Sermon Illustrations

“The Grape Juice Equation!” Matthew 26:47-56 Key verse(s): 53-54:“‘Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way’.”

I get a certain satisfaction when I fill something! Standing at the kitchen sink this morning I had one of many innumerable opportunities to make the morning juice. There are steps to making juice, especially grape juice. Cardboard cylinder in hand and thumb and finger firmly grasping the pull tab, you get a very real sense of what it is like to hold a hand grenade. Grape juice, as good as it is, is like a double-edged sword. It is refreshing and healthful as a drink. It is one of those juices that, if spilled, will stain quickly and deeply. So, resolutely grasping the tab, one does so with some misapprehension. Nonetheless, the tab is pulled and there is no going back. That task accomplished, you are once again greeted with the better side of frozen grape juice. Even solidly frozen in the can, it has the tendency to squeeze and ooze its way out without too much coaxing. Plop! Into the pitcher it goes and the rest is easy. But no you are faced with another decision. You need to fill the now cover-less and empty container three times, pouring out the contents into the pitcher thereby diluting the frozen mound of grape concentrate with the juice-giving water it hungers for. Fill? Well, you can “fill” a juice can and you can FILL a juice can. I like to FILL a juice can. The difference is this. Since there will always be a residue of concentrate in the can, the rushing water commits it to foam in an instant. And, as anyone who pours a carbonated beverage knows, foam takes up precious space that the liquid itself could occupy. When I make grape juice the goal is to FILL the can to the brim and not miss one single ounce of the water required. So, when that foam comes pouring over the edges of the container, I slow down the stream of water and allow the foam to bubble away trying not to lose a bit of the water. There is great personal satisfaction in doing this three times and knowing that the allotment of juice specified on the container is the allotment that I reach when I fill the pitcher.

Jesus knew that He could easily have overcome his enemies. With but one angel he could have conquered the entire world. Yet, employing the discipline of patience, he bore the fruit of obedience and traveled the route His Father had appointed for Him. It was not the easiest way but it was the fulfilling way. Our lives are like that as well. God has a plan for “filling” up each of our lives. We can choose to be patient and wait for Him to finish pouring out his blessings or we can be impatient and choose to walk away. When we walk away, choosing not to obey his will, our lives can not be as fulfilling as God had intended them to be. He wants to pour us out completely and not miss one drop of our potential.

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