Jesus came to this earth from the glories of heaven to begin the restoration of creation. God created this world in perfection. This world is a beautiful place when lived in harmony with our Maker. But all that was broken. So, Jesus came to this broken world to put it back together, again. Jesus came, from the glories of heaven, to be one of us, to re-create our world.
This morning I am going to share three episodes in this week’s Story which will give us a glimpse into what this means. We are going to look for clues about what Jesus did to begin the re-creation process. It will also give us a glimpse into how we operate as his agents of re-creation.
The first story is called....
Matthew 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples...
The location is significant. Caesarea Philippi had a long history of worship. In the old days in was a center of the worship of Baal. Then, during the days of Greeks, in became a site of worship of Pan, the god of mischief. Then, it had recently, just before the days of Jesus, been renamed in honor of the Caesars... the man-gods! In this location of pagan worship, Jesus asked his question...
Matthew 16:14 "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
Because Jesus was baptizing like John... because of his miracles like Elijah... because of his teachings like Jeremiah... the people knew Jesus was somebody; somebody significant!
Matthew 16:15-16 Jesus said to his disciples, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Right Answer! Peter, speaking for the disciples, nails it. Jesus you are...
--The Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the one who has been expected for generations. The one who will deliver his people! The Jews had a long line of “Messiahs” ... Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, David most recently the Maccabees... Jesus was the one who would deliver the Jews. Peter confessed that Jesus was the Anointed One come to deliver his people!
--And also, the whole world. This Messiah is bigger than Israel. Jesus is the Messiah, not only of the Jews, but the one who is going to deliver the whole world. Jesus is the re-creator of all creation!
--The Son of the living God. In contrast to the Caesars who were spoken of as Sons of gods; in contrast to Pan; in contrast to the Baals, Jesus is the Son of the Living God!
Watch what Jesus says in return to Peter’s Confession. Here is our clue as to how Jesus is restoring creation.
Matthew 16:17-19 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Jesus came to attack the gates of hell. Jesus came to create an army; He called the church. This church has the power to open the gates of hell and release the captives. Jesus came to empower His church to begin the restoration of creation by delivering people from the power of Satan!
Because of who Jesus is... the Anointed Son of the living God, we can bind up evil and loose the victims! We are able release people from...
--control of evil... He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world!
--from sin... the guilt and power of sin,
--from the brokenness... of addiction, from the hurt of rejection, terrible upbringings...
--from the power of death... we are not going to die... it is not going to stick... we can free people of death!
Wow! We, the church of the Anointed Son of the living God, have been given the keys to begin the restoration of creation! We are agents with keys!
Mark 9:2-4 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.
This is a special scene. Two of the most famous people in the Old Testament are speaking with Jesus. The Gospel of John tells us the three are talking about Jesus’s upcoming departure... his death on the cross. “Who is that Jesus is chatting with? Elijah and Moses... seriously?”
The disciples see Jesus in a new way... They see him in his purity, in his power, in his reality... in his glowing glory... as God speaking with Moses, and Elijah... “Hey, someone ask them for their autographs... wow!”
So, Peter, James and John have a great idea...
Mark 9:5-6 And Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
Peter, just like we would... says something stupid, because he doesn’t know what to say, “Let’s put up three places of worship. Wow! This is Moses and Elijah and Jesus. They are glowing.”
Here is the clue to what Jesus was doing to restore creation...
Mark 9:7-8 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him." And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
Jesus came to be Moses to deliver his people. Jesus operated like Elijah, the prophet with a message of God... “Listen to him!” One of the ways Jesus operated was to... show and tell us of God.
Hebrews 1:1-3 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power!
Jesus came to teach us how to live as agents of restoration! We pass on that teaching. We teach each other how we are supposed to live... “Live like Jesus!”
The Triumphal Entry
John 12:12-18 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So, they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!" The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.
Jesus has just brought Lazarus back to life. This caused quite the stir, as you may suspect. A crowd gathers. Jesus intentionally rides a donkey into Jerusalem. He fulfills my favorite Jesus-prophecy; Zachariah 9:9...
Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Jesus knew what he was doing by riding a donkey into Jerusalem...
--Jesus was announcing that he is King.
--The people knew what Jesus was doing... announcing that he is King.
--Jesus knew, the people knew, what he was doing... announcing that he is King.
--The people knew, that Jesus knew, that they knew, what Jesus was doing... announcing that he is King!
--Much to their chagrin... the Pharisees also knew, that the people knew, that Jesus knew, that they knew, what Jesus was doing... announcing that he is King!
John 12:19 So, the Pharisees said to one another, "Look, the world has gone after him."
The next couple verses contain our clue as to how Jesus operates to restore creation; and us.
John 12:20-22 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So, these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
The whole world has gone after him. Including some Greeks who go to Philip asking for an audience with the One who has just announced that he is king. Now listen to what Jesus tells these Greeks. Here is the clue.
John 12:23-26 And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”
Jesus tells the Greeks that it is time for him to be glorified. That means it is time for him to die on the cross. Jesus uses a metaphor to explain to the Greeks how glory happens in death. A seed is dies. A seed is buried. A seed is sacrificed. A seed is reborn to produce much fruit!
Then, Jesus explains the seed metaphor. If we are to be agents of re-creation, we do so with the power of sacrifice. Jesus modeled the power of his kingdom. Jesus went first. Jesus died to be the power of the church. Restoration is done through being servants to others! The glory of the church is giving our lives as servants... even to the point of death. The kingdom operates on Seed-Power! That brings glory. That is power. That is our purpose. That is the way of the agents of restoration!
The triumphal entry into Jerusalem announced that Jesus is King. But he is the king who dies for the glory of the Kingdom! We are agents... who live as seeds. Offering this life for the advancement of the kingdom gets us another one; an eternal one! We advance the kingdom through the power of a sacrificial life!
Let’s gather up our clues...
Peter confessed that Jesus came to be the Anointed Son of the Living God... He came to deliver the world!
The Transfiguration revealed Jesus came to be the prophet who reveals YHWH.
The Triumphal Entry announced that Jesus came to be King of a new kingdom!
But these clues reveal more...
--The Anointed One came to create his church... to anoint us by giving us the keys to release the captives of hell. Jesus came to create his powerful church! He gives his agents power!
--Jesus came to teach us the way to live as agents of the kingdom. We mimic Him who is God! Jesus gave us the message from God and of God.
--Jesus is a king whose power is through self-sacrifice! The power of the seed to bring glory! We operate as agents of a kingdom whose power is sacrifice!
Jesus came to this earth from the glories of heaven to begin the restoration of creation. God created this world in perfection. This world is a beautiful place when lived in harmony with our Maker. But all that was broken. So, Jesus came to this broken world to put it back together, again. Jesus came, from the glories of heaven, to be one of us, to re-create our world... as the Christ! The Prophet! The King!
July 15, 2018
Los Alamos Church of Christ