Jesus is on His Way to Jerusalem, Sermon 03/17/2019

Ps. 46:1-11; Lk. 13:31-35

According to the gospel of Luke, Jesus had become a popular figure with the common people and this caused King Herod to fear Him and want to eliminate Him without angering the people. Jesus, however, would not be intimidated by Herod’s threats. Jesus knew that Herod had already beheaded John the Baptist. Nevertheless, Jesus declared that His future direction was clear. He would not be distracted from His course by Herod. He would finish what God had sent Him to do. Jesus indicated that He was driven by a divine imperative to go to Jerusalem.

Jesus refuses to be scared of Herod. He will not flee. His position is based on the conviction that He has a work to do and a mission to fill and no enemy is going to stop Him. Jesus is sure that His death will occur in Jerusalem which has killed other prophets. To be official and to fulfill prophecy, Jesus must go to Jerusalem. In this gospel, Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem, the only place for Him to die.

Jesus could have saved Himself, but He endured suffering because of His love for us. He could have chosen not to take the pain and humiliation; He could have killed those who mocked Him, but He suffered through it all because He loved even His enemies.

Love is more powerful than physical force. Jesus was the victim of all kinds of hurts-insults, lies, gossip, prejudice, slander. He was beaten and stripped and spat upon. He was nailed to a cross and yet He never retaliated. He never resented. He just turned the other cheek and kept on loving. And then when He died, the Roman centurion who had watched Him through it all and felt His love and said, “Truly, this was the Son of God.”

Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

When we are wronged, often our first reaction is to get even. Instead Jesus said, we should do good to those who wrong us. By loving and praying for our enemies, we can overcome evil with good. If we love our enemies and treat them well, we will truly show that Jesus is Lord of our lives.

Our desire should not be to keep score but to love and forgive. This is not natural. It is supernatural. Only God can give us the strength to love as He does. We must trust the Holy Spirit to help us show love to those for whom we may not feel love. Love is the most powerful thing in the world.

In the gospel of Matthew 5:38-39, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.”

William Barclay, who was an interpreter of the New Testament, pointed out that when Jesus told us to turn the other cheek; there is far more here than meets the eye, far more than a mere matter of blows on the face.

Suppose a right-handed man is standing in front of another man, and suppose he wants to slap the other man on the right cheek, how must he do it? With the back of his hand, now according to Jewish law to hit a man with the back of the hand was twice as insulting as to hit him with the flat of the hand. So, then what Jesus is saying is this: “Even if man should direct at you the most deadly and calculated insult, you must on no account resent it.”

Dear friends! Not too many of us are slapped around physically but time and time again life does bring us insults. The true Christian has forgotten what is to be insulted. When we begin to think, “Should I be personally offended by what this person has said or done?” At that moment, we have departed from the Spirit of Christ. As Christians, we learn from our Master Jesus Christ how to accept any insult and never resent it, but to turn the other cheek and go on with life.

God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die on the cross for us. The people took Jesus outside the walls of Jerusalem and put nails through His hands and a spike through His feet and Hung him between heaven and earth. But Jesus didn’t have to die. He died willingly because of you, because of me. The cross is the sign of God’s love toward us.

The Scripture said, “God demonstrates His own love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). God sent Jesus Christ to die for us, not because we were good enough but because He loved us so much. Jesus accepted the punishment, paid the price for our sins and then offered us the new life. He is our example of what it means to love; everything He did in life and death was a loving. So we are to love one another as God’s children. When we become Christians, we become part of God’s family with fellow believers as our brothers and sisters. No matter how else we may bear our testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ, the absence of love nullifies it all. Love is greater than anything we can say, or anything we can possess or anything we can give.

When you lie in a casket, your life on this earth ended, what will the people who attend your funeral service be thinking? What will they remember about you? They will remember with feeling whether or not you related to them out of love. Love is one gift you can afford to give to everyone. If you do give love, when you die you will hear the words of our Lord, “Well done, you are good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys of the Lord.” And those who have known you will miss you.

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