A Jesus Who Many Don’t Get
Pastor Duane Smets
I. Missing Jesus' Purpose
II. Missing Jesus' Passion
III. Missing Jesus' Person
Good morning everyone. It’s good to see you and it’s good to be back. Fall is always one of the busiest times of the year so this year I stacked my vacation time right before it at the end of summer.
My family had a good time. We did a couple trips…one to sin city and one to Palm Springs where we pretty much spent the whole time in the pool in both places soaking up the sun. It was good to rest and relax and now we’ve hit the ground running with school back in session and all kinds of stuff happening here at the church this fall.
If you’re new, either today for the first time or you started coming in the last few weeks, my name is Duane. I’m the preaching and vision pastor for our church, so I’m the guy you’d normally see up here about 80% of the time. I’m not the only pastor. We have a team of 6 pastors who all serve alongside each other under our head pastor Jesus Christ. We regularly meet to pray for you and to care for the needs of the church.
Which by the way I know for all of us Houston and Hurricane Harvey is on our minds and in our prayers. We’re a church that belongs to a group of churches called Acts 29, which has two churches in the Houston area. So if you’d like to help them out here’s the link: http://www.acts29.com/harvey-relief-appeal/
We’ll we’ve been going through the book of Luke in the Bible together this year. I know it’s been a little off and on this summer but after I get back from Spain we’ll settle in and I’ll be preaching from Luke for a number of weeks in a row.
So today I’m just picking Luke up where we left off and the next section is a number of stories about different groups of people who just didn’t get Jesus. What we’re going to see today is that it’s really easy to sort of miss what Jesus is all about, to miss His heart and who He really is.
And really this is kind of our nature as human being isn’t it? Are there ever things you just don’t get. I don’t know about you but I’m kind of one of those people who are slow to the take.
For example, my cousin told me this joke last weekend: How many tickles does an octopus have? Ten tickles. I’m so slow I’m thinking in my head why ten tickles. Then finally I start to get it. Tentacles. Ha ha.
But there’s other things I don’t get too. So many times when we we’re traveling on vacation, someone would pass me on the freeway and then slow down in front of me. I don’t get that. I don’t get umbrellas and tents at the beach. You’re there to enjoy the sun! I don’t get why girls go to the bathroom in groups. I don’t get why you have to fight for a seat on Southwest airlines. We have a new rat problem outside by our bunny cage. So far I’ve killed 8. I don’t get why God made rats. There’s a long list of things I don’t get.
But it’s even bigger and deeper than things like that isn’t it? Have you ever been misunderstood or someone has misinterpreted something you’ve said? It happens pretty easily doesn’t it? Pretty much every fight or argument you ever get into with another person is because one or both people misunderstood or misinterpreted something the other person said. Ever found yourself saying, “That’s not what I meant!”?
It’s a real thing isn’t it? When it comes to Jesus, I think it may be fair to say that He’s perhaps the most misunderstood and misinterpreted person of all time.
Some think Jesus was just a good moral teacher, who was very nice loving and kind. Nice Jesus.
When it comes to race we’ve got depictions of Jesus in every color of skin. Black, brown, white, asian. He’s whatever color you want Him to be and some think His sole purpose was to address racism.
Some think of Jesus as a political figure for whatever party or cause they are passionate about. Politics Jesus.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some think Jesus was just a go along with the flow Jesus, a mellow who loved everyone and liked to party. Weed Jesus. That’s really what the Rastafarians believe.
Some just think of Jesus only in terms of him being their own little personal savior, their best friend they take around wherever they go. Buddy Jesus.
Others think of Jesus as a good luck charm and a fashion statement who looks good around your neck. Jewelry Jesus.
But my own personal favorite misconception of Jesus is…Jedi Jesus. Where He’s this mysterious figure who had supernatural powers against the forces of evil.
