Summary: Jesus doesn’t care if you’re ugly. He doesn’t care if you’re fat or thin. He doesn’t care about the horrible sins and crimes you’ve committed - that’s why He died on the Cross. He simply loves you and wants to dance with you. If you will let him lead he w
DANCING WITH JESUS
Listen to one man’s remarkable discovery at Smokey Mountain near the Philippine capital of Manila:"A gigantic man-made mound, perhaps 100 feet high, ran on before us for a mile or more. Wisps of smoke rose from fissures all over the sides and top of this municipal dump and landfill.
‘Five thousand people live on that mountain,’ the guide said, ‘and off it, too.’ He meant they made their livelihood from scavenging useful garbage. As we walked up the side, acrid smoke stung our eyes; the stench of rotting garbage was overwhelming. Shacks made of plywood or tin lined the main street, with smaller shacks squatting farther away on the sides of the mountain. The trucks dumped fresh garbage at the top of the mound. My eyes followed the cascade of refuse down the side of the mountain to where the bulldozers were working below. Scores of women, men, and children scattered ahead of the bulldozers, then swirled back in the wake, working rapidly with homemade stick-rakes to find some salable treasure in the refuse.Then the guide took me to a larger shack that had a cross on it and the words ‘Baptist Church’ painted underneath. The guide asked if the pastor was in. A stocky small man appeared with that typical warm Filipino smile and cordial greeting. Antonio startled me with fluent, articulate English. When I inquired about his education, I learned that he was a graduate of one of the most prestigious seminaries in Asia.I though, ‘This man could be the pastor of any major Baptist church in Manila. I wonder why he’s here.’ So I asked him and heard a remarkable love story.Antonio, as a young seminary graduate, had volunteered for missionary work at Smokey Mountain. But the day came when his denomination discontinued work at the site. Antonio had a choice – take the pulpit of some established church or throw in his lot with his adopted people, live by faith, and love them to Jesus. So he moved on the mountain with his lovely wife and together they cared for a growing flock and raised their four daughters.When Antonio, his wife and their daughters stand before Jesus seated on His judgment throne they will hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servants." (Moody Monthly February 1993, p. 39)
Matt. 16:21-25 (NIV)
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
Before we look at the text this morning I think we need to look at some observations about what is surrounding this particular passage. The passage that was read this morning from Matthew 16:1-20 leads up to this conversation that Jesus had with His disciples. The Pharisees had come to Jesus and demanded (imagine anyone demanding something from God!) that He show them a sign from heaven. Keep in mind that Jesus had already been actively healing the sick, casting out demons IN FACT this demand follows the great miracle of feeding a people numbering in the thousands (Matt. 15:29-39).
Why wasn’t these miraculous signs enough - why wasn’t enough to the Pharisees and Sadducees and indeed all the religious leaders to prove that Jesus was indeed the Messiah they had been waiting for? To understand the answer to this question we need to understand the mindset of these people making the demand. To them the Messiah would come and be the liberator of their people from the oppression of the Romans. In the times that they lived in Palestine had been oppressed and subjugate to a military rule. To the Romans Palestine was a hotspot one of those areas in the great Empire that still needed a thumb kept on it. In the eyes of many Religious leaders among the Jews their interpretation of the prophecies about the Messiah was that He would be a great King and great Ruler and great Deliverer who would come with power and with glory and with FORCE to return Jerusalem and Israel to its former splendor. But here was this Jesus who seemed to have power and yet he walked away from confrontation - he did not try to raise up an army - in fact he didn’t seem to have anything to say against the Roman empire - and there just didn’t seem this aura of Kingship about Him - YET he claimed to be the Messiah. "Show us a sign!" The Pharisees and Saducees cried out - what sign do you think they were looking for? What sign are you looking for?