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Suffering and Glory

Sunday, July 26, 2009 • Steve Hogan • Jesus Christ
Luke 18:31-34

As people, we all have a purpose in life.  We are not just here on this earth to occupy space.  God has given us plans for our lives, work to do, a reason for living.  Now our subject today is the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and indeed, He had the most important work to do.  And during His life on earth Jesus was very much aware of this work, and He continued in this work until it was completely finished.  John 5:17, John 17:3

Luke 18:31-34  Jesus took the 12 aside; He had some things that He only wanted to tell them.

- Now Jesus says, "We are going." Jesus was the leader, and He was leading the way, and His men were going together w/ Him; that was the plan God had for their lives.

- And Jesus says, "We are going." I'm sure Jesus spoke this with authority and conviction.  What Jesus said here wasn't just some nice idea - it was what His Father wanted Him to do; it was what Jesus knew He was going to do, and He was determined to do it. Luke 9:51

- Jesus says, "We're going up to Jerusalem."  Their final destination was Jerusalem - that's where they were going.  But one more point - no matter where a person is at in Israel, if he was heading to Jerusalem, he'd being going up to Jerusalem, and that's because it was higher in elevation.  He'd literally be going up higher and higher.

Then Jesus says that all the things written about Jesus thru the prophets were going to be accomplished.  And I'm sure Jesus also said this with lots of conviction.

- Jesus knew why He came to this earth.  He and His Father had talked about these things many times before.  But much of what was going to happen to Jesus was recorded in God's Word, through the writings of the prophets, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Zechariah, and others.

Now Jesus knew all these prophecies that were written about Him - for example:

--- He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey.

--- He would be sold for 30 pieces of silver.

--- People would cast lots for his clothing.

--- His hands and feet would be pierced.

--- He would be raised from the dead.

Now Jesus knew that these and many other prophecies written about him were sure to be fulfilled.  Jesus then was testifying to the sure, faithful word of God.  And when God says in His Word that something is going to happen, then it's going to happen.  We should all have that confidence in God's Word, that all God predicts, and all that God promises, will take place, and will be fully accomplished, just as He said.

Now Jesus, by what He said here was also testifying to the importance of God's Word.  Matthew 4:4.  The Word of God not only predicts and promises, but it is also powerful, and it's a means of strength for our daily lives, a means of joy, wisdom and peace.  And of course the Word gives direction to our lives; it tells us what we are to do.  Psalm 119:105.  Each one of us here need the Word of God every day of our lives.  Psalm 1:2-3

Luke18:32-33  God's Word prophesied many things about Jesus' life and death.  And I mentioned a few things before, but here are a few more things that Jesus knew were going to happen to Him.

1.  He was going to be handed over to the Gentiles, and a Gentile was anyone who wasn't a Jew; and the Gentiles weren't at all liked by the Jews; they were their enemies.

- Now in this context, the Gentiles refer to the Romans.  That is, Jesus would be handed over to the Romans; and they were the ones who were ruling, and in power, and they were the ones to be feared.  And so, humanly speaking, being handed over to the Gentiles wasn't good.

2.  Jesus would be mocked.  This word mock literally means, "to play like a child."  I think we all know how children can make fun of and laugh at others that they don't like.  They can joke, they can jest, they can ridicule, and they can say insensitive things.  And that's what Jesus was saying here, that as the King of kings that He would be mocked, that he would be laughed at.  Luke 22:63,  Luke 23:36,  Matthew 27:27-31

3.  Jesus told the disciples that He would be mistreated.  Now this word literally means to speak or do that which is outrageous.  And it can mean to treat spitefully or shamefully, to insult, to belittle, to deride, to put down, to say derogatory and untrue things.  It's a word that would include what we often call verbal or physical abuse.  And so it's more than just mocking, more than just making fun of someone. It's saying or doing cruel, mean, and outrageous things to a person, with a goal to verbally or physically hurt them.  And indeed Jesus was going to be greatly mistreated and insulted.

4.  Jesus told them that He would be spit upon, and this is a very specific way that Jesus was mistreated.  I think we all know that to spit at someone's face is one of the worst insults, one of the most degrading things that you can do to a person.  And the person who spits at someone does it to express his utter dislike, his hate and total disregard for that person.  And so Jesus knew, that He, the very Son of God would be spit upon, insulted, and greatly mistreated by sinful men.  Matthew 26:59, 65-67

5.  Jesus then tells the disciples that He would be scourged, that He would be whipped.  Now there was a Jewish way to scourge someone, and also the Roman way, and the Roman way was much, much worse. Vines - "Under the Roman method of scourging, the person was stripped, & then tied in a bending posture to a pillar, or stretched on a frame.  The scourge was made of leather thongs, weighted with sharp pieces of bone or lead, which tore the flesh of both the back and chest."  Physically speaking, next to being crucified, this had to have been one of the hardest things that Jesus ever went through.

6.  Jesus then tells his disciples that He'd be killed.  Jesus knew He wasn't going to die a natural death, but that He was going to be killed; and that it was the Gentiles who were going to put Him to death, who were going to kill Him.  And the means of execution was crucifixion, which is one of the slowest, and most terrible and painful ways to die.  And so Jesus would greatly suffer, then be crucified, and then He would die.

