The Success of Failure
Matt 17:14-26 SHOULD YOU PAY YOUR TAXES?
SBS: I will be a little shorter today. Actually my sermon will be, I will be the same size.
INTRO: Failure is what some people are remembered for.
Failure. It sounds like such a harsh word. Probably because we remember it from our grammar school days. You could go on and be passed to the next grade or you could FAIL. Yet there are many great lessons to be learned and many of the smartest people in the world are those who have failed a grade or more. Today we see Jesus coming down from the mountain to the disciples in three different kinds of failure, culminating with the failure to pay their taxes. This echo’s Moses coming down to the failure of the Golden Calf. What does Matthew want us to learn from these failures?
EVERY PERSON HERE SHOULD KNOW THAT THERE ARE GOOD LESSONS BEHIND EVERY BAD EXAMPLE.
- THE FAILURE OF FAITH. VV. 14-21
- Problem-moonstruck and demon possessed., disciples could not cast it out.
- Question-v. 19 “Why couldn’t we cast it out?”
- Answer v. 20-21 “little faith” w/o Jesus, Peter, James, and John. The smallness of a mustard seed.
- THE FAILURE OF PERCEPTION. VV. 22-23
- Problem-Death- the word “handed over” is used here for the first time to speak of Jesus Death.
- Answer-The Resurrection-the disciples cried b/c they thought he was referring to the resurrection at the end of time.
- THE FAILURE OF HOPE. VV. 24-27
- The Problem-temple tax- a tax to take care of the temple for every Jewish male over 22 years old.
- The Answer-two fold
i. Jesus owes no tax for the temple
ii. He pays in order to cause no offense. Only use of the word fishhook.
Concl: Jesus is better than the temple. He is greater than the temple which was destroyed and shall never be built again. We have our new temple. The disciples were failures, but it is not upon them that we depend.
In a book called _The Graveyard Book_ is a story of a baby whose parents and sister are killed but he is able to crawl away and ends up in a cemetery. The ghosts, the ones who all live in the cemetery, decide to take care of him. Yes, this is a Ghost story and I know that will give some of you cause to write me, but before you do ask yourself if you enjoyed “A Christmas Carol” which is, after all, one big ghost story. The boy lives in the graveyard and the inhabitants want to teach him. One of them knows Latin and so they teach him to read the Latin on many of the tombstones, one has been a teacher and she teaches him his letters by telling him to go and find all the letters from A to Z on tombstones in the cemetery. And slowly the boy grows up. The inhabitants know that they will have to let the boy go, but they want him to be prepared, they want him to be a good boy, to be ready when he goes out. By the end of the book, because of the sacrifice of the members of this particular cemetery, the boy is ready. He has made many mistakes and done things that he shouldn’t have, but he is ready because there have been others there who have sacrificed for him and made him ready.
This is what the church should be. A place that through the grace of God, turns failures into successes. A place that takes the mistakes of others and teaches them and then sends them off to build the Kingdom.
John Brodus first class had one student and he was blind.