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John Williams III
"One of the aboriginal tribes of the South Seas has a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood called a "walkabout." A boy coming to puberty is sent into the jungle for six weeks without food, shelter or weapons. During this time, he must test all of the survival skills he has learned during childhood. He must also be creative when he meets the unexpected. Talk about final examination! One mistake and he is dead. If, however, he survives to walk out of the jungle, he returns to a celebration that honors him as a man, a hunter and a warrior". (David L. McKenna. The Communicator’s Commentary Series: Mark. Volume 2. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1982, p. 41). The testing in the wilderness was Jesus’ equivalent of a "walkabout". Jesus went into His "walkabout" filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1). And when Jesus left the wilderness, He returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee (Luke 4:14).
Brian La Croix
Have you ever seen a mob on TV or movies? They are dangerous, and can become murderous in an instant.
People in mobs are like cattle before a stampede. Ever see that? In the movie Red River, John Wayne and his men are moving cattle along the Chisolm trail, and the cattle are spooked by howling coyotes and such.
Then one of the men, trying to get some sugar, knocks down all the pans off the chuckwagon, and the cattle stampede, killing one of the wranglers watching over them.
Just before they stampeded, the cattle were tense, and the men knew it wouldn’t take much to set them off.
Mobs are like that.
They’re tense, waiting for the slightest provocation to begin destroying whatever and whoever they want.
Mobs are not a good thing, in general.
"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." Heb 4:15
"In the past when I’ve heard that verse or read it, I’ve thought that it is a very all-encompassing statement to say that Jesus was tempted in all things as we are, when so relatively little is written about Him. But when it is brought to my attention that He lived 30 years of which we know nothing, then it becomes much easier for me to understand that He lived the full life of a boy, a teen, and a young man, experiencing all that goes with those passages of life – except without sin." c.e.t.
Philip Yancey, in his book The Jesus I Never Knew, comments on this truth, that Christ can only be King on His own terms. He alludes to the 3 temptations Jesus faced before he began His ministry: 1) to turn stones into bread and feed Himself, 2) after taking Him to the temple in Jerusalem, to jump off with the hope that angels would catch Him, and 3) after showing Him the whole world, to worship him, Satan. Now, Philip Yancey suggests that each temptation parallels the expectation of 1st century culture for the coming Messiah: 1) a People’s Messiah could feed the multitudes, 2) a King who is rooted in the Law, would find his home at the place of sacrifice, and 3) a man who would...
CALLED TO TESTIFY
In 1981, my father was called as a court witness to testify to a number of thefts that occurred at his employer. Now, we had just moved from Pennsylvania to Minnesota, and dad was brand-new to the job as the corporate purchasing agent. So, dad reports to the CEO on day one, and within minutes his boss says, "Ron, you got big problems in your department."
The CEO then brought him up to speed on the heists that had transpired in the years before our arrival to Minnesota. What had happened was this: in the course of a few months, a Chicago based company stole two truckloads of a Molybdenum-based steel alloy valued at over $500,000. Furthermore, the prosecutors determined the this company conspired with three men from my father's employer to pull-off the robberies.
My father was called to testify not against the defendants per se, but rather, as to the value of the steel alloy, its uses, and the impact these thefts had on the corporation. Ironically, though, since dad was new to the job, he knew very little about the alloy. Nevertheless, the CEO tasked my father to serve the company as a witness to testify for them.
In a loose kind-of way, John the Baptist was called by the CEO of the universe to testify for God's Kingdom concerning the Lamb of God, even though the scriptures indicate John knew him not, so all men might believe the truth and enter into God's grace and favor.
ILLUSTRATION... The Life and Teaching of Jesus by James S Stewart, Abingdon Press pg 49
“Finally, Jesus would never violate the freedom of men’s wills. And that, too, the leap from the pinnacle would have involved. It would have been overriding their calmer judgment. It would have been forcing a confession of faith. That was one thing that Jesus definitely would not do. If He could not win men into salvation by sheer goodness and love, he was not going to force them into it by miracles and magic.”
In rural Arizona, a man went to see the Hopi Indians perform ceremonial dances. It was a long lonely drive to the reservation across secluded desert terrain and some rough roads. Late afternoon, after the dances, the man returned to his car only to discover he had a flat tire. To make matters worse, he had no spare in his trunk. But he remembered seeing a service station about 5 miles back down the road. After getting a ride to the service station, he found the proprietor sitting in a chair drinking a soda. The stranded man asked, “Excuse me sir, but do you fix flats?” The proprietor said, “Yep.” So the man asked, “How much do you charge?” The proprietor replied, “What difference does that make?” The man was in no position to bargain. Not much of a choice.
