A Jesus For Everywhere
Pastor Duane Smets
July 9th, 2017
I. A Universal Need
II. A Universal Message
III. A Universal Question
Well, good morning everyone! It's really great to be back here and back up here with all of you today. A week ago Friday I had surgery on my arm after shattering it at our church’s ”Man Day”. So, special thanks to Pastor Buss for filling in for me and preaching at the last minute.
The surgery went well. They basically reconstructed my arm and wrist with a bunch of metal. Here are some pictures for you. I'm really hoping that after I am all healed up I'll be able to pull off some sick Wolverine action!
I've been thinking about it and wondering if there is a lesson to be learned from this experience for us as a church. And I think that one thing I've proven in this is that, there isn't anything I won't do for you as your pastor. If you say jump? I will say, how high? And I'll jump. Even if it's jumping off some wobbly fence.
The truth is I really do love and care for you all as one of your pastors and all of you have been so great and so kind to me in this season. So thank you. If you're new and happen to be visiting today my name is Duane. I'm one of six pastors here. We all serve together under our head Pastor Jesus. And my main pastoral job is preaching most weeks here at our church.
This year we have been reading and studying through the book of Luke in the Bible. We've been doing that because we have the church want to try to know and understand Jesus better and the mission that he calls us to in engaging all peoples.
The picture of Jesus in Luke's portrait of him is that who Jesus is and what he came to do is something that is for all kinds of people everywhere throughout all time. He is the everywhere and everyone Jesus.
The last time that we were together looking at Luke we saw Jesus do four different crazy miracles. Each one of them provoked strong responses from those who experienced the miracles and those who saw them. And with each one, you basically walked away with this question in your mind “who is this Jesus?”
Jesus own hand selected disciples who had already spent a significant amount of time with them are even astonished at his words and actions and say in verse 25 of the last chapter we were in, “Who is this man?” And they end of believing in him on a whole new level.
In today's passage we're not going to see Jesus do any miracles but instead, see him tell his disciples to go do some miracles and to tell people about him. They go out doing that everywhere and the result is that even the Jewish king, Herod ends up having the same question the disciples did, “Who is this man?”
Let's go ahead and read it, pray over it and I'll tell you where we're going with it.
And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
Now, Herod, the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen. Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.
Luke 9: 1-9
• Pastoral Declaration: This is the Word of the Lord.
• Congregational Response: Thanks Be To God.
• Pastoral Prayer
Alright. Once again, the portrait of Jesus in Luke's book throughout is that he is for all people everywhere.
When Jesus is born Luke records the angels singing in Luke 2:10-11, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord.”
When Jesus grows up and starts his teaching, preaching and healing ministry he says from the very outset in Luke 2:43 “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to other towns as well for was sent for this purpose.”
When Jesus instructs his disciples to go out and tell people about him in our passage today, He says in verse 6, "and they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.”
Jesus is an everywhere Jesus. The message and ministry of Jesus apply everywhere, it's for all people throughout all time in all places. That's what I hope we walk away learning and remembering today. If you want to make it simple, like just two words, just remember everywhere and everyone. Everywhere and everyone. Jesus is for everyone everywhere.
I was thinking about it this week and there are not very many things that are universal. You know, things that are true of people everywhere no matter where you go on the planet. So I tried to come up with a list.
The first thing that came to my mind is pretty simple. Everyone poops. No matter where you go that's a universal need and experience.
The second one I thought it was probably what comes before, everyone eats and drinks. Depending on where you are in the world people eat very different kinds of food and drinks, but everyone eats.
After that, the only other one I could really come up with is that everyone talks. Supposedly there are over 7000 different languages that people speak in our world. But, the one universal thing in that is everyone talks.
Beyond those three things, depending on who you uniquely are as an individual and where are you were born in the world, pretty much everything else is different and varied. There's just not a whole lot of things that are universally true for everyone everywhere throughout all time.
Yet, what Jesus seems to assume and imply and say is that there is one universal deep need that every human being has and that he has the answer for that need. So, I've got three points from our text today to help us to see that and look at it, "A Universal Need ", "A Universal Message”, “A Universal Question.”
I. A Universal Need
Let's jump into this first point, “A Universal Need “. So, It's hard to say how long Jesus has been doing his thing at this point. If you count what Luke has told us about thus far, it looks like roughly about 9 different sermons or teachings from Jesus and about 13 different healings or miracles. So I will just make a guess and say it's probably been about a year or so.
