Summary: Three steps to joining Christ on the adventure of a life.
You’ve Got What It Takes
Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church
March 19, 2006
What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you remember being asked that question when you were growing up? Some of you still ask me that question. A few weeks ago Mrs. Coffin asked me how tall I was. When I told her she asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
When I was growing up it seems like all the boys wanted to be policemen and firemen. Superman and Speed Racer were my TV and comic book heroes. In the living room I would watch the action as Superman used his x-ray vision to look through brick walls to find the lady in distress. Speed Racer had these awesome saw blades that came out of his car and cut down paths through the forests when he was escaping the bad guys. I always wondered where he stored them.
I don’t know about you, but as I watched those cartoon heroes, and was influenced by the real life ones I had at home and school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I wanted to help people and save the day just like those guys.
Think it no accident that God has written into each of our hearts that same epic. Every great book or movie or play is the same. The characters, setting and problems may change, but the story is always the same. Things start out quiet, then events begin to take place that create a crisis, then a hero emerges that brings victory. All the great westerns have that theme; just watch any episode of Bonanza or the Lone Ranger. Even the love stories are written with that element of crisis, a hero emerges and saves the day.
In the text we’re reading today we find part of the greatest epic ever told, and here Luke reveals to us the emergence of the hero. From Genesis to Revelation we read of the showdown between the forces of Satan and those of God. God sits on the throne and Satan wants that throne. It’s the classic, “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us.” God kicked Satan out of heaven and since then Satan has been attacking God by attacking His people. He’s been attacking God by deceiving the lost and keeping them blind to their need of salvation, and like the villain that he is, he’s convinced himself that he can really win this thing.
But we know better! God promised Satan in Genesis 3:15 that he would bruise the heel of Christ, but Christ would crush his head, and thus the epic began. The villain might put a bullet in the hero’s leg, but the hero puts a bullet right through his heart.
You strip the Old Testament down and it becomes the story of God preparing the way for the hero to emerge. In fact, Luke 3:23-38 is a recounting of that story. Jesus was the son of Joseph, who was the son of Heli, who was the Son of Matthat…” Jump over to Revelation and look past all the bowls and trumpets and vials of wrath and you’ll find the grandest showdown in history. Did you ever wonder why the great western heroes wore the white hat and the bad buy always wore black? That theme originated in God! Christ comes riding into town on His white horse with victory and salvation! He alone can save the day!
Luke tells us about its earthly beginning. Of course much has gone on in the halls of glory before this event, but earthly speaking, here is where Jesus shows up in town. Let’s read verses 21-22.
“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
Did you ever think about Jesus growing up and being asked by folks, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Of course most would assume that He would be a carpenter like His father. He was certainly trained in that trade. But Jesus knew from an early age what He had been sent to do. “When I grow up I’m going to be the Savior of the world.” Now that’s ambition! But it wasn’t ambition at all – it was His purpose. “When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son,” the Scriptures say.
The human body of Jesus Christ had been groomed to go to the cross. For 30 years Jesus prepared for this moment. The eternal destiny of humanity hung on His decision to follow through, and the very character and truthfulness of God was on the line. Had Jesus refused to do this thing He would have been no different from Adam. Adam’s sin was not in eating the fruit; it was choosing to act of His own volition rather than being obedient to God. Had Christ refused to set His face toward the cross, He too would have been guilty of acting of His own volition, but the Bible says “He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”