After almost 3 years I graduated from Andrews University Seminary. My mind was stuffed with information. I thought I knew it all.
After the 12 disciples spent 3 and a half years with Jesus, they probably thought they knew it all. They thought they had a pretty full concept of the future. Jesus told His disciples time and time again that He would be captured, beaten, killed and would rise on the third day. But Jesus’ words went in one ear and out the other. They never comprehended it.
We, like little kids, know so little of God’s plan for our life. Whenever your kids are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God's omnipotence did not extend to His kids. After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. The first thing He said to them was: "Don't." "Don't what?", Adam replied. "Don't eat the forbidden fruit." "Forbidden fruit? Really? Where is it?" "It's over there," said God, wondering why He hadn't stopped after making the elephants. A few minutes later God saw the kids having an apple break and He was angry. "Didn't I tell you not to eat that fruit?" the First Parent asked. "Uh huh," Adam replied. "Then why did you?" "I dunno," Adam answered. Adam did not listen. So, God placed a curse on Adam and Eve. “I’ll let you experience what it is like to have disobedient children.” Was having kids part of the curse? If God had trouble handling children, what makes us think it would be a piece of cake? Kids don’t listen.
Jesus had 12 disciples. We could call them His children. Jesus told them what was going to happen to keep them in the loop, but they did not listen either. Look at Luke 18 and notice what Jesus told His disciples. Luke 18:31 Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
Their paradigm could not juxtapose with Jesus’ words. They thought Jesus’ kingdom would magically triumph over the Romans and Jesus would be King on earth with everybody living happily forevermore. They could not comprehend their Leader would be dead in 2 or 3 days. Jesus’ words were like unfathomable enigmas to His disciples. The words Jesus used were unsophisticated like mock, spit, flog, kill, and rise again. He repeated these over and over and over: In Matthew 16, 17 and 20, but they did not get it.
Much of what Jesus said is a mystery to us also. For instance do you understand this? “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Then I think, how can God forsake Himself? Paul calls Jesus’ death on the cross a ‘mystery‘, Ephesians 6:19.
The specific Greek word refers to a secret military strategy. Let’s suppose the military plans an attack. Their plan is top secret, of course. If the enemy discovered the plan the battle might be lost. God had a secret plan to save people. When the Roman soldiers drove the nails into Jesus’ body and while Jesus was hanging on the cross bleeding profusely, while Jesus was in the process of dying, the Devil must have been exhilarated. “I won! God lost! I beat God!” But Satan did not know the plan. Heaven’s secret plan actually required the death of God. Instead of killing Jesus, Satan should have posted a legion of Black Water guards around Him so no one would kill Him. Because, If Jesus did not die, then no human could ever be saved. Instead loggerheaded Satan played right in to God’s plan.
Early on Sunday morning the Roman guards were guarding the tomb. But, they were not alone. Heavenly angels were watching, and Satan and his evil host were watching. When Jesus rose from the grave Satan must have gasped! Then he realized he made a mistake. God beat Satan! But wait, maybe I am not beaten after all he thought. Satan was smart enough to know that only God could die to save human beings. An angel could not pay for our sin. Satan now knew that Jesus would rise on the third day. On the third day “God” would rise again. Therefore, God would still be alive. So if Divinity did not really die, then man could not really be saved. So he thought, I still won. I beat God! Because “God” did not die.
Just what did die on the Cross? Jesus died. A part of Jesus’ Divinity died there never to be had again. You know that Jesus will never be the same. Scars are in His hands permanently. But there is more. Jesus experienced distinct limitations. Never again would Jesus be omnipresent. He forever lost His ability to be everywhere at the same time.
Think about this. Read John 3:16. Pretend you’re reading it for the 1st time. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. It says that God ‘gave’ His Son, He did not loan Him. When Jesus was on the old rugged Cross, He forever subjected Himself to certain limitations. Jesus “gave” up certain qualities He had always had. From the cross onward Jesus will always be bound to human flesh. “(God) gives His only begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature as a pledge that God will fulfil His word.” The Review and Herald, April 3, 1894.
After a time, Satan saw that Jesus did not have this omnipresence any longer. He had thought that after the resurrection Jesus would revert to the same capabilities He had before His birth. But He didn’t have the ability of omnipresence. This knowledge must have shocked the fire out of the old Devil. God did die. The Devil’s cold heart never dreamed that God could love the sinful world so much that He would actually give up a part of His own divinity forever just to save the lost human race.
40 days later Jesus went back to heaven. Jesus told his disciples it was to their advantage that He leave them. But He would send someone who could be everywhere and with everyone at the same time. Jesus would send the Holy Spirit. John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. Jesus said: “I go away”.
Can an omnipresent person ever go away if He is still everywhere at the same time? Sister White says it this way in Desire of Ages, 669- “Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally.” The bottom line is, Jesus loves us more than we can ever imagine. He came to this sinful world to save us. Jesus came with His Omniscience, His Omnipotence, and His Omnipresence. Three amazing attributes. Jesus was willing to forever give up one that we might be saved.