When Jesus first invited this core team of 12 guys into this special apprenticeship he called them disciples, which essentially means learners. The word disciple means to teach, so the disciple is one who learns to teach. But now, here in Luke 9 for the very first time Jesus calls these disciples apostles. In the word, apostle means “sent one."
Basically, these guys have been listening to Jesus, learning from him, watching him, And now Jesus says to them, "Hey, now I want you guys to go out and do what I've been doing.”
Which as a sidenote is what we are really after here at our church. It's great that so many of you come on Sundays and listen to the teaching of the word of God. But that's not all we are after. We believe that all of us who call ourselves Christians have been sent by Jesus to engage the people of our city. Jesus said in John 20:20 "As the Father sent me, so I send you.”
There are certain things that you just can't learn by only listening. For example, a football player can't really learn how to play the game just by listening to a coach talk and watching him draw some diagrams of plays on a whiteboard. You can't learn to surf by just reading a book about the mechanics of surfing. You just have to go do it! You can't learn to be a good cook and make good food just by reading recipe books, You have to actually cook yourself.
And that's what Jesus is after here. There is great need, a universal need, and Jesus calls his followers to go out and minister to that need.
Need here gets expressed in a couple ways. One, with the disciples doing miracles like Jesus did in casting out demons and curing diseases. The second way is where Jesus sent them how without any provisions, which puts his disciples in the position of need and dependency on God through the reception of other people.
Here just because on this occasion, Jesus instructed them to do miracles and to take no provisions doesn't mean that that is how Jesus intends us to always fulfill the mission he called us to.
There are many other times when Jesus himself and his disciples simply prayed with people who were hurting or took care of people's practical needs, like food and a place to stay or things of that nature. And on another occasion later in the book of Luke in chapter 22 Jesus send them out in a similar way and that time tell them to take a bag, money, a sword, and a cloak.
Last time we looked at Jesus in Luke together we learned that both the physical healings Jesus administered and the demon activity Jesus addressed are both pictures of the universal spiritual need we have as human beings. All of us experience spiritual brokenness in our spirits and eventually in our bodies and all of us have been influenced and affected by demonic ideas and forces, which are basically any lies.
So disease is broken spirits and broken bodies and demons work is that of lies and deception of the mind. Most of us will never see or experience a supernatural miracle in our lifetime, mainly because of the culture and context we live in here in the western world, which is less animistic and occultic. It's not about how much faith you have but context. So that kind of ministry method would not be super helpful for people in our context coming to believe in Jesus. We would easily rationalize away such occurrence with an alternative explanation.
However, the deep down spiritual need is still there and it's still the same and Jesus still calls us to administer his healing power, grace in truth two broken people in our broken world. A German philosopher named Frederick Schleiermacher is famous for saying that human beings are homoreligiosis.
Homo Latin for “same” and religiosis is religion. And what Schleiermacher meant by that is that all human beings universally are the same in that they all have a deep need and desire for religion.religiosis is religion. And what Schleiermacher meant by that is that all human beings universally are the same in that they all have a deep need and desire for religion.
And I believe this is true. I believe everyone is spiritual and has a deep spiritual religious need. And Jesus calls us as his people to minister to those needs.
One professor named Darrell Bock wrote an entire book on the Gospel of Luke and said this about the passage we are looking at today…
“Evangelism requires an engagement. It often requires serving people as well as preaching to them. Telling unbelievers that God cares should be reinforced by evidence of such caring. Tell the disciples were involved in miraculous activity, It does not mean that miraculous ministry is necessarily calling for today. The key to the disciples activity was the combination of compassion and message, the gospel preached in word and deed. God can and may act in a sovereign display of power, but usually, our ministry of evangelism requires a more mundane approach, the one that is just as meaningful.”
Last Sunday night there were four cop cars right out in front of my house. I looked out my window and saw all kinds of activity happening at my next-door neighbor’s house. And after a little while of wondering what was going on one of the other neighbors knocked on my door and said, "Duane we got to talk to you.”
I walked outside and the neighbors across street joined us as he told me that my next-door neighbor Peter had hung himself in his garage a few hours ago. My neighbor said to me, “Duane you're the pastor what do we do?”
I didn't feel quite on my “A” game being all hopped up on meds and in intense pain just after surgery. But I told them that my biggest concern was Sue then we need to pray for her and do whatever we could help her.
