Seeing Life in HD (Higher Dimension)
(For Wading River Assembly of God)
29 Dog Wood Drive
Wading River, NY 11792
Contact Person: Deacon Mike Tavormina – 631 790-2193 /631 821-6679
Sunday, April 1, 2007 (Palm Sunday) 10:30am Service
Begin by introducing self…
What’s the greatest movie you’ve ever seen? The greatest romance? the greatest sit-com? the greatest love story? the greatest war story? And if I were to dig a little deeper and ask you what makes for good drama, what would be your choice? The plot, the characters, the scenery, the cinematography, the music. Who is your favorite actor or actress? Your favorite director or screenwriter, your favorite producer or play write?
Or perhaps there may be some of you who would say, “wait a minute guest preacher, I don’t need to watch any drama, I have my own drama in life that I’m dealing with and there is nothing I can watch on a screen that would compare to what I’m going through. In fact you would challenge any actor to switch places with you to see if they can stand up to the pressure that you’ve been able to bear most of your life.
And I’ve been around church people long enough to know (Deacon) that there is a third group of people; they don’t watch drama, they don’t have drama, because they are the epitome of drama themselves, they produce it, they create it, and they star in it. It doesn’t matter how small a matter is, if they get involved, it’s a dramatic presentation, and they will win an academy award for their ability to create mountains from mo-hills. They are just that good.
Now I’ve said all of that to say that it doesn’t matter on what side of the drama question you fall this morning, we have in our text, unfolding before us the beginning of the greatest drama that has ever been witnessed and experienced by mankind. From Luke 19:28 – chapter 24, a period that covers one week, there isn’t anything that compares, whether in real life, in the movies, or on T.V., there isn’t anything that compares with what happens in the final week of Jesus’ life.
And in certain respects, I understand it doesn’t do the scripture justice to refer to it as drama because of our reference point to see drama as filled with actors who really don’t go through what they are depicting on the screen, or fictional story lines that are filled with fantasies and not real life, even if they do call it reality T.V.
I want to assure that I mean absolutely no disrespect to the Holy Word of God. But if would allow me poetic license this morning, I mean drama in the sense that if you read through certain portions of scripture it will elicit every emotion laden in the human heart. Our text is one such example. From despair, to hope, from anger to anguish, from overwhelmed t overjoyed. If you read it, and you have a pulse, it will produce something. Like a drama, there is tension. There is a plot, an overall objective, which is accomplished at the end, and our star character lives at the end. And so it is the best drama that has ever been lived on the stage of life.
But don’t my word for it, let’s relive, once again, through the eyes of the first century disciples and apostles a few of the events of that last week, I can imagine, for those who were on the scene, it was the most dramatic, tension filled time of their lives.
Especially for the apostles who didn’t understand up to the point in which our text places them, the full scope of Jesus mission. They were not seeing life, at that time, in HD. You see because like most of us, we want the elation of joy that comes with victory and vindication, but not the sting of humiliation that often precedes it.
I. An Unfolding Drama
A. Triumphal Entry Scene
So imagine with me for a moment the jubilant celebration of that afternoon as Jesus entered Jerusalem with the crowds singing “hosanna, blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord”. Imagine the apostles as they walked along side of that colt, some of them no doubt remembering Zachariah’s prophecy…“Rejoice mgreatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, nyour King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
…I sense their feelings of vindication perhaps as they make eye contact with someone in the crowd as they are walking by as if to say, “I told you He was the Messiah” .
Their feeling of security as they are lying in bed that night, staring at the ceiling through the darkness, discussing over and over again the jubilant scene of that day chanting softly “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” and then finally knowing that they have a long day ahead of them going off to sleep saying to each other, “good night Peter”, “good night James”, “good night John- boy”…
B. Cleansing Temple Scene
Imagine with me if you will on the following day the feelings of whoa as He goes into the temple and overthrows the tables of those who were selling for profit. I like the way Scot Hagan put it in his article in the Evangel Pentecostal:
Like stock traders returning to Wall Street the day after a ticker-tape parade, the religious profiteers returned to their trade. They seemed all but unaffected by the presence of Christ in their city. They had more important matters to tend to. You could tell by the added bounce in their step that they relished the thousands who had come to the big city for the weeklong celebration of Passover.
They were clientele before they were anything else. Loaded down with denarii, they hurriedly shopped the temple searching for deals.
Amid the bustle of errand boys and the dickering echo of traders and consumers, no one seemed to notice that another was browsing the aisles. Neither to buy nor sell, Jesus came only to see the firsthand deterioration of His Father’s favorite house. Since His Father still owned the building, Jesus felt compelled to represent. A righteous one-man riot ensued. Jesus flipped the tables, scattering both moneychangers and hypocrites from their places of revenue. The godless landscape inside the temple revealed a side of Jesus few on earth had ever seen. Their lukewarm care for the house of prayer enraged Him.
I can imagine mixed feelings of exhilaration, fear, amazement, and yes, even embarrassment as the Lord sometimes will do to see if we are truly His disciples. And then them filing out the temple one by one following behind their Master trying to put on the same face as He did to show their seriousness as what just taken place, no doubt looking around as they walk out to be sure there was no retaliation.
C. Fig-Tree Scene
The feelings of awe as they walk by the withered tree that He spoke to the morning before and said, “let not another fig grow from you ever again”, because it had the appearance of bearing fruit, but had no fruit on it. Full blown leaves, but no fruit. If Jesus held a tree accountable of having the appearance of being purposeful but serving no purpose, how much more you and I who bear leaves of position and authority, who are supposed to serve a purpose, but who have not borne fruit in years.
