Summary: This is a sermon tailored to a group of soliders, sailors, airmen and marines deployed to Afghanistan. Jesus doesn’t change and we can count on that fact no matter where we are or what we are doing.
24 Apr 2008
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Luke 14:1, 7-14
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8, ESV)
Jesus Christ: The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever
Throughout history, mankind has depended upon great people for guidance, leadership, hope, and direction. Think about a time in the past, in any country or kingdom, and you can name many individuals who stepped out from among the masses leading their people to victory over oppression, who have guided their kingdoms through famine or disease, or who guided their people through necessary changes in order to maintain their nation’s strength.
Think of General George Washington, who during the Revolution, took a mixed group of people from many different backgrounds, stations in life, and positions in society (most with no military experience) and turned them into a formidable and unified force and freed the young nation of America from British rule.
Think of the many different Kings, Queens, and religious leaders of the renaissance period in Europe who had to come together to take care of millions of survivors of the Black plague that wiped out one out of every three people from all walks of life.
You can spend hours reading the history of hundreds of world leaders in politics, science, and medicine who have guided their nations.
Today, we’re surrounded by history in the making. We can see this first-hand as we look across at our friends in the Afghan National Army. They struggle with changes in ideology as we struggle with how to help them and their fellow Afghan citizens. They have a relatively new country with a history of change. Just like this country, the world is a changing place.
Throughout history, there are few things that stay consistent. It’s often said that the only things you can actually depend on are death and taxes. But, there is one other consistent thing in this inconsistent world: Jesus and the promises he gave us.
A moment ago, we read through one of the many prophecies listed in the book of Isaiah. This vision from the past talked about the coming of John the Baptist, far before he ever came upon the scene in the Jordan River. This predicted that the one crying in the wilderness would pave the way for the one to come. It predicted the coming of Jesus in long before his ministry began. It predicted a time long-gone as yesterday. The message of the Bible was shown to be truthful with this, and many other passages, that revealed the savior was to come.
But, Jesus didn’t just come on the scene after John prepared the way. He was around from the very beginning. Although he was born as a man, he was God before the world was created. He was God before time existed. As the passage indicated, the word of God will stand forever, and so it has.
Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians, “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17, ESV)
This same message was revealed in both the Old and the New Testaments. In Genesis chapter one, we find a reference to “us” in the creation story. This was not a mistake, but a reference to the Godhead in total. Jesus was there with the first verse of the first chapter of the first book of the Bible. The scriptures are consistent from beginning to end, just like God is consistent from before time, until the end of time.
A bit later, we find a more direct reference to the coming messiah. In Genesis 3:15, after the fall of man, God declared that a savior would come to redeem all of mankind. Jesus was there from the first sin.
The promises of the Old Testament gave hope to the men and women of the Old Testament, but they didn’t realize what they were looking for. Instead of looking for a spiritual renewal, they looked to a worldly kingdom. The King arrived, but not the king the Israelites were hoping for. Jesus didn’t change when the New Testament arrived. Instead, he revealed the scripture for what they were; prophecies and fulfillment.
When our savior was born into this world as a human, He chose to reveal Himself only after the prophecy of John the Baptist was fulfilled. He remained the same as the predictions in the Old Testament by fulfilling the prophecies and ministering to the people.
In addition to the Isaiah message we read earlier, Isaiah 53 speaks of the suffering servant and the ordeal and death of the Christ. He died in our stead so that we could enjoy the gift of eternal life. This was consistency and purpose. What a gift! With our involvement with the military, we understand the idea that sometimes people sacrifice for others. With Jesus, it wasn’t just an idea. It was His mission. He knew what He was getting in to. He knew the penalty of sin was death. He took that penalty upon His shoulders and endured it on our behalf. He chose to take on our sins and endure the pain that we should have justly taken.