Summary: HIS GREAT PAIN CAUSED OUR GREAT GAIN OF SALVATION.
“NO PAIN, NO GAIN”
PALM SUNDAY APRIL 8, 2001
INTRODUCTION: Victor Yap writes, The parents of a ten year old public school boy who was failing fifth grade math decided to enroll their son in a private Catholic school after exhausting all efforts to help. The youngster stormed home the first day of school, walked right past them, charged straight to his room, and locked the door. Two hours later, he emerged for a quick meal, announced that he was studying, and went straight back to studies until bedtime. This pattern continued until the end of the first quarter. After school, the boy walked home with his report card, dropped the envelope on the family dinner table, and went straight to his room. His parents cautiously opened the letter, saw a bright red “A” under the subject, MATH, and rushed excitedly into their son’s room! “Was it the nuns?” the father asked. The boy only shook his head and said, “No.” “Was it the one-on-one tutoring? Peer –mentoring?” asked the mother. Again, the boy shrugged, “No.” “The Textbooks? The teacher? The curriculum?” asked the father. “No, no, no.” the son finally spoke. “From the very first day of school, I knew that these folks were serious about math. When I walked into the lobby, and I saw a guy nailed to the PLUS sign, I knew they meant business!”
TRANSITIONAL THOUGHT: Who could believe it? Who would have ever thought it would have come to this? Such a powerful and glaring historical spectacle, nothing has gone as it seemed…. All of the professionals and most of the amateurs got this one wrong. In fact as I read the record, no one suggested at any time that this would have happened. And maybe you thought you figured it out, only to see the situation change again. Of course, I’m talking about the Messiah.
I know many of you, like me were glued to your televisions and radios during the last election, but I wanted for just a moment to contrast the election with the confusion about our Messiah. You do remember him… Lord of Lords, King of Kings, the only one in whom we place our hope and trust. Yea, now you remember.
Well for what its worth, this is not the first time in history we’ve been confused. It has happened before. It’s true in politics. In 1876 we didn’t have a president until 2 days before inauguration. 16 years earlier Abraham Lincoln was elected with no electors from the South.
And you know, I have no intention of making light of this past political crisis, but I suppose we have also been confused about weightier matters. At the turn of the 20th century, progressives fully expected the rapidly growing technologies, and the freedoms that had been found through the growth in literacy and humanitarian efforts would diminish the use of war and violence. In fact, Christian progressives were absolutely sure that the 20th century would be the end of such things and would that these efforts would usher in the kingdom of God. They were sure of it… and they were wrong. We just ended the most violent and destructive century in human history.
There were lots of folks who predicted that the second coming would occur around the turn of this century this time and the time before. One fella predicted it with such accuracy that he climbed up a tree and at 9:04am, on June 21, 1896, he lept out to meet the Lord in the air. Surely he met the Lord that day, but not in any way he expected. He was so sure of the outcome… and he was wrong. But at least he knows he was wrong. [POSSIBLE USEAGE? (Our Jehovah’s witness friends will to this day debate you that Jesus did return in 1917 and did set up his kingdom on Earth. They are sure of it… and they are wrong.)]
And just so you don’t think I’m picking on current folks missing the Messiah, I need to note that we weren’t the first ones who missed him. The people of God, the chosen ones, the children of Israel, and the scribes and Pharisees who know the songs of the prophets best missed him too. In fact, they were warned to look out before hand. That the Messiah may not be exactly what they expected, that he may not come from the right family, that he may not have your axe to grind.
Our text for this day talks about the stages humanity has gone through in discovering the reality of the coming of the Messiah and what it mean’s to all of us. Isaiah prophesies concerning this “SUFFERING SERVANT” as to just what it will look like when He comes and the outcome of HIS appearing.