Sue’s full name is Suzukiyama. She is this sweet Japanese gal who has been our next our neighbor ever since we moved in almost 7 years ago. She met Peter just this last year and he moved in with her. But in the last few months things kind of fell apart between them and he was planning on moving out.
The next day I went over to check on Sue to see how she was doing. And she's understandably having a hard time. I asked her if I could give her a hug and she just started crying. So we've been trying to love on Sue this week. The other day we brought her some flowers and a card. I got my other neighbor helping out a bit with her dog. And we're trying to see what we can do to help her get rid of Peter stuff left in her house.
Now, Sue hasn't become a Christian yet. We're praying for her. We're talking with her for trying to love her and helper. Also that she might know the love and care oh Jesus the Savior.
You see, both her and Peter since this deep universal need we all have as human beings. The need for love, the need for connection and ultimately the need for God. In this world we all experience brokenness. Things that don't go right. We experienced pain, hurt, disappointment. And it's hard.
I promise you this. Everyone. Everywhere you go. Everywhere. People have deep longing. People have deep needs. And in that we have great opportunity, great opportunity to show people the love of Jesus.
So here's what I want to ask you. What are the needs around you? Are you aware? Are you paying attention? Are you looking for opportunities to minister to hurting people? Or are you just all wrapped up in your own personal world?
Everyone is in need. Are you trying to be sensitive to people’s needs? Are you trying to get below the surface with people?
Jesus wants us to go out in his name and to do our best. Sometimes something will come of it and will go well and sometimes it won't. And that's okay. We are simply his the ambassadors. Sometimes we think that we need to be these great Christians before we can really start doing anything.
But remember these guys are still newbies in Jesus's calling them to go out in his name to love people with his power and his grace. And we can do that too. If you've experienced the goodness of Jesus on any level thing you have something to give. Something that people everywhere are longing to experience.
Everywhere and everyone. Everywhere and everyone. Well, it's not just about doing the practical things and tangibly extending Jesus's kindness and goodness, It's also about what we say. Since talk about that now in our second point for today, ”A Universal Message.”
II. A Universal Message
In verse 2 it says Jesus "sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and heal” and in verse 6 it says they went to the villages "preaching the gospel and healing everywhere”. So what we see here is that the preaching and proclaiming goes hand in hand with the healings.
We cannot an are not supposed to separate the ministry of Jesus from the message about Jesus. At its core, the very essence of the gospel is words that must be spoken. Jesus intention here is not that we would go out as his people and just be nice people and do good things for people and never say anything about him.
That's why I can't stand that famous Francis of Assissi quote that says “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words.” Unless you get to words you've actually never share the gospel with anyone.
Now it doesn't so much matter what words you use. How you arrange them, what angle or what way you broach the topic of the person of Jesus. There are many many many ways and facets to talk about the person and work of Jesus. Jesus isn't after us is giving people some premeditated speech.
I think that's why Jesus very often describes the message of the gospel or good news he wants to be spread as a message of the “kingdom of God.” That phrase, the kingdom of God is a very broad phrase with a lot of varied and potential meanings and implications that work for different people everywhere all across the world.
What's interesting is that no matter where you go in the world you have leaders of various kinds. Regardless of whatever type of political government is in place there are leaders. But as we talked about a couple weeks ago, no matter what type of Government or leadership position is, whenever a single person comes into a place of power that place of power tends to corrupt them.
Jesus comes on the scene saying he is God's son, the son of the King and that his goal is to spread the kingdom of God. Yet, the things that he's doing are healing and preaching sermons about peoples need for God in their hearts and their lives. Is not doing typical stuff that you would expect somebody aspiring to a place of kingship would do.
What we're going to increasingly see and learn from Jesus in the book of Luke is that Jesus’ kingdom, His rule, and reign as king begins first in the hearts of people long before it ever has any kind of physical rulership on a map. We are actually still waiting on the physical rulership. It hasn't happened yet. The Bible promises it will happen one day when he returns. But right now we are still in age where Jesus is spreading his kingdom first in the hearts of people.
The connection between the healings in the good news of his kingship is this, he's a good king who truly cares for his people. He's not just trying to get something out of them. He's not just trying to use people to rise took place of prominence and power. He is a king who really cares for his people.
The healing casts a light on the brokenness of the world. Everyone everywhere you go in the worldknowsw that things are not right in the world. People are all over the place on what they think would make it right. But everyone agrees that it's not right. Jesus message is, "I can make it right.”
