John 19:31-42 | Mostly Dead?
John 19:31-42 | Mostly Dead?
March 17, 2024 |
Sunday Morning
John 19:31-42 | Mostly Dead?
John C. Majors |
John 19:31-42
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Well, good morning Valley View. It’s it’s great to be with you. “In fact, this morning, as we were singing I was just thinking, I’m so grateful” “for all who take the time to come here on a Sunday morning.” “I mean, think of all, well, don’t think too hard about it.” “There are a lot of other ways you could spend Sunday mornings.” No better place to be. But we come here and we worship together. I got to tell you, I’m edified by hearing so many proclaim “the name of Christ, proclaim the truth of who He is.” Each of us here are bolstered. our faith is increased by seeing that. So thank you. Means a lot to me. “It means a lot to the whole church. And it’s a powerful time together.” And of course, part of what we do here “is we worship in song, but we worship and we study God’s Word together.” “And we’re continuing in our study of the Book of John.” We’re coming near the end here. “Last week, we looked at Jesus’s death, and now we’re going to” “look at some of the aftermath of that and ask a few questions.” In fact, I remember back “when I got an email from a guy, it’s a guy I had known quite a while.” “He had been a supporter of our work in ministry” when we were serving with family ministry. “And he sent me this random email and it said,” “Hey, John, I just want you to know I was sorry to hear about your dad.” He was a great man. And I thought was? “Hold on or is there something I’ve missed here?” And of course, we lived in Arkansas. “Things are a little slower to get there Takes time.” “Sometimes I thought maybe something has happened I don’t know about.” “So I call my mom, but I don’t want to sound panicked in my voice.” I don’t want to, you know, disturb her. And I’m like, Hey, mom, how’s it going? Fine. I’m doing good. How are you? Okay. Things sound normal. Is Dad there? Yes. Can I talk to him? Sure. Dad. How you doing? Is everything okay? Do you feel okay? Finally. Like, what’s. What do you want? What’s going on? “Well, this guy emailed, said, you know, John was a great.” “It’s like, let me tell you what happened this week.” Another guy named John Majors who lived “in this part of town who went to a church in this area, was also a veteran.” He died. The same week. Obituary John Majors. “I was glad to hear that dad was not dead yet.” Right. That was encouraging. I think that relates to our story today. “Just in terms of the question of and this is some of what John was trying” to just address: is Jesus really dead? Right? “And behind that question is the bigger question,” who really is Jesus? “We’re going to see a couple of different layers addressing this issue.” Who really is Jesus? “In fact, we’re going to see three things in this story.” “I’m going to flash these on the screen so you can anticipate those as they come.” We’re going to be in John chapter 19 and wrapping up that chapter today. “But there’s three things there in particular that we’ll see.” First is his humanity. We’ll see that exposed in the passage. Also we’ll see his divinity in his death. Both of those emphasized. “But then we’ll see, interestingly enough, a courageous response” “to these two aspects of his nature, his humanity,” “his divinity, and a courageous response to his death.” Humanity, divinity, courageous response. So turn to John, Chapter 19. If you have a church Bible “that page number, that’ll be on the screen.” “And if you don’t have a Bible, we have those in the connection corner.” Those are free for you. Keep those, read those on your own. “But we love for you to turn in God’s Word, your own copy, and follow along” while we read and study His word together. So, John, Chapter 19. “And I’m just going to read the first couple of verses of this section,” “starting at verse 31, to get our context for what’s happening here today.” Verse 31, “since it was the day of preparation and so that the bodies would not remain” “on the cross on the Sabbath for that Sabbath was a high day” “the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken” and that they might be taken away. “So the soldiers came, broke the legs of the first” “and of the other who had been crucified with him.” All right. The context here is Jesus and two other guys on either side of him are crucified. “And this is what’s called the day of preparation.” “In fact, this was the day before the Sabbath,” “which would be a day where you prepare for the Sabbath.” “But this Sabbath in particular was especially important” “because you notice in the passage it said this was a high day,” “a high Sabbath, meaning it fell on one of the Jewish festivals,” “which made it a little more significant than others.” Kind of like “for us, maybe on Easter or Christmas, it gets a little more special attention.” “We do things a little differently that day now, with this