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Faithlife

Like Cinderella, An Unexpected Invitation

Messiah, not just Miracle-Worker  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Notes & Transcripts
You can tell the kind of relationship you have a person by the way they greet you.
Spouse, child
Good friend, Ilsa
Close friend
Respectful, friend, acquaintance
Something is amiss
You know pretty quickly where you stand w/ someone by the way they greet you.
A classic tale of a young girl raised by an evil step-mother and w/ mean-step sisters.
Unexpectedly gets to go the ball where the Prince is expected to choose his a wife to become queen.
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You know the story
Greeted by the Prince at the foot of the stairs
They spend the evening together dancing
The clock strikes midnight
All the Prince is left w/ is the slipper
He searches the kingdom for the foot that fits
He almost missed her, but when the shoe unexpectedly fit, no one could guess what came next.
He greeted her on one knee and invited her to become his bride, the queen.
Cinderella didn’t see it coming, her step-mother and step-sisters didn’t, even the prince could not have guessed how this would turn out.
This morning, we’re studying miracle #10. No one saw this coming.
A humble centurion, Roman officer, demonstrated faith and an uncommon concern for a slave, humbly hoped Jesus would respond.
It played out w/out precedence. Never before had Jesus done what He did this time. They had no basis to believe he would do what they asked.
But
But, Jesus is the middle of laying out a new way of life.
and are the passages.
Luke: Sermon on the plain
Matthew: Sermon on the Mount
Same topics covered, ushering out the old and bringing in the new.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, meek, those who hunger for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers.
Salt and light.
Hate = murder. Lust = adultery
Love your enemies
Give to those in need, etc.
Contrast w/ the lives of the Pharisee.
Arrogant, self-serving, self-righteous and demanding.
Luke starts ch. 6 presenting Jesus as the Lord of the Sabbath, contrasts good w/ evil and the corresponding fruit.
Parable of the house build on solid ground (vs. one built on sand) and the builder who responds to Jesus w/ solid faith.
Contrast w/ the lives of the Pharisees.
Arrogant, self-serving, self-righteous and demanding.
Healing the widow’s son
John the Baptist signs of the Messiah
Jesus is anointed by the sinful woman.
Summarized: Messiah came for outcasts
Not for those who believe they are already righteous b/c they think they are that good.
Luke 7:1 NIV
When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum.
After preaching the sermon on the mount the people were amazed at His teaching and authority.
Luke presented Him as having the authority of God over the Sabbath and everything God had created.
The Pharisees are not amazed, not impressed. They don’t recognize His authority and have begun to plan His death.
Then this happened. No one saw this coming
Luke 7:2–3 NIV
There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.
Luke 7:
Non-Jewish. Roman. An officer over 100 soldiers.
Lower in the chain of command, still authoritative.
A slave he cared about. Unheard of. People didn’t care about slaves. They were expendable property.
We care more about our cars today than they did about their human slaves.
But the slave’s life was slipping away, hanging by a thread.
So, he took action
He had heard of the things Jesus had done.
He clearly believed in the power of Jesus.
He knew He could. He didn’t know if He would.
So, he planned his approach accordingly
He asked his friends to approach Jesus and ask for him.
Mt. says he came himself. But, culturally, if representatives came on his behalf it was considered as if he was here himself. He wasn’t.
He was humble and respectful.
Not only did he believe in the power of Jesus, he also believed in the Person of Jesus. He bel’d Him to be the Messiah.
Up to this point the belief was Jesus was only the Jewish Messiah.
So, he believed that his Jewish friends would be more likely to be able to convince Jesus to do something for his slave.
A Gentile approaching a Jew for such a favor was highly irregular. Maybe Jesus wouldn’t listen to a Gentile Roman soldier.
One of the creeds I live by: Use your friends wisely! He did.
This is Luke, a Gentile doctor, describing a scene where a Roman Centurion who had never seen Jesus but believed in Jesus hope Jesus would respond to his request thru his friends.
BTW, some Jews and some Gentiles were very good friends.
His Jewish friends went to work lobbying Jesus
Luke 7:4–5 NIV
When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.”
We’re a little into Jesus’ 2nd year of ministry.
There have been no cases, yet, of Jesus healing or doing anything like this for a Gentile.
The Woman at the Well was Samaritan, half-Jewish.
Other than that, up to this point, Jesus had been presenting Himself to the Jews for them to accept Him as their Messiah.
So, they go to work and they work hard on behalf of their friend.
He’s worthy of Jesus’ time, compassion, and power.
He’s a friend of all Jews, not just these few. Rare.
He oversaw the building of their synagogue in Capernaum.
He didn’t have to, but it helped keep the peace.
He did a lot for them, so they did a lot for him pleading w/ Jesus, a Jew, to do what he was asking.
This was a huge leap of faith. No precedence.
Yes Jesus could. But would He?
Luke 7:6–8 NIV
So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
This is not the old way of doing things. Jesus was bringing a brand new way of life.
This new way was going to involve Gentiles on an equal basis as the Jews.
So, He started on His way to his house.
Shortly into the trip, He’s met by a 2nd group of friends on behalf of the Centurion.
