Summary: This sermon demenstrates how Jesus is willing to give us so much... even the shirt off his back, but so often we take so little from him. Are we ready to accept all the gifts that Christ offers us?
[This sermon goes very closely with the sermon I preached the next week titled “Toy King.” In this sermon I actually take my dress shirt off (with a white shirt underneath of course) and cut it into little pieces for the congregation to take home. (Leave a few big pieces of shirt left over for use later). By the next week, Jesus takes the “broken” shirt to the cross… like he takes our broken lives… and makes it whole again. You need two identical shirts to pull this off… and a little slight of hand. You take what’s left of the broken shirt… roll it into a ball, and wrap the ball with tape twice in tape in the shape of a cross +. Have the whole shirt in an identical “ball” already wrapped in tape in the shape of a cross +… make the old switcheroo and at the appropriate time… when you undo the tape… all of a sudden the broken shirt is made whole. VERY effective sermon.]
21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
“Even the Shirt Off His Back”
How many of you are on the internet? The internet is an amazing… amazing thing. It has come such a long way since Al Gore invented it… hasn’t it? We can e-mail. We can listen to music. We can watch movies. We can buy things. We can sell things. We can instant message. We can talk to each other on skype. We can webcast to each other video and sound. We can listen to sermons… watch sermons. We can Facebook. We can Twitter. We can blog. And yet… by a show of hands… how many of you barely get past e-mail. The internet has SOO much to offer, but most of us just take what we want and leave the rest.
That’s just how we are… take what we want and leave the rest. It’s like William at supper time. If there’s one thing that Alyssa and I have learned about our almost three year old son… it is that he is a carboholic. If you give him a plate of meat, vegetables, fruits, and bread… he will devour the bread and touch nothing else. Then… when he is done with the bread… you’d think… ok… now he will eat his meat, or veggies, or fruit… but NO… you all already know what he does don’t you? “More bread please daddy.”
What about your meat… you’ve hardly touched it. And your vegetables… they are yummy good. “No, they NOT yummy.” Kid’s not dumb. And we have to resort to this trade and barter mode with him. Ok… take four bites of your meat and you can have more bread. THEN, he will finally eat some of his meat and get something of a healthy meal into him. Left to his own devices… he would gorge himself on carbs and be the happiest 400 pound three year old in the world!
That’s just how we are… we take what we want… and leave the rest. It is nothing new… as we look back 2000 years… as we read the bible… as we read this scripture verse… we see this over and over again.
In today’s scripture verse, we read about soldiers who cast lots for Jesus’ clothes. It was part of the prize you received for being the executioner. Just like the hangmen of old would get to keep the prisoner’s boots… these soldiers were casting lots to see who would get the bonus of keeping Jesus’ clothes. Yet, here was a man… who could offer them so much more. Here was a man who could give them everything they needed. Here was a man who had all the answers. And yet… they only took from him what they wanted… and left the rest.
“How sad it is that they wanted so little from Jesus. There was so much more that he was wanting to give them. Instead of a few home-spun garments, Jesus was prepared to clothe them in the forgiveness of God.” Instead… they settled for so little… they settled for the shirt off his back. Which I know Jesus would have gladly given. That’s just the way Jesus was… he would gladly give you the shirt off his back.
He would gladly give YOU the shirt off his back. [Take shirt off… cut it into small pieces and hand out to congregation.]