AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH
APRIL 25, 2004
THE LIFE OF GOD LIVED AMONG MEN
Weeping, Expelling, Breaking Swords
Peace was Costly, but War
not in killing others, but in Dying:
Jihad and Jesus diverge INFINITELY
1. PROTESTING STONES Luke 19:28-40
The Lord has need, and not any donkey will do: only the one appointed. Gift is to Christ and no other, and the word ‘Master’ meant giving freely. What an honour for the Lord to need it! So our selves, assets, income, talents, minds, bodies are for HIS service. That is one of the things it MEANS to be a Christian! … FORSAKE ALL and FOLLOW ME! (Luke 14:27ff.).
Quoting from Psalm 118, concerning the Messiah, they cried as He entered the city, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD, and to this they added the words of the shepherds who announced He had COME! The rocket Challenger went in a strange winding path to its oceanic doom, but Christ spent years in far more danger, the ultimate space man, not FROM space, but from its CREATION, as owner! Your disciples are to be rebuked! the religious potentates decreed. Yet Jesus answered like this: IF these should keep silence, the stones would immediately cry out!
This meant that creation and history alike would be unable to carry on in the face of such a mute testimony to His arrival. Men’s hearts might be defiant like stone, but stones would do better! Cry out ? They have done so in testimony of rock and reality ever since to an unbelieving world, one sometimes acting as if to follow Him – as in the Roman Empire in the fourth century, in England and USA over a couple of centuries particularly; but now almost entirely disappearing into the smoke and gloom of an unbelieving doom, the world has become flamboyant and flaming.
2. DIVINE TEARS and HUMAN BIERS 19:41-48
In Luke 19:41ff., you see once and for all the tears of God, the lament of purity at the advent of blind, dead hearts. It was like people, to take the opposite sort of case, who did not realise that the atomic bomb had exploded, and thought it was a dust storm. To be sure, some at Maralinga might have thought, by their exposure, that it was unimportant; but the results speak for themselves. So is it with Christ, not in destruction, but construction, not in devastation and desecration but in new creation (Titus 3:5-7, Colossians 3:10). Failure to believe in the ultimate exposure to truth is the ultimate peril (John 3:19).
And what did He cry concerning the city ? “IF YOU HAD KNOWN, even you, especially in this your day, the things that belong to your peace …!” How this teaches us to be perceptive and to investigate, seek and follow the will of God (Matthew 7:21). It is no cynosure, Christian life, and though it is sure in its end, it may be painful on its way. The cross is not a thing of pleasure!
The leaders however were too intent on their roles, their nation, their temple, their this and that, to think of the future, the realities of God, the way of truth. As a result, their survival program became their own pit (John 11:50ff.), and their hatred of Christ, their own ruin. Notice how it was some 40 years before they reaped what they had sown, a strong testimony to the mercy and patience of God, who on a far larger scale, is even now giving time to the world (II Peter 3:9), is to seek and to find (cf. Matthew 24:12). To find whom ? Himself, through that sacred gate, Jesus.
3. BROKEN SWORDS AND PULVERISED STONES 22:47-53
Passing through some material which we have recently considered, we move on to Luke 20. Notice that Christ divides households, some for and some against, and that His disciples are apt to be betrayed by their own families, which of course happened in Nazi Germany for example. Thence we come past the Last Supper in 22:7ff., and it is this which reminds us that we plan next Sunday to have a Communion Service, in memory not of Anzac, a work of courage, but of the only invasion force which has ever rescued man from his sin, his sentence and the enemy of souls, namely Christ Jesus the Lord.
From symbol to substance went the Lord, and as we see Him ask them to supply swords, just two, as a symbol of His being taken as if a transgressor. In Luke 22:37, we see in the light of this that “the things concerning Me have an end.” In other words, His earthly career was about to be literally carved up and completed, in the suffering mode; as to His glory in triumph, that had been foretold in 21:27ff.. Then sweat falling like great drops of blood, attested His final prayers! (22:47ff.). “Father if it is Your will, take this cup from Me, nevertheless not My will but Yours be done.” It was no mirage, the sufferings of Christ, and no violation ever came near this!
Now we find Judas, like so many false clerics, meriting this exclamation from Jesus: “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss!” (Luke 22:48). What makes this the more horrendous is this, that the term SON OF MAN is found in Daniel 7, where He is seen as the Lord of all, brought to His Father before all in massive assemblage. How grievous that SUCH a One, should not only be betrayed, but this with some show of emotion, and not only that, but with a kiss, as if it were affection, which in fact was defection! Hell has her own, and they act it out.
From this come two massive results. One is that Peter is rebuked for counter-attacking with physical violence. The High Priest’s servant’s ear had to be restored, after Peter in what may have been a massive swipe, had come near to cleaving his head in two! Jesus healed His enemy’s discomfort (Luke 22:49-50), full well knowing that there would be only shame and horror for Himself, without limit or mercy. THAT is grace…
It is also shows, together with John 18:36 and Matthew 26:52-53), that the kingdom of heaven is NOT of this world, it is NOT a way to be rich or famous, loved on this earth, but it is to bring the love, pity and power of God to man, who as the world dies, lives despite it, and that forever, bringing as many as he may with him to glory, through the Gospel. There is need. Note the word of Christ in Luke 20:18, after His telling of the parable of the refusniks, not willing to pay rent in produce for their vineyard which HE had made.
It is this: “The stone which the builders rejected, it has become the headstone of the corner.” In this, the citation is from Psalm 118:22. It is what follows which is drastic: “Whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomsoever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” As to ROCK, that of Matthew 16, the rock of ages of Isaiah 26:4, the sure foundation stone of Isaiah 28:16, Christ revealed by the Holy Spirit and relied on, it is the criterion of Christianity. It is basic; but if rejected, it is obliterative. Reality is like that. It is not playful when you are blind to it, less so in the presence of your own blindfold!