message tonight be Your Words and not mine in Jesus Name.
I titled this sermon Who is Jesus? Part 2, I’m continuing, as best I can, on that same Perfect Subject that Pastor chose and was preaching last Sunday.
Our OT Reading (Genesis 3) God patiently and graciously seeks out the sinners. He finds the lost. Offers reconciliation and mercy to Adam and Eve. God cursed the serpent and asked Adam, “Where are you?” Calling mankind to come to Him. We have that choice. Many of us see that as something we need to do but that isn’t the case. It is something that we get to do. It is a privilege. One that still amazes me.
What stops us from coming to Him? Seeking Him? What stops you? In my case, I was not raised by my biological father. As I’ve mentioned before I was not raised in a loving environment either. My stepfather wanted nothing to do with me. Most of the time my mother didn’t either. God and religion were very rarely mentioned in that household.
The house I grew up in did not stand. It burned down. There was abuse, divorce, we all went our separate ways. I’m still in touch with my mother and sister. I love them and stay in touch with them. I started a relationship with my biological father in my twenties. Our relationship is going great and has deepened recently.
My upbringing did not lend itself to my faith life. The bible tells me to pray to my Father in Heaven. Jesus says to call him “Daddy.” This was not something I could understand, trust or relate to in anyway.
There’s an interesting verse in our epistle reading “…this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Our slight momentary affliction is our mortal life. This is nothing compared to our eternal life. Our eternal life is our life in Heaven with our Father, God. What is the weight of glory? It’s the praise given to us by our Father. The way a parent lights up when their child enters the room. Like the father running to the prodigal son. We are newborns in eternity. In this momentary life we need to become as little children in order to enter Heaven. As humble as a child. Once in Heaven we will be like a child praised by its father. The glory of God smiling upon you, His creation.
What’s the last thing that got you excited? A song? Imagine if the song responded to you. It took hold of you. It shared itself with you. Every lyric was understood from its conception and you experienced the emotions behind them. All the lessons behind the instruments coming together each for their part in reaching to your core. The overwhelming psychological and physical effects of its creation, purpose and end results of the composition. The music responding to you as you’ve always responded to it.
Or a movie? Again, imagine that it responded to you. You became part of the movie. You are a character in that world. You’re the star! Brought into it like a new cast member into a new reality. You have a deeper understanding of the characters and the set and the meaning behind the script as you interact with the words, the set and the players and they interact with you. This would bring the movie experience to its ultimate level.
Or a sunrise or a sunset? Just imagine the scene responds to you. It unravels before you. You become the azimuth. The celestial object observes you. You become its direction. The sun looks to you and shines brighter and moves toward you. You’re the center of its orbit. But the light and the flames do not hurt you in any way. Just imagine His creation taking notice of you.
That’s God in a nutshell. He was and is everything! He is The Source of our focus. He is The central point of our greatest love. We should have that same excitement when we prepare to pray. We should be excited. We should be pumped for prayer! Call upon His Perfect Name. He allows us to approach Him. To approach The One who dwells in unapproachable light.
God’s grace fuels your imagination. Our faith feeds it. We have the ability to incorporate all our known senses into our imagination. Your prayer life should utilize your imagination. Find that alone time. Pray. Call upon His Holy Name. The Name Jesus Christ. In your imagination see yourself before your Father. Even if you’re a grown man who doesn’t know what it’s like to run and jump into your Father’s arms, here’s is where you can experience it in your slight momentary affliction. It’s where I feel that eternal weight of glory.
My best prayers are usually first thing in the morning. I wake up, brush my teeth, do some warmup exercises so that I am wide awake when I pray. I usually feel the weight of my exhaustion and the anxiety of what’s ahead of me for the day. I feel every step in my tired joints and aching muscles. Then I get on my knees, and often on my face, and pray. I pray the Lord’s Prayer and then call upon His Holy Name. The Name of Jesus Christ. I really fall deep into my prayers. I really get into it. Sometimes I cry from the intimacy of the timeless moment. BUT every time I’m done I no longer heavy or tired. I feel light on my feet and joyous. I’m excited about my day. My Father just scooped me up in His Arms. That is the eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. Your Father taking notice of you. And He bears you up. The Creator pays attention to you. The King of Everything, ALL of creation, has you in His sights. In His Arms.