It’s really easy to just focus on one aspect of Jesus and miss the whole of what He’s really about and it’s really easy to miss Him entirely. It’s true for us today and it was true for people back in Jesus’ day when He was still waking the face of the earth.
So let’s read our text for today to see that and jump into it. Why don’t you stand with me for the reading of God’s Word penned through the hands of Dr. Luke.
While they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying
An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
- Pastoral Declaration: This is the Word of the Lord.
- Congregational Response: Thanks Be To God.
- Pastoral Prayer
“A Jesus Many Don’t Get”. Did you guys catch it? It’s actually right at the beginning of our text for today. Verse 45 “they did not understand this saying” and they did “not perceive it.” They missed Jesus and then from there we see seven other times where either his own disciples, Samaritans and a few random people off the street just didn’t get it, they missed what He was saying, who He was and what He was about.
I’ve got three points for us today to help us work through that, “Missing Jesus Purpose”,
“Missing Jesus Passion”, and “Missing Jesus Person”. And if there’s one line or one thing I hope you walk away with today ringing in your head it’s simply, “Don’t miss Jesus.” Don’t miss Jesus. Don’t miss Jesus. Don’t miss Jesus. Everything has to do with Him.
I. Missing Jesus’ Purpose
With our first point, “Missing Jesus Purpose” we’re looking at the second of three times in Luke where Jesus foretells His death and His disciples don’t get it and this scene where this group of Samaritans don’t get Jesus and His disciples want to call down fire from heaven on them. In both scenes what both the disciples and the Samaritans miss is Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth. Let’s check ‘em out.
The first time Jesus said he was going to die is earlier in Luke chapter 9. Easily a few weeks, maybe even months or a year before this second time. It’s in verse 22 and Jesus says very clearly that He will, “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Luke doesn’t record the disciples having any response, only Jesus going on and telling them that if they want to follow Him they have to be willing to give up their lives too.
Apparently they didn’t get it the first time, so Jesus really presses in on them this second time with heavy words. Look at what He says in verse 44, “Let these words sink into your ears.” That’s heavy. He’s begging and petitioning them not to miss His mission. He says He’s going to be “delivered into the hands of men” which means their going to kill Him. But they don’t get it.
And the funny thing about all this is it’s during a time when the crowds are stoked on Jesus. Verse 43 says “they were all marveling at everything he was doing.” That didn’t phase Jesus. He didn’t let it go to His head. He knew that they same people who were saying He was the best ever would soon be shouting, “crucify Him, crucify Him.”
But the disciples didn’t get it. They didn’t understand. They could not fathom how this man who had healed lepers, the paralyzed, the blind, had cast out demons, had commanded the wind and the waves of the sea to obey him, this messiah who had fed over 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish, who they had seen glowing on a mountain with Moses and Elijah…they could not fathom how this God-man could die. In their minds He was indestructible and would surely use His power to overthrow the corrupt Jewish leaders and the evil Roman government.
They didn’t get it. They didn’t understand that Jesus was born to die. They didn’t understand that Jesus main mission and purpose on earth was not just to do miracles but to come and give His life up on the cross for the sins of all peoples so that many might be saved. And there’s an important principle for us in this, which stands true for us today.
It’s this: Anytime we get our eyes off the cross of Christ we miss His purpose in the world and in our lives. You cannot understand Jesus apart from the cross.
Here at our church we believe this is so critical and so crucial we worked it into our name, The Resolved Church. It comes from 1 Corinthians 2:2 in the Bible which says, “I have resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
Today, if your life just doesn’t make sense, like you don’t get your life right now, there’s a good chance you’ve either got your eyes off the cross or you’ve never truly seen it’s full weight and power for your life. Don’t miss Jesus my friends. He’s the Jesus of the cross. Let it sink into your ears today. The answer to all of life’s problems are found at the cross. What the world and all it’s crazy issues needs most is to see the cross. It would solve everything. Don’t miss Jesus. He’s the Jesus of the cross.
