Summary: Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin as a confessional sermon seeking powerful Christianity
Jesus: Son of God and Son of Man. “Portraits of Christ” series
February 9/10, 2002. Steve Simala Grant
I haven’t been doing particularly well this week. If you were here last week and noticed my absence, you also heard it was because we were in the hospital with my 16 month old son, Thomas, who was having difficulty breathing. He is doing much better with that problem this week, thanks for your prayers and especially to Brian Whittle and the others who jumped in kind of last-minute and covered for me. But now we are in the process of tests to find out why it seems that when Thomas gets a cold we end up in the hospital with respiratory problems. We don’t know why, so we are having a series of tests, and on Monday Thomas is being tested for cystic fibrosis to see if that is the cause. Joanne and I have been stressing about this since Wednesday when this possibility was suggested.
And so here I find myself, having to preach the Word of God in the midst of fear and uncertainty. I have to find some words of comfort, and of encouragement, and of hope. And honestly, that is hard this week. Maybe it will be harder next week, I don’t know but I pray not. I struggled in my research, in my thoughts, and in my prayers. Sitting down to pray through a message for this morning was difficult – to concentrate, difficult to think and to focus. But God broke through. And so I do have something to share with you today.
As I say “God broke through,” it sounds like everything should be fine, everything should be great, no more worries or concern. But that isn’t the case. You see, as I prayed Jesus didn’t come and tell me everything would be fine (although He hinted at it…), He didn’t say everything would be great (and I need to say again that He never said they wouldn’t be great). You know what He said? “Trust me.” I said, “but I want Thomas to be fine.” “Trust me.” “But he is only a little child, and I’ve been praying for him every day of his life, that he would know You and love you and love others around him. Please let him be ok.” Again, the answer was simply, “Trust me.” At this point I started to cry. I said “Lord, that is hard. That is my desire. I know Thomas is in your hands only, I know that you love him even more than I do, I know you will only do what is best for him according to your sovereign plan. But it is still hard to trust. Hard to just put Thomas in your hands.” Jesus was patient, reminded me it was good to stay persistent in prayer and in asking God to heal and protect Thomas, and again just told me to trust Him.
Having a child has taught me some things I guess I never really wanted to learn. Like how hard it is to trust. To love so much and yet be so powerless, so helpless, and just so dependent on God. That’s a good thing to learn, I know, but it is also really hard. Really hard.
I stepped back a bit. In a series of “Portraits of Christ” that we’ve been looking at through January, this week I realized again that these are not static pictures. They aren’t photos, still images that we can break out and look at and then put away. They aren’t even movies, active and passionate and alive – yet still things we passively watch. Instead, they are experiences. They are interactions. They are the essence of our relationship. We don’t sit and passively look at these portraits and then walk away with a few more things in our mental filing cabinets. We must interact with them. We must experience Jesus, we must encounter Him. We must hear Him speak as our prophet. We must walk with Him into the throne room of heaven as He is our priest. We must live by His words as our Sage.
Anything less is not Christianity. God doesn’t call us to acknowledge a series of facts, He calls us to a relationship. He doesn’t expect us to simply tick off a list of things we intellectually agree with, He calls us to walk beside Him in obedience and submission. And as I am struggling to learn this week, He doesn’t call us to understand everything, but rather to trust.
Our series brings us to this morning, where we encounter Jesus in two titles: as Son of God and Son of Man. We’ll see what picture these paint for us of the Jesus we know and interact with. And what hope there is here for us.