Matthew 22 begins with Jesus telling a parable of a wedding feast to help the crowds understand what the kingdom of heaven is like. Many of us have all been guests at weddings; some of us have been participants in the wedding. So we know what a wedding is. But the wedding feast Jesus describes is not any ordinary wedding. Listen to this parabe and ask yourself who you are in this story. Are you the father who invites the guests? Are you the groom? Are you the bride? Or are you one of the invited guests? Did you accept the invitation or did you refuse?
We last saw Jesus heading for Bethany after delaying for two days and his disciples were concerned for Jesus' safety as well as theirs. We now find Jesus has arrived and Martha has run out to meet Him. She says, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Jesus replies "Your brother will rise again." A brief discussion of future events takes place; Martha runs to tell Mary that the teacher has arrived and is asking for her. Mary greets Jesus in a manner similar to Martha. The Jews who had gathered to console the sisters figure something is going on so they follow them.
Jesus instructs the stone to be rolled away from the tomb over the protests of Martha. He then prays loudly to His Father so that those present will know that the Father had sent Him. Finally Jesus shots for Lazarus to come out of the tomb and he does.
This message is one that deals with doubt, unbelief, and belief so that all present would have the chance to recognize who was in their midst. We have the same opportunity today. Have we recognized who Jesus is? Have we accepted Him? Do we proclaim His name and His gospel? How do we handle the doubts the devil may cause? Spend some time and listen to the message being delivered.
Jesus was a close friend of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He probably visited with them on numerous occasions so when Lazarus fell ill Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus. Why? In all likelihood, they knew who Jesus was and believed that Jesus would heal their brother. When He heard about the illness, Jesus delayed returning as the hour had not arrived. When He was ready to return, His disciples feared for His life but they were determined to go with Him so they could die with Him. But remember, the hour had not arrived.
Life was, in some respects so much simpler then. Yet, in other aspects it was much the same as today. That is, the gospel has never changed. People have changed, but the gospel has not changed. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul gives instructions to Timothy to "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." (2 Timothy 4:2 ESV)
We learn that the reason for being ready to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with patience and love is that, even in the early church, there were teachers who opposed the gospel of Jesus being preached and taught by Paul and the other apostles. Timothy was warned about one such individual. Listen in and see how we should treat such individuals today - spoiler alert, it comes down to how we are to treat our enemies and persecutors.
Crucifixion - a pretty dismal and gory event in and of itself but when it is the Son of God and everyone is mocking Him, somehow it seems even worse. Now put Jesus to death hanging on a cross between two criminals that join in the mocking and somehow it seems worse. But from all of this comes an amazing, eloquently simple gospel message. We know the beginning of the story in Eden and now we see the supposed end at the cross. What is really happening is a story of repentance, grace, and redemption. Simple, right? Listen once, twice, often. Be blessed.
This is the third in the series examing the last week in the life of Jesus in His human body. In this message, we examine the trial of Jesus before the high priest and the Sanhedrin. However before we get into the details of the trial, we take a look at Proverbs 20:28 - "Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld." This proverb sets the tone for tonight's message. The trial of Jesus, as unjust as it was, demonstrates the hesed love that God and Jesus, our King, had and have for us. Keep this in mind as you listen to this message about the suffering of Jesus at the hands of His people and the Romans.