Well, the second scene we see Jesus once again emphasizing His mission on earth to make it to the cross is with this group of Samaritans. Verse 51 says, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up (another allusion to the cross), he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” That line “set his face” speaks to His firm resolve to go to Jerusalem and die for the sins of men and women.
Now what’s really interesting about what happens is He tells His disciples to go ahead into a Samaritan village to tell them and ask to come spend some time there with them. But they’re not interested. They don’t get it. They don’t know why this Jewish man wants to come to them and they’re not interested in having him come, verse 53 says because, “his face was set towards Jerusalem.”
Here’s what’s going on with this. Racism. The Samaritans and the Jews were two separate races and they hated each other. The Samaritans were a people group who came about by some Assyrians intermarrying with some Jews of the northern kingdom. They ended up building their own temple on Mt. Gerizim, which a Jewish king destroyed in the 2nd century BC. In turn, the Samaritans attempted to defile and destroy the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.
So these two groups hated each other. But Jesus came to be the savior for people of all races. Luke has emphasized this before in the book and will continue to do so. So Jesus reaches out to the Samaritans extending Himself to them, wanting to include them. But they didn’t get it. They didn’t get how Jesus going to Jerusalem could mean anything good for them, so verse 53 says they “did not receive Him.”
In response, James and John, who Mark called “the sons of thunder” (Mk 3:17) essentially say, “let’s kill ‘em Jesus.” Seriously, look at it, verse 54 “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down out of heaven and consume them?” Sure, part of it was just their zeal and trying to defend Jesus. But they also undoubtedly spoke out of some deep seated bitterness and resentment toward the Samaritans, racism.
What’s Jesus’ response? Verse 56, “He rebuked them.” They didn’t get it. The Samaritans didn’t get it and James and John didn’t get it. They didn’t get that Jesus’ mission and purpose on earth was to go to the cross and die so that Jews, Samaritans, black people, white people, asian people, brown people and people of all kinds of different colors of skin and backgrounds might be welcomed into the family of God to worship Him and be the church TOGETHER!
And I want to make something clear today. I was gone during the song and prayer service Sunday a couple weeks ago, where we planned for race to be a focus of prayer weeks before Charlottesville. But since I’ve been back I’ve heard a number of really positive things about it and a number of concerns about it. And I think you should know that we talked about it together at our pastors meeting this week. We realize some things could have been said or done better and that’s okay, our church doesn’t hang on one Sunday service and everything being said perfectly.
But what I do want you to know is that we have no desire to be a reactive church and to just go along with whatever trends or agendas that may be going on in our country. We have a church-wide prayer guide that’s up on our website you can go read and pray through and since the beginning of the year and one of the things that’s on their is to pray for multi-ethnicity in our church and racial healing in our city, which is in line with our Acts 29 networks desire to be diverse global family.
And we’ve been game planning for that this fall. In three weeks we’ll be in Jesus’ Parable of The Good Samaritan and I’ll be preaching a sermon titled, “A Jesus Who Has Love For All Races” and we’ll be doing our second Night of Hope after that focused on race. You see, we want to get ahead of the curve so that the next time there’s some sort of racial shooting or event, we are not unequipped but have a perspective and a process for what we want to see and how we want to go about being an instrument of God for diversity and racial healing in our land.
The reason is because of Jesus, right here in our text today. Jesus set His face to Jerusalem so that not only Jews and not only Samaritans but people of all races might receive His grace, be healed of their racism and become family together. The cross is the point of intersection. It’s where we Jesus acted in order to unite us to God and one of the many results of that is that it has the power to unite us together regardless of the color of our skin.
So our church isn’t changing or bandwagoning. We have a singular focus. The cross of Christ. And that has all kinds of implications for our each of our hearts and lives and relationships. Race is just one of the implications and we don’t want it to be ignored. Are you guys on board with that? You with me? Jesus purpose is to unite. And that happens through the cross. Let’s go after that. Amen? Don’t miss Jesus, He’s the Jesus of the cross.
