Do You Understand?

Empty tomb with crosses in the backgroundFiverr

Has anyone here heard of Fiverr? The description in the title on its web site’s main page is:

Fiverr: The Marketplace for Creative & Professional Services

And it is a great marketplace for various services. For instance it’s main menu lists Graphics & Design, Digital Marketing, Writing & Translation, Video & Animation, Music & Audio, Program & Tech, Advertising, Business, and Fun & Lifestyle. I have used it for logos and some video intros and outros…and have found it a relatively inexpensive place to get quality work.

However, it does have one problem that has caused my hairline to shrink a little…related to its providers being all over the globe.

Can you figure out what that is?

Not time zones…if anything that seems to work in my favor with work getting done while I am sleeping. Instead…

It is language.

I think I am being very clear about what I would like and the responses…very congenial and timely…often show English is not their first language…or second, for that matter. This past week it just meant more back-and-forth than should have been needed…but one time it was so bad I had to cancel the order. Sometimes…

They just don’t understand.

However, even when you and someone else both fluently speak the same language, can’t you get in the same situation? Where you think you’ve explained something very clearly, but…for whatever reason…even after restating it several different ways…sometimes..

They just don’t understand.

Sometimes it is just a lack of knowledge. I can try to explain quantum mechanics to a four year-old, but nobody would be surprised if the kid stares blankly at me and just burps. ūüôā

However, and I don’t want to psychoanalyze this too much, I think occasionally the incapacity to comprehend is because of a mental block. It could be an inability to pay attention, an unwillingness to accept the truth, and so on…but it’s not that that they cannot understand…sometimes…

They will not understand.

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

I Repeat

On that note, let’s join a gospel writer and see about something Jesus communicated multiple times to his disciples based on what we can find in the Gospel of Mark.

First time:

31¬†And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32¬†And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33¬†But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Mark 8:31-33).

Second time:

30¬†They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31¬†for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32¬†But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him (Mark 9:30-32).

Third time:

32¬†And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33¬†saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34¬†And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise” (Mark 10:32-34).

As I’ve mentioned before about how the Gospels are written…even though I read those in the order they are shared by Mark, we cannot assume they are in chronological order. However, it’s clear that at least three times Jesus told His disciples that:

  1. He will be killed.
  2. After three days he will rise again.

Between them we can also see that it would be the Jewish leaders who would hand him over to the Gentiles and that he would be disrespected, mocked, and tortured.

But all of them make it clear that:

  1. He will be killed.
  2. After three days he will rise again.

Oh, and all three times Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man. Perhaps it could be that that was what confused them…but being that Peter tried to rebuke Him…my guess is that wasn’t it.

It’s like Jesus is saying…

Let me repeat again…

  1. I will be killed.
  2. After three days I will rise again.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if it He did that more than three times.

False Expectations Versus Reality

And it’s not as if that should have surprised the disciples. I was going to only read excerpts from it…but there is no way to do justice to it without reading all Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Let’s turn there:

13  Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
14¬† As many were astonished at you‚ÄĒ
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind‚ÄĒ
15  so shall he sprinkle many nations;
Kings shall shut their mouths because of him,
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.
53 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2  For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3  He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4  Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5  But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6  All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned‚ÄĒevery one‚ÄĒto his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8  By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9  And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10  Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11  Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12  Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Hard words to read.

Yet, our Lord Jesus Christ gave up His glory in heaven knowing full well that was His fate.

For you.

For me.

For us.

And God gave those clear words about the Messiah’s fate to the Jews through His prophet Isaiah more than half a millennia before Jesus was born to the virgin Mary.

However…turning to John 6:15, what did the people expect Him to be?:

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

The people expected Jesus to be a conquering King. So much, not long before they would demand His crucifixion, they celebrated His arrival in Jerusalem:

12¬†The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13¬†So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14¬†And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15¬† “Fear not, daughter of Zion;

behold, your king is coming,

sitting on a donkey’s colt!” (John 12:12-15)

“Even the king of Israel!”

But, surely that’s not what the disciples expected. Three times…at least…they were told their King was going to be delivered up and would die.

At least they understood He would be the suffering Savior versus conquering king…right?!

As I mentioned early…chronology can be a problem within the gospels…but can we all agree that Jesus’ resurrection would be after Jesus told His disciples…multiple times…He was going to be killed and rise again?

Surely, He didn’t tell them after that. ūüôā

Yet…John records this narrative after Jesus’ resurrection:

20¬†Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2¬†So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3¬†So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4¬†Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5¬†And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6¬†Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7¬†and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8¬†Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9¬†for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead (John 20:1-9).

Now…to me it’s a bit unclear at the end of that passage what Peter and John’s understanding is…but at least up until the point of looking into the tomb…

They “did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.”

And this is the same Peter who can later confidently state:

18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled (Acts 3:18).

Inspired men are allowed to use hyperbole…so “all” may be an exaggeration to make a point…but it is evident that Jesus’ suffering was prophesied throughout Scripture.

Luke 24:7

Which brings us to the reason for this sermon…Eliza asked we take a look at Luke 24:7…however, to do that let’s read from 24:1 to 24:12:

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2¬†And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3¬†but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4¬†While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5¬†And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6¬†He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7¬†that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8¬†And they remembered his words, 9¬†and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10¬†Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11¬†but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12¬†But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened (Luke 24:1-12).

As Isaiah had said…as Jesus had said multiple times…as “God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets”…

“…the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

During “Damien and Augie’s Sermon on Angels” we showed that the two men were angels…and those angels said, “Remember how he told you…?”

And…at the least the women at the tomb “remembered his words.”

Sometimes women do seem to pick up on things quicker than our male egos allow, don’t they? ūüôā

The women remembered Jesus’ now comforting and enlightening words…told the disciples and others…Peter and John ran to the tomb…and then we heard those words from John’s gospel..

“…for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.”

Do You Understand?

But ultimately, the disciples did understand…so much that they were able to take the “Christ crucified” gospel to the world and bring myriad into Jesus’ fold.

Including us sitting…and standing…here.

It is easy, with hindsight, to look back on those “silly” disciples and wonder how they could have been so thick. My guess…temporarily going back to psychoanalysis, is that they had heard of the conquering Messiah so much…and that kind of messiah was so appealing…

That it was near impossible for them to accept One who, instead, would suffer the fate we read in Isaiah.

Yet…

If Jesus had not died we would not only not be here today…

We would not have the opportunity to be in heaven for all eternity.

Notice I said “the opportunity.”

Ultimately, whether we individually will end up with God in heaven is dependent on us willingly understanding and willingly accepting His offer of eternal life.

Understanding that you must “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (see Acts 16:31) and that you must “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (see Acts 2:38).

That, in fact, that Jesus did die and that Jesus was resurrected for the forgiveness of your sins so that you can be saved.

So, I wrap up this sermon asking…

Do you understand?


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