Let’s pray…Father, help all of us see Jesus for who He is and live our life accordingly. In Jesus name. Amen.
In the passage of Scripture we are about to read Jesus performs three miracles of healing while the Pharisees (these people believed in an after life) oppose Jesus.
Matthew 9:27-34 (NLT)
27 After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”
28 They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?”
“Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.”
29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” 30 Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.” 31 But instead, they went out and spread his fame all over the region.
32 When they left, a demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak was brought to Jesus. 33 So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed.
34 But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.”
Jesus’ reply to John in this next passage helps us both understand and respond to Jesus’ identity.
Matthew 11:2-6 (NLT)
2 John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, 3 “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting,* or should we keep looking for someone else?”
4 Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—5 the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. 6 And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.*’ ”
Our goal is to identify who Jesus is and respond with our lives accordingly. What has the healing of two blind men and one demon possessed man revealed about Jesus’ identity and mission? I believe that the miracles Jesus performs reveal that He is the Son of God. For example He has the power to physically heal these two blind men, and that man that was not able to speak and crazed because he was possessed by a demon. However, God also reveals that Jesus’ mission was not just to heal people’s physical ailment but also their spiritual need. For example God sent His Son for a purpose. And what was that purpose? To bring sinful people into right relationship with the Almighty Father. But not everyone sees it this way. Jesus has said that He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6); however, the people that believed in an after life the Pharisees were opposing Jesus the giver of life.
Matthew 9:34 (NLT)
34 But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.”
JESUS’ MIRACLES REVEAL HIS IDENTITY AND MISSION
Why study history? So that we do not make the same mistakes that those that have gone on before us have made. For example history tell us that not everyone has understood Jesus’ identity and mission.
Let me try and illustrate. Think of a time that you thought something was true but later found out that it was not as you had originally perceived? Take the ocean for example. It can seem so inviting; however, its invitation can be unexpected. For example, it can be a hot sunny day in Northern California but jump in the ocean and experience a strong shock of cold! Or jump into the warm waters of Hawaii and any number of things could happen such as getting caught in a strong rip current or find your self covered with sea lice. What I am trying to say is that some people had wrong presuppositions about Jesus’ identity and mission. The Webster’s Dictionary defines presupposition as, “to suppose before hand.” I might define it as a person’s preconceived connotation that is describing something to be true with out having the facts or without getting to know Jesus. What was John the Baptist’s presupposition of Jesus (what is yours)?
Sitting in a jail cell John sent a message to Jesus asking him if he is the Christ or should they expect someone else (Matthew 11:2-6). Why would John ask such a question? I think John's perception of Jesus was not fully correct. This really gets to me because if anyone should know who Jesus is it should be John. His job was to point people to Jesus. So what does Jesus do? He tells John that the blind see, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Over the next couple of years Jesus will continue to drive his identity and mission home.
OUR RESPONSE IS SUBMISSION TO JESUS OUR LORD
I believe that John came to the point that he was able to point people to who Jesus is because he grew to know Him more and more. Do you know Jesus intimately enough to point others to him? Is He your closest Friend whom you want others to know? This past New Years Eve I got to meet Aubrey and her husband Curtis. Aubrey is Kara’s best friend from her days at Ozark Christian College. She had told me enough about her best friend so that I was eager to meet her. Do you know Jesus well enough to tell others about Him so that they will be eager to meet Him?
Kara was eager for me to meet her best friend are you eager to introduce your best Friend to others?
I believe the key factor in introducing people to Jesus is what we say about His identity and mission. Some people know Jesus only as their lord while others know Him as Lord. For example in the 1st century what was the people’s interpretation of Jesus? Well, most saw Him as liar, lunatic, or Lord. Many saw Him as a coming political ruler for example someone that was going to save them from Roman opposition. When Jesus was captured and then crucified this hope of some slipped away as did their belief in Jesus as lord. The Pharisees certainly did not see Jesus as Lord of the heavens, the earth, and below. Most would not take the time as Nicodemus (John 3:1ff.) did to find out that Jesus is the Savior of the World!
