JESUS CHRIST; Who is HE again?
Colossians 1: 15-17
Philippians 2: 6-8
LUKE 24: 13-27

February 9, 2020


So, friends … is Jesus JUST alright with you this morning.  Are you not caring what people may say when you follow Jesus rather than the world?  Do you care if your daily life reflects the message of the Son of God; the Savior of the World?  To you …. To you … To you … To me … Who is He again?  Is He just alright?

We come here to worship in this season of love.  Valentine cards, candies and dinners are already being planned for this Friday yet the world needs to discover that there is a choice that matters beyond the superficial … We have the words of Jesus clearly spoken to His disciples … His followers … to those who would come to believe in years to come; people like you and me.  We have the words from the Upper Room after Judas had left to conspire with the leaders of that time …. Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment; LOVE EACH OTHER!   Just as I have loved you … so you also MUST” …. Friends, Jesus didn’t say this was an occasional Sunday morning pretentious display to do as part of a church service … In that Upper Room in the City of Jerusalem less than 24 hours before He would be nailed to the cross by power driven religious leaders and the government in charge of the land … Jesus is telling His disciples and those who believe in Him that … “YOU MUST love each other.  This is how everyone will know that you are MY DISCIPLES!”

So consider this morning whether or not you want to be known by friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and abject strangers as a disciple of Jesus Christ not by you telling them that you are a Christian or by quoting a billboard ready John 3:16 but by your love for ALL others?   DO …. YOU …. BELIEVE … “in Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, our LORD; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.

DO … YOU …. BELIEVE that on the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.   If you believe … who is this JESUS CHRIST YOU BELIEVE IN?  Do you believe that His Word is to be taken seriously?  Does His teaching get priority in your daily non-church moments?  Or do you prefer to reject what He taught directly so that you can fit into the world comfortably?  There are many brazenly self-identifiers who use the description Christian for power or prestige but as supposed Christians their daily lives, words, and actions verify that they totally reject what Jesus taught because it doesn’t fit in with their goals and priorities.  It’s hard to be following Jesus if you pray to God in Jesus name while also damning and mocking another human created in the holy image.  Jesus talked about people like that in Matthew’s Gospel, “How terrible for you legal experts and Pharisees!  Hypocrites!  You are like white-washed tombs.  They look beautiful on the outside.  But inside they are full of dead bones and all kinds of filth.” It’s not hard to notice people who say they believe that they are Christians but then live lives countering Christ’s clear teaching.  Young people notice … those rejecting churches and faith notice.

The questions DOES HIS TEACHING MATTER and DO YOU ACCEPT JESUS as LORD and SAVIOR … ARE and NEED TO BE … the questions of the day … not just in this church but in every church across the globe and by any and every person who casually tosses that adjective Christian next to their names.

John when he wrote to the early church in Ephesus … to early believers whose faith needed some inside information told them, “The brother and sister who stays in the light loves their brothers and sisters. There is nothing in the light that causes a person to stumble.  What you have heard from the beginning must stay in you.  If what you heard from the beginning stays with you, you will also remain in relationship to the Son and in the Father. Everyone who does not have the Son does not have the Father.  We are God’s children, remain in relationship to Jesus.”  There was that word MUST again … from the beginning of your new life in faith what you heard must stay with you … we each need to walk in the light but to do so we must do what Jesus taught and we must recognize Him for who He was. It was easy when we first believed but since that day the world continues to pull at each of us to do its bidding while rejecting Christ.  Temptations abound!

Jesus and those who walked down the dirty roads from Nazareth to Jericho to Jerusalem … those who fished in the Sea of Galilee and endured storms and confrontations did not hesitate to hang out with the rejected of society; in fact Jesus consistently embraces those who society’s leaders sought to shame and put down.  Those in power didn’t like how Jesus chose to live and teach.  They did all they could to slander Him and His followers.  In today’s world they’d be posting all sorts of insults on social media in their attempt to bring Him down while gaining support from those who thought Jesus’ way was wrong.   Those people who shouted CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM! In the public square.

It’s easy to believe in the CONVENIENT JESUS.  I am sure you have heard of this person.  There are two events from the CONVENIENT JESUS’ life that matter to those who happily let everyone know that they are good Christians … the first has to do with a story of this Jesus as a baby.  You might remember Him because it is due to Him that in December we adorn our homes with multiple colored lights, we put fake or real trees with pretty ornaments inside our homes, we insist that our store clerks use a very specific phrase and thank goodness for this baby born in a barn because it is due to him that we have grown accustomed to opening our homes to Santa Claus every year with lots of goodies for those who have enough money to go online to  The other event from the CONVENIENT JESUS LIFE is a bit more complicated but basically on a Spring Sunday people crowd churches often wearing new outfits expressing thanks because the tomb was empty and for the non-diabetic that occasion allows us to eat more candy in a single day than any other day of the year.  It should come as no surprise that Christmas Eve and Easter morning are the best attended church services in America because isn’t it clear that the CONVENIENT Jesus helps Santa and the Easter Bunny get their work done?  Who needs to hear or follow Jesus when He already has helped us fill our homes with wrapping papered gifts and baskets of chocolate?

