Suffering Before Glory

Luke 9.28-45

When we began the Luke series last fall, one of the things we talked about…what Luke wanted us to do as we read through his Gospel…is to examine the evidence so that we might be able to answer the question, “Who is Jesus?”

We’ve come a long ways since then, and no doubt we still have a ways to go. Now we’ve reached a pivotal point in Luke’s story. Last week Peter rightly answered our question for us…“Who is Jesus?” He is the Christ of God. But what does that mean? The disciples thought that they knew what it meant…a Conquering King bringing in a glorious kingdom. The overthrow of Rome and Israel once again in a place of prominence on the world stage. And while Isaiah talked about a Suffering Servant and there were hints of adversity to come (Genesis 3.15), still Jewish folks living in the 1st century were expecting a fierce Warrior-Messiah like David.

While there were plenty of OT prophesies to justify their expectations, there were also personal reasons why folks would want a Conquering King…we all want to be on the winning side. Their expectations weren’t wrong, just mistimed. Jesus will come back as Conquering King. Everyone who is on His side will win with Him. But first He would be the Suffering Servant. Suffering before glory.

I think sometimes we have a similar timing problem. We like the glory part. We like the kingdom part. But we don’t like the suffering part. And if we are honest with ourselves, many times we do anything we can to avoid it. We want to follow Jesus without cost or consequence. And yet the constant testimony of Jesus and the rest of the NT is that suffering is a fundamental part of the Christian life. But the good news is…we are never alone in suffering for Jesus. Somehow Paul says that we can experience the perfect peace of God in the midst of chaos, joy in the midst of pain, hope in the deepest darkness. We don’t have to give up or give in because Jesus wins. And we have a heavenly Father who delights in us and desires our good, who loves us so completely that we will spend an eternity trying to comprehend it.

Sometimes ours isn’t a timing problem, but a “Who is Jesus?” problem. We are looking for a Jesus who meets our expectations. We want Jesus to rescue us from our sins, but we don’t want Him to change us too much. We want Him to heal us or fix our marriage or solve our financial problems…we want Him to be Savior in lots of ways, but we don’t really want to listen to Him. We don’t want His words sinking into our ears. We don’t want Him to be Lord of our lives. We want Him to make much of us…we don’t want to make much of Him.

But Jesus is both Savior and Lord. He is Suffering Servant and Conquering King. He is both Lamb and Lion.

Maybe today is the day that you need to let Jesus’ words sink into your ears. Maybe today is the day that you need to see Him in all His glory as both Suffering Servant and Conquering King. Maybe today is the day that you need to recommit to following Jesus, no matter what the cost. Maybe today is the day that you need to be reminded that suffering comes before glory.

Until next time…stay salty.

“May we be willing to follow Jesus in both the good and the hard times this week.”

This post is based on a sermon from our Luke series, Live & Love Like Jesus. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @ccclancaster

Who Is This Man?

“Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’” Matthew 27:9 ESV

Well here we are. The Gospel of Matthew.

For those of you faithfully following the reading plan – we say good-bye to the teachings of Paul and turn our focus to the writings ascribed to a more Jewish audience.

We will read through Matthew, James, Jude and Hebrews in the coming weeks.

These books seem to focus on a Jewish audience. They presuppose an understanding of the Old Testament and the history of Israel.

We start now with the Gospel of Matthew – the Gospel of the kingdom.

Matthew declares that Jesus is indeed the long awaited Messiah, the long awaited king.

The structure of the book is set up to alternate between the activities of Jesus and His teachings.

We read of great miracles, casting demons, and calming storms to name a few.

We also have some of Jesus’s greatest teachings in this gospel.

The Sermon on the Mount (Chapters 5-7).

Parables of the kingdom (Chapter 13)

The Olivet discourse can be found in chapters 24-25.

Another recurring theme found in this gospel is the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders of the day. We have the Seven Woes in chapter 23.

This great gospel closes with the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20.

One of the questions often asked in the Gospels about Jesus is – “Who is this?”

When Jesus calms the storm in Matthew 8, the disciples ask, “What sort of man is this?”

In Luke 7, when Jesus forgives sin, the bystanders ask, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”

When Jesus enters Jerusalem we are told in Matthew 21:10, the whole city is stirred up saying, “Who is this?”

At his trial, the high priest of the Jews asks, “Are you the Christ?” (Matthew 26:63).

Pontius Pilate, asks, “Are you the king of the Jews?” (Matthew 27:11).

As we read through Matthew we learn who He is.

He is Jesus the Savior, Christ the anointed, the son of Abraham, and He is the Son of David, the Messiah, the great king.

He is the king, anointed to defeat our greatest foes—sin and death.

He is the priest, anointed to offer a sacrifice to remove the guilt of sin.

He is the prophet, anointed to tell the truth about humanity and Himself.

The greatest truth is that He defeated sin for us because we cannot defeat sin.

He offered Himself to remove our guilt because we cannot atone or compensate for our sin.

Jesus came to save His people from their sins. You and I.

He came to establish His Kingdom.

He is Jesus our Messiah, our King, our Savior. He is Immanuel – God is with us!

Amen!

Until next time… keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts for this blog were taken directly from: Matthew Volume I by Daniel Doriani, (Reformed Expository Commentary)

Easter Devotional – March 11

Matthew 12:27-32

27 If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

The Unpardonable Sin

30 He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

We’ve seen Jesus as the humble, gentle Messiah. Here we see Jesus as the warrior – but not a warrior against flesh and blood and soldiers. He’s fighting powers of darkness and death, sometimes referred to as Satan. Jesus could have fought the obvious battles, He has the ability and access to legions of angels. Fighting fire with fire is futile as fire would still win. Jesus has victory over the fire. God is at work in and around us, even if it’s not fighting the battles that are obvious to us. He’s at a whole other level.

Prayer: Lord, give me the humility to see You at work, and to work alongside You in the power of Your Spirit.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)