Summary: We can continue to protest our innocence, to be the Pharisee who fails to look upon his own short-comings, only to find ourselves unblessed, spiritually dry, and out of touch with God. Or we can experience continual revival in our hearts, when we come bef
“Protesting Our Innocence” – The Calvary Road
April 4, 2004 – Palm Sunday
Purpose: We can continue to protest our innocence, to be the Pharisee who fails to look upon his own short-comings, only to find ourselves unblessed, spiritually dry, and out of touch with God. Or we can experience continual revival in our hearts, when we come before God in humility, asking for the forgiveness that he has continually promised to give. Adapted from Hession’s book entitled, “The Calvary Road.”
Seven days changed the world. The heart of our Christian faith, the topic of a million publications, countless debates and thousands of films, the inspiration for the greatest painters, the most skilled architects and the most gifted musicians…found their source in these next seven days.
Today…we celebrate a triumphant entry in Jerusalem…people yelling Hosanna…crowds coming to experience this Jesus.
On Monday, Jesus entered the temple and upturned the thieving money-changers and conniving merchants…the temple had become a place of ill-gotten profit, not a house of prayer…
On Tuesday, Jesus taught his disciples and those who would hear about true faith, unlike that of the religious leaders of that day.
On Wednesday, although the Gospels are silent, we can assume that as Jesus continued to preach, the Pharisees began to plan his demise.
On Thursday, in an upper room, Jesus gave the Passover meal a new meaning for his disciples. No longer would they remember just the Exodus from Egypt, now they (and we) would remember Jesus’ broken body and shed blood.
On Friday, following Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, imprisonment, the disciples desertion, false trials, denial, condemnation, beatings and sentencing, Jesus carried his own cross to the “Place of the Skull” – Golgatha and there died a horrible death…
On Saturday, Jesus lay dead in a tomb…
And on the first Easter Sunday, the stone was rolled away from that tomb…and through appearances to Mary, to Peter, to the two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, and to the 11 disciples gathered in a locked room, Jesus established his resurrection as fact.
Jesus knew that it would be these seven days that people would remember. He knew that we would be right here, in this place, remembering…
But he also knew that his disciples needed to be prepared for what was about to happen.
It should come as no surprise to us then that Jesus told this parable of an egotistic Pharisee and a humble tax collector both praying in the same temple, presumably to the same God, just before these seven days began.
I. First, let’s look at the Pharisee…
The Pharisee came with a full hand, with a hand that couldn’t miss, a hand that was a sure winner. He came before God confident that he was going to have a breakthrough, a deliverance, a revelation from the Lord. The Pharisee was coming before God with a great resume that would win him the position undoubtedly – all others need not apply!
Illus. the lion and the elephant…
It happened in the jungle one day. A lion with a big ego went around asking the other animals who the king of the jungle was. “Who’s the king of jungle?,” the lion roared at a monkey. “Why…you are, Mr. Lion,” said the monkey with fear in his voice.
The lion went on and found a zebra. “Who’s the king of jungle?,” he snarled. “There is no doubt about it…you are Mr. Lion,” said the zebra.
Seeing a turtle crossing his path the lion bellowed, “Who’s the king of the jungle?” Scared out of his shell the turtle said, “You are Mr. Lion. You are the king of the jungle.”
Then the lion came upon an elephant. Again, he roared out the question, “Who’s the king of jungle?” But the elephant did not answer. Instead, the elephant used his trunk to grab the lion by his tail. He spun him around over his hand several times, dunked him in a mud hole, and slammed him into a large tree.
Dazed and dirty the lion said, “Just because you didn’t know the correct answer was no reason to get upset.”
There is nothing wrong with self-confidence but when it exalts us above everyone and everything else then a problem is created. The problem is that we have exalted ourselves not God.
Have you ever heard the Shakespearean phrase “Me thinks thou protests too much…” It’s often used when someone is trying so hard to hide their guilt so much that they seem to go overboard with their explanations.
Hear the prayer of the Pharisee one more time, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithe of all that I possess….” – Makes me wonder exactly what this guy is hiding or maybe worse, what sin he has that he doesn’t even see.