Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The Messiah many are looking for is quite different than the Messiah who came to us in Jesus.

The Disappointing Messiah

John 12:12-19

Jack was raised in the church. He frequented Sunday school and worship services each Sunday with his family. He had learned all of the famous stories of the heroes of the Bible. He had heard of the times that God had intervened in the lives of His committed saints to rescue them from the hands of peril. Jack sang the great songs of the faith and he sang them with passion. "A mighty fortress is our God. A bulwark never failing." "Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me." Jack knew them all, he believed them, he recalled them whenever trouble would come knocking at his door.

Jack grew up and began a family of his own. The Lord blessed he and his wife with a little boy whom they loved with a love they had never experienced before. Jack and his family continued the family ritual that had been started by his folks when he was a little boy. They would travel to Sunday school and church every Sunday in order to worship God for His goodness and to teach their son about the faith that had given them stability and strength.

One Christmas when the little boy was four years old, Jack and his family traveled to grandma's house to celebrate the birth of the Messiah and the family that Jack treasured. It was an unusually warm Christmas and Jack's son had gone outside to play in the front yard. He had only been outside a few minutes when Jack decided to go out and check on him. Jack put on his jacket and went outside when all of a sudden his horrifying nightmare began. Little Joseph was hanging from grandma's picket fence by the hood on his jacket. Jack rushed to help his little son, but the boy's body was lifeless. Jack lifted the hood off of the picket fence and tried to frantically revive his son while he screamed for help. An ambulance was called and the paramedics tried to breathe life back into the child, but life was gone.

For the next several months Jack cried out to the heavens seeking some kind of answer from God, but to Jack the heavens were silent. Why? Why? Why? Why, didn't God do something to stop the death of his little boy? Why was God so silent while Jack and his wife were agonizing over their loss?

Finally, Jack gave up. He had stopped hating God for His silence, His seeming lack of concern, and Jack simply stopped believing in God. His disappointment had ranged from despair and defeat to simply denying the existence of the God from whom he had once drawn so much strength and solace.

Jack's disappointment with God caused him to walk away and forget everything he had learned, everything he had believed. It is not just the Jack's of the world who go through horrible nightmarish experiences who find themselves disappointed with God. It is also those whose very lives have been spent teaching others about the Lord, but who deep down have had their faith worn away with little, antagonizing disappointments.

Some time ago a Bishop was asked to lead a clergy conference. In order to assess his audience he asked the host, "How many of these ministers are functionally agnostic?" The host was a little started at the question, but he responded by saying, "About 75%." The Bishop found out later, from talking to the ministers, that they called themselves believers, but that they had long given up on the expectation that God would act in their lives. It was a long process of erosion, bit by bit, over a long period of time. The Bishop discovered that these ministers had been taught a lot about what modern people couldn't believe and very little about what they could or should believe. The Word of God had died with the many qualifications that were placed upon it.

Some of the older ministers found that years of church squabbles, unresponsive congregations, constant money concerns, unsympathetic leaders, and personal disappointments diminished their faith. Some were turned off by the television evangelists who taught that if you prayed the right way you could get God to perform on cue. In reaction to excessive faith these ministers developed minimal faith. They continued to pray for the sick but would have been surprised, even embarrassed, if anyone would have been healed.

What is it that causes us to be disappointed with Jesus? Praying for an "A" when in fact you get an "F"? Asking Jesus to help your mom and dad love each other only to find them signing divorce papers? You prayed for God to cause your mate to love you again, but love never came. Praying for healing only to find you're sitting in the office of the funeral director? How about cutting a deal with Jesus only to find out that He hasn't kept up His end of the deal?

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