Who Died And Made You Boss – Part 4
“While all the people were listening, Jesus said…” vs. 45
Look Who’s Here!
Make my way down the aisle greeting people and introducing our church. Stop suddenly and recognize Dr. I.M. Soogood. Dr. Soogood is that you? This is amazing, I have just been reading your latest book, My Life And It’s Affect On Modern Day Christianity. I can’t believe you have chosen to visit us today. Please, what are you doing sitting way back here? Please come up here to the front. Brush off seat. Have him ask for a better seat. Have my office chair brought up to the front, put it right near the pulpit, and brush it off for him.
It is so good to have such an important person with us today. I only hope I can live up to his expectations and presence with us. As we begin, if you are able, would you stand as we read God’s Word from Luke 20:45-47.
“Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”
Why Celebrate Easter
The last few weeks we have been looking at Luke 20 and there has been an interesting scenario taking place; it addressed in Luke 19:47:
“But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him (Jesus).” Luke 19:47
Surprisingly, the religious leaders were in the schemes of plotting a murder. Not something we generally think of church leaders doing. They really didn’t understand who Jesus was or what his purpose was. Many people are the same today. But what was Jesus all about? 1 Tim. 1:9-10:
“This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:9-10
These verses remind us that Jesus came to abolish death and to bring new life, an eternal life with God. That is why today is so important to us, the church. Though we may die an earthly death, we believe that there is more. That we will have an eternal life through Jesus Christ and that is why we celebrate Easter. It’s the reality to us that death is not victorious.
The religious leaders missed who Jesus was. Jesus was sure of who he was and he gives those listening to him a strong warning, verse 46:
“Beware of the teachers of the law.” vs. 46
He’s pretty blunt here. He cautions the people about listening to their religious leaders. These are guys you are supposed to trust. They are supposed to be the authority. The reason they are trying to kill Jesus is not because he is wrong but because he challenges their authority and the people are putting more credibility in what Jesus is saying rather than what they are saying. If they had listened to the prophets, if they would really read the Scriptures and seek God, they would recognize who Jesus is but they are only concerned about themselves and what they feel is right. We should take the same caution, if we think we have all the answers, if we feel we are above the law and above God, we have to stop ourselves and really decipher what is right. Prov. 14:12:
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12
We can take the same caution today, be careful who you listen to and really decipher what is right and true.
The Promises of Easter
So with that caution in mind, let’s look at what the religious leaders believed and what Jesus is offering us in the same way. It has everything to do with Easter.
- Forgiveness vs. Pride
The first issue that presents itself with the leaders is their struggle with being the authority. At the beginning of our chapter the religious leaders ask Jesus a really important question. It’s found in verse 2:
“Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?” Luke 20:2
As I said, it’s an important question, “Who is the authority?” If that were the issue it would be a simple answer. But Jesus sees deeper into the situation and realizes the issue is not really authority but it’s their pride and desire to be recognized. They were not looking to God for answers or for their salvation, they were trusting in their own pomp, glory, and how good they thought they were. We have to be careful of that too. We generally consider ourselves good, don’t we? Sure. But the reality is that we all have things we struggle with and need forgiveness for, even the best of us. In God we are all the same.
“There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” Romans 3:22-25
Part of the celebration of Easter is the fact that we can’t do anything to earn our way to heaven. If we could, we could have pride in our accomplishments. It wouldn’t be a God thing it would be a “me” thing. What I have done, what I have accomplished. God gives us a gift, forgiveness. But the acceptance of that gift takes putting aside our pride and accepting the gift, the free gift of forgiveness. It’s a great gift.
- Eternal Life vs. Temporary Pleasure
The second issue that the religious leaders were dealing with was they put more importance in temporary pleasure and recognition than in eternal life. Listen again to verse 46:
“They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.” vs. 46
I think I can safely say that most of us like to be treated well. We like a little special treatment and there really isn’t anything wrong with that. When that becomes our objective in life, when that is what we live for, then it has gone to far. I give the religious leaders a little slack here. Mainly because I think we can all have a tendency to give in to temporary pleasure and forget the long term effects and ideals.
Ex. Eating to much or not healthy enough and saying I’ll do that later, not exercising, using bad language, giving into things like pornography, etc.
If there was one thing the religious leaders needed it was a heavenly perspecitvie. Jesus tells his disciples in Matt. 6:20-21:
“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6: 20-21
The religious leaders heart was in their approval of men not their approval from God. For us, we have to commit to the long term ideal of eternal life with God in order for us to live in God’s peace. Your decision making process changes when you have an eternal perspective. I believe you become more grateful and thankful.
Ex. Thankful for your spouse, your possessions, your health, etc In fact, make this a goal, to express that to your family today, and to God. Make a list, use it as a prayer guide.
- Personal Relationship vs. Public Recognition
And finally, they were more concerned with their public persona than they were with their relationship with God, verse 47:
“They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers.” vs. 47
Now Jesus is very poignant here. Notice the two ways Jesus points this out. First, they devour widows; in other words they have not concern for their community. They want the authority over the community but don’t want to take care of the community. Second, they are flaunting their “religion” in front of the religious community so they don’t really care about them either. Remember the story of the religious leader who prayed publically and praise God he was not like those sinners. They lorded their “religiousness” over the people they were supposed to be leading closer to God
You and I called to a personal relationship with God. God loves you. He loves me. He wants you to know how much he loves you and again, that is what Easter is about. Jesus giving his life for you and me and God’s desire for us to turn to him. Here aer two verse that convey God’s love for us.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
Let me end by stating it this way. God loveus, he loves you, beyond compare.
Love Beyond Compare
Ill. One day C. H. Spurgeon was walking through the English countryside with a friend. As they strolled along, the evangelist noticed a barn with a weather vane on its roof. At the top of the vane were these words: GOD IS LOVE. Spurgeon remarked to his companion that he thought this was a rather inappropriate place for such a message. “Weather vanes are changeable,” he said, “but God’s love is constant.” “I don’t agree with you about those words, Charles,” replied his friend. “You misunderstood the meaning. That sign is indicating a truth: Regardless of which way the wind blows, God is love.”
One of my favorite verses as a young boy was John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Ever had someone go the extra mile to express how much they care about you? God did too. He gave his son and so many people miss that. The religious leaders in our story missed it. Many people today miss it. I don’t want you to leave here today and miss it.