Sabbath in particular,” “there would have been even more preparation that would have gone into it” than normal “and I want to pause for just a second and talk” just a little bit about Sabbath, “because we even if you consider Sunday to be a Sabbath” “and you tried to rest on that day and consider it” “maybe a little more important than a normal day,” “we still probably don’t hold to the Sabbath nearly at all” “in the way that the Jewish culture at that time would have.” “Like, for instance, you weren’t allowed to work on the Sabbath” “at all, which even meant things like cooking a meal.” “And so you would have prepared everything you were going to eat on their Saturday.” “I’ll just use Sunday. That’s what we view as the Sabbath.” “If you were going to eat on the Sabbath, you prepared all your food the day before.” “You had to think ahead to that. That’s what’s called a day of preparation.” “You got to get everything ready to be able to rest.” “And let’s say you need a fresh tunic on Monday that you want to” sure, make sure is clean, washed, pressed. “You’ve got to take care of that the day before.” You can’t do that on the Sabbath. “There’s all kinds of little things you want to put in place” “side note for us, because we spent some time” “talking about Sabbath during the Habit series back in January.” “If you’re running 100 miles an hour every day of the week,” “it’s really hard to just come to a screeching halt on the Sabbath” and to rest on that day. And nobody even said Amen. “That tells you right there how heavy that hits us, right?” Like almost all of your week “has to look a little different to be ready to rest.” “In fact, one of the books I mentioned in that time together” “was this book by John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.” It’s a great book. I really recommend reading that book. It’s challenging. “It’s clear to read, but it’s not easy to read because of the challenges” “with our pace of life that you’ll be encountered as you read that.” “But let me throw up one quote on the screen” “that he mentioned in that in that book, in terms of” “observing the Sabbath, Aright look, he says here,” ‚ÄúThere is a discipline to the Sabbath… It takes a lot of intentionality. It won’t just happen to you. It takes planning.‚Äù There’s that word preparation. Here’s another phrase that got me. ‚ÄúIt takes self-control.‚Äù It takes me saying, No, this can wait. I don’t have to do this today. ‚ÄúPeople who keep the Sabbath live all seven days differently.‚Äù Now, as I say that, I know that, “like you probably feel like I’m putting some huge burden on you right now.” “You’re saying I’ve got to change every day of my week” “and change everything so that I can make the most of the Sabbath?” Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. No, look, here’s the reason why. Why would “we find windows of time to rest and focus on God?” “Well, partly is because the command of the Sabbath is to remember.” Remember, I’m not God. He is. Remember, I have limits on my life. Remember? He rested on the seventh day. “Maybe that would be good for me to remember.” He is the one who created me, not myself. I don’t self-determine my existence. I remember that He is God Almighty. Holy, holy. No one greater. Now, here’s “what He says in this next quote that helps point us towards that.” Look at this next one. ‚ÄúSabbath is a way to stay free “and make sure you never get sucked back into slavery.‚Äù” “Isn‚Äôt that a powerful way to say that? it’s not a legalistic thing.” “I’m not waiting at your door, making sure you don’t slip out to work” or send a text message to an employee. No, it’s not a legalistic thing. It’s freedom. “Literally, at this time, they would have been celebrating the Passover.” This would have been that high day. “Which what was the Passover? What was that” a celebration of? What was that a remembrance of? The exodus, literally taken from slavery, taken out of slavery. “And when we practice the Sabbath, it’s just a little bit reminder” “that God is the one who takes us out of slavery” “and this world wants to enslave you to all the ways” it says you should be driven into madness. “All the things it says are way more important than knowing Christ.” The Sabbath is just one way to say I will not be a slave to this world. So this was a day of preparation pointing towards the Passover, but there was a problem. “Part of the problem was we want to celebrate the Passover,” “but we don’t want these three guys hanging around dead and ruining things for us.” “And that’s kind of a killjoy in this moment.” Our laws don’t really jive with that. “So the Jews go to the Romans and they say, Can you speed things up a bit?” “That explains why they came and broke their legs, is what it said,” broke their legs. Now, why would they do that? “I mean, they’re already suffering enough. Isn‚Äôt that” pretty cruel? Yes, it’s extremely cruel. That was the point. “They wanted people to suffer incredibly