7.  But finally, the good news: Jesus tells His disciples that He will rise again, Yes, Jesus Christ, the Son of God would die, but then His Father would raise Him again; and so Jesus would defeat death; He'd get complete, total and eternal victory over death.  Psalm 16:7-11

And so here is Jesus, talking privately to His disciples, to the apostles, to His best friends; and He's telling them what the Gentiles are going to do to Him when they get to Jerusalem.

- Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him, that He'd be handed over to the Romans, and that He'd be mocked, mistreated, spat upon, scourged, killed and then raised from the dead.

- He knew this meant agony, betrayal, sorrow, suffering, loneliness, and that He'd go through indescribable pain.  But worst of all He knew that He'd be separated from His Father, and that He'd suffer the infinite and holy wrath of His Father upon Himself, and all because of our sin, and all to pay for our sin, so we could be forgiven, and forever be with Him.

Now surely Jesus had thought about all this many times before; and just knowing what was going to happen to Him had to be on His mind. Jesus then tasted and felt the bitterness of his suffering and death long before it ever took place; and that had to have been very hard for Him, to mentally and emotionally go thru what was going to take place before it ever happened.

- But His Father and the Holy Spirit encouraged Him and enabled Him to keep having faith, to keep believing, to not flinch, to not back down, to not swerve, to not get off course.  And so Jesus kept going.  Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and relationally, Jesus Christ never gave up; He never quit; He kept going until the very end.  Hebrews 12:1-3

But even though it was hard for Jesus to think re: what was going to happen, there was a calmness in His heart.  Here He was heading to Jerusalem, going into the lion's den, into the fiery furnace, to the place where He knew He'd greatly suffer, and then be crucified and killed.

And I'm sure He was tempted to worry, to fear, but He never gave in to the sin of worry, fear or anxiety. He trusted completely in His Father, and therefore He was at peace.  Isaiah 26:3

Luke 13:31-33  From what Jesus said here, you can tell that He was determined to go to Jerusalem, to suffer, die and be raised again.  Nothing would stop Jesus: no fear, no person, no demons, not the devil himself could stop Him from fulfilling His Father's will for His life.  But Jesus also knew that no one else could do what He had to do.  He was The Man for the job.  Only He could save the lost.  Only He could pay for the sins of those who had sinned against His Father, the Holy Spirit and Himself.

- But again, it wasn't easy for Jesus to think about what He would have to do.  It would be the hardest thing that anyone had ever done or ever would do.  But Jesus was willing to do what was right and loving, what He knew His Father wanted Him to do.  Matthew 26:39

Jesus then was very determined to go to Jerusalem.  He was supremely dedicated to His Father, and to the mission before Him.  And so steadily and continually, Jesus kept going.  He persevered day after day, week after week, so as to fulfill His purpose on earth.

- And His main purpose was to seek and to save the lost; and He never got off track, and was never deterred from carrying out His purpose.  Jesus came to die for our sins, and then rise again, so as to be victorious over sin and death and over the devil and hell, so as to give us eternal life, and to bring great glory to He and His Father.  John 17:4

- And Jesus did what He did because He loved us, and because He knew that His Father loved us.  Indeed, it was a mission motivated by a great, eternal and infinite love.  Psalm 86:11-12

Luke 18:34  This is an interesting verse, for Jesus personally had called His disciples aside, and had told them some very important things, and they didn't understand one bit of what He was saying.  Now notice that it doesn't say they didn't hear it - they just didn't understand it.  But why couldn't they understand it?

1. Maybe what He was saying was just too shocking, too unbelievable.  They were used to Jesus going around doing these great miracles, casting out demons, and raising people from the dead, and they couldn't imagine Him going thru these things and being killed.

2.  Maybe they were so used to Jesus being this big celebrity all over Israel, and they couldn't understand how He could be handed over to the Gentiles.  Luke 18:32.  This word handed over also means betrayed, and so with these big crowds of people all excitedly following Jesus, they might have thought who was going to betray Jesus?

3.  Their minds are still locked into the thought that Jesus was going to defeat their enemies, and physically take over and be the King over Israel, and this idea of Jesus being killed didn't fit in with what they were thinking was going to happen.  Luke 19:36-38

4.  1 Corinthians 1:22-24   To the Jews this idea of Jesus being crucified was a stumbling block - it was just plain foolishness.  It was a stumbling block back then and even today.  And these Jewish disciples of Jesus couldn't believe it when He told them ahead of time that He was going to be crucified, and the vast majority of the Jews couldn't believe it after it had actually happened.

5.  Luke 24:13-27   These two people were hoping that Jesus would redeem them at that time, that He would take over and be their King.  But notice what Jesus says, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken."

- Another reason the disciples may not have understood what Jesus said is what is mentioned here.  Their problem is own their foolish and hard hearts.  On one hand, they were supposed to understand the truth but they didn't because of their hard and unbelieving hearts.

But they also couldn't understand the truth, because as verse 34 says, these things were hidden and concealed from them - and so they couldn't understand what Jesus was saying.

- And that is because God, in a way that we can't understand, is sovereign over all things, and that includes the understanding and comprehension of His Word.  From this verse and others we have to conclude that the only people who understand God's Word are those to whom God has revealed His Word.  Only those whose hearts are opened can receive and understand His truth.  Indeed, God's ways and purposes are so much higher than ours.

- And each of us here should be greatly humbled before God & thank Him for the fact that He was sovereign over our salvation, that He chose us, that He opened our minds, and revealed to us the truth of the gospel and saved us.  Acts 13:48,  2 Thessalonians 2:13-14,  Romans 11:36

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

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