Summary: An Easter Message that takes a different slant on Christ preparation of the disciples. It calls us to boldly embrace and share the power of His resurrection.
The gates of hell no longer have a hold on you!
Easter Sunday 2015
Dr. Jim Bohrer
Gates are all around us. Some gates protect a garden, a yard, perhaps a store. Some gates have beware of dog. Those gates keep you out and hopefully keep the dog inside. And some gates keep you in. Some gates you don’t want to be behind. These gates keep you in, they trap you. There are people all around us who are trapped behind a gate today. They are trapped behind the gate of loneliness; the gate of depression; the gate of a broken family; the gate of alcoholism; the gate of sexual sin; the gate of bitterness; the gate of workaholism; I could go on.
Today we celebrate Easter, the day Satan’s grip was broken over you, the day the gate of death and hell were broken as Jesus rose from that grave. The day God declared Jesus to be Lord over death and Lord over life for the whole world to see and know. Because of THAT DAY, I can look to you and say there is no gate you are trapped behind that Jesus will not break through for you. There is nothing that Jesus cannot rescue you from and for the believer, there is no one you know that Jesus cant help.
How do I know that? Well, I want us to look at the last sermon Jesus preached before He revealed to the disciples God’s Master plan for Christ’s life, death and resurrection. If you read the two verses beyond what I have referred to in your notes, you will see that Matthew tells us that Jesus for the first time after this lesson teaches about His passion, suffering, and resurrection. So this lesson is really important. It’s the pep talk before they go to the big game. Mike Krzyzewski and Bo Ryan will give their most important pep talk of the season this Monday evening. This is the big game, the big dance. Well Jesus is getting ready for the Final battle with Satan and Sin. He wants the apostles and the church to be aggressive in their pursuit of those who are trapped behind gates that destroy lives in the here and now and in the here after.
Please stand in honor of our resurrected Lord Jesus. The word resurrection, anastasia, means “to stand.”
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”
And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven.”
REJOICE IN CHRIST’S POWER AND FREEDOM THIS EASTER!
I. Christ DEFIED darkness during His Life! (v. 13; John 10:10)
Jesus took the disciples to the Northern most part of Israel, to Philippi Caesaria, a place known for paganism and debauchery. Alexander the Great made this place famous in 330 BC. At the base of Mt. Hermon, a Spring that feeds the headwaters of the Jordan river. The pagans believe that the goat god Pan would emerge from the underworld from that cave. So Alexander dedicated a Temple to Pan there and carved places for statues into this huge rock. People would come from all over the world to worship there. The called this place the GATES OF HELL.
Caesarea-Phippi is a long way from Jerusalem. I believe Jesus traveled to this place to show the disciples that He was not afraid of any darkness. That the power He was giving to the disciples through His resurrection needed to be coupled with courage and boldness. He gave this lesson right in the midst of darkness. I like to believe, he took the disciples to an overlook of the Temple. I like to imagine He gave the message while the priests and priestess were carrying on in their worship. They could see the statues of the half man, half goat god. There would be two platforms. One would be a goat pen. There the goats would mate during their worship service. Then the goat dancers would come out on their stage and commit vile acts in hopes that Pan would grant them fertility, wealth, health and good crops.