Summary: People respond to Jesus today just as they did two thousand years ago. We can divide people into four camps.
One Messiah, Four Responses
1. ABC is producing a new TV show, with a bad name, that is a direct attack upon evangelical Christians, presenting us as immoral hypocrites.
2. How has our country sunk so low? A better question is, “Why did this take so long?” The waning Christian influence in America has held back many direct attacks made against us and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
3. A lot of people out there hate us because they hate Jesus, despite their claims otherwise. And this is nothing new; we just need to wake up and smell the coffee.
Main Idea: People respond to Jesus today just as they did two thousand years ago. We can divide people into four camps.
I. People Who Think Jesus is A FRAUD (1-2)
A. There is always a way to maintain UNBELIEF
1. They accounted for the virgin birth: illegitimate
2. They accounted for his miracles as sorcery
3. They ascribed his supernatural powers to Satan
4. The labeled his followers as naïve and gullible
History tells us that the high priests were like a mafia, bullying their opponents
Jerusalem crowded -- 5 times normal population during Passover; high alert time
Extra guards… a few years later, 30,000 people were trampled during Passover
[source: Craig Keener, IVP Bible Background Commentary]
B. Man’s problem is always HIMSELF, not God
John 8:43, “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.”
John 3:19-21, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John 7:16-17, “So Jesus answered them, ‘My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.’”
C. Application: Can your faith THRIVE if most people think Jesus is a fake?
II. People Who Have Believed and LISTEN to Jesus (3-9) [note: much info here filled in from John 12]
In the Gospels, these are few and far between
A. Mary of the Martha and Lazarus family was one of the few who LISTENED
• Perhaps their father was Simon the Leper; dead for years or cured?
• To distinguish this r Miryam, we can call her Miryam Bat Shimon.
B. Even today, many believers do not make the EFFORT to listen
C. Listening implies hearing, comprehending, and ACTING upon
• Some people are too quick to act but do not want to learn, listen (Martha)
• Others are quick to hear but do not want to act
• Luke 6:46, parable of building house on rock/sand
Jesus quoted from Deut. 15:11, “The poor you always have with you.” Not to degrade poor, but prioritize. Our faith is not merely a means to improve society;
D. Application: Are you serious about being a DISCIPLE?
III. People Who Believe In Jesus and Seem OBLIVIOUS (8)
A. The Disciples were told but did not COMPREHEND
B. PARADIGM blindness still prevents us from catching on
1. We see what we expect to see and blot out what doesn’t fit the equation
2. The disciples had only part of Messianic prophecy in their minds, that the Messiah would set up his Kingdom on earth and rule from Jerusalem; they could not see the “suffering servant” prophecies
C. Sometimes we do not connect the DOTS
D. Application: Do you confront your own OBLIVIOUSNESS?
• Do you allow mental blocks to keep you from “getting it?”
IV. People Who Professed Faith In Jesus But Now DENY Him (10-11)
A. Many people have never had their faith CHALLENGED
B. Doubts can be a BLESSING if we resolve them
C. Our society is filled with people who used to call themselves CHRISTIANS
1. We have had an elder who now follows new age thinking
2. We had a deaconess who is now a Muslim
3. We have other people who were members who are now Eastern Orthodox, Unitarian, and who knows what else
4. Some would still call themselves Christians, but not born-again evangelical
5. Ted Turner of TNT used to call himself an evangelical
D. CONVERSION can be a fad or a family tradition
E. Real believers develop CONVICTION, not mere assent nor emotional experiences
F. Not all apostates act like JUDAS
John 12:6, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”