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Lent 99 2 - The Via Dolorosa: Rachel Weeping

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Reading: Matthew 2:13-23
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Matthew 2:18 (NIV)

I.   Rachel Refuses to be comforted

     A.  Massacre in Bethlehem

           1.  What a terrible story!

                 a.  Why did this have to happen?!

                 b.  Why even mention it?!

                 c.  Isn’t this a scandal?

           2.  The pain of losing a child.

                 a.  Matthew makes a connection to a verse in Jeremiah: Rachel weeping inconsolably.

                 b.  The pain of losing a child, especially to violence is one of life’s worst blows.

           3.  A king’s solution to a political problem

                 a.  Herod demonstrates his ego driven tyranny by murdering baby boys.

                 b.  He is not the first, nor the last to kill children for political purposes.

                 c.  What kind of a world do we live in!

     B.  The Enemy poised to Devour

           1.  Revelation 12:1-6

                 a.  This isn’t just about political power, but about Satan’s power too.

                 b.  It was the dragon, that wanted the baby killed. Herod was his pawn.

           2.  There’s a hidden, spiritual side to some of the violence in the world.

                 a.  Sometimes people do Satan’s bidding.

                 b.  All evil in the world is directly, or indirectly tied to this monster.

           3.  Getting close to Jesus can put us in danger

                 a.  Being faithful to Jesus can get you hurt.

                 b.  Even today, around the world, 1000's are being killed for their faith in Jesus

                 c.  Sometimes faithfulness to Jesus’ means we accept risks for a greater cause.

     C.  “In this world you will have Trouble”

           1.  Life is suffering — so say the Buddhists.

                 a.  Every major religion in the world acknowledges that life is tough.

                 b.  A bumper sticker says life is bad, and then you die (paraphrase).

           2.  Terrible things happen to people.

                 a.  It doesn’t take long to find a horror story in a newspaper, or on the 6:00 news.

                 b.  African Americans killed for their race

                 c.  Children brutalized by their parents

           3.  Terrible things happen to good people.

                 a.  Good folks aren’t bullet proof.

                 b.  This happens on our roads and at work

II.  God is still in Charge

     A.  God’s plan Cannot be defeated

           1.  The Word of the Lord stands forever

                 a.  “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” 1Peter 1:24-25

           2.  Like water through His fingers

                 a.   The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. Proverbs 21:1 (NIV)

           3.  Nothing can separate us from the Love of God.

                 a.  God will have his way.

                 b.  He is unstoppable..

     B.  Evil eventually Dies out

           1.  Herod dies

                 a.  Evil people can’t live forever.

                 b.  When Herod dies, his ego dies too.

           2.  They all die, but God’s plan moves on

                 a.  Hitler, Stalin, countless others died.

                 b.  God’s Kingdom still marches forward.

     C.  Salvation comes in the Fullness of time

           1.  Though Jesus was to die for us, it wasn’t time yet.

                 a.  Why didn’t God hand him over now?

                 b.  Jesus had something to teach us.

                 c.  God’s timing is hard to understand

           2.  When the time is full, our salvation will be complete

                 a.  On the one hand our salvation is sure

                 b.  On the other, it’s still coming.

                 c.  When the time is ripe, it will come.

III. God Wipes away the tears

     A.  “I have Overcome the World”

           1.  “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world!”

                 a.  Yes, we’ll have troubles--expect it.

                 b.  But they can never have the last say.

                 c.  Jesus has overcome them all.

           2.  When we are overwhelmed, he overcomes.

                 a.  Is anything too big for him?

                 b.  Can anything separate us from Him?

                 c.  We are already more than conquerors!

           3.  He has already overcome—it’s a done deal

                 a.  “I have overcome the world.”

                 b.  It’s all over but the mop up detail.

     B.  Jesus has Defeated death!

           1.  The ultimate enemy is defeated

                 a.  His resurrection shows us that death has been defeated.

                 b.  These slaughtered boys, and the other millions will yet live!

                 c.  Death itself is defeated

           2.  Death is the wages of sin and he has broken the power of sin

                 a.  He has paid it’s penalty for all of us.

                 b.  We no longer have to pay the ultimate penalty.

     C.  The old order of things will Pass Away!

           1.  This is not the way it’s supposed to be.

                 a.  We are right to protest the murder of these boys.

                 b.  We are right to be horrified by our world

           2.  This too will pass

                 a.  But these horrors are defeated.

                 b.  They are temporary, they will pass.

           3.  The new order is coming!

                 a.  Everything will be different.

                 b.  God will live with us.

                 c.  All pain and grief will be gone.

The Bottom Line:

Give God all your Tears. He will wipe them all Away.

Blue #372 At the Name of Jesus vv 1,4

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