because they wanted everyone else” “to see how much they were suffering and to think,” “I don’t want to do whatever they did and end up there.” “The punishment was meant to be instructive,” but the main “I’ve often heard it describe the main way that people died during crucifixion” wasn’t necessarily “unless they had so much trauma from the beatings and things that they bled out.” But usually it was from suffocation “The way they hung on the cross when they droop down, their lungs would feel liquid.” Over time. “It was hard to breathe and they would eventually,” slowly, torturously over time, suffocate. “And the one way to avoid that was to push up with your legs and get a deep breath.” And if your legs are broken, that’s a lot harder. “Probably can’t do that or it’s incredibly painful.” “It speeds things up while also increasing suffering at the same time.” Isn’t that wonderful? “It wasn’t like the Jews were going, Hey, let’s show mercy on these guys.” “Let’s let’s make sure that they’ve suffered enough.” Let’s take them down and by Jews, again, I want to say it over and over again. “We’re talking about the self-righteous religious leaders overseeing” all of this monstrosity of injustice “that’s happening at this time, not Jewish people in general.” “But when John uses that phrase, he usually is” “speaking to the self-righteous religious leaders.” “What they were most worried about in this moment was their law.” We want to keep our law, so let’s get those guys down. So they come to the first guy. “He’s still alive, break his legs, go to the second guy, he’s still alive.” Break his legs. “But then look what happens when they come to Jesus.” “Look at these next couple of verses, verse 33.” But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, “but one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear.” “And at once there came out blood and water.” He who saw it has borne witness. “This is John, the author of the book writing. His testimony is true,” and he knows that he is telling the truth. That you also may believe. So they come to Jesus and they see he’s already dead. That phrase is really important here. “This speaks to that issue that I said we‚Äôd address at the beginning” the humanity of Jesus. “This shows us the humanity of Jesus in all that we’re going to see” “in this next little portion that we’re reading here.” “The Romans were really good at killing people.” They knew how to do it really well. They weren’t fooled. “If you just pretended to be dead hanging on the cross and you will hear” “various heresies over the centuries and millennia have said, well,” maybe he didn’t really die. Maybe he just appeared to be dead. Or one is called the swoon theory. “Maybe he just fainted in the midst of all the pain and torture.” “Now, look, these guys did this every probably every day” Just by looking at him they knew that guys dead. He’s done. Now, just to be sure, though, they stick the spear in his side and out comes it says blood and water. Now, why blood and water? Why is that significant here? Why does he point that out? “There have been a lot of explorations of that idea of blood and water.” “Some have taken the medical side of things and gone down that” “route and seen, well, this is what happens to a body after it dies.” “And there have been these instances where blood and water come out” and there’s a lot there to explore. I think that’s interesting. “I think the main point, though, that is emphasized here” is, again, his humanity. He was a real human, “a real person with blood and water in his body.” It didn’t just appear to be human. “He was really only God just had the appearance of human.” No, we see his hu– “I think that’s the main emphasis, is his humanity.” “Now, I think also, though, there is some symbolism here” for us to take note of. Some things “that are maybe a little more nuanced, but we don’t have to guess.” “We don’t have to wonder what does he mean by why would he say blood in water?” “Because he’s going to tell us by quoting the Old Testament.” “So let’s look at this next section, because this is his humanity.” “But in this, we also see what we’re going to see is” “the emphasis on his divinity as he quotes the Old Testament.” So look back here. “Keep reading in verse 36, Blood, borne witness,” “I say all this that you may believe verse 36” for these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Not one of his bones will be broken. “And again, another scripture says, they will look on him” whom they have pierced. “Last week we spent some time looking at that word fulfillment, fulfilled.” “John is quoting the Old Testament more and more as we go through the book of John.” “He’s saying everything that’s happening now was predicted.” “What you read long ago was all pointing forward to this moment.” “And he’s unveiling that in different ways and different layers” from different passages. It’s Psalm and and Isaiah. And here we see two other references. “And