Summary: In amazement, we wonder, "What's the matter with them? Were they hard of hearing? Why didn't they get the message? Why didn't they understand?" I think there are several answers to that question. (PowerPoints Available - #104)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available at no charge. Just email me at email@example.com and request #104.)
A. The ability to make intelligent & correct decisions is one of the great secrets of successful Christian living.
ILL. Even if you aren't a sports fan I think you'll appreciate this story about a college football team whose starting quarterback had just been injured. Their #2 quarterback was sick, & hadn't even dressed out for the game. All the coach had left was a 3rd string freshman who had been a quarterback in high school, but who was just being used on the college team as a punter.
To make matters worse, they were backed up on their own 3 yard line. It was a desperate situation, & the coach's only thought was somehow to get a little farther from their goal line to give them room to punt out of danger.
Sending in the 3rd string quarterback, the coach said, "Son, I want you to hand off to the big fullback Kowaski for the next two plays, let him run right into the middle of the line & get us a few yards of breathing room. Then I want you to punt."
The young quarterback did as he was instructed. On the first play he handed off to Kowaski, but almost miraculously Kowaski found a hole off tackle & ran for 50 yards.
The young quarterback called the same play again, & once more, miracle of miracles, the hole opened again & Kowaski gained another 45 yards. The fans went crazy. In two plays they had gone 95 yards, & the ball was on their opponent's 2 yard line. It was first down & goal to go!
Confidently the team lined up once again. The young quarterback received the snap, stepped back & to everyone's amazement, punted the ball into the end zone. As his stunned teammates came off the field, the coach angrily grabbed the young quarterback & demanded, "What in the world were you thinking about when you called that last play?"
The quarterback answered, "I was thinking what a dumb coach we have."
SUM. Now that story sounds ridiculous, but the truth of the matter is that many college & professional coaches today do not expect their quarterbacks to make decisions. They send all the plays in from the bench.
APPL. Now obviously we are not here this morning to talk football. But there is an important point we need to see here about our relationship with God. God has paid us the ultimate compliment. He allows us to make our own decisions. He allows us to call our own plays.
When He created us in His own image, this was primary among the characteristics with which He endowed us the ability to understand, to reason, & to choose.
B. With this in mind, please turn to Luke 18:31 33 & listen as I read.
"Jesus took the Twelve aside & told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem & everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.
“He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him, spit on Him, flog Him & kill Him. On the third day He will rise again.'"
Stop for a moment & think about what I have just read. Then answer this question, "Did you understand what I read?" Did you understand those words?
I expect you to answer, "Yes, I understood them." After all, they are pretty simple words. We do understand words like "mock, insult, spit, flog, kill," & "rise again." We understand very well what Jesus was saying.
C. The apostle Paul said, “We preach unto you Christ crucified. Unto the Jews that is a stumbling block. Unto the Greeks it is foolishness. But to those who are saved it is the power of God & the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1:23-24)
You see, the old rugged cross is the very heart of the message about Jesus.
That is why Jesus took His apostles aside & said, "I have something important to tell you. We're going to Jerusalem, & when we get there they will turn me over to the Gentiles, who will mock me, insult me, spit on me, flog me, & kill me. And then on the third day I will rise again." Now what could be clearer than that?
Jesus didn't tell them that just once, but over & over again. In Matthew 16, 17, & 20 Jesus tells them the same thing just as clearly as He does here.
Now let's go on to vs. 34. “The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, & they did not know what He was talking about.” Isn't that an interesting verse of Scripture?