He was overcome by humility and a position of insignificance as he realized the Messiah was coming to his house, a Gentile’s house.
If a Jew entered a Gentile’s house he was considered defiled. They didn’t keep kosher laws. He would come in contact w/ things that the Jews didn’t touch.
The Centurion was considerate of Jesus and didn’t want to cause a problem for Him.
He wanted to get this done, but done in such a way that worked for everyone.
He came up w/ a brilliant plan that only a man w/ a good understanding of authority could have thought of.
In his humility he showed uncommon faith
The Centurion did not need t/b present for his subordinates to obey his orders. He could send a representative w/ word of his directive and it would be carried out.
He would do the same if a superior sent word to him to obey.
Jesus did not need t/b present to have subordinates obey.
He knew Jesus did not need t/b present to have his subordinates obey. Just say the word. And, any and all subordinates would obey.
Not only did he believe in the power of Jesus, he also believed in the Person of Jesus. He bel’d Him to be the Messiah.
He had faith in the power of Jesus to heal w/ a word.
He had faith in the Person of Jesus, referring to Him as his Lord, a term of courtesy to a respectful figure, acknowledging subordination himself.
He had faith in the authority of Jesus to perform a miracle from long-distance involving all subordinates, himself, the slave, and the disease. They would all do as told.
After his Jewish friends made the case that he was worthy of Jesus’ positive response, he made the case for himself that was not.
He bel’d he was unworthy to have the Messiah in his house.
If he viewed Jesus as only a Miracle-Worker then come on in! Make yourself at home. No cleaning up just get the job done and move on.
But humble respect for his belief that Jesus was much more led him to request that Jesus not come any farther.
Don’t go to any unnecessary trouble.
Would it work? How would Jesus respond?
Luke 7:9–10 NIV
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
This is one of only 2 times that the Bible says Jesus was amazed by anyone.
This Gentile showed an uncommon faith that was almost non-existent among the Jews.
Point to the verse that describes the details of the miracle.
If the miracle is the most important thing then Luke, the doctor, would give us a detailed account of how Jesus did it.
Not there.
Why? The miracle isn’t the point.
It may have been for the Centurion, the slave, and his family. But, it’s not the point for us.
Speaking of the slave, what does Luke say about his faith?
Nothing. Again, not the point.
The faith of the Gentile is the point. It is to be contrasted w/ the rejection of the Pharisees in the surrounding context.
The first year of Jesus’ ministry and His miracles was spent fulfilling prophecy and demonstrating signs that He is the Messiah.
He spent much of His time and power in close proximity to the religious leadership. If they had accepted Him, then they could lead the rank and file to follow, too.
Now, it was becoming increasingly clear that the Jews were not going to accept Him.
Thus, it opened the door to the Gentiles.
How would Jesus receive the Gentiles? By faith.
If any Gentile, you and me included, demonstrate faith by humbly approaching and receiving Jesus as our Savior, He will welcome us into the family into a place vacated by those who had the same opportunity but rejected Him.
Matthew foreshadows this in His account
Matthew 8:11–12 NIV
I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
That’s most of us.
The church is open to everyone, Jew and Gentile alike.
However, as many Gentiles come to faith, few Jews will.
Here, Jesus commends everyone who responds w/ faith by receiving Him and condemns everyone who does not.
It is especially astonishing that so many who had inside information and knew what to expect missed their opportunity.
But, b/c the c.1 Jew rejected Jesus it opened the door to us.
Romans 11:11–12 NIV
Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!
We have been given an unexpected invitation.
Outcasts, losers, slaves have been invited to the ball and greeted at the foot of the stairs by the Prince of Peace.
Every once in a while the clock strikes midnight and we run. We are afraid He will see us for who we really are.
Romans 5:8 NIV
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
He searches for un until He finds us and as unlikely as the invitation to the ball was, His invitation for us to be His bride is even more unexpected.
John 1:12 NIV
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
Everyone who becomes a child of God takes their place in among the bride of Christ. And, your reservation and mine will be secured and we’ll have a place at the table when Jesus finished what He started in the Passover meal and He passes the fourth and final cup welcoming us home.
Jesus doesn’t need t/b present to perform.
He can say the word in Heaven and every subordinate on earth will obey.
Pray and ask. If He speaks, even from Heaven, nothing can resist.
The Centurion had Jewish friends and they approached Jesus on His behalf.
Jesus didn’t respond to his Jewish friends. He responded to his faith.
It’s not enough for you to have believing friends to be saved.
Everyone needs to approach Jesus and receive His gift individually.
Believing friends can pray and Jesus will go to work for our friends.
But, why just depend on friends when you can come to faith yourself?
Actions don’t make you worthy of Jesus’ powerful work. Faith does.
Faith is demonstrated by a humble approach.
We can approach confidently and boldly as the curtain separating men from God was torn in two when Jesus died.
But, however we approach, we must be humble.
Jesus is our Brother and Friend. But He is also our Savior, King, and Lord. Never lose your humble respect for Him in how you approach Him.
We are Cinderella.
Jesus pursues us to find the foot that fits the slipper.
We have been given the most unlikely and unexpected invitation to join Him in His kingdom.
Send your RSVP personally to God as we conclude this morning.
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