Summary: This is the beginning of our 24 series, 24 sermons on one day in the life of Christ.
It began like any other day, and like any other day it had twenty four hours, no more and no less. And yet before those twenty four hours were over their world was turned upside down. Who would have thought so much could happen in a mere twenty four hours, that things could change so much from one day to the next.
And yet throughout history there have been any number of days that literally shook the world of those involved.
What is a day? Technically it is 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds and depending on what is happening it can happen like that (snap fingers) or it can stretch on forever.
But what can happen in a day? Ask the residents of Pompeii whose city was destroyed on August 24th 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying their city under volcanic lava and ash. And it only took a day
Ask citizens of the United States what December 7, 1941 means to them. A day President Franklin D. Roosevelt called “A date which will live in infamy.” Or for that matter ask them about November 22nd 1963 or September 11, 2001.
The 24 hours that made up March 8th 1917 not only changed the face of Russia but impacted the entire world as the Russian Revolution began and Communism became a reality. And August 6 1945 changed the face of fear as the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. 24 hours, and yet what an impact those events had. On those who perished, those who survived and the world in general. Never before had the threat of global annihilation been a reality, but it was after that one day.
And each one of us has at least one 24 hour period that looms high on our horizon. Our wedding day, the birth of your first child, the day a loved one past away or the day the doctor told you “I hate to tell you, but. . .” What is a day? Technically it is 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds and depending on what is happening it can happen like that (snap fingers) or it can stretch on forever.
And for the past six seasons we have the opportunity to observe Jack Bauer time and time again save the free world in only 24 hours on the hit TV program by the same name.
And just as Jack battles terrorist in that 24 hour period Jesus Christ drew a line in the sand for spiritual terrorist during a 24 hour period almost 2000 years ago.
In a culture where religion had become increasingly burdensome with rules and regulations weighing down the faithful Jesus proclaimed their freedom. And to those who had sought to follow their own ways without regards to God’s guidance Jesus gave them direction. In a mere 24 hours Jesus preached the most famous sermon ever delivered, taught his followers the most recognized prayer in the history of the world, healed the sick, cast our demons and displayed his mastery over nature.
Of the 28 chapters that make up the book of Matthew the first two deal with events leading up to the birth of Jesus while the last one deals with the events following his death. Of the 25 chapters that record the 3 years of Jesus earthly ministry 4 of those chapters deal with this one day. In other words 16 % of the book of Matthew deals with less then 1/1000th of the time covered in that book. If every 24 hour period in those 3 years received the same attention from Matthew as this one day the book would contain 4,380 chapters.
Even the 24 hours which encompass the Last Supper, the betrayal of Jesus, his arrest, trial, crucifixion and death are dealt with in only 2 chapters. And so it would lead us to believe that Matthew considered this one day, this one 24 hour period of vital importance to those he was writing to. And because God in his infinite wisdom choose the Gospel of Matthew to be preserved for us today as a part of his word then it must have a vital importance for us as well.
And so for the next 24 Sundays we are going to focus on the 24 hours that made up this day in the life of Christ. And during that time we will allow the words of Jesus to teach us the secrets to happiness and contentment. We will deal with the relationships that we have with those we like, with those we love and with those we dislike. We will look at subjects as diverse as prayer and lust and how they affect who we are and how we act.
It began like any other day, and like any other day it had twenty four hours, no more and no less. And yet before those twenty four hours were over their world was turned upside down.