Summary: 2000 years ago a religious guy met Jesus and was told he was headed down the wrong road and needed to make a u-turn that led to a life where the pressure is off and was never the same again.
The Pressures Off
Never The Same Again (8)
I hope you are getting pumped up about taking the One Month To Live Challenge. NEXT WEEK – we will kick off the series with an Easter Message. AND THEN – things will really start to rock and roll the week of March 30th when we launch our One Month To Live Challenge Groups.
OKAY – that is where we are heading next week…
TODAY – we wrap up a study that we began on January 27th. A study where we are taking a look at some of the one-on-one encounters that people had with God when He walked this earth in the flesh. AND – let me tell you one thing was evident as we looked at these encounters. WHEN – people come face to face with Jesus Christ (the invalid on a mat by a pool, the leper, the paralytic man who was lowered through a roof, the Mary in the garden, the Samaritan woman at the well, the rich young ruler, the Canaanite mom with a demon possessed daughter) they were never the same again!
Have you ever been driving down the road and all of a sudden things don’t look that familiar anymore. Your heart starts beating faster. The back of your neck starts to sweat. You have no idea where you are. Awhile back you thought you were on the right road, but now you are clueless as to where you are. You frantically look for anything (a building, a sign, a landmark, a tree) anything that will help you figure out where you are. Then the questions start to come flooding in: should I stay on this road? Is it taking me further away from where I need to be? Do I have enough gas in the tank? Should I turn this thing around and just head back the way I came.
QUESTION – have you ever made a U-Turn? Do you like to make U-Turns? Do you make them a lot? Do you ever fight against them and keep driving the wrong way? Do you find it frustrating when you need to make a u-turn and either there isn’t a place to hang one or there is a sign that says you can’t?
I’ve made a lot of U-Turns in my life. AND – to be honest I love them. IN FACT I used to have a license plate hold that said ‘God Allows U Turns.’
THIS MORNING – we are going me a religious guy. A GUY – who thought he had it all figured out. A GUY – who though he had the system down. A GUY – who had a one-on-one with the King of Glory. AND – was told that he was headed in the wrong direction and needed to hang a U-turn and begin driving on a new road, a road that led to a life where the pressure was off.
AFTER – all of these years. He was confident that he had everything pretty well figured out. He had crossed all his T’s, dotted all of his I’s, he had the system down. I MEAN - IF anyone knew how this thing worked it was him. HE - had spent nearly all of his adult life not only studying the system but teaching others all about it. HE WAS - looked up to, respected… PEOPLE – were constantly coming to him to have their questions answered.
YES – he had driven many miles down this road… AND – he had never (not even once) encountered anything (a sign, a land mark, a unfamiliar twist in the road) that would lead Him to believe that he was headed in the wrong direction… (ever been that sure of something?)
UNDERSTAND – Nicodemus thought it was just going to be another typical holiday season, get everything ready, make all the necessary preparations (choose the lamb, bake the bread, cook the bitter herbs) THEN - celebrate the Passover… (You know the annual reminder that God’s people had been observing on the 14th day of the first month for over 1400 years).
A CELEBRATION – where Israel remembered the time that God delivered them from 400 years of bondage in Egypt, BRINGING - the mighty Pharaoh to his knees with 10 plagues… THE – last one (the death of all the firstborn in the land) ‘passed over’ God’s people because they had applied the blood of a lamb to their doorway.
OVER – the years Nicodemus had celebrated 50 or 60 Passovers (so many that he has lost count)… AND – when spring rolled around once again there was no reason for him to expect that this years observance would be any different then the last…
MAYBE – you felt the same way about coming to church today. I MEAN – you’ve been to so many services over the years - that you don’t expect anything to REALLY happen. JUST – a typical Sunday: get up; get dressed, go to church and come home.