One way to think about the kingdom of God is that it's when things are the way that they should be. When you see people truly loving and caring for one another. When you see people sacrificing their own preferences or needs or desires or time or money in order to help another person now. When you see reactions of compassion and Grace, that's the kingdom at work. I'll give you a few examples.
The other day in the news I saw the article about the police officer who got called to it and neighborhood house because someone was upset and concerned about a road being blocked due to some kids he we're having fun with the slip and slide on a hot day. The officer showed up, determined there was nothing unsafe with what was happening and said to one of the kids, "Hey do you have a trash bag?” They thought he was going to pick up their slip and slide and put it in the trash bag. Instead he got on and went for a ride! That's kind of like the kingdom I think.
There is a guy in our church who recently ended up out of work and no place to stay. So one of our members said, “Hey man can stay with me till you get on your feet.” And then we been giving him some work to do here around the church, Fixing things clean the bathrooms kind of stuff. That's kind of like the kingdom I think.
Not too long ago, one of the female members of our church publicly shared a bit of her story about how she was molested by her father growing up. God has done a pretty big work in her heart and her life to the point where she said that she now it's truly come to the point where she has been able to forgive him. He's in the last years of his life and not well, and now she's physically taking care of him in her own home. That's kind of like the kingdom I think.
Ultimately Jesus showed how good of a king he is by doing ultimate thing, by giving up his life for his people. After three years of teaching preaching and healing people Jesus willingly gave up his life on the cross so that all kinds of people everywhere might know the extent of God's love for them. That in a matter who they are, what they've done, what's been done to them, that there is grace and forgiveness and love from God. Because on the cross Jesus took on all the wrong onto his own body and into his own spirit to the price for it all.
Through his work Jesus doesn't just tell us about a new way he shows us and gives us the power to walk in that way with his lordship in our hearts as our king. It's a universal message. None of us are good enough to be King. All of us are terrible at been kings and queens of our own lives. We need someone better. Someone truly good. Someone who can give us the love and power we need.
Are you experiencing the goodness of God's kingdom? It really only comes through Jesus. We long for it and we need it. In what way do you need the message of Jesus's kingship to touch you today?
Are there things that just feel like they're out of control thing you need to hear Jesus the King say it's okay? Are the things that you've been holding onto, gripping the reigns too tightly you need to let go trust Jesus to be king? Is there bitterness and ugliness keeping your heart I need the forgiveness of Jesus the good king?
It's a universal message that everyone everywhere needs and longs for, the good king. Jesus is the good king. And he offers his kingship to everyone everywhere. Everyone and everywhere. We all need a king. We can't do it and be it ourselves. The question is whether or not we will have Jesus as our King. So let's talk about that in our last point for today, “A Universal Question”.
III. A Universal Question
This last point comes from this little section about Herod. In the scenes of Jesus in chapter 8, he was essentially out of the country in Gentile territory going around to different places and ministering to all the different kinds of people. Then here at the beginning of chapter 9, it appears that he and his disciples are back in Israel and he sends them out to various villages.
What is significant about the section on Herod is that the news of Jesus has spread even to him. Herod is the Jewish king. So that's a big deal. This is Herod Antipas entering his reign he built the coastal capital on the sea of Galilee in a place called Tiberius. So the word of Jesus already in this roughly short period of time, say a year or so has basically spread not only into Gentile territories but throughout Israel and its capital and even to its king reigning there.
Herod hears about Jesus and he’s threatened. The previous Herod before him tried to have Jesus killed when he was a baby. This Herod killed John the Baptist, who was the guy first came on the scene telling everybody that Jesus was coming into listen to him.
So he's trying to figure it out. He wonders if somehow the Spirit of John the Baptist has come back in the person of Jesus, kind of like what happened with these two famous Old Testament prophets, Elijah and Elisha? When the prophet Elijah died the story says he passed on his mantle and role and power to his protégé Elisha.
And this is Herod’s key question, Verse 9, “Who is this about whom I hear such things? And he sought to see him.”
I think this is perhaps the most important question we could have ask, who is Jesus? Who is Jesus? A.W. Tozer said in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, "What into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
The problem with Jesus is he kind of breaks all the categories. If you take everything the Bible says about him to be true then he is like the ultimate and best person you could ever dream up! And that makes it hard.
