Sun, 6 April 2014
Big Idea: Jesus loves the lowly, broken, and sinful.
I’d like to take a short quiz here today. Don’t worry, there are no wrong answers. I’d just like to poll this group to see who had childhoods like mine. For example, by a show of hands, how many of us here have actually cried over spilled milk? How many hid your vegetables or gave them to the dog rather than cleaning your plate? How many remember blaming a brother or sister for things you did - and getting away with it? How many recall reading in bed with a flashlight? How many put Jell-O in the fishbowl just to see what would happen? How many put fish in the Jell-O bowl? Okay, maybe that last one was just me.
I’m pretty sure we all misbehaved as children. And some of us just never got out of the habit. But do you remember what it was like when you had done something wrong, and you had to face your mother or father, or teacher or pastor? Do you remember how that felt? How you expected judgment; how you knew you deserved to be punished; how anticipating someone’s disapproval was as bad or worse than anything they could do to you? It’s natural to feel that way. It’s a very human response—a guilt reflex. However, very often it becomes more than that. Our guilt festers and grows, and sometimes leads to shame, where we not only know we’ve done a bad thing, we end up thinking that is all we will ever be, a screw up! And sometimes we make adjustments to that feeling or that suspicion. We learn to accept it. We live with it. And it drags us down. It poisons our minds. It shrivels our souls.
Last week in our study we saw Jesus revealed as "the Son of Man," a messianic title that also refers to the fact that He identifies with us in our humanity. He gets it. He is as approachable as He is authoritative and amazing. And this week, we see another facet, another answer, and that is this- He is: The Sinner's Friend.
Sun, 30 March 2014
Big Idea: Jesus identifies with us in our human condition to accept, forgive, and heal us.
You have probably heard it before. It is a saying commonly attributed to Marie Antoinette, the Austrian princess who became queen of France after marrying Louis the 16th. Legend says that when she was informed that her subjects, the French peasants, were starving because they had no bread, she naively answered, "Let them eat cake!"
She has come to symbolize a person who is spoiled and privileged, and out of touch with common people and everyday life-like a queen who would assume that someone who has run out of bread could eat cake instead.
It is a common failing of the rich and powerful. Someone who has been raised in a wealthy family may have trouble understanding what it is like to work hard and still not be able to make ends meet.
Politicians and presidents are sometimes lampooned because they don’t know how to use a grocery store scanner, or because they're caught without cash in a sandwich shop. And then there's the rest of us. We get an overdraft notice or a shutoff notice, and we wonder if there’s anyone who really knows how bad that feels. Someone treats us like dirt, and we sense there’s no one else who truly understands how that feels. We doubt ourselves, disappoint ourselves, and think that no one could possibly identify with us. If any of that is close to what it feels like to be you, you are not alone today. In fact, you couldn’t be less alone because of what God has to say to you through His Word today.
Today we begin a series of messages and worship experiences called "Who Do You Say That I Am?"