Some choices have little impact. Other choices make all of the difference in the world like going to college, choosing a profession, choosing a mate.
Satan argued with Jesus one time about who had the greater power! Satan said, ’I can do anything you can do only better.’ Jesus replied, ’Ok, prove it, go ahead and try creating a man.’ Satan said, ’No problem,’ as he reached down and picked up a handful of dirt and bega...
In his book The Renew Mind (Bethany House, 1981), Larry Christiansen tells a story that is a perfect illustration for our sermon text for today. I’d like for you to imagine that you live in a run down apartment. As I describe this, I actually picture in my mind my apartment in St. Paul I shared with my old roommate and good friend, Burke, our second year at Concordia when they ran out of dorm space and put some of us upper classmen in “better” accommodations in the old apartments the college owned across the street from the main campus. By run down I don’t just mean it needs a new coat of paint. Your walls and ceilings have holes in them. Your carpets are threadbare. Some places you can even see the floorboards instead of the carpet it’s so worn. The windows leak cold air in the winter and bugs in the summertime. Often, your heat or your plumbing doesn’t work properly, or you get all kinds of wonderful creepy, crawly things coming up out of your pipes and into your sinks and bathtub. Anyway, you’re living in this type of an apartment, and every month, your landlord comes to your door to collect your month’s rent. Your rent is already pretty high, and you might be having a hard time paying it right now. You may well even be a couple months behind on your rent and some of your utility bills. However, your landlord every month informs you of a rent increase. You try to explain your situation, you are working as hard as you can, and you are having a hard enough time trying to make ends meet as it is, and a rent increase is something you simply can’t afford. When you hesitate about this rent increase, or no matter what reasons you can give him for not increasing the rent and being merciful toward your situation, this landlord replies back “so, you want to make this hard huh? I can increase your rent even more and cut off some services if you don’t like it.” I don’t know about you, but if I had a landlord like this guy, I’d be outright miserable. However, you really don’t have anywhere else you can go, housing is next to impossible for you to find, so you keep paying whatever rent this mean, nasty old landlord wants from you when he demands it. Then one day, you hear a gentle knock on your door. Fearing it may be that pesky old landlord coming back to harass you some more, you only open the door a crack. However, its not who you think it is. You find a nicely dressed, smiling young man at your door asking if he can speak with you for a moment. You open the door and he explains “just this morning, I purchased your apartment building, so I guess that makes me your new landlord. I am going around to all the apartments and I was wondering if it would be okay if I could come in and inspect your rooms? You let him in and as he sees the horrible conditions in which you are living, the young man is simply appalled. “I will see to it that every single repair that is needed to this apartment is made right away, no one should have to live like this, and I am going to cancel all your debts you have.” You can’t believe your ears Everything is going to be fixed and your past debts are all cancelled Every single one of them Forgotten. But just then, there is another knock at the door. You swing the door open in joy only to discover your old landlord glaring at you, and he doesn’t look very happy. He demands extra rent, and he wants it right now or he will throw you and your family out on the street. What should you do? Give in to this old man’s threats and intimidation and pay him what he demands from you? You’re too weak to fight him yourself, and there’s no way you can afford to have an attorney defend you in court. But wait, the building doesn’t belong to this guy anymore, remember, it now belongs to the generous new landlord. Why waste your time arguing with the old landlord? Tell him to take it up with the new owner who is right there in your apartment as this all unfolds. You don’t owe any further explanation Amazing story isn’t it? If only it were true. Well, I have some wonderful news for you all. It is. You see, Satan is just like that old, mean, rotten landlord. He’s always demanding, always attacking us. Quite often, through the force of his evil demeanor and because his accusations of our sins are correct, he intimidates us into serving him. However, you have been bought with a price You now belong to Jesus, your new landlord. Whenever Satan reminds you of sins you have repented of, or tries to coerce you into serving evil desires, simply tell him to take it up with your new landlord. Regardless of how often he keeps coming back, send him packing and trust the promises of the new owner, Jesus Christ Christ defeated sin, death, and the devil once and for all. He bought us each with a very heavy price, his own blood. Even though Satan will try to convince us otherwise, we are very precious to Jesus. As we reflect on Jesus’ love and forgiveness, we are able to gain the strength we need to overcome temptations and strength to battle against evil. Recall Jesus’ words from our text for today: “No one can enter a strong man’s house or carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man.” Although Satan is strong, Jesus is stronger.
Our ignorance of who we are in Christ make us foolish and victim of enemy’s attack.