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Sermon24-17 Mt26 Guide

Matthew 26:36-46, theme verse Matthew 26:39

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

In the sixth Sunday of the Lent season, when the passion week starts, I pray that God may bless you all in His love, grace and blessings and hope that we would like to learn few lessons after meditating on the meaning of Jesus’ suffering.

1)    Christopher Wright, a famous OT theologian, who depicted whole the Bible story to a metanarrative of Creation, Fall, Promise, Gospel, and Re-creation, said that even though human beings were fallen into the sin and scrutinized all His creation, He redeems His people from the sin, recover His people and His creation from the sin and its corruption and will live forever with His people, descending down to new heaven and new earth together. That work of God we call it the mission of God. In fact, the reason why Jesus came down to this earth is to do this mission of God.

2)    What I mean is, as Heidelberg Catechism Q&A6 says, “God created human beings good and in his own image, that is, in true righteousness and holiness, so that they might truly know God their creator, love him with all their heart, and live with God in eternal happiness, to praise and glorify him.

3)    But, Adam and Eve, the first ancestors of human beings, committed the sin to eat the forbidden fruit of good and evil which God commanded not to eat, saying “in the day that you eat it, you shall surely die,” so that as the consequence of that sin, all human beings were put to physical death, spiritual death and eternal death, in addition, as Canons of Dort said, all the area of human beings are corrupted that they brought upon themselves blindness, distortion of judgment, unbelief and pride in their minds where were furnished with a true and sound knowledge of the Creator and things spiritual, perversity, harness and disobedience to God in their wills where was furnished with righteousness, and impurity in their emotion which was pure. (Canons of Dort III, 1.1&1.2). And their all relations were broken; I mean, not only with God and others, but also with God’s creation and even lost peace with themselves. And also because of their sin, all God’s creations were cursed (Gen 3:17) and has been groaning in pain due to corruption (Rom8:21).

4)    Therefore Jesus came down to this earth to resolve these problems, I mean, He came down to this earth, being born in the likeness of human beings, by the crucifixion for vicarious atonement, to resolve the consequence of the sin, i.e., physical death, spiritual death and eternal death. In addition, He opened the way of healing of the total depravity through the regeneration and resurrection, while recovering the relationships with God and others and His creations and opening the way of life under the reign of God, returning from the sinfulness of living in our own will and way.

5)    In order to open this way of the recovery, He had to take and endure the pain of physical death as Mt 27:50 says, and the pain of spiritual death in which God had forsaken Him as we can see in His crying “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” in Mt 27:46, and also the pain of eternal death as we confess that “He descended to hell” in Apostles’ creed. In addition, He had to take and endure all the curses and pains of human life as Heb 4:15 says, to open the way of forgiveness by paying all the price of all our sins. That’s why Heb 9:12 said “He secured an eternal redemption by means of His own blood” as Is 53:10 prophesied already “His soul makes an offering for guilt.” And also that’s why John the Baptist said in Jn 1:29 that “He is the Lamp of God who takes the sin of the world.”

6)    And then Jesus resolve our sinfulness in which we human beings tend to live in our pleasing will instead of His pleasing will since our ancestor Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit of good and evil through His prayer in Gathsemane. In fact, there are many argument on the reason why Jesus was so sorrowful, even to death. Some scholars say that His vicarious death to take all the sin of humanity was the way to be cut from the intimate relationship with God so that He was so sorrowful, even to death, since to Him, the alienation and disconnection from God was even painful that death. But, thinking more, in one hands, it seems that Jesus was so sorrowful even to death, since the physical, mental and spiritual pain which He had to take and bear was too tremendous so that even His divinity had to hold Him. That’s why He had to pray desperately. But, we need to watch here the fact that “my will” and “Father’s will” are in conflict with each other. As we can occasionally see in the news,  the death of a man instead of other human is the great thing and typically is respected by other human beings. But, it would not be easy for an innocent human being to be treated as a criminal and die. And it would be different matter if a death row inmate had to be stripped naked, become an object of human shame and ridicule, and die while suffering unimaginable pain. In such way, Jesus probably experienced that kinds of human agony and thought and will of whether it should be so. This was the sinfulness of human beings which has become our nature to live according to our own will after human beings ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So in order to heal that sinfulness and turn that again to follow the will of God, Jesus prayed so desperately that His sweat turned into drops of blood, being so sorrowful even to the death so that finally He could submit His will to the will of God and we could live under the reign of God based on His benefit.

7)    These are the grace which we receive from our Lord. In order to give us these graces, Jesus had to suffered on our behalf the pain that no human being could bear so even He had to endure until the end by relying on the infinite power of His divinity, and also in order for human beings to turn from their sinful nature after eating the fruit of good and evil and judging whether it is good or evil according to their own will and living in their pleasing will, He had to pray all night until every drop of sweat turned into a drop of blood. That’s why Is 53:5 said that “He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.” And also Tim Keller said in his book “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering” that “Jesus lost all his glory so that we could be clothed in it. He was shut out so we could get access. He was bound, nailed, so that we could be free. He was cast out so we could approach.”

8)    Through today’s Bible verses, we would like to learn few things. Firstly, we would like to think about how a Man could take all the sin of the world, I mean, the infinite weight of guilt, in other words, how a finite Human body could bear the weight of God’s wrath in His humanity. Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 17 taught that “the mediator, by the power of his divinity, might bear the weight of God’s wrath in his humanity and earn for us and restore to us righteousness and life.” In other words, His divinity hold His humanity to bear tremendous pain so that we could not even imagine how tremendous His pain was! Probably that’s why a healthy 30 some years old man died in the cross within only 6 hours, I guess. I hope we all thank Him, thinking how Great His grace was. And the second thing we would like to think about is whether we can freeload on these graces. The answer to this is yes and no. I mean, it is “yes” as Mark 16:16 says “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” But it is “no” as James 2:26 says that “faith without works is dead” and also Rom 8:17 says that “if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him,” so that in order to receive all these graces, our Lord wanted us to participate in His suffering which is lacking for His church as Col 1:24 says. But, as 1 Cor 10:13 says, God allowed us only sufferings we can endure and also as 2 Tim 1:12 says even those bearable sufferings, we could bear it with the power of God. And also since the sufferings we have to bear do not add any things to Jesus’ suffering, so the benefit we receive from the Lord should be only grace. But, our sufferings become the means to receive that grace so that we can have benefits as we participate in His sufferings. That’s why Tim Keller said by quoting from Jonathan Haidt that 1) we can become more resilient, 2) we can deepen our relationship with those who share that sufferings, and 3) it changes our priorities and philosophies, and also continued that “we can be conformed into the image of the Son of God, since Jesus took away the only kind of suffering that can really destroy you: that is being cast away from God” so that ”Jesus suffered, not so that we would never suffer but so that when we suffer we would be like Him.” And also that’s why Rom 1:5 said that faith results in obedience and also 2 Cor 4:17 said that “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Therefore in this sixth Sunday of the Lent, I pray that we may “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, to know Him and the power of His resurrection by sharing His suffering” as Phil 3:10-14 says.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 Today we learned that the suffering our Lord took and endured in the cross was the pain which human beings cannot bear. While thinking how tremendous pain he took, I hope we could think about how big His love for us is and then you could share your thought with your team members to share His grace.

Q2 And also, in order to receive His great grace like this, we need only to take our cross as much as we can, but we know even that is not easy. After thinking why it is so difficult, I hope you could share your thoughts with your team members to share grace.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or  even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized   ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon                                    )

Please help me to live in that (  learned way of life                                                )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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