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Worship Series: Because He Knew
Worship Theme: He Preached the Good News of the Kingdome
- Remember Your Love
- CWS 714 The Lamb
- CW 200 A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
- How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
Message: Because He Knew... He Preached the Good News of the Kingdom
Pastor Jake Schram
Have you ever been super excited to have something happen? Maybe you have your favorite TV show and the newest episode is coming out on Friday. Maybe your birthday is right around the corner and you are looking forward to the cake and gifts. Maybe your vacation is finally rolling around to stop the dreariness of the rest of the calendar. Maybe the Super Bowl gives you that feeling, and you just couldn’t wait to see the showdown between two talented teams. It’s that feeling of anticipation. That’s the feeling I get before reading our text for today. Because a showdown is about to happen.
Before our text for today, Jesus had just been baptized. It wasn’t that he needed it. Instead, he was standing in place of sinners to be a substitute for them. He was going to be the champion of all humankind. God, the Father, even proclaimed from the heavens, “This is my son whom I love; With him I am well pleased.” God had marked him with his approval and authority as the Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove. Jesus was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was the last hope of the entire human race and he was about to go head to head with the greatest evil in the world: the devil.
Like a world heavyweight-boxing match, the suspense hung thick in the air. In one corner, the Savior of humanity. In the other, the destroyer of the world. But wait, haven’t we been here before? Didn’t Adam and Eve already have a showdown with the Devil and lost? Now Jesus, completely alone (there are no disciples around to help him) stands up to the devil with everything at stake. They both know how important this battle is. Here’s what is at stake: every soul of all time. Will Jesus succeed?
It’s a lot like one of the scenes from the last Avengers movie. The bad guys have pretty much taken out all of the good guys. The good guys are all beat up and barely moving and a whole evil army of fresh troops and monsters are rushing towards them to destroy the world. Then, Captain America, battered and exhausted, barely able to stand, drags himself to his feet to face the entire army by himself. That is what Jesus is doing here. The world is at stake. He knows that he is all that stands in the way of the devil and his hordes from condemning every single person to an eternity in hell. Jesus is facing the most powerful evil entity in existence. And Jesus is up for the challenge.
Don’t think it is easy for Jesus to go through something like this. While fully God, he’s made himself fully human as well and is setting aside the use of his divine powers. In confirmation class, we call this part of Jesus’ humiliation. As a man he could suffer hunger and thirst, appreciate power and wealth, and thus he felt the pressures of these temptations from the devil. And he had 40 days of facing these things without food. He’s weak and tired and he had to face temptations in the same way you and I must face it—with only the Word of God.
It’s not in our text for today, but other accounts from the Bible tell us Jesus resisted the temptations of turning stones into food, jumping from the pinnacle of the temple, and bowing down to the devil. Each temptation the devil threw at Jesus tried to get him to mistrust the Father, to test God, and to turn aside from saving the world and instead be seduced by mountains of earthly wealth and splendor. These are once in a lifetime opportunities offered to Jesus, but Jesus did not falter.
And he won. Jesus won in close quarters combat, while weakened, without using his divine powers. Jesus beat Satan, whose very name means adversary in Aramaic. He beat the adversary of the world…and it was never even close! The devil would try to get Jesus to sin his entire lifetime. Just one sin and hell’s ruler would have won for all time, but Jesus didn’t break even once. The anticipated bout between evil and good was very one sided. Jesus won in a landslide and he would continue to do so. With the battle done, the angels tended to an exhausted Jesus. And our Lord left the battlefield qualified to meet every challenge. Where everyone had failed, he alone succeeded.
So let’s play a game to illustrate a point. Do any of you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? Are these still around, today? Ok, we are going to try one of our own today. Let’s start with an action-packed one. You are on a secret mission in the outskirts of a faraway town. You’ve been tracking a villain who has been exasperating the townspeople. The villain, nicknamed “El Diablo,” has been stealing the supplies needed for the people to live. You’ve just been lowered down from a helicopter by ladder to the top of a nearby building. When suddenly you, see him on the roof of the building next to you. Now’s your chance to catch him. The only problem is your helicopter didn’t see him and is already pulling away from you and the building you stand on. Do you 1. Try to jump the gap between the buildings and try to nab the bad guy or 2. Try to quick jump on the helicopter ladder in order to climb up and notify the pilot?
