Sermon for March 14, 2021

 Illegitimate Children

John 8:41b-47

  • You probably missed a giant accusation that was made about Jesus last week.  It was the biggest rumor going around about Jesus through the land of Samaria and in Jerusalem.  What was this rumor?
    • The Jews therefore murmured concerning him, because he said, I am the bread which came down out of heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how doth he now say, I am come down out of heaven? (John 6:41-42 ASV)
  • This is an ongoing theme.  Misguided individuals looked to the teachings of the Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament and bent their understanding to the idea of who, when, and where the Messiah would be.  Their idea of the Messiah was a political leader, a liberator, a king. Notice how the Pharisees investigated everything they knew about Jesus:
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    • Some of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, said, This is of a truth the prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, What, doth the Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said that the Christ cometh of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was? So there arose a division in the multitude because of him.  (John 7:40-43 ASV)
  • So, Jesus is the son of Joseph the carpenter AND he hails from Nazareth…what about that Bethlehem story?  Of course, the Pharisee’s are referring to Micah 5:2:
    • But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth: then the residue of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand, and shall feed his flock in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God: and they shall abide; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be our peace. When the Assyrian shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. (Micah 5:2-5 ASV)
    • The Gospel of Matthew uses this in the census story of the birth of Jesus.  We just did a children’s play about this.  However, while the story of Jesus fits with Micah 5:2, it does not fit the context of the passage.  The context of Micah is underlined…Micah is talking about a king that will bring peace to the land as a Messiah (Savior).  In Micah’s lifetime, he witnessed three kings of Judah, Jotham (wicked), Ahaz (wicked), and Hezekiah (33 years of righteousness and peace).  The context is a righteous king that will stand up against Assyria and that IS Hezekiah.  Judah enjoyed 33 years (add 9 more as a coregent with his father Ahaz) of peace under his leadership because he did things God’s way!  That is roughly 283 years between King David to King Hezekiah.  
    • So, the Pharisee’s had two issues.  First, Jesus hailed from Nazareth, his family’s hometown.  It has always been his hometown.  The trip to Bethlehem was for a census.  Secondly, news got around that Mary and Joseph conceived out of wedlock.  How do we know this?

John 8:41b “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

OUCH!!!!

Since they had attempted (twice) to stone Jesus for heresy, they instead throw big verbal stones!  Now you understand why Jesus hated gossip and slander so much!!!  First, he was not FROM Bethlehem and not only that, BUT JESUS IS ALSO BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCK…HE’S ILLIGITIMATE!  WHAT AN ACCUSATION!!!  Not only do those accusations affect Jesus, but they also affect his earthly parents!

Jesus’ response: “Why don’t you believe me?”

The answer:  The people, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, the Sanhedrin, and everyone in the crowd were serving their own opinions. Their truth was not truth, even though they believed whole heartedly that they were right in their assumptions.  Jesus says their god is different than His Father!  You see, the devil was in the details…

You see, God’s chosen is not connected to that of a birthright or even the situations that can surround how one is brought into the world.  The issue has always been who is willing to listen to God.  Who is willing to do what God says?  Who is willing to understand the love of God?  Who desires to do good for all people?  Who is willing to make the sacrifices?  Would you sacrifice your opinions on the altar?  Would you sacrifice you desires on the altar?  Would sacrifice your own comfort for someone else?  JESUS DID!

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