Make this World a Better Place!
Reading the Bible reveals that Jesus isn’t just anyone.
My wife Tricia and I were walking through Polaris Mall recently. We came to the Apple Store and I noticed a sign like this advertising Puma Tennis Shoes. Pumagility – Get a Move on. The advertisement read, “These shoes are designed for stability and flexibility for all of your cross-training needs.” Did Puma just make up a new word? Pumagility? People seem to be making up words all the time. How about Hank, the new elephant at the Columbus Zoo? He’s considered gynormous or a Super Bowl sized TV that’s considered viewmongous? Honestly, wouldn’t BIG or HUGE work just as well?
When it comes to Jesus Christ, God’s one and only son, do we need a new word to describe him or did Luke describe him well enough already? We will eventually make our way back to Luke 4, but before we do that turn to Luke 11:14. I HAVE 3 INVITATIONS. Do you need a Bible today? (Special Pizza and Pastors at 12n on Sunday/Who God made me to be)
As we read these verses pick out the one word Luke uses to describe Jesus. (Let’s start at Luke 11:14; 9:42-43; 5:24-26; and now Luke 4! Find verse 14. (4:14-15, 22, 31-32a)
What amazes you? Is it when Kobe Bryant spins through the air and does a blind 360 dunk? Have you ever heard Susan Boyle sing? I’ve never heard an angel sing, but it seems she sings like an angel. What does David Blaine do that amazes us? (Blaine video) He’s an American illusionist and his street magic blows people away. What is Billy Graham doing in his 90’s that still amazes us? He wrote a book called Nearing Home. Despite Parkinson’s, the passing of his wife Ruth and his own eventual death he amazes people with his determination to stay faithful to God. NOW, what amazes us about Jesus? Let’s read again Luke 4:32.  They were amazed at his teaching…
Why do I want you to read the Bible? Because the Bible teaches us where we came from, how this world was formed and that LIFE MATTERS. Watch this. (Choose Life 2012) The Bible also contains the teaching of Jesus. You will never possess the mind of Christ without reading and applying the teachings of Jesus. Here’s what’s amazing about Jesus’ teaching. Go back to verse 32. His message possessed authority! Luke shows us what that means. Look at what happens in verse 33a. You can be possessed by anything. Negativity, bitterness, lust, alcohol, sports. You can possessed by an evil spirit or you can be possessed by the Holy Spirit. When I read this story I can’t help but wonder, how did an evil spirit gain access in the first place? Maybe it was of no fault of his own? Maybe he was just an unsuspecting victim – like a child - in the wrong place at the wrong time – OR more reasonably, he was invited in!
Do you have a gate in your mind? Do you post a sentry or have a standing guard in your mind which allows entrance to some thoughts and a quick exit to others? That gate is the Holy Spirit. That guard is the Holy Spirit. Rick Warren said this, “The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to help us become more like the Son of God.” Have you ever had a brain freeze? If your thoughts go unchecked you’ll have a brain frenzy. Thoughts left unchecked will bear evil fruit. When my thoughts are guided by the Holy Spirit they bear holy fruit.
I have no idea how this demon gets into this man, but now he speaks. Find verse 34. This demon confirms what James said in James 2:19: You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. This demon recognizes Jesus of Nazareth and acknowledges that he is the Holy one of God. You see reading the Bible reveals that Jesus isn’t just anyone! The truth is Jesus is amazing. What makes him amazing is his teaching. His teaching comes with authority! Look at what Jesus does in verse 35. Jesus doesn’t get wordy. Very candidly he says, “Shut up and get out!” And once again how do the people respond? Verse 36 says…
Jesus isn’t just anyone. Jesus possessed power. He did miracles. He was amazing because his teaching was packed with authority unlike the teachers of the law. They quoted the Old Testament. They quoted tradition but Jesus said, “You’ve heard that it was said, but I say unto you!”
It doesn’t surprise me that news about Jesus spreads like wildfire in and around Galilee. In one word he was amazing yet I find what Mark Black said to be so true, “Amazement does not necessarily lead to faith!”[i] Miracles might provide Jesus an audience, but they don’t guarantee him authentic disciples. Some people just want to be entertained. “Heal someone else Jesus. That was so cool. You touched this guy’s left foot. Heal this guy’s right hand! Cast out another demon. That woman is really messed up!” Jesus is a mixture of compassion, authority and power and yet many in his day still did not put their faith in him. Why? I now need you to go to Mark 6. We are once again in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. Dr. Mark Moore said, “Luke places this story at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, but Matthew and Mark use it to summarize Jesus ministry.”[ii] (Read 6:1-6…amazed at their lack of faith)
According to Luke, the best word to describe Jesus is amazing. Well, it’s only fair then to ask this question. What’s the best word to describe his followers? Mark gives us the answer – faithful! I am going to put Mark 6:6 and Luke 7:9 on the screen side by side. In both cases Jesus himself is amazed. What amazes him? It’s either our great faith or our lack of faith!
Now not everyone has faith in God’s son but nearly everyone has faith in someone or something. So how do I make sure my faith stays strong? Answer #1: Read the Bible. The Bible tells us, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Also #2: Apply the Bible. James said, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Answer #3: As you read and apply the Bible you’ll see that Jesus isn’t just anyone. Jesus is the virgin born, miracle working, authoritative teaching, demon butt-kicking, Son of the Living God. He wants you to put your faith in him. Some time in your life you must make a mental and emotional decision about Jesus. He is who he says he is or he is not. I love Kyle Idleman’s little booklet, “Not a Fan.” Being a fan of Jesus involves going to church, knowing all the verses of “Just as I am”, being baptized and having a cool worship tune as your ringtone. But Jesus doesn’t want you to be his fan. He wants us to follow him which means we put our faith in him. What is faith? To take him at his word. Jesus apparently had fans living in hometown of Nazareth. They were amazed at his teaching. He was authoritative. He could do miracles. What power! But then they started to ask questions.
Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?"
They took offense at Jesus because they knew his family. He may have sold them a chair he had made. They know his Mom. They know his four brothers and at least two of his sisters. They are very familiar with Jesus and conclude he can’t be anyone special.
Honestly, is that where you are today? I am familiar with Jesus, but He’s not worth worshipping. He was just flesh and blood. He worked with his hands. He cared for his family and friends, but he’s no one special. May I remind you that’s not what Bible says. Truly, even Jesus’ death is amazing. Right now let’s experience communion. As you focus on Jesus watch this. (Are you amazed – video clip)
Are you amazed? I am. I am convinced that Jesus is who he said he is. Do you know who died on December 15? Christopher Hitchens. The author of many books, but especially this book, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.” Hitchens was convinced. There is no God. He does not exist. I wonder if he thinks differently now?
Do you remember the word Pumagility? How about fantabulous or superific? If I had to make up a new word for Jesus it would be AMASOME! That’s a combination of amazing & awesome! If had to make up a new word for us his followers it would be – FULMITTED. A combination of faithful and committed. But we don’t need a new words DO WE? Amazing works just fine. And what makes Jesus is amazing is his birth, his death, his life, his teaching, his miracles and his marvelous resurrection! The only questions to ask is, have I placed my faith in Jesus – because he’s just not anyone!
[i] Mark C. Black, College Press NIV Commentary, 109
[ii] Mark E. Moore, The Chronological Life of Christ, 247