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I AM THE WAY…

Date: 
March 25, 2018
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
John 14:1-7 // Mark 11:1-11

Theme: Jesus is the way to the Father…

INTRODUCTION

  • Most cars today come equipped with a guidance system, a GPS that keeps drivers on the right track and helps them to get to where they want to go… but when you miss a turn, a voice “from heaven” breaks the silence and says, “RECALCULATING!”  and immediately computes a new route to get you back on track. (Warning:  In some of the newest cars equipped with Siri, if you swear at the navigation system, it responds “That wasn’t very nice!”)
  • “RECALCULATING” – Wouldn’t it be interesting, or perhaps even terrifying, if every time you made a “wrong turn” or a poor choice in life you heard a booming voice that said, “RECALCULATING,”  reminding you that you are not on the right track?
  • The disciples of Jesus had their own “guidance system”
  • Jesus said to his followers, “I am the way…” (John 14:6)
    • He spoke these words to his disciples in the upper room where he had gone to share the last supper with them…
    • He was preparing them for the difficult journey that lay ahead…
    • His words were meant to be words of encouragement…
    • “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.”  (John 14:1-4)
    • And immediately Thomas said, “RECALCULATING!”   “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (vs. 5)   (This was not the first or the only time that Thomas said, “Recalculating!” – see John 11:7-16)
    • In response to Thomas, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (vs. 6)
  • Jesus wanted his followers, and us, to know the way to the One he called, “Father.”
  • We need to be reminded that Jesus has come to us for three reasons:
    • To show us the Father…
    • To forgive our sins…
    • To establish the Kingdom of God…
  • REVELATION… REDEMPTION… RULE  (Peter J. Blackburn)
  • If we follow the Way – if we follow Jesus – we will come to the Father
  • Jesus said, “Anyone who believes in me will do the same things I have done.” (vs. 12)

 

MARCH FOR OUR LIVES

  • Yesterday in Washington, DC there was a huge rally – “The March for our Lives” - organized by the survivors of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida…
    • The rally in Washington was expected to draw 500,000 participants…
    • More than 800 sibling rallies were held in cities both large and small across the United States, as close by as Hyannis and Falmouth, and as far away as London and Hong Kong…
    • I know that some of you, not just our youth, participated in the rally in Hyannis.
    • March for our Lives calls for measures to be taken to end gun violence in our schools…
  • Gun violence is a crisis in the United States, especially for children, and a huge number — one that needs no exaggeration — have been affected by school shootings. An ongoing Washington Post analysis has found that more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. That figure, which comes from a review of online archives, state and federal enrollment figures and news stories, is a conservative calculation and does not include dozens of suicides, accidents and after-school assaults that have also exposed youths to gunfire. (Washington Post)
    • Teen activism has become a driving force for gun control in this country…
    • Our teens are saying to us, “Recalculate!”
    • They are pleading with us to seriously ponder the issues that lend to gun violence in our schools…
    • Public pressure is beginning to push our lawmakers to act…

PALM SUNDAY

  • I couldn’t help but reflect on the parallels between yesterday’s March for our Lives and Palm Sunday, the day Jesus entered the gated city of Jerusalem…
    • Both the March for our Lives and Palm Sunday drew huge crowds… their actions could not be predicted in advance…
    • Some in both crowds were enthusiastic supporters, some were detractors, and some who were simply curious onlookers with no opinion one way or the other…
    • Both events grew out of the people and produced much positive energy…
    • At one palm branches were waved and at the other placards were held high… there was singing and chanting at both…
    • Both events put the decision makers on edge… one in Washington, the other in Jerusalem…
  • The warm air outside the city of Jerusalem was filled with a mixture of excitement and tension, not unlike the excitement and tension along Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capital yesterday.
    • The road leading to Jerusalem’s eastern gate was crowded with people, many pushing to the front for a better view…
    • Outside the city’s walls the growing crowd of Jesus’ followers was filled with anticipation and joy, but within those walls the self-righteous politicians and pious temple priests wrestled with their fears…
  • The road to Jerusalem was unusually crowded… many pilgrims were making the journey to the holy city to celebrate Passover.
    • Word filtered quickly among the travelers that Jesus was coming along the same road… he, too, was preparing to enter the city…
    • The people’s reaction to Jesus was spontaneous… they had made no advance plan – no preparation – for receiving the One who many claimed to be the Messiah.
  • Jesus was making a proclamation – he did not intend to slip quietly into the city and lose himself among the crowd of pilgrims…
    • Jesus was coming to Jerusalem to make a statement – a strong statement… the right time had come… Jesus was ready to declare his kingship… to reveal his true identity as the promised Messiah… and to meet his detractors face to face…
    • He was declaring his kingship, but he was not the kind of king the crowd expected… he was a different kind of king…
    • “The people wanted a new king – a king who would rule as they expected a king would rule; exercising political muscle where necessary, employing military force as needed, and restoring the purity of temple worship. The Jews expected another Hezekiah, Josiah, or better yet, a king in the mold of Israel’s greatest warrior king – David himself.” <Mason>
    • No, he was not the kind of king the crowd expected… he was a different kind of king…
    • Jesus declares that the true Messiah is the King of Peace that the prophet Zechariah foretold, the one who comes in weakness and humility, not in power and might.
    • He was coming in peace to save God’s people… to make everything right…
    • Jesus knew what awaited him inside the gates of the city, but the crowd did not! This was the beginning of the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry… in less than a week’s time he would hang on a cross and die…
  • Jesus must have been a comical sight that day – the humble teacher sitting “side-saddle” on the slow-moving donkey animal… if he had straddled the donkey, as a cowboy might straddle a horse, his feet would have dragged in the dust…
  • The donkey’s colt was well chosen to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah, “Look, your king is coming to you… humble and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)
  • Along the roadside the followers of Jesus were wild with excitement… some placed their garments upon the ground to honor Jesus with royal welcome – a “red carpet” of cloaks and capes… others cut branches from the palm trees to wave as flags… they shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
  • Along the road there was nothing but excitement, but as Jesus made his entrance into Jerusalem the whole city was shaken. Unnerved people were asking, “What’s going on here? Who is this? The parade crowd answered, “This is the prophet Jesus, the one from Nazareth in Galilee.” <The Message – Eugene Peterson>

CONCLUSION

  • Blessed indeed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
  • Jesus said, I am the way… no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
    • I’m not the one who gives directions…
    • I’m not the one who posts the signs…
    • I’m not just the one who will show you the way…
    • I am the way…”
  • Who are you following? Do you need to recalculate?
  • We come to the Father through believing and trusting in Jesus Christ…
  • Jesus said, “Anyone who believes in me will do the same things I have done.”  (John 14:12)

 

Sermon Seeds

  • Washington Post – 2/15/18
  • The Way, The Truth and The Life – a sermon by Peter J. Blackburn
  • Daily Study Bible – William Barclay
  • Life Application Bible Commentary – Tyndale
  • A Different Kind of King – a sermon by Marc V. Mason – 4/5/09
  • What Kind of King Did You Expect – a sermon by Chuck Warnock – www.churchleaders.com
  • The MessageEugene Peterson

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