Let’s suppose you only had three senses. Sight, hearing and touch. Do you love anyone enough to give up one of your 3 senses for a year to save them? How about not being able to hear forever? Or maybe not being able to see anything forever just to save your neighbor?
Jesus was forever changed that we might be forever changed. Jesus came to pay a debt He did not owe, to pay a debt you could never pay. Open your Bible to Mark 10:32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And He took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto Him.
Picture Jesus walking toward the place of death. Jesus had an appointment with the cross. His face was set toward Jerusalem. The quality of His character and His love drove Him to that point. The scared Disciples were following reluctantly behind. Maybe way behind. For the first time ever, Jesus felt totally alone. It seemed His Father and His disciples had forsaken Him.
Jesus was scourged with a lead tipped whip while tied to a whipping post with a brass ring on top. A rope pulled tight through the ring held His hands up high stretching the skin on His back tight to produce more lacerations. The Romans punched Him and tore out His beard by handfuls. Tough thorns were driven into His scalp. A rough heavy cross was lowered onto His bleeding back. He must carry the instrument of His death to the hill of death. The same crowds that had cheered Him now cursed and spit on Him. Three giant nails were used to nail Him to the cross. With nails and lumber the Carpenter completed our salvation.
Jesus, knowing all that would face Him, led his disciples to Jerusalem. The Disciples couldn’t understand why Jesus would walk right into a hornets nest. I would have Jesus’ kind of bravery.
It is one thing to suddenly see a little girl chasing her ball into a busy street. Then you see the speeding truck. You just have time to jump and push her to safety but you lose your life in the process. It is quite another thing to know about the heavy truck years ahead of time. To know ahead of time how your body will be crushed and know you will be subjected to excruciating pain for months in ICU before dying in agony. Would you still be at that spot to save the little girl?
Jesus could have avoided all this. Or Jesus could have said to Himself, “If they want to kill me, they are going to have to find me. I’ll give them a run for their money.” But Jesus willingly went as a Lamb to the slaughter. Jesus intentionally journeyed to Jerusalem to die. Mark 10:33 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles. And they shall mock Him, and shall scourge Him, and shall spit upon Him, and shall kill Him: and the third day He shall rise again.
Jesus clearly spells out 10 specific events that will happen in the next few days and they missed them all. 1– He will go to Jerusalem. 2– He will fulfill all prophecies 3– He will be handed over 4– He will be seized by Gentiles 5– He will be mocked 6– He will be insulted 7– He will be spit on 8– He will be killed 9– He will be dead three days 10–He will rise again. How did Jesus know all that?
But the Disciples were clueless. Luke 18:34. And they understood none of these things They were afraid and filled with dread and fear. They knew something very bad was looming ahead. How did Jesus know all these details of how He would die? He said: I will be handed over to Roman authorities. How did he know that. Because Jesus knew the Bible. Jesus knew that he would die and knew the Sanhedrin did not have the legal authority to kill Him under the Roman occupation. Jews killed with stones. Romans killed with crosses. Jesus had thought all this through. He didn’t need to use His foreknowledge powers. Is Luke 18:32-33 negative or positive? Let’s read it: For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on, and they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again. Is this negative or positive? It is very positive! What’s going to happen? After all this trouble He IS going to rise again.
All they saw was doom. Satan used a distraction scam, one of the oldest tactics in the book. He sidetracked their attention and robbed them of the glory.
A man owned a jewelry store in 19th century London. He was robbed of an expensive French watch. Two men came into the store and while one pretended interest in buying a pair of earrings, asking to see several trays of the items, the other removed the watch from its display stand and walked out. As it happens, the thief was caught when he tried to pawn the watch. There was a trial and the thief was convicted. He was hanged for his crime! Things were tough back then.
The disciples were totally distracted by the terrors of Mark 10:34. All they could think about was those terrible words: Mock, Scourge, Spit, Kill! They missed the last two words...... RISE AGAIN! They caught the gloom and missed the glory!
Jesus could see the mocking, scourging, spitting and crucifixion, but Jesus could see beyond all that. Jesus could see the glory of the resurrection. Jesus could see the defeat of Satan. Jesus could see the victorious end of the long battle of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. He knew the Devil would be the loser and we would be the winners.
As humans our focus is not far enough into the future. We focus on our pain, and our big bills that we cannot pay. We focus on our trials and troubles. But we must lift up our eyes and refocus our sights on the glorious future that awaits all of God’s faithful children. Jesus did rise again! Jesus paid a big price for our salvation. Your sins are fully paid for. I want you to give your heart to Jesus Who gave so much for you. He gave His whole life for you, and He even gave up part of His divinity. But He didn’t give up His love. He still loves you. He didn’t give up His expectation of seeing you and hugging you someday and being your God forever. I hope you’re going to be there. Don’t miss the glory. Don’t miss your appointment to walk on the streets of gold. Give your life, your heart, your time and talent to Jesus.
Hymn of Praise: #165, Look You Saints! the Sight is Glorious Scripture: Matthew 20:17-19 Hymn of Response: #159, The Old Rugged Cross Sermon Notes: Sermon notes available as PDF
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 4/16/10