Sermon for May 2, 2021

Being Christ-like means being Gentle?

Matthew 11:25-30

Matthew 11:25–30 (NLT): 25 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!

27 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

While many Jesus followers love the picture of Jesus flipping over tables (he did this twice by the way, marking the beginning and the ending of his ministry) and forming a whip out of chords, driving out livestock and merchants out of the Court of the Gentiles due to the zealousness of a house dedicated to his Father, every other action was GENTLE. I want us to notice one area that Jesus was gentle where we might not react or judge the situation the same way.  Would you be gentle?

John 12:1–6 (NLT): Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.

WOW!  How was this allowed to happen?  Why didn’t Jesus use the Matthew 18 principle?  Why didn’t Jesus confront Judas one on one?  Why didn’t Jesus take Peter, James, and John to confront Judas?  Why didn’t Jesus bring this up to the 12 disciples?  Why didn’t Jesus report this to ALL of his followers?  Well, you might find THIS interesting!

Mark 14:3-11 3 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating,* a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head. 4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. 5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages* and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? 7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.

Well, well, well…Judas Iscariot was not alone! Now, I do want to point at some biblical history.  The house is identified to have been owned by Simon the Leper and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  If you put two and two together, Simon is the father of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  This makes a fascinating story as this house and family, for many years, would have been outcasts, deemed unclean to interact with society due to active leprosy and due to Levitical law, this man and family was deemed to be sinners!  In fact, look at this…

Numbers 52 (NLT): 2 “Command the people of Israel to remove from the camp anyone who has a skin disease or a discharge, or who has become ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person.

Can you say that Jesus is hitting 2 for 2?  One, he is eating in the house of a “former” leper, which indicates where the house was in Bethany.  Secondly, Lazarus was once DEAD!

Jesus had recently raised Lazarus from the dead in a spectacularly public miracle. As a result, the religious leaders of Jerusalem have banded together to have Him killed. In this scene, Mary sacrifices an extremely expensive container of oil to anoint Jesus. Judas objects to this claiming that his concern is for the poor which the ointment’s value could have supported. Jesus had entered Jerusalem to great fanfare, stoking fears that His popularity will attract the anger of the Roman Empire. That anger even inspires a murder plot against Lazarus. After being approached by non-Jewish seekers, Jesus offers a final plea for people to understand His ministry. In effect, these are the last public words spoken by Jesus in the gospel of John!

I believe it boils down to the root word WORTH.  What was WORTH more, the perfume or the sacrifice?  Jesus says the sacrifice, yet not just so Judas could hear, but for everyone else that didn’t like what Mary had done was upset, so much so, that Judas seems to be the leader of malcontents! Their focus was what would profit them!  Why, because they are carrying heavy burdens…why didn’t Jesus confront this? He did.  Read Matthew 11:28-30 again.

Even though Judas and other followers of Jesus spent more time focused on money and their own desires, Jesus gently reveals to them what is WORTH more.  In fact, it is Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice that made the whole world WORTHY of salvation.  It wasn’t about what something or someone is worth, but rather the WORTHINESS of all mankind to find their way back to God!

Jesus spent his life being GENTLE and GOOD to people because they didn’t understand their WORTH!  They were all WORTHY, even Judas, because God was prepared to give up everything He had to pay the price to redeem EVERYONE! It wasn’t pieces of silver, it was his Son, it was his life that he gave up so that we could come home. Talk about humble and GENTLE!

Romans 5:8 (NLT): 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

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