There is a lesson in all this for us. Let’s not make the mistake that many in the 1st century made in thinking of Jesus as their own personal lord or as someone different then we are; therefore, because He is different He must be a liar or lunatic. What benefit is there in learning history? Better said what benefit is their in learning about Jesus’ identity and mission? We learn from our Bibles about the life of Christ so that we do not keep making the same mistakes. Mistakes like what? Ones like seeing Jesus as my own personal lord. Maybe believing that he will help us in our physical ailments, maybe making a way for a better life when we die. The problem with all that is we fail yes all of us at times (John included) to live our lives with Jesus as Lord of everything and everyone.
SEE JESUS FOR WHO HE IS
The reason Jesus is a miracle worker is so that every tribe, tongue, and nation will one day bow down and Worship Him as Lord. However Jesus is a stumbling block to some (Matthew 11:6) because they are not seeing Jesus for who He is. For example some people allow stumbling blocks to get in the way of identifying Jesus and His purpose for their lives.
A biblical example of a stumbling block or misconception is Nazareth. And a couple cultural examples that have happened within our life time is Pearlington Mississippi, the Island of Haiti, and Arcadia Kansas.
Some have said that because Jesus came from Nazareth He could not be the Christ because nothing good comes from Nazareth. They got that wrong! Rick Jett the director of International Disaster Emergency Service (IDES) once said this about a Katrina devastated place in Pearlington Mississippi where IDES has built over 20 homes and then left a church. Who would think anything good could come from Pearlington but today there are new homes and most importantly a group of people that are worshiping and growing in Christ together. Who would think that anything good could come from Haiti? Haiti is a place where Christians have been working for many years. As a result the new churches that have been planted, orphanages, schools and hospitals now have the opportunity to shine in the World as all of a sudden Haiti is in the global spotlight. What in your life, in my life is a stumbling block?
How about the cross that Jesus took up? Someone once said that the masses are usually wrong; well, if this is true then why do they keep getting their way just like they did when Jesus was crucified? For example when the masses realized that Jesus had been taken prisoner and was not doing anything to set himself free the wildfire of disbelief in Jesus as the Christ began to spread! And soon very soon what did the masses began chanting? Yes, crucify him, crucify him! All this happened because Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world. Oh, how the people wanted an earthly ruler they did not care about a heavenly One. Is this true today? Are we more concerned about our earthly existence or our heavenly one?
This is the preaching of the Good News. Yes Jesus came and healed many who were sick and diseased; however, His ultimate purpose was to seek and save the lost. And how was this accomplished? Our salvation or being made right in God’s sight occurs through Jesus' victory over death on the cross!
And when this Word is heard and taken to heart then our response is one of worship. Worshiping Jesus Christ as Lord is our ultimate goal. However, sometimes our flesh gets in the way.
WORSHIPING JESUS CHRIST AS LORD
A lesson I learned this past week is that it is not about me. After traveling two days in snow and ice I finally made it to Knoxville Tennessee for the first ever USA Kontaktmission retreat. Arriving in Knoxville I had hoped that someone would meet me at the airport. No such luck so I called to find out what was happening. I found out that I had been left behind. I began saying to myself, “David, you are important, you have traveled many miles and you have every right to be angry!” It was a good thing that I had to spend nearly three hours there because it almost took that long to get my heart right. It is not about David. I must decrease and Christ must increase! At the Lord’s Supper we recognize this fact that it is all about the One who died and gave his life for you and me. All to Jesus I owe because He has given his all. The next time I feel as if I need special privilege; remember, what Christ has done. God bestowed His love on us while we were sinners that were condemned to death. By love and sacrifice we have been set free! Therefore, I submit to Christ as Lord not because I have to but as a response to His love.
I hope that this sermon has caused you to see Jesus’ identity and mission through the miracles He has performed. And may you and me help point others to Him. I also hope that you also have seen that the Jesus we think we might know might not be the Jesus of all creation. And lastly may the knowledge of Jesus' identity and mission cause us to bow down and worship the King of kings and Lord of lords both now and for all eternity!
And everybody said? Amen. Come Lord Jesus come! In Jesus name. Amen.