The scribes said that Jesus was possessed, and the source of His power was evil. These men did not recognize Jesus as God. They were completely blind to faith. They were caught up in their earthly world and only saw Him as their enemy. Jesus told them the parable of the strongman.
How do you picture Samson? The bible’s strongman. The bible is very quiet on his physical appearance so that leads me to believe that he looked like a normal Palestinian or Israeli man. Dark hair, dark eyes, olive skin. Recently, an ancient seal the size of a dime was unearthed in the area where Samson lived (4 miles from where he was born) and is dated to the time that Samson lived (1,100 BC). It depicts a man fighting a lion. The man is not large or muscular and archeologists believe this is a depiction of Samson during the time that he lived.
Samson was too strong to be bound. He was bound with rope and bowstrings and he easily snapped each of them apart. Samson could only be bound when God wanted him bound. However, Samson was bound by his Nazarite vow. He was not to cut his hair, drink alcohol, have anything to do with women outside of his faith or touch anything dead. He broke each of these bounds as well so God removed his strength and allowed him to be captured, have his eyes gouged out (since he was already blind to his faith) and he was then bound with bronze chains which easily held him now that he was no longer strengthened by God’s Grace and Might and forced to grind grain in prison.
Samson eventually humbled Himself like a child before His Father and cried out to God. He cried out to die among his enemies. God’s grace restored him to his former heroic state. His strength returned and he died with the enemies of his God and his people. God allowed that.
This is Jesus. The strength of Samson is nothing compared to the strength of Jesus. A great lion and everyday humans couldn’t comprehend the strength of Samson and we humans to this day could never come close to comprehending the power and strength of our Great God Almighty.
The family of Jesus in our Gospel, says He’s mentally displaced, He’s outside of His mind and they intend to stop Him. You can’t stop Jesus! We don’t know what members of His earthly this is. Jesus had at least four younger brothers and at least two younger sisters. It is believed that James and Jude who wrote the epistles of the same names were two of Jesus’ younger half-brothers. It is also believed that James and Jude may not have believed Jesus was who He was (God) until after His resurrection.
At Sunday school we finished our year of lessons with the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. The book of Genesis says that the tribe of Asher will produce delicacies fit for a King. The tribe of Asher lived in Cana. The book of Isaiah describes us as badly broken clay jars. A broken shard that cannot even perform simple and basic functions on its own. The shard is useless on its own. On the third day, Jesus, His mother and His disciples are invited to this wedding. The third day is a reference to the risen Christ. Our relationship with God is restored. We are no longer a broken shard. We are whole clay jars now. Jesus asks the servants at the wedding banquet to fill the empty clay jars with water and to fill them to the brim.
We are completely filled so Satan can no longer try to possess our emptiness. Jesus bound Satan and reclaimed His possessions. He reclaimed us. This is our wedding. It takes 31 gallons of water to make one glass of wine. Jesus turned 6 – 30 gallon newly filled jars of water into wine. Jesus demonstrated His power over nature and the law of physics. 6 is the number of man. Jesus fills all of mankind reclaiming us as His. We are the ones invited to His banquet. The water turning into wine is Jesus’ blood purifying us. Overflowing with His Grace. This is who Jesus is. He and the Father are One. He is The One. The King of All Creation. The King of Everything. Jesus makes us delicacies fit for The Greatest King. The King of All, not Elvis.
In the book of Hebrews, Paul writes that Jesus created and sustains our little world. Our earth is His work. His craftsmanship. On Sunday, He had an idea and Heaven and earth came into existence. He stilled the chaos; He shifted the tectonic plates moving every mountain. He arranged every continent parting every sea. He affected the atmosphere using His weather to smooth out the surface preparing it for us. He irradiated the core making it hotter than when He originally formed it making it perfect to sustain life, to sustain us. He sustains the earth and us. The energy that animates us. Every breath we take. That’s all from Him. Our life and planet, wedding gifts from Him. Our bridegroom. ALL around us we see Him at work in His workshop. We are in His House and it will stand. This is Who Jesus is.