Alright, let’s move on to our second main point for today, “Missing Jesus Passion.”
II. Missing Jesus’ Passion
With this point we’re looking at two scenes, one where Jesus’ disciples are arguing about who is the greatest among them and another where they’re upset that some new ministries have started up spreading the goodness of Jesus who are not a part of their original crew. In both these scenes the disciples just don’t get it and miss the heart and passion of Jesus. Let’s check ‘em out.
First, the argument about who’s the greatest. Before we even talk about their argument can I first point out that they are arguing. These guys are Christians. They believe in Jesus. They are His disciples and followers and they’re arguing.
Now, obviously, that’s not good. But here’s the thing. It happens. We’re human beings. Even as Christians we are sinful and selfish and we get into arguments with each other. That’s not abnormal. Arguments happen. I got into a really bad one with my wife this week. And she won.
So this argument happens to be about who is the greatest. That sounds kind of funny but most likely what was going on was some sort of talk about who Jesus liked best or who was making the most progress in this apprenticeship program with Him.
That’s what happens in this argument and what’s really going on with it is what’s happening in any and every argument that takes place, one or both people have an “I” on the throne of their hearts. One person thinks what they think and feel is more important than what the other person thinks and feels.
How Jesus addresses it is incredible. First he says in verse 47, “knowing the reasoning of their hearts” which is a striking phrase. We tend to think we reason autonomously, that our reasoning is separate from our feelings. Jesus here says it’s all interconnected.
What Jesus does is pulls a child to His side. A child in the first century, had literally no rights and no status. They were the bottom rung of society. If they had a family they were their parents property and a lot of kids ended up as orphans, which is why once the disciples got this lesson the early Christians were the first ones to start orphanages.
Jesus pull the powerless child aside, stands with him, identifies with him, essentially putting him in His family and essentially says you don’t get me unless you receive this child because He’s covered in my name from the Father. And then Jesus utters these shockingly upside down words, verse 48 “He is least among you all is the one who is great.”
The disciples are arguing about being great. So Jesus says, “Okay, you want to be great? Stop reaching for the top and instead get down low. Be willing to be last, the least important, because those are the one's God, identifies with and cares for.
When I read this story I can’t help but think about how the child felt. Somehow this kid has squeezed in among all the adults, who have probably told him to go home and Jesus pulls him aside and says, “you’re with me boy.” That kid was probably beaming.
This is so upside down isn’t it. We live in a world that only pays attention to success and achievement. No one is hired who has a crappy resume. No one gets honored who hasn’t done anything significant with their life yet. No one wants to be unnoticed. You don’t get any kind of award for having 2 followers on social media and no one ever liking what you post. We don’t look up to those people.
But Jesus does. Jesus’ heart and Jesus’ passion is for the left out, the low, the forgotten. When we’re reaching and climbing toward the top, Jesus just doesn’t really even see it or care because He’s looking low. So if you want to be great in God’s sight, you gotta get low. You gotta serve the low because that’s where God receives His kids and there’s nothing better or greater than being one of God’s kids.
You see the disciples had it wrong. It wasn’t about who Jesus liked best or who had progressed the most. It was about God’s passion for His kids. Don’t miss Jesus. Don’t mission His passion and His heart. It’s not for world greatness but true greatness, the kind that isn’t always seen by others but truly cares for and serves others.
The other story is essentially about the same thing. There’s this dude, who isn’t traveling along with their crew, with Jesus and His twelve disciples, who starts trying help some troubled people by extending Jesus’ compassion toward them. But instead of rejoicing in that the disciples are jealous and prideful and try to stop him.
Jesus says in verse 50, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.” Basically, He’s saying, “hey guys, we’re on the same team.”
