JESUS AND THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT
I HEARD THIS STORY ABOUT A YOUNG BLOND LADY WHO WAS IN THE STORE ONE DAY AND SAW A THERMOS BOTTLE.
SHE ASKED THE MAN BEHIND THE COUNTER, WHAT IT WAS AND WHAT IT DID.
HE SAID THAT IT WAS A THERMOS BOTTLE AND THAT IT KEPT THINGS HOT OR COLD. SO SHE BOUGHT ONE.
THE NEXT DAY WHEN SHE WENT TO WORK A COWORKER ASKED HER WHAT SHE HAD IN THE THERMOS?
SHE SAID SHE HAD TWO POPSICLES AND SOME COFFEE.
Mark 11:15-19 (NIV)
15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written:
“ ‘My house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations’?
But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
19 When evening came, they went out of the city.
THE NEXT DAY JESUS RETURNED TO THE TEMPLE
Mark 11:27-33 (NIV)
The Authority of Jesus Questioned
27 They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”
29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!”
31 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘From men’….” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
Mark 12:28-34 (NIV)
The Greatest Commandment
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
THIS MORNING WE LOOKED AT ELIJAH'S LAST DAY ON EARTH.
TONIGHT WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT
A PART OF JESUS' LAST WEEK BEFORE HIS CRUCIFICTION.
HE HAS COME TO JERUSALEM TO ALLOW HIMSELF TO BE OFFERED UP AS THE PERFECT SACRIFICIAL LAMB OF GOD.
JESUS' MISSION WAS TO LIVE A SINLESS LIFE AND THEN CHOOSE TO LET HIMSELF BE SACRIFICED IN OUR PLACE FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR SINS.
THAT IS WHAT HE CAME TO DO
AND HE WAS DELIBERATELY MOVING IN THAT DIRECTION.
THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT OF THAT DAY WAS CORRUPT.
IT WASN'T SERVING THE PEOPLE. IT WAS ONLY SERVING ITSELF.
ALL THESE MONEY CHANGERS IN THE TEMPLE AND THE SELLING OF MERCHANDISE IN HIS FATHERS HOUSE REALLY LIT JESUS UP.
AND SO HE CLEANED HOUSE.
WHEN JESUS HAD FINISHED THROWING OUT THESE INTRUDERS.
IT WAS THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND THE TEACHERS OF THE LAW'S TURN TO BECOME ANGRY.
THEY WANTED TO KILL JESUS RIGHT THEN AND THERE.
BUT THEY COULDN'T DO IT BECAUSE OF THE CROWDS.
SO THEY GOT TOGETHER WITH THE HERODIANS, THE SADDUCEES AND THE PHARISEES IN ORDER TO FIND SOME WAY TO GET JESUS TO SAY SOMETHING INCRIMINATING
SO THAT THEY COULD ARREST HIM.
THEY ALL CAME UP TO JESUS ONE AT A TIME AND
DID THEIR BEST TO CATCH HIM IN HIS WORDS,
THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND THE TEACHERS OF THE LAW SAID TO HIM; WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
AND WHO GAVE YOU AUTHORITY TO DO WHAT YOU DID?
THE PHARISEE'S AND THE HERODIANS ASKED
IS IT RIGHT TO PAY TAXES TO CAESAR OR NOT?
THE SADDUCEEDS ASKED A VERY INVOLVED QUESTION ABOUT MARRIAGE IN HEAVEN.
BUT JESUS DEFLECTED THEIR EFFORTS EVERY TIME.
NOW IT'S THE FOURTH AND LAST QUESTION THAT REALLY IMPRESSES ME.
THERE WAS THIS PHARISEE THAT DIDN'T SEEM TO BE A PART OF THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST JESUS.
HE JUST NOTICED THAT JESUS HAD ANSWERED EVERY ONE OF THEIR QUESTIONS WELL,
SO HE TOO CAME AND ASKED JESUS A QUESTION TOO.
HE SAID "TEACHER, WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENT?"
JESUS ANSWERED BY QUOTING DEUTERONOMY 6:4-5
WHEN HE HEARD JESUS SAY THAT THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT WAS TO LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, ALL YOUR SOUL, ALL YOUR MIND AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.
AND THEN TO HEAR HIM SAY THAT THE SECOND WAS LIKE UNTO IT,
TO LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOUR SELF.
THIS PHARISEE AGREED WITH HIM AND COMMENDED JESUS FOR HIS WISE ANSWER.
WHEN JESUS REALIZED THAT THIS GUY WAS BEING STRAIGHTFORWARD AND HONEST WITH HIM.
JESUS TOLD HIM THAT HE WASN'T VERY FAR FROM ENTERING INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
I KINDA THINK THAT THIS GUY EVENTUALLY DID BECOME A BELIEVER. MAYBE HE WAS
Joseph of Arimathea or maybe he was Nicodemus.
WE DON'T REALLY KNOW WHO THIS PHARISEE WAS,
WE ONLY KNOW THAT JESUS SAID YOU'RE NOT FAR FROM THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
HOW MANY PEOPLE COME CLOSE TO THE KINGDOM
BUT DON'T GO ALL THE WAY IN.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE CONTENT TO HAVE JUST A LITTLE BIT OF RELIGION.
THERE IS SO MUCH MORE AVAILABLE TO US
IF WE WOULD ONLY SPEND THE TIME AND
THE EFFORT TO GET TO KNOW JESUS IN THE SAME PERSONAL WAY THAT HE WANTS TO KNOW US.
JESUS WAS UNDER ATTACK AND
HE TOOK HIS ATTACKERS ON FACE TO FACE.
WE SOMETIMES FACE PEOPLE WHO WILL RIDICULE US.
ESPECIALLY IF WE ARE AT ALL VOCAL ABOUT WHAT WE BELIEVE AND ARE BOLD ENOUGH TO SPEAK TO OTHERS ABOUT THIER SPIRITUAL CONDITION.
WE NEED TO BE READY TO DO WHAT JESUS DID.
WE NEED TO BE READY TO SUFFER AND EVEN TO DIE FOR GOD.
HERE IN AMERICA WE HAVE BEEN LULLED TO SLEEP.
WE HAVE IT SO GOOD THAT WE DON'T STEP OUT ON THE LIMB AND ASK PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY.
WE ABSOLUTELY MUST REACH AS MANY PEOPLE FOR GOD AS WE CAN.