Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jesus Loved His People

Jesus Loves His People

Intro.: As we move through lent, our theme has been to learn to love like Jesus loved.

  1. We began by noting that Jesus loved the scripture.

  2. Then we looked Jesus' love for children

  3. Last week we looked at His love for his friends

  4. This week we will look at Jesus love for His own people

  5. It seems to me that love is often expressed by looking at the contrasts in a persons life – such is the case in today's passage.

Read: Luke 19:28-48


Trans: During the next few minutes, I want to look at three contrast evident in Jesus' love for his people.

  1. The contrast between Jesus' acceptance and rejection

    1. Jesus knew this day was coming. He spent time planning it with His disciples – giving them explicit direction so that it would go well.

    2. And the people responded to Him. The Jews on the route put their cloaks on the ground to create "red carpet" if you would. Their words "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord ... Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

    3. This was Palm Sunday – it was a wonderful day.

    4. But it would be only a week later that it would change. Instead of cloaks on the ground, there would be a crown of thorns. Instead of praising God, the chants would become "Crucify Him, Crucify Him."

    5. Though they honored him, they did not understand. "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes."

(Ill.) I suspect that many of them were like the well known writer Samuel Clemens – or Mark Twain. One day Mark Twain took his little daughter on his knee and told her all about the rulers and other prominent men whom he had met in his travels. She listened attentively. When he had finished, she said, “Daddy, you know everybody but God, don’t you?” Mark Twain was certainly an intelligent person. Yet he rejected God.1

    1. They knew what was expected, they knew many prominent people, but they did not know the one who mattered.

(Appl.) I have been lucky to meet a great many important people in my life – people who have become leaders in the church, people who have been published, either in the church or in my other discipline. But you know something, regardless of how many people I have met or I know, regardless of who I know, it makes absolutely no difference if I don't know Jesus. It makes no difference how many important and powerful people you know, unless you know Jesus. Do you know Jesus?

    1. Jesus loved His people, but these same people could not decide whether to accept Him or to reject Him. It is a choice we have to make everyday for ourselves.

  1. The contrast between Jesus' compassion and anger

    1. We tend to think put life into boxes. Something is either good or bad. Someone is good or bad.

    2. Some people live their lives like this – they are either so full of anger, that it enters into every relationship that they have. It shows at work and it shows at home. It shows in the sports they play. But there are others who live their lives on the other side of the coin. They are always trying to be nice – they are treat everyone as if they could do nothing wrong. They have never gotten angry – and they are proud of it.

    3. But if we look at Jesus, we learn pretty quickly that healthy living is some place between these two extremes.

    4. Jesus came to a place that overlooked the city of Jerusalem. There in the distance he could see the beautiful building that served as the Jewish temple. In the foreground he could see the homes and businesses that make up the city. And he begins to get choked up.

(Ill.) It happens to many of us. We are living our normal everyday lives – and then something crosses our lives and we find ourselves all choked up. It might be show on TV or in conversation with a friend. And all we can do is sit back and let the pain pass. It happened this week as I was getting dressed for work. Family Life Radio starting playing the Song "In Christ Alone" as performed by the group Avalon:

In Christ alone my hope is found

He is my light, my strength, my song

This Cornerstone, this solid ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when strivings came

My Comforter, my All in All

Here in the love of Christ I stand2

and all I could do was give myself a few minutes to cry.

    1. All Jesus could do was cry. He saw a city that should have known the truth, but they did not. The things they valued in their faith would be gone in 40 years – The Jews revolted against the Romans in 66 AD and four years later the Roman army marched into Jerusalem and tore their temple down. Jesus showed his compassion as He wept over its coming destruction and their rejection of His message..

    2. But Jesus' love was also demonstrated in His anger. A short while later he enters the Temple and finds businesses making money as people came to worship.

(Ill.) There was a similar point in the history of the Methodist Church 150 years ago. At that point one of the ways that the church reached its financial goals was to rent pew space. But there were pastors who found that offensive and the chose to leave the church and form the Free Methodist Church. Don't get me wrong, there were other issues as well, but this was one of the key issues that drove the beginnings of this new denomination. And maybe they were right – at least at that time, the Methodist Church no longer rent its pews.

    1. Jesus' reaction is very pictorial – he comes in and starts turning the tables over and driving those profiteers out of the temple. Worship and business were not to be mixed.

    2. Jesus was able to mix compassion and anger even as He loved his people.

(Appl.) Jesus was able to find the balance in his own life. We too must find the balance in our lives – if anger is a problem in your life – get help. If you are a softy, if you are a wimp, get help. Find the balance that will allow you serve God with all that you are.

  1. The contrast between Jesus' loving His people and loving the World

    1. There is one more contrast here.

    2. Jesus loved his people – but we must never forget that he also loves the world.

    3. John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    4. Or Matthew, which ends with Jesus' command, "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ina the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'

    5. Jesus had no problem loving His people and loving the world.

    6. I expect that each of us has those things that we find important – that we treasure. But remember, at the same time we are called to love those things that God loved.

    7. Ultimately, God's priorities must be our's. What God loves, we must also loved.

    8. And "God so loved the world ..." So must we.


1AMG Bible Illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.


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