Sadly this happens so much among Christians. We think one church is better than the other or one ministry is better and more important and we try to make ourselves out to be experts about what everyone else should think, what they should do and how they should do it.
Listen, no church has a monopoly on believing and doing everything just right. I learned a long time ago that you can waste your whole life and time away going around trying to correct everyone, when what really matters is reaching people for Jesus.
God delights to use a myriad of people in a myriad of different ways in a myriad of different places. And we need to be very careful not to get in the way of something God’s Spirit might be doing and working through even if it’s now how we would do it.
Don’t miss Jesus. Don’t miss His passion. His passion is toward drawing people to Himself and connecting them to the Father no matter what it takes. Jesus’ heart and
Jesus’ passion is toward the lost and the lowly and He wants to use all of us in our own unique ways to reach as many people as possible. So you do you and I’ll do me and together we’ll see many people come into God’s kingdom. Make sense?
Alright. Let’s move on to our final point for today, “Missing Jesus Person.”
III. Missing Jesus’ Person
What we’ve seen so far is we can easily miss Jesus’ purpose, His mission and goal, we can easily mission Jesus’ passion, His heart and care and now in this last point we’re going to see how we can easily mission Jesus entirely, completely miss the reality of who He is and never come to know Him.
What happens is Jesus is traveling, walking along the road and three different people come up to Him saying they want to follow Him and become one of His disciples but each one wants to follow Him with some sort of qualification, caveat or allowance. And Jesus says some pretty hard things. It’s in verses 57-62 of our text.The first person wants to follow and become a Christian but Jesus says He’s homeless here on earth and presumably the man turns away.
The first person wants to follow and become a Christian but Jesus says He’s homeless here on earth and presumably the man turns away.
The second person wants to follow and become a Christian but wants to first go bury his father, which is to delay following until his dad dies or until the period of mourning was over which could be up to a year. Jesus basically says to follow Him now and not put it off.The third person wants to follow and become a Christian but wants to go home and say goodbye to
The third person wants to follow and become a Christian but wants to go home and say goodbye to His friends first. Jesus basically says this person is crooked and unfit to follow Him.With each of these cases at first
With each of these cases at first glance Jesus’ words sound and seem kind of harsh and hard. But with each one there are these little textual clues which shed a whole different light on things.When Jesus says He’s homeless He says He’s homeless because He has come as the “Son of Man”, verse 58. But that is only one of Jesus’ titles representing His mission to come and save mankind. Jesus is also the Son of God, who left His heavenly palace above to come as the lowly one to save lost and broken people.
When Jesus says He’s homeless He says He’s homeless because He has come as the “Son of Man”, verse 58. But that is only one of Jesus’ titles representing His mission to come and save mankind. Jesus is also the Son of God, who left His heavenly palace above to come as the lowly one to save lost and broken people. If the guy knew who Jesus really was and what He would gain by truly following Him, He would be willing to lose
If the guy knew who Jesus really was and what He would gain by truly following Him, He would be willing to lose house and home and all earthly possessions to gain eternity with Jesus.When Jesus says tells the guy to follow Him now and not bury his father first what Jesus says is, verse 60 “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Jesus is making a spiritual claim. Jesus is standing there as the Lord of life. As God who spoke life itself into existence.
When Jesus says tells the guy to follow Him now and not bury his father first what Jesus says is, verse 60 “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Jesus is making a spiritual claim. Jesus is standing there as the Lord of life. As God who spoke life itself into existence. If the guy knew who Jesus really was He would recognize that Jesus had power over life and death and came not only to die on a cross by to rise again so that many might have eternal life.