so the first one, he notes where he says not one of his bones” will be broken. “That goes back to a passages, a passage in in Exodus.” “In fact, I’ll throw the reference on the screen.” “You can look it up on your own later, Exodus 12:45.” “It also appears in Numbers and the context there specifically is the Passover.” And the reference is to the Passover lamb. And so the Passover lamb “would have been killed and the blood would have been used” “to paint over the door post to protect the first born of the home.” The lamb was slain and the blood spilled “as a sacrifice in place of the firstborn of the home.” And his special emphasis was not one of his bones of that lamb was to be broken. “It was to be unblemished, spotless and not broken after.” “And so when we see Jesus hanging on the cross, not a bone broken.” Here’s the imagery we see. “He is the lamb of God that has come to take away the sin of the world.” “He fulfills what the Passover was pointing towards.” And so this verse “going back to the blood and water that comes out of his body,” “this verse is showing that that blood symbolizes” “his blood spilled on our behalf to take away the sin of the world.” He fulfills the Passover lamb. He fulfills the Passover. “So that’s the first half of that blood and water.” But look at the next verse “and what this symbolizes, what this points towards, he says.” “Again, another scripture says they will look on him whom they have pierced.” “Now, this one is going to take us to kind of the dustier part” “of your Old Testament, probably some of these prophets in Zachariah.” “That’s the next to the last book in the Old Testament.” If you got a church Bible, “it’s on page 750. Flip over there because I want you to see this verse in context.” Zachariah Chapter 12 “and Zachariah is especially this chapter 12” “through 14 is all about the return of the Lord,” “the day of the Lord, the day, the coming day of the Lord,” “looking forward to the day the Messiah will come.” So no coincidence “that this is a section that is quoted in reference to Jesus,” “this in particular verse we’re going to look at” “12:10 is also quoted in Revelation about the return of Christ” “to come looking forward to His return to come.” So that’s the context that is set here. “Now look at we’re going to look at verse ten.” “We’re going to look at it carefully because there is a couple of words in here” “that will help us understand what Jesus meant by blood and water” and how this connects to Christ. Look at verse ten. “It says, I will pour out on the House of David” “and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy,” “so that when they look on me, on him, whom they have pierced,” they shall mourn for him. “As one mourns for an only child and weeps bitterly over” him, as one weeps over a firstborn. Now there’s a lot happening in this verse, “so stay with me for a second, because there is a couple of things” “we need to point out to see the connection to Christ hanging on the cross.” “He says in verse ten, When they look on me,” this is the Lord speaking. When they look on me, “who you have pierced? Who has pierced him?” David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. He’s not talking about somebody else. “He’s not talking about some other nation that has attacked the Lord.” Here. Me. You’re looking on me. The one you have pierced. The very situation that Jesus is encountering in this moment. “His own people have pierced him and hung him.” This was predicted back in Zachariah. But look what he says after this. Look at chapter 13, verse one. “And this is pointing us all to the symbolism of the water, the blood,” “the fulfillment of the Passover, the water.” Look at verse 13. On that day “I shall be a fountain open for the house of David” “and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin” and uncleanness. On that day, when they looked upon him “whom they have pierced, there will be a fountain.” “And of course we know in the book of John, we’ve already seen in chapter seven” “the Holy Spirit will come and flow from you like rivers of living water.” So the symbolism “here, blood, fulfillment of the Passover; water, the coming of the Holy Spirit.” “Jesus said, I got to go away so someone greater will come.” And here it is, “cleansing of his blood, the forgiveness of sins,” “the Holy Spirit with you, the water, the cleansing.” You know what’s powerful about this? As I read verse ten, his own people “are piercing him and persecuting him and what does he do?” He pours out life on them. And I know, look, there have been times when any number of us have looked at Jesus and persecuted him “and have said, I don’t want anything to do with you.” And I’ve only looked at him out of hate or anger and his response to that is to pour out “his grace, his mercy, his love, his spirit upon you.” He loves you so much “that blood and water that spilled out represents” “that he was willing to go to any length for you.” And that’s why