In your mind … is that your Jesus.  Sadly, that is the Jesus most Christians think about the baby and the One who left the tomb … it’s easy to leave the rest of the story out.  It really is easy to dismiss the changed life style that Jesus requires …  leaving out what it means to become His follower.  Raise your hand you’re good, right?  Don’t need to do anything more.

When the wealthy man who really wanted to be a Jesus follower … a man of riches who it is pretty clear had seen enough to know that Jesus was special … when that man who told Jesus that he had kept all of the commandments approached the Son of God asking “Good Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus answered, “Sell everything that you have and distribute it to the poor.  Then you will have treasure in heaven.”  This historic moment of Jesus is so important that it is one of the few stories that is in 3 of the 4 Gospels.  When the man heard Jesus instructions he became very sad because he was extremely rich.

Jesus isn’t asking us to become poor but if we want to know who Jesus is once more then we need to understand that if we discover a Savior … a Lord and Master then we will need to recognize that His teaching … His directions … His life-style need to become our goal for our lives.  We need to reject what Jesus rejected … stand up for those whom Jesus taught should be stood up for.  We need to love when others are hating.

Chris McGee dared me in a note to wear this tie today.  Most of you know me well enough by now and are not surprised that I would take up that challenge.  Yes, for some of you and probably most pastors wearing a tie like this in public much less at a church service is not something that you would do.  But it’s just a tie … it’s a tie with a love message, which is the ultimate message of Christ but I won’t be wearing this tie tomorrow in meetings.

Friends … will you be wearing Jesus Christ on the outside and in your heart when you leave here.  This is not a dare but it is an essential.  Do you enjoy sharing moments with those who put others down acting like you agree with them?   Are you uncomfortable being around certain people who are different than you and you’d rather dismiss the fact that like you they too are created in God’s Holy Image?   Is it difficult for you to discover that Jesus was a radical in His time who challenged authority and that His teaching continues to be a radical message counteracting the world’s teaching in the year 2020?

Are you interested today … in being in God’s Light as you go through your daily lives knowing that our only hope beyond this life is to be “good with God?”

Last night I watched the Oscar nominated TWO POPES.  It truly is an incredible film and both Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce give stellar performances well deserving of an Oscar.  If neither Hopkins nor Joe Pesci for his work in the Irishman don’t win best supporting actor tonight then something is wrong in Hollywood … oh wait, somethings is wrong … anyhow.

Towards the end of the film there is a conversation between the two popes and one of them reflects to the other.  He says, “Have we become comfortable in the suffering of others those who are truly hurting?  Who is responsible for the suffering of our brothers?  I didn’t do anything so it must be someone else’s fault or responsibility.  It’s definitely not me.”  He then pauses … “Where no one is to blame; everyone is to blame.”

As I heard those lines from a movie around 10:30 last night I immediately thought about Jesus and His teaching.  I wanted to be the fly on the wall as the conversation along the road to Emmaus was happening.  The two disciples on that seven mile walk from Jerusalem suddenly joined by a third whom they were prevented from recognizing.  Talking about the recent events … talking about Jesus with Jesus in their midst.  Cleopas answering Jesus question about why they were sad saying, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth.   Because of His powerful deeds and words our chief priests and our leaders crucified Him.  Some women from our group this morning found his tomb empty. They saw a vision of angels saying Jesus was alive!  Some of those with us went to the tomb found it empty but didn’t see Him.”

Jesus spoke out … “You foolish people!  Your dull minds keep you from believing all that the prophets had talked about.” Jesus then shared all the prophesies about Him as they continued to walk.  Later in Emmaus, Jesus stayed with them … He broke bread and blessed the bread and their eyes were opened … they saw it was Jesus.  Later they told Luke, “Our hearts were on fire when He spoke to us along the road and when He explained the Scriptures to us.  We told the eleven later that THE LORD really has risen!”

So, this morning DO YOU BELIEVE in Jesus Christ the Only Son of God?  Are your hearts on fire when you consider God’s love through Christ and how Jesus is teaching you to live?  Each day when the sun rises, are you ready to again discover who He is and to live for Him?

Will you take the dare of this pastor wearing a silly tie and will you this week open up any of the Gospels and read a chapter or two to discover how Jesus wants you and me to be living in this 21st century world?  I dare you! I don’t want any of our minds to be dull in faith.

And, friends … share the love of Christ with all you meet!  Let people whisper together about you wondering why you are different … asking themselves how you can love all of our neighbors in these days when we are all too often being forced to take sides.  And, if they ask say it’s all about Jesus the Christ because you believe that He is your Lord and Savior!





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