Basically when it comes to the question who is Jesus we only have a few options:
1. Jesus never really existed.
2. Jesus was just a good teacher.
3. Jesus was a crazy person.
4. Jesus is actually God and Savior.
I think most people today when you think of Jesus think of them in terms of the second option, that he was just a good teacher. Few will deny with so much evidence that there just never existed a person named Jesus from the first century. And I really don't think too many people think Jesus was just a crazy lunatic. Usually it's only crazy people that say things like that.
Most think Jesus was just a good teacher who did some good things and some, Some of us here think that he was something even more, that he was God in the flesh who came to save the world. Who is Jesus?
When I was having that powwow with my neighbors the other night, when I told them what happened one of my neighbors automatically said, "Jesus Christ!” And then right away he turned me and said, "Oh, sorry pastor.” I told him, "Hey man, it doesn't bother me at all. I actually think he's the only one who's alive who can actually hear us and understands how gnarly something like this is.”
Herod here is curious. He actually shows up again and Jesus trial right before he is crucified. And he still curious. Interested. Interest piqued. But not believing.
You see when it comes to the question who is Jesus I think there's one of three different approaches. One, you can reject the question outright and not care, just dismissing it and not even really looking into the question. Two, you can just quickly accept it and swallow everything hook line sinker.
I actually don't think either one of those approaches is good or healthy. I think the best approach is to honestly wrestle with the question. You see, I think there are two different kinds of curiosity or two different kinds of seeking.
Is a kind of questioning or seeking where you were truly looking for an answer. You are truly looking for truth. And there's another kind of questioning or seeking where you're not that serious are you just kind of throwing things out there and you don't really want to find out.
What I believe about Jesus is that if we ask the question who is he really and really seek out that answer with our whole heart and mind that then we will truly find and that we will find wholeness and healing and satisfaction and peace and salvation.
I was having a conversation with one of the guys on our Man Day who came to me and said “Duane, can I talk to you? Because I'm not really sure I'm a Christian. I grew up a Christian and I've kind of always just believed what my parents did and have tried to be a good person and do the right things. But I feel kind of empty and depressed and I'm really not sure about all the stuff about Jesus but I'm afraid to really question it. What do you think?”
Can I tell you what? What does brother said made me so happy. It made me excited. Because what I told them is that he was in a wonderful place to be able to see that in himself and have the courage to ask those questions. I don't think God wants us just to be good people and just believe whatever our parents did or what we are supposed to believe just because it's “true.”
I think God wants us to ask and truly ask and find for ourselves. And I believe that if we truly ask the question who is Jesus, that Jesus is big enough and strong enough and good enough and truthful enough to answer all of our questions both those of our minds and our hearts.
Today, have you really asked that question? Who is Jesus? Or has it been a long time? Is this question one not asked for a long time?I think this is a question we are meant to come to over and over again. Asking him, Who are you Lord? What are you doing?
I've been asking myself that question last week. Experiencing the most pain I've ever felt in my life I was asking Jesus is this kind would've felt like when he got metal in his hands and is and feet? Then you just can't help but ask the why question what are you doing Lord question? And you know it kept coming to me was the song that we sing here sometimes, “Be Still My Soul.”
Be still, my soul, the Lord is on your side. Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain; Leave to your God to order and provide; In every change, He will remain.
Who is Jesus? The most important question we could ever ask. It's a question that's relevant for everyone everywhere throughout all time. Everyone everywhere needs Jesus.
Are you talking to Jesus? Have you really wrestled? Are you asking him who he is and listening to the answer?
Don't be like King Herod and just be curious. Be a Christian and put your trust in King Jesus. Jesus is a good king and you can trust him with your questions.
Well, it's been good today to talk about it Jesus for everywhere. We all have an ultimate need, the ultimate message is the message ofJesus and the ultimate question is who he really is, the king of kings and the Lord lords.
When we gather here together each week as Gods people we really want to meet with him. To encounter God. One of the ways that we intentionally attempt to do that is through what we call “communion” or “The Lords Supper”. It's where we come forward to one of these tables retake a little piece of bread as Jesus perfect life and we dip it in the wine or the juice as Jesus perfect blood and then we eat it as a way of saying, “Jesus you are our King and our Lord.”
So, let's get ready to do this by standing and reading out loud some words of confession and mean and then some words of pardon and assurance.
Lord, we need you to heal us, we need you to rule and reign in our hearts as king. Help us to believe and trust in you.
Jesus heals the brokenhearted. Jesus is good. Jesus is true. Jesus cares for us as our God and King.