Summary: There is nothing like a contrast to make the point; Jesus used the idea of contrast to highlight Who He is, and to distinguish external religion from true devotion.
The Power of Contrast
1. Illustration … a few years ago,. Trying to tell someone about the Windfarm on I-65 in NW Indiana. This person had never seen the big windmills, and was thinking of a place with 3 tiny windmills on US 31.. or the types farmers use to pump water in Nebraska. Could not break through. Words could not do it.
2. A few years ago at the Women’s Banquet, I was the head cook and decided to make meatballs. I announced we had plates with 1 for a small serving and 2 for a regular serving. Some people were saying, “they are going to starve us.” They were thinking of these little meatballs people buy from Sam’s Club. But I was making homemade Chicago-style meatballs that are about 3 ounces each.
3. In those instances, it took people actually seeing to open their minds to what really is. But sometimes concepts are not visual in nature. In those cases, you need to get people to start thinking, and words are all you have. But using contras can help amplify those words.
Main Idea: There is nothing like a contrast to make the point; Jesus used the idea of contrast to highlight Who He is, and to distinguish external religion from true devotion.
I. The Contrast Between David and the MESSIAH (35-37)
A. WHO is Jesus Christ?
1. This is perhaps the most important question a person can ask.
2. I knew a woman who was a founding member of HPC…. When I prayed, I quote the song, “Love was when God became a man.”
B. A MIDRASH on Psalm 110:1-2
The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool….
C. Even David bowed the KNEE to Messiah.
D. Thus Messiah is GREATER than David
Implication: For Messiah to be a descendent of David yet more than David, there must be another aspect to his being!
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8
E. Jesus had to gently lead His disciples to recognize that He is GOD in the flesh!
John 20:27-29, Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Application: Sometimes we have to break news to people slowly and gradually. I remember when my mom had gall bladder surgery….doctor explaining… I almost fainted…needed to be told to sit down…Understanding the divinity of Jesus is not something everyone gets at once…the same is true with salvation…
II. The Contrast Between the EXTERNALLY Religious and Those Truly Dependent Upon God (38-44)
A. God’s HATES hypocrisy even more than we do! (38-40)
1. Matthew 13 records a longer version of this diatribe
2. Not talking about all the Scribes and Pharisees — just some
3. The nature of mechanical religion
4. These men took financial advantage of widows
5. The nature of pretense: we see it in others, but not ourselves…we “fix”
6. We can become like these Scribes unintentionally; we start imposing what we think the Bible means rather than what it actually says…
7. Human nature seeks a religion that vindicates/accommodates their choices
8. It is better to confess and forsake wrong than to rationale it
9. Idea of hottest part of hell is on target! More light, more responsibility
B. A poor WIDOW’S tiny gift was greater because her heart was sincere. (41-44)
1. In the Court of Women
2. This area of the Temple contained 13 trumpet-shaped receptacles for offerings and gifts
3. How much did she give? About 1/64th of a day’s wage
4. We might say 2 or 3 dollars today.
C. The incident of the Widow’s mite is not so much about giving, but about the kind of people God specially VALUES
1. Sincerity of heart
2. Dependence upon God
3. Not out for the applause of men
4. Struggling through life in a way that honors God
5. If you have been a believer for a number of years, you have met some people very much like this…but you may tend to remember the hypocrites better!
D. You do not have to be in DIRE STRAITS to depend upon God