Compelled By His ExampleSeries: Christology
COMPELLED BY HIS EXAMPLE
Sermon By Terry Siverd /October 23, 2022 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
Over the next short while I want to wrap up our current sermon series on Christology.
There are a number of loose ends that I want to attempt to tie up before we conclude this series.
This study has been both a genuine challenge (and delight) for me - - the well is deep and my reach is too short.
Perhaps you feel the same way?! I thank you for your prayers regarding this study and for your positive feedback.
Had I thought about it a long time in advance, I think I would have become too intimidated to pursue this topic
As I mentioned last Sunday this series evolved from another series, Probing The Passion.
I found it impossible to address the passion of Christ without delving into His dual nature: fully God and fully man.
It is my hope that my inadequacies in speaking on this difficult subject has not negated the good we've received.
This is a topic that needs considerable attention and I feel confident that we have at least initiated some dialogue.
John 12:32 records Jesus' words: If I be lifted up I will draw all men to Me.
John clarifies that Jesus was referencing His crucifixion:- the kind of death by which He was to die (Jn.12:13).
The death of Jesus by means of the cross added an unexpected twist to Israel's view of their Messiah.
The great expectations they held in connection with the arrival of their Messiah were most likely militaristic.
Many envisioned the Christ as One who would conquer their enemies and usher in a new “utopian” community.
Few, if any, imagined a Messiah (Christ) who would be crucified for their sins.
While focusing primarily on the prophecies of Daniel concerning the coming of The Son of Man (Dan.7:13ff),
they failed to consider the prophecies of Isaiah which clearly depicted The Suffering Servant (Isa.53:1ff).
In resolutely choosing to follow the will of The Father in traveling the way of the cross, Jesus displays a power that
was/is unlike anything the world has ever known. Jesus comes as God the Son full of both meekness and majesty.
As Jn.1:14 records - - And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld
His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH.
Last week I made the comment that Jesus did not come to “showboat” the attributes of His deity, but rather,
to SHOW His followers by means of His full humanity that they can FOLLOW HIM in obeying the will of God.
Jn.18:1-6 illustrates the meekness of Christ. He could have destroyed the Roman cohort (800 armed soldiers),
but He chose instead to willingly give Himself over to be arrested and eventually crucified.
This text provides a choice example of the power of His restraint.
Jesus knew that He could not save Himself if He was to do the will of His Father. cf. Mt.26:53-54
The are other expressions of meekness that we see modeled in the words and actions of the man Jesus the Christ.
If we are candid, we must acknowledge that Jesus' teachings on peacemaking appear to be quite RADICAL.
A number of these instructions are found in a cluster of verses (Mt.5:38-48) interwoven in the sermon on the mount.
These particular sayings relate to the cultivation of a level of restraint that requires us to live without retaliation.
You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you,
and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two.
Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven...
These are as plain as the noses on our faces, but we often find them hard to believe and even harder to obey.
An essay by Brandon Robertson dubs them: Four Teachings Of Jesus That His Followers (Almost) Never Take Seriously.
He goes on to say, IF WE OBEYED THESE TEACHINGS THEY WOULD ABSOLUTELY FLIP OUR LIVES
AND WORLD UPSIDE-DOWN FOR THE THE GLORY OF GOD AND THE GOOD OF ALL PEOPLE.
It is appalling how many Christians choose to blatantly ignore these clear instructions.
And, if ignoring these commandments is not bad enough, some seem bent on living by and promoting the very opposite.
Clay Gentry, one of our brethren, has written: “We're living in a society that no longer regards
the Golden Rule as the supreme code for moral conduct. Rather, the prevailing mantras
of the day are 'Do unto others as they do unto you' or worse 'Don't get mad, get even'.”
This twisted thinking does not represent the attitudes Christ taught His disciples to exhibit.
Instead of seeking retribution, Jesus taught non-retaliation.
The primary goal of these Old Testament commandments was to give direction to a theocratic government. This
concept of proportionate retribution, also called the law of the tooth (lex talionis) was to promote legal societal justice.
JESUS CALLS US TO TRANSCEND OUR NATURAL BEHAVIOR.
We are by nature selfish and defensive and we are often quick to retaliate and seek retribution.
Here again, when we look to Jesus for guidance on these matters we find His words backed up by His actions.
During the passion of Christ we see Jesus living out the sermon on the mount - - His walk matched His talk!
When arrested, He did not resist (Mt.26:47-56).
During His trial He did not retaliate when slapped and spit upon (M6:26:67-68).
When evil men beat Him, crucified Him, and gambled for His garment, the Lord restrained Himself (Mt.27:1-2 & 11-44).
Even while outstretched on the cross, He did not reciprocate the insults He received (Mt.27:39-44).
Indeed, while on the cross He prayed: Father forgive them, for they know not what what they are doing (Lk.23:34).
As Jesus began His final trek to Jerusalem where He would travel the way of the cross, at one juncture
He sent messengers into the region of Samaria to make arrangements for lodging and food (Lk.9:51-56).
(The Samaritans) did not receive Him because He was journeying with His face towards Jerusalem.
When James and John (two of the twelve apostles) heard this they said to Jesus (vs.54) - -
Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?
Jesus turned and rebuked them saying, You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;
for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them.
I'm not sure where Peter was on this occasion, but I suspect that if he'd been there He would have led that charge.
In his first epistle Peter condemns this spirit of retaliation. In 1Pet.2:21f, he reminds his readers to follow
in the steps of Jesus (while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering He uttered no threats...).
In 1Pet.3:8-9 he urges them not to return evil for evil, but giving a blessing instead; FOR SUCH YOU WERE CALLED...
In 1Pet.4:1 (ESV) he states, Since Christ has suffered in the flesh, ARM YOURSELVES WITH THE SAME WAY OF THINKING...
Saul of Tarsus became Paul, an apostle born out of due season / one untimely born (1Cor.15:8). One might debate
whether Paul's apostleship came before the others (prematurely) or made him a johnny-come-lately apostle.
Perhaps Paul was not one or the other but both - - coming after the twelve but advanced in his understanding.
Although Peter and Paul both were feisty characters, they both were shaped by the meekness of Christ (2Cor.10:1).
Like Peter, Paul also had a keen grasp of the importance of seeking peace rather than retribution.
Grace be with you is one of Paul's most common salutations. “Grace” is an antonym for “retaliation”.
Like with reading from Peter, when we read from Paul we hear echoes of Jesus from the sermon on the mount.
Rom.12:17-21 / Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved,
but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay', says the Lord.
But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will
heap coals of fire upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Jesus became God enfleshed to show us how to live. It's time we get serious about following in His steps.