Summary: You won’t be satisfied until the Savior washes your sins away.
Easter ’09: Thirst
Rev. Brian Bill
Note: The general idea for this message is from Pastor Bill Hybels and is used with permission.
I want to begin this morning with some questions.
* How long can an average human being go without food? Thirty days. If any of you think you’re starving right now, you’re not. If you don’t think you can make it until lunch, there are probably some leftover muffins you can scarf down after the service.
* How long do you think a person can go without sleep? It depends on how long the sermon is, right? The record for going without sleep is 10 days. You can hang in there for at least 30 more minutes.
* How long can a human body dance? It’s hard to believe but Jon Dewald once danced for 100 hours straight.
* How far can a human being walk? The record for a man is over 600 miles. The record for a woman is a little over 500 miles. One pastor did some research on this and figured out that these two were actually married and got in a fight and started walking different directions. The man must have been 100 miles madder than his wife.
The human body is amazingly resilient in a lot of ways, except we’re wimps when it comes to water.
Do you know how long the human body can last without water? About three days, maybe up to a week. If you’re working outside in a hot place and you get dehydrated, you could croak in two days. Do you remember what happened at the Chicago Marathon in 2007? It was so hot that organizers ran out of water because runners were not only drinking it but also dousing water on their heads. More than 200 were sent to the hospital, and one person died.
In general terms, we require about four times as much fluid as food because we’re made up of about 60% water. That means I’m lugging around approximately 100 pounds of water up here. I wonder how much more I’d have if I actually drank eight glasses of water a day, like you’re supposed to. How many of you actually drink that much water each day? If you do, I should tell you now where the bathrooms are located. Maybe when you’re out there you can pick me up a muffin.
The geographic area where most of the Bible encounters take place is a very arid, parched and barren land. Back then water was a life and death deal because people literally died of thirst. The Bible uses the metaphor of thirst in a number of places. Here’s one from Proverbs 25:25: “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”
Have you ever been really, really thirsty? [Hold up water bottle and take a drink]
--> Play clip from “The Three Amigos.”
4 Easter Images
We have four visuals up on the stage today. I’m going to use them to tell the Easter story…and maybe to even tell your story. I want to propose that: You won’t be satisfied until the Savior washes your sins away.
1. Washed hands. This first visual brings us back to the time shortly before Jesus was put to death. Things are starting to heat up for Him. The crowds have turned on Him and have been shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
When Pilate, who was the government official in charge, was faced with a dilemma, he deliberated as long as he could. Finally, he has to make a decision. Matthew 27:24: “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’” [Demonstrate]
But, no matter how hard Pilate scrubbed, there was no way for him to wash away the guilt in his heart or satisfy the thirst in his soul. You see, he can’t have it both ways. He’s trying to say what a politician said recently, “I voted for it, before I voted against it!” Pilate is guilty. He has wet hands and a wicked heart.
He’s doing what many people do when he protests his innocence and goodness. He had enough information to make the right choice but he refused to make a decision. A lot of people don’t hate Jesus but many do what Pilate did – they admire Him, but they wash their hands clean of His blood. According to Chuck Colson, legend has it that years after the crucifixion, Pilate was still frantically washing his hands trying to cleanse his conscience from the blood of Christ (www.breakpoint.com).
The cover story in the most recent issue (4/13/09) of Newsweek is called, “The Decline and Fall of Christian America.” The article points out that Christians now make up a declining segment of the American population and that the percentage of people who say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith has doubled in recent years, to 16 percent. Meanwhile, the number of people willing to describe themselves as atheist or agnostic has increased about fourfold in the past twenty years.