If the guy knew who Jesus really was He would recognize that Jesus had power over life and death and came not only to die on a cross by to rise again so that many might have eternal life.Lastly, when Jesus tells the third dude he can’t go home and say goodbye to his friends Jesus says, verse 62 “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Lastly, when Jesus tells the third dude he can’t go home and say goodbye to his friends Jesus says, verse 62 “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” The picture is of having one hand on the plow that is moving forward but
The picture is of having one hand on the plow that is moving forward but your looking backward at the trench the plow is making. When you do that what happens is you don’t end up plowing in a straight line, but end up crooked all over the place.So Jesus is saying this guy is crooked because he is looking backward, caring more about what his friends think than what a privilege and opportunity it is to become Jesus’ disciple.
So Jesus is saying this guy is crooked because he is looking backward, caring more about what his friends think than what a privilege and opportunity it is to become Jesus’ disciple.Each one of these hit home pretty hard huh? I think I’ve found myself in each of these places at different times.
Each one of these hit home pretty hard huh? I think I’ve found myself in each of these places at different times.You ever care more about getting a house or a bigger house or being able to afford more or nicer things more than you care about following the king of heaven and all the inheritance that He grants to us in heaven?
You ever care more about getting a house or a bigger house or being able to afford more or nicer things more than you care about following the king of heaven and all the inheritance that He grants to us in heaven?You ever put off or undercut spiritual things because
You ever put off or undercut spiritual things because your doing something for your family and somehow that makes it okay? We can totally sacrifice God on the altar of our family can’t we?You ever care more about what other people think about you than what God thinks of you? It’s so
You ever care more about what other people think about you than what God thinks of you? It’s so easy isn’t it?
I’m sure every one of us falls into these traps. The danger is that in doing so we entirely miss the person of Jesus who holds everything we truly long for. Don’t miss Jesus. There is a high cost to following Jesus but He’s worth every penny. He’s worth it all.
That’s ultimately the reason I believe God saw fit that these stories got recorded in the Bible for all time. So we would hear, that it would sink into our ears and that we would know, that even though we fall and fail that there is hope for us Jesus like there was hope for His disciples.
Well, we started out today talking about octopuses right? How many tickles does an octopus have? Ten tickles. See we we’re slow to the take but now we’re learning.It’s easy to miss it at first. It’s easy to miss
It’s easy to miss it at first. It’s easy to miss Jesus isn’t it? We can miss His purpose, we can miss His passion and we can miss His person. The truth is we need all three.
Sometimes I see people all who are all about the mission and purpose of Jesus and what He did on the cross, but they seem to lack the passion of His heart and love and care.
Sometimes I see people who are really loving and caring, passionate but they’re not doing anything to try to move the ball forward, not on mission telling anyone else about Him.
Sometimes I see people who have all the doctrine down and totally get who Jesus is in His person as the God-man but they lack both His love and don’t interact with anyone who is not a Christian.
We need all three, the purpose, the passion and the person of Jesus. May God help Jesus’ words to sink into our ears, help us to see Him as He is, and then go to work proclaiming the good news of who He is and what He has done for all peoples.
Well, each week here at The Resolved we have a time of response. The Bible says we’re not supposed to be hearers only but also doers. So after hearing we do. And one of the things we do is respond by coming to one of these tables throughout the room where we take a piece of bread as Jesus’ body and we dip it in the wine or the juice as His blood and we receive a tangible gift of Him and His love for us.
Today as you come, come before Jesus and ask Him if there’s something you’re missing. Ask if there’s something Jesus wants to show you. Maybe there’s something He’s calling you to, if you would only let His Word sink into your ears. Let’s respond but let’s not make it just a religious ceremony. Let’s truly go before our Lord and Savior.
Why don’t you all stand with me and we’ll read some words of confession and allow the Holy Spirit to bring what He wants to mind and then we’ll read some words of pardon and assurance and then go to the tables.
Lord we confess we are slow to hear you and respond. Forgive us of our pride, jealousy, self-importance and love of the things of this world. Help us to set our eyes on your cross and unite us together we pray.
We are God’s beloved children, cherished by God the Father, loved by the Son who gave His life on the cross for us, and gifted with the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts and gives us love for one another.