(Regardless of the choice, the results will not end well for the congregation)
Wow. That didn’t go so well. Ok, let’s try something a little bit more peaceful. You wake up in the morning and wipe the sleep from your eyes. The sun is shining through your bedroom window and the warmth from a ray of light warms your whole body. It’s going to be a good day. As you head down the stairs to the kitchen the savory aroma of food wafts through the air. Someone has made you breakfast. On the table are two choices: deviled eggs or fresh baked muffins. Which do you choose?
(Once again, whatever the congregation chooses will lead to a surprisingly drastic result).
Wow. That escalated quickly. As you may have figured out by now. There was no good choice given. The reason we did this little game is because that is what it is like to try and face the devil and sin alone. The choice may seem dangerous, the choice may seem harmless, the choice may be the one you want to make or not, and yet the result is always the same. The devil would win and we would spend and eternity in hell.
Now let’s try this one more time and I promise I’ll be nicer this time. Here’s one more Choose Your Own Adventure. You are a person with your own unique skillset, characteristics, and situation. You are sitting and listening to a church sermon. The Word of God is present in it just as God’s Word has been present throughout your life. You hear about Jesus and his promises. Do you 1. Cling to Jesus and what he’s done for you through the faith he’s given you and count on him to take down sin and the devil or 2. Do you reject his grace and mercy and try to do it alone?
That last one might be a bit more applicable to your own life. And the answer was pretty obvious. So why do we often try to do the exact opposite in our own lives and go it alone without Jesus' help? Every human being is responsible in his own struggle with the devil. We need to find a way to defeat the devil and obey God. On our own, we lose the fight every time. But Jesus fought and won the battle for us. We get into heaven solely by what he has done.
Jesus had proven himself to be champion of the world. He had been approved by God. He had defeated Satan and was standing in the place of sinners to save sinners like you and me. Now, in our text he continues to wage war against the devil in our behalf. He does this by sharing the good news of a Savior who destroys the work of the devil. This isn’t the first time the people are hearing this. John the Baptist had just been put in jail, but before that happened he was preparing people for Jesus. He talked about the coming Messiah, the one who would save people from sin. He even pointed out to the people Jesus was the Messiah. John preached for people to turn their hearts away from sin and towards Jesus because he knew the kingdom of God had come near. John had done his work of preparing the way.
With the way prepared, Jesus is going around proclaiming the good news. But things have been getting a bit rough in Jerusalem. After all, John had just been put into prison. Now Jesus heads to Galilee. Galilee was the land where you started seeing Gentiles and non-Jewish influence. Jesus is not going to face as much opposition here. Therefore, Jesus continues doing what was good and right. He proclaims the good news of God. He gives the message that the kingdom of God has come near. He tells people to repent and believe this wonderful news.
What Jesus is preaching is going to strike a cord with some people who know the Old Testament promises. The Bible tells us a man named Simeon who was described as waiting for the consolation for Jerusalem (Luke 2:25-35). Anna spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-38). The book of Deuteronomy included a passage about someone who would come who was even greater than Moses (18:15). Jeremiah spoke of someone who would come from the lineage of David who would save the world (23:5, 6). These and so many prophecies pointed to Jesus. People who knew these things were now keeping their eyes open for the king. The king was now here. And he was letting both people who had heard these prophecies and people who hadn’t that his reign was near. Jesus is being a light to the nations by revealing his kingdom and his teaching.
To fully understand this, we have to answer two questions. What is this kingdom and why is the message of the kingdom such good news? Instead of kingdom, I’m going to use the word reign because I think that makes it easier to understand what it means. The reign of God isn’t necessarily a place or an organization or group of people. Instead, it’s what God the king is doing, especially through Jesus. So that means when Jesus beat the devil, that was the reign of God. When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, that was the reign of God. When God works faith in us through the Holy Spirit, that’s the reign of God. When we understand God’s kingdom this way, it’s not hard to see how it was near at hand. God was doing all those things and still reigns in and over us today.
That’s what the kingdom is. So why is that good news? Because through this kingdom sins are forgiven, heaven awaits Christians, God has compassion on his subjects, he provides for all their needs. This is the beauty of our text today because it shows us these things. It shows us Jesus defeated Satan for us and then he preached the good news of salvation to us. He saved us and brought us into his kingdom and under his reign where we receive all good things. Jesus knew he was the Savior. He knew we needed to know he was the Savior. And that’s why he preached the good news of the kingdom, to you and me. Amen.