John says, “Look back at John Chapter 19, because there’s one word” “I skipped over, but it’s the central point of this whole passage.” “It’s the central point of the whole book of John, Chapter 20:31.” “He says, I’ve written this so that you may believe,” “and right here in the crux of the whole passage,” “I’m writing all this, I’m telling you this, I’m telling you the truth” so that you may believe. “And so to put all this together, because I know we were wading” “through some heavy stuff here, Jesus in his humanity,” fully human, died as a human, blood and water spilled out “Jesus in his divinity, fully God, fully in control, died in his strength.” Died in his timing. On our behalf. Both are true and both are part of belief. “In fact, I’m going to throw don’t put it up yet, but I’m going to put” “a big phrase up on the screen that summarizes this.” “And let me explain why, because I know sometimes” “churches and pastors can throw around big words” “to try to sound important and maybe confuse you a little.” “But big words and big phrases oftentimes have a purpose.” We use them to summarize up big ideas. “I could say to you, God is Father, Son, Holy Spirit.” “All three are equally God, and yet there is one God.” Or I could say God is Trinity. “We use that one word, that short word, some words, not even in the Bible,” “but we use it to summarize what the Bible teaches.” And I ran across this word in seminary. “I was surprised by it, but I found it so helpful.” “I was a couple of years in before I even heard about it.” “I’d probably heard about it skipped right past me.” “But this summarizes up this whole big idea.” It’s called the hypostatic union. Use that in a sentence this week. I challenge you. Good luck. Here’s why I present it. Not so that we can try to sound smart. “First of all, I know you’re thoughtful people.” You come to me with questions. I know you’re thoughtful. “I know you want to understand Scripture better.” I want to know you want to. “I know you want to understand the ideas of Scripture.” This word is not in Scripture. “It summarizes up this idea, and here’s what it is.” Jesus fully human and Jesus fully divine. “Two natures coexist perfectly in one body, the hypostatic union.” It’s a it’s a mouthful, but it’s an important idea. And it comes back to that idea of belief. “We want to believe in the Jesus who Jesus says he is, not the Jesus we’ve made up.” “And too often I know my temptation is to say,” “You know what I really like Jesus as human a little more.” He’s a little more approachable. “I kind of feel more relatable to him as a human.” I’m going to emphasize that. I’m going to believe in that Jesus. “Or you might say, that seems like a weak Jesus.” I like the divine Jesus. “In fact, I like seeing him come down with wrath and revelation.” “I’m going to believe in that Jesus more than this kind of soft” Jesus that dies on a cross. But the Jesus we’re called to believe in. “The Jesus that is true is is both of those realities.” “And it’s a lot easier to just take one and ignore the other.” “Our call is to believe in him as he represents himself” fully, man, fully divine. “Those two natures perfectly coexisting in one person perfectly,” “neither overtaking the other, neither pushing aside” the other. Hypostatic union. Believe, believe in Jesus. Now, we’ve seen his humanity. We’ve seen his divinity. “What I want to see in this moment, and I want us to reflect on it,” is a courageous response. “It’s really surprising who he brings up after this, the ones that go to care” “for him, in that we see a courageous response. So look back at verse 38:” after these things, “Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus,” but secretly for fear of the Jews “asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus” and Pilate gave him permission. So he came, took away his body. Nicodemus also who earlier had come to Jesus by night “he came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes,” about 75 lbs. in weight. So they took the body of Jesus, bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. “Now, in that place where he was crucified, there was a garden,” “and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.” “So because of the Jewish day of preparation,” “since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus” there. There’s a “couple of little details dropped in here to just remind us about the humanity” “of Jesus, the death of Jesus, that he wasn’t just sort of dead” “or partly dead or fainted or mostly dead. He was really dead, fully dead.” “Couple of just small things like the gigantic amount” “of perfume and spices that were put on him and the cloths” “that would have been tightly wrapped around him.” He’s not coming out of that on his own. “And the fact that he was laid in a new tomb,” “the specific part of that is there was no one else in there with him.” There would have been no confusion. Maybe this other guy was raised. No, no, no. “No