Summary: I fear that the Jesus so many people have become comfortable with or adopted is not the real Jesus of the bible? And so for the next four weeks we’re going to meet the real Jesus.
Philip Yancey wrote a book titled “The Jesus I Never Knew.” In it he confesses that he didn’t know the real Jesus. His Jesus was blonde haired and blue eyed and moved about on a flannel board. He grew up learning about how lovely and friendly Jesus was. And then as an adult he took it upon himself to learn all he could about Jesus. It was then, that he learned that the Jesus he had grown up with was superficial, incomplete, stunted, undeveloped, underdeveloped, and much too small, too sterile and too one dimensional.
Observing this very thing Kevin DeYoung blogged, “There's the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms. There's the Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart who is for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money. There's the Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life's problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves. There's Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals…There's Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes run faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls…There's Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that "all you need is love…" There's Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat…There's Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love…”
I fear that the Jesus so many people have become comfortable with or adopted is not the real Jesus of the bible? And so for the next four weeks we’re going to meet the real Jesus. And to help us do this I’ve secured the help of four of Jesus’ most trusted friends, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We’re going to consult with one of them each week during this series to learn what they can teach us about the Jesus they knew.
I have to tell you right at the kick off that it’s difficult to share what each gospel writer thought of Jesus in just one sermon. After all, each one wrote a book on this topic. And so each of these messages will not be exhaustive or final but will present one big idea of who each of the gospel writers understood Jesus to be. And the way we get to that big idea is by asking each of Jesus’ friends the following question. “If you could tell this church one thing about the Jesus you knew, what would you want us to know?”
We begin with one of Jesus’ most well known disciples and friends – Matthew reading from Matthew 21.1-11.
“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage (BETH-fu-jee) on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
The word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
This passage is all about Matthew saying, “If I could tell you one thing about the Jesus I knew it would be that Jesus is definitely the Messiah.”
Messiah is a Hebrew term that means “the Anointed One”. The Greek equivalent is Christos or the Christ. Kings, priests and prophets were anointed with oil as a sign that they had been chosen by God for a special task. However, when the phrase “anointed One” or “the Lord’s anointed” is used in the Scripture it almost always refers to a king.
Now the scriptures also tell of God’s plan to send a great King to Israel who would one day rule the world. Genesis 49.10 says it this way, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” The prophet Zechariah says it this way, “The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.” (14.9)