Jesus sensing their amazement said to them, you think that’s something, I’m telling you fellas, if you have enough faith, you can talk to that mountain and say…
…and immediately, their amazement turned to hope, because that’s what the words of Jesus do. It gives hope. When all of your options have been exhausted, His words gives hope. Every time He spoke, it was like a ray if hope for their souls. They remembered His words on a mountainside one morning years ago:
Blessed are the poor in spirit…yours is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are those who mourn… you will be comforted
Blessed are meek… you will inherit the earth
Blessed are you who hunger and thirst for righteousness, I’m telling you, you will be filled
They remembered His words to the woman caught in adultery…
So let me ask you this morning, how hopeless is your situation? Genesis 1:1-3.
For all the promises of God in Him (Jesus) are yea and amen. His word to you this morning is:
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
When my mother and father forsake me, then the Lord will take me up
D. The Last Supper Scene
I can imagine the feelings of fear and uncertainty as they sat at the dinner table one night and Jesus all of a sudden says as their eating dinner “one of you shall betray me”. Imagine the silence and shock. Not a peaceful still silence, the kind of silence that bothers you, that awkward silence that seems to last forever until someone has the nerve, heart pounding, palms sweating, dry mouth and all, to say in a nervous stutter, with confusion written all over their faces “Lord, is it I?” And then to add insult to injury as they walk outside after supper and after singing the doxology to be told, “guess what fellas, on this night, in just a few short hours, all of you will be made to stumble because of me”. (refer to Matt. 26:31,32). I sense the insecurity of Peter when he tries to convince himself by saying, “you know what Jesus, though all may forsake you, I’ll never forsake you… C’mon now, I’m your right hand man, remember…
The mount of transfiguration…
When you told me to walk on water…
When the father revealed to me who you are…
and then the numbness that went through his whole body When Jesus looks up, looks into his eyes, and says Peter, before the rooster crows, you’ll deny you even know me, three times.
E. The Garden of Gethsemane Scene
I’m convinced that the reason they were sleeping so heavily in the garden as Jesus prayed is because they were depressed. You see because if Bible history is right, they had no activity that day, so they couldn’t have been exhausted. Matt. 26:43 says, “for their eyes were heavy”
And those heavy sleeping eyes went from dreaming to nightmare when they were awakened by noise of a mob who came with swords and clubs to arrest Jesus…
The mob comes to arrest Jesus, the disciples scatter, they take Him to be tried, He is betrayed, beaten, bruised, battered, berated and then crucified. Imagine the feelings of despair and disillusionment His followers must have felt as they sat lonely and guilty each in his own place; one in the mouth of a cave, one at a friends house in the basement in the dark, one on his boat on the water, one by the seashore watching the moon reflect off the water and one warming himself by a fire when he utters the statement “what are you talking about, I don’t know him”…
As the video tape of their minds replay the events of five days prior, each of them must be saying, “we were ready to take over, what is going on?” They were overwhelmed with despair because they didn’t see life in HD. They couldn’t see the big picture. If you are a believer, and you’re suffocating from your own thoughts of doom, refocus your vision so that you can see in HD. Because…
He told them on several occasions “the son of man will be betrayed into the hands of sinners, crucified, and on the third day rise again.” The big picture says that the suffering was necessary, the big picture says before the testimony, there is the test, the big picture says before the triumph there is the trial. You can’t become a warrior without having fought in a war. You don’t become a conqueror without having to overcome and you don’t over come without a struggle. The concept of conquering is overcoming every time in every situation. Otherwise it’s a victory here or there…
How do you see the big picture? It is the ability to see life in HD. What’s HD? If you said High Definition, that close but not quite. HD for our television sets in this modern day of technology may mean high definition, but for the Christian, for the believer, HD means Higher Dimension. It’s the ability to see, not at my level, but at a different level. So how do you see life this morning? Through your own eyes? Through the ridicule of others? Through the criticism of a well intentioned parent? How about through a paranoid spouse? What about preconceived notions that have been developed for years. The truth is most of us see life through one or more of these things, and if we are not careful, we will only reap the rewards of this world: stress, ulcers, and a nervous break down and burn out. But God has called us to peace beloved.
Anything less than the dimension that is higher than you and I isn’t good enough.
Ad Lib on the fact that just because you have an HD ready T.V. doesn’t mean that you have HD service…
So also, being a believer gives you the capacity to see in HD, but you have to plug into the source. So let’s turn to Luke 24:13ff to find the source.
Your source is the whole council of God, the whole Word of God. So what are you dealing with in life that’s gotten you so discouraged? Have you forgotten that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose?” Romans 8:28
What is it that makes you so skeptical? Have you forgotten “the just shall live by faith?” Rom. 1:17
What has changed your attitude from one that use to be so inviting to one that is now so critical? Have you forgotten to put on a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness? Isaiah 61:3
We can’t pick and choose the scripture we want to live by, accepting those that make us feel good, “you’re blessed going out, and you’re blessed coming in” but ignoring those that require dieing to self “love your enemies and pray for those who spitefully uses you”
As New Testament, Pentecostal disciples, we must accept all of the scriptures. And all of the scripture include those that make you rejoice, and those that make you cry. It includes those that say it’s time to speak up and those that say it’s time to shut-up. It’s time to move ahead, it’s time to be still. It’s time to be satisfied, it’s time to learn to wait; It’s time to be overflowing, it’s time to have exactly enough. As this drama continues, the scenery has changed, the background has changed, and the entire supporting cast has changed, but the overall objective is the same, God is going to be glorified.
Whether you like it or not, we are in the midst of this drama called life, playing and acting out your part. The script is already written and we have the opportunity to read it every single day. The Spirit of God wants to play out through you, the role of the believer. The salt of the earth, city set upon a hill, full of good works type of believer. But He can’t do that unless you see life through HD.