one else has used this. He was alone in here.” Just a “couple of little tidbits to point back to that reality.” But the surprising part of this part the shocking part of this part “is who we see caring for the body of Jesus.” “At first we see Joseph of Arimathea and notice how he’s described” a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews. “Now, I’ll tell you what’s shocking about that.” “Flip back to Chapter 12, because John, when he’s talked about that” kind of disciple, has been very critical “of that kind of disciple, look at chapter 12.” We’re looking at verse 42. Many of the authorities believed in him, “but for fear of the Pharisees, they did not confess it” “so that they would not be put out of the synagogue.” Now, why was that? Look at this. “Is this how you want your faith described? For” “they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” “He was very critical of that kind of person.” But but not here. We don’t see that hint. We don’t see him being hard on Joseph. “In fact he’s highlighting that Joseph, in fact, in Mark it says he took courage” “and went to Pilate, he took a courageous step” “and then along with him Nicodemus and Nicodemus is interesting” “because this is the guy that had argued with the religious rulers.” “I don’t think we’re going about this the right way, guys.” “There’s rules we are meant to follow, and it seems like you’re skipping over” those to accomplish your own agenda. He comes to him by night. He comes. He approaches Jesus as as a learner. We don’t know. We aren’t sure. “John never explicitly says that Nicodemus was a disciple of Christ.” Man. But the inference here is “he’s he’s coming out of the night, out of the darkness,” coming to take a courageous step. In fact, “I’ve tried to put myself in this situation.” “You know, the Romans, when they killed someone for sedition,” someone for claiming to be Caesar, they wouldn’t bury– “they wouldn’t let you take them and bury them in a known grave.” “They would just throw them in a common grave” “because they didn’t want you turning that grave into a shrine.” “I mean, we experienced this when they found Osama” bin Laden and executed him. “They didn’t then hand him over to the government and say, here” you go, have a burial, celebrate his life. “They dumped him in the middle of the ocean where no one would ever find him.” We’re not going to take a chance “that he becomes a martyr that his grave becomes” a shrine. Now, try to imagine Joseph of Arimathea, “Nicodemus, part of the religious ruling elite.” This is going to sound so gross to us. And it should. Try to imagine “some of the Cabinet members, a couple of senators,” “go to the military and say, no, no, no, no, don’t dump his body.” We want we want Osama’s body. “We want to make sure he gets a proper burial.” We want to make sure he’s cared for. “That’s the kind of courageous step these two guys are taking.” “That wouldn’t be courageous from our perspective with Osama bin Laden.” “But you can understand that the Jewish leaders are looking at them going,” what are you doing? “You want to take our worst enemy and you want to care for his body.” You want to wrap his body, put spices around it, put it in a tomb. Now, look, “whatever their faith was, it wasn’t secret anymore.” “Everybody knows now where their allegiance lies.” And as I thought about their example, their courageous example, “I thought there were a few lessons for us to take from that.” I’m going to run through these quickly. How did their acts of courage inspire us? Even? What was their model for us? What do we learn from their lessons? Let’s look at this first one. First of all, know you are not alone. I imagine there were moments where Joseph thought “am I the only one who sees that Jesus seems to be fulfilling all of this” “I’ve read in Scripture? I imagine there are moments” “where Nicodemus thought, Am I the only one?” Am I the crazy one here? And I’m guessing that at work “there are times you feel like, am I the only one who knows about Jesus?” “I’m guessing there are times in school you feel like,” “am I the only one that even maybe wants to follow Jesus?” But you’re not alone. It might feel like you’re alone. “It very well may feel that way, but you never know.” It might be years from now. “It might be decades from now until that person comes to you and said, I saw you.” I saw you being faithful. I noticed you. I wanted to be like that. That’s the first one. You’re not alone. May feel that way. Really? Well, maybe, but you’re not alone. “Number two, and we’ve talked about this one a lot.” Live out your faith as a public face. “Our faith is personal, but it’s not private.” “That’s why when we do baptisms, we do them up here for everyone to see.” We’re not hiding. It’s not in secret. “When people join the church, they come down front” “for everyone to see and to celebrate together.” Yes, our faith is very personal. It’s not private. We live out a public faith. “And for