Sermon Follow Up- Week 41, 2021
Why can't we just skip to the good part of the story? Because the Holy Spirit has given us vital examples in the burial of Christ for what it means to follow Jesus in faithful obedience and hopeful trust in the seemingly hopeless moments.
“Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.
On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” (Luke 23:50-56 ESV).
The Saturday after Jesus’ death is a refuge for those who are losing hope in the promises of God.
SUBPOINTS AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. It Takes Courage to Trust in a Savior Who Is Dead (vv. 50-52)
Our faith and the gospel message is built upon the fact that Jesus truly did die and was laid in a tomb only to rise on the third day as victorious over death. Even that fact alone might bring the scorn or mocking of others. However, push comes to shove in moments where siding with Jesus is the less-popular or downright sacrificial option.
Trusting in Jesus is no cake walk. And you have most likely felt that in the moments when you’re forced to choose… between siding with Jesus or blending in. Between having the tough conversation for the sake of reconciliation or saying it will all work out. Between risking the family fallout and trying to maintain a shallow peace. Between sharing Jesus with and loving the person you are certain will fire back at you or just resolving never to be around them. It takes courage. God-supplied, Spirit-empowered courage.
- What does biblical courage look like?
- In what relationships/situations might you need to ask for Spirit-filled courage?
- Do you feel like courage is the task of someone else who's "up for the job"?
2. It Takes Faith to Act on A Promise (vv. 53-56)
Joseph wanted to watch God fulfill his promises but he’s just a man… how can he see past the grief of Jesus hanging on a cross? How could he handle the broken body of the Son of God and still think there’s more to this? "Well…I’m not sure what to do next… but I won’t just run… Let me take care of his body." he says. Have you ever been there? Not knowing what in the world comes next? "Well… let me get dinner going… let me drag my weather-beaten self into church…let me get out of bed…work is the last place I want to be, but I’ll go… let me tell so and so, maybe they’ll pray with me." Those small weary steps are acts of faith… and you’re probably thinking, "How is getting dinner ready an act of faith?" Well, it’s based on whether you think God is going to keep this world turning or if all is lost. Some of you know the very real experience of metaphorically or literally putting the gun down. And so long as that gun is down, there’s opportunity to hope in Jesus’ promise. Pressing on in the power of the Spirit (when your own strength may feel long gone) is a tangible expression that your hope is not in yourself but in God.
“Now hope that is seen… is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:24-25 ESV).
“Friend, does the path of obedience feel to you dark and difficult? Are you in the midst of a long Friday night or lonely Saturday of your own? Remember that the ultimate Sunday morning — the restoration of all things — is still to come. Like Joseph... we don’t know what God may do tomorrow with our efforts today. True obedience is never wasted. Who knows what glory might still be reverberating on the new earth, a trillion years from now, because of your difficult obedience today?"- Gavin Ortlund
God in his kindness did not fast forward to the resurrection so that we could see Joseph and three women show us what it looks like to trust in the pit of grief… to take the next step in hope of what is unseen.
- What have been some of the bleakest moments of your life and where was it hardest to believe God's promise?
- What promise of God feels most distant to you?
- What does taking the next step in faith look like right now, even if the lights seem to have gone off on your hope?
- Trusting in Christ