Summary: Because the disciples were very human, and because human nature hasn’t changed, they exemplified three established traditions that are every bit as common in the church today.
Three of the Oldest Church Traditions
1. We all live within the boundaries of routines and patterns; but they do not always hold true.
2. Two old friends bumped into one another on the street one day. One of them looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears. His friend asked, "What has the world done to you, my old friend?"
The sad fellow said, "Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, my uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars."
"That’s a lot of money."
"And, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me eighty-five thousand dollars."
"Sounds like you’ve been blessed...."
"You don’t understand!" he interrupted. "Last week my great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million."
Now the friend was really confused. "Then, why do you look so sad?”
"This week... nothing!" (Source: Sermoncentral)
3. Today we are going to look at three bad routines — three traditions — that predate Pentecost but were always part of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Main Idea: Because the disciples were very human, and because human nature hasn’t changed, they exemplified three established traditions that are every bit as common in the church today.
I. The Tradition of Spiritual OBLIVIOUSNESS (32-34)
Chicago, laymen taught 2 months, parable 10 virgins. Last lesson, question time: “Yes, what is all this about 10 virgins.”
A. This is the THIRD and final attempt Jesus’ made to communicate
B. As a man of sorrows, was Jesus understood as being in a BLEAK mood?
1. Our pride makes us think we understand when we do not
2. Our brain usually converts what sounds wrong to right; that is why it is so hard to catch all the typos when you proofread a paper you write
3. We also have a tendency called “normalcy bias” called by firefighters a “negative panic.” For example, why did people not evacuate New Orleans before the Hurricane? Why do people sit in their seats in a burning plane rather than jump out off a wing? Why did people believe 911 was a hoax? Too awful to be true, so must not be true or exaggerated.
C. Yet they felt the atmosphere of GLOOM
1. Did you question what made the disciples feel “amazed?”
2. Why did those who followed feel “afraid?”
John 11:16, “So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’”
Perhaps the 40-day warning discussed in Talmud? Tractate Sanhedrin (43a) contains this passage:
Jesus was hanged on Passover Eve. Forty days previously the herald had cried, “He is being led out for stoning, because he has practiced sorcery and led Israel astray and enticed them into apostasy. Whosoever has anything to say in his defense, let him come and declare it.” As nothing was brought forward in his defense, he was hanged on Passover Eve.
D. We can be the same way: we don’t KNOW that we don’t know!
Many people in church today do not understand salvation by grace alone through faith alone, the Trinity, the nature of Biblical inspiration, or some of the most essential doctrines. They don’t know the difference in beliefs between evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons. And when they hear things taught, it is as though their minds were coated with Teflon and everything skids off. Church is not a place to focus attention and concentrate, it is a place to feel or alleviate ones consciences or find comfort in pattern. They think they know the things that are important; they don’t know they don’t.
Application: Some of our oldest traditions need to be trashed, including the ancient tradition of spiritual obliviousness. We need to get out of our stupor by choosing to develop a routine for steady growth in knowledge.
II. The Tradition of Coveting INFLUENCE (35-40)
A. The NATURE of the request: expecting Millennium soon
B. Most scholars believe that Jesus and James and John were COUSINS
By comparing Matt. 27:56 with John 19:25, it seems likely that Salome was sister to Mary (Jesus’ mother).
“By inference from the other Gospel accounts, Salome is also identified with the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Mt. 27:56) and with the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus…. (John 19:25)… If these identifications are valid, Salome was Jesus’ aunt and James and John were His cousins. This would help to explain her request that Jesus give them preferential treatment (Mt. 20:20-24; Mark 10:35-40), as well as Jesus’ request of John at the cross (Jn. 19:26f.) and the immediate response of James and John to Jesus’ call (Mk. 1:19f.).” [“Salome,” International Bible Encyclopedia, Volume IV, p. 286].
C. Matthew tells us that Aunt SALOME channeled the request
Matthew 20:20-21, Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”