these two guys, what was once secret” now has become open. And when I think of them, “one of the beautiful places to get in life is to where you’re no longer” “worried about what anyone else thinks when it comes to following Christ.” All the inhibition is gone. You don’t care anymore. You don’t care what happens. All you care about is following him. We call that freedom. Following him. “We’re free from all the worries and anxieties and concerns.” “We just want to worship him and follow him and tell others.” We don’t care anymore. That’s a great place to be. “Now, as I say that, let me give a little caveat and this will” be number three. Let’s be gracious and patient with new believers. Yes, we want to live free. Yes, we want to live open. And yet with a new believer, “someone who is just coming to know Christ, there’s a season of care,” like a new seed planted in the ground “that needs protection, it needs fertilizing, it needs water,” “it needs sun, it needs a net around it to grow, to establish roots.” “And let’s don’t confuse reluctance with being ashamed of God.” Let’s be patient. Let’s be kind. “And I’ll say this, though, at the same time, one of the most powerful” things you can do is “if God has worked radically in your life is that same day, go tell others.” “And you can even say, Look, I don’t have it all figured out.” I might spout heresy here. I don’t know. But I know he changed me. I know he is at work in my life. “When we worked with college students, we tried to do that all the time.” Go tell your roommates. Don’t keep it a secret. Tell them. Let them know. “God is at work in my life, especially if they know how terrible you are.” “No, you’re right. ” Something’s changing. I can’t explain it. Tell me more. We don’t have to– have to have it all “figured out to start talking about what God has done in your life.” “We’ll never do it if we wait for that moment.” But let’s be patient with one another. Don’t confuse immaturity with heresy or being ashamed. “All this leads to number four, and I’ve already hinted at it.” And this one. “Number four, be mindful that people are watching. ” People are watching. “And I guarantee you these other religious leaders” “were watching Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.” They were watching them to see what are they doing? What does that mean? Why would they do that? “We know from Chapter 12 that others were at least interested” in Jesus. People are watching. They’re watching how you live your life. And here’s the crazy part of that. “Nobody cares how you do in the great times.” Nobody cares. Nobody goes, Man, “the way he handled that promotion at work, I got to tell you, I was so inspired.” How did he take that extra money? I don’t know. How did she get through that? No one says that. It’s when you lose the job, they want to see what. Okay. He talks about how good God is. She says, I trust him no matter what’s going to happen. We’ll see for real now. I was inspired “by Brenda and watching her respond to Lynn.” And if you haven’t been here recently, “one of our members, Lynn Murray, has Alzheimer’s.” “And he went on a walk and was lost a couple of days” “and the whole many members of the church rallied to help find him.” “And I was with Brenda at a number of moments.” “And I got to tell you, there were so many moments.” I thought, how can anyone be this dependent on Christ in this moment? How could someone hold together this “well? I got to tell you, there are plenty moments” “I thought I wouldn’t hold together this well.” “My faith was strengthened by her, just continued faithfulness.” I know God is in control. I know he is good. No matter what happens, I believe he’s going to help us find him. But I trust him even more. People are watching. How are we going to hold up in the hard times? The powerful part of this passage is the reality that it’s bookended “by two words, the same word on the front and on the back.” It’s preparation. “The passage starts with This is the day of preparation” “and it ends with this is the day of preparation” “and of course, they were preparing for the Passover.” But we know what we’re preparing for. We’re preparing for Christ to come back. Okay, He died, but he rose again. “And we’re going to talk about that the next two weeks.” We’re going to see his resurrection. “The first half of the gospel has been today.” Jesus died. “First Corinthians 15, though if you want to point someone” “to the gospel, verse Corinthians 15, it says, This is the gospel.” “Christ died our sins according to the Scripture.” He was buried. That’s the first half. But he rose again. And I’ve seen him, Paul said. “And apostles have seen him, and many, many more have seen him.” 500 have seen him. The day of preparation is for his return, and we eagerly await his return. “We are longing for his return, and that’s why we come together today.” We celebrate that. We worship him, “and we anticipate the day that he will be back.” Let’s pray.