From Death To Life Series
Contributed by Jeff Strite on Oct 28, 2018 (message contributor)
Summary: There's a repetitive theme in Scripture: heroes and heroines of the Bible seemingly all go through the process of being given a vision by God, followed by the death of that vision, and ultimately the rebirth of that vision. How did that pattern apply to Jesus and how does it apply to us?
OPEN: (We showed the image of a fallen tree (https://imgur.com/iP32qff)
I saw this picture on the internet about a month ago and it took me a while to realize what I was looking at. Obviously the tree has been uprooted and it’s lying on the ground with its dead limbs extending along the ground. But it doesn’t look like a normal DEAD tree does it. Why? Because… there is life sprouting up from death (new branches were sprouting up skyward out of the dead trunk).
(PAUSE) There’s a repeated theme in Scripture that God takes that which is DEAD… and gives it LIFE. I once attended a seminar where the speaker pointed out that God gives birth to a vision. Then there’s a death of that vision. And then a rebirth of that vision. And this theme is played out over and over and over again in Scripture.
And that’s the theme in the sermons I’ve been preaching this month. We’ve looked at the lives of Joseph, and David and Peter. They all had a vision of greatness, but then their vision died. Their dreams were dashed and their hopes had come to nothing. But their dreams didn’t stay dashed… because, by the power of God, their dream was reborn. Brought back to life!
I could spend weeks preaching on this topic. I could preach about Abraham – God gives him the vision that he’d become a father and then the vision dies as Abraham realizes he and his wife are too old to have children. But then the vision is reborn when God gives them a son - Isaac.
And I could preach about Esther. God gives her a vision of greatness – the queen of one of the greatest nations in history. But that dream dies as she realizes that the only way she can protect her people from danger is to go to the King and ask for a favor. But, if she does that, she risks the King’s displeasure, and he might put her to death. It is that very real possible that endangers all her dreams of success and safety and security in. But then her dream is reborn. She does approach the King and he not only spares her but is enchanted by her request to honor him with a special banquet. In the end, she not only saves her people from death, but to this day there is a yearly Jewish festival that celebrates her heroism. There’s even book in Scripture that bears her name – one of only two Bible books named for women.
I could preach on and on and on about numerous men and women who went thru the same:
DEATH of vision.
And REBIRTH of the vision.
I could speak of Moses and Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego… etc., etc. etc. These were all comeback kings and queens whose life went from death and disaster to greatness and renown.
But THE greatest of ALL those who went through this experience… was Jesus. First there was the vision: When Jesus was born, He came as the fulfillment of prophecy. He was born to be the hope of His people. Joseph was told “you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:21-23
Jesus born to a chorus of angels… and to the homage of wise men. And, as He grew up it was obvious - even to those who hated Him that this was a man born to greatness.
People came from nearly 100 miles away, and huge crowds gathered wherever He preached. He fed 1000s with just a few loaves and fish. Matthew 4:24 tells us “… his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.”
HE EVEN RAISED THE DEAD!!!
And then (after 3 years of ministry), in the last week of His ministry, it says that “The large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, ‘Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!’” John 12:12-15
The dream of the ages had been fulfilled. The long awaited Messiah - the King of God’s people had arrived!! And people cried out “Hosanna, Hosanna, Blessed Is He Who Comes In The Name Of The Lord.”