Summary: A 32 week series inspired by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. Sermon 23 looks at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus.
Jesus’ Ministry Begins
March 27, 2010
The Story - 23
Well we’re deep into March Madness. For all of you basketball fans, this is a great time of year as we watch game after game, see some young upstart kids make a name for themselves and watch a few upsets along the way. As I was watching last weekend, I heard an announcer describe one of the players out there with an expression I’ve heard before, but it’s been a long time since I heard it.
This guy had amazing leaping ability, as he took the ball in both hands high above his head, seemed to hang in the air for a minute or two, then landed after a vicious slam dunk. It seemed that nobody on the other team wanted to get in his way. To the announcer the verdict was in, “this guy was scary good.”
This guy was scary good. It’s probably true in every profession, that there are some who are just so good, so smart, so good at what they do, that it may look so natural, like they don’t have to work at it. Others look with amazement, thinking this person is too good to be true. Comments like —
Who can this be
Where did He get this wisdom?
They were amazed at His understanding.
They were astounded that the wind stopped.
They marveled when they heard Him speak.
People were astonished at His teaching.
Where did He get these mighty words.
They were surprised at His answers.
They were shocked at His ability to bring healing.
Contemporaries of Jesus Christ understood the phrase scary good. In fact 1st century writers coined a Greek phrase to describe Jesus Christ. . . Scariest Goodiest.
They had never seen anyone do what Jesus did. They never heard anyone teach with the authority with which Jesus taught. They never saw anyone saw kind, yet so bold. Jesus was scary good. He was unlike any person they had ever seen.
You can open your copies of the Story to Chapter 23, or if you have a Bible, turn to Matthew 3:16-17. Look no further than His own baptism. We read, 16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Most baptisms don’t stir that type of response, do they? They sky separates like a curtain, a voice bellows from the heavens, this is my Son, whom I love. If this really is God’s Son, then why baptism?
After all, baptism is an act for sinners. Baptism is an act for those of us who desire to be cleansed. And yet, here comes Jesus and He walks into the water, among us, with us, He wades into the waters of baptism. He was born in a common womb, and raised in a common village, in a common profession, and now He steps into a common river. He steps into the waters of the Jordan River. And He tells John the Baptist, it is right for us to do this.
He became one of us. He identifies with us. And just as someday He’ll be lowered from a cross into a physical grave, on this day He’s lowered into the waters of the Jordan River to be baptized, kind of like being lowered into a watery grave.
God sent Jesus into the world and He came to show us how to live our lives. On that day in the waters of the Jordan River, Jesus was good.
But then came the wilderness. And Jesus was scary. He went from baptism to the desert sun, and stayed there for 40 days, and in essence reenacted the temptation from the Garden of Eden. Look with me in gospel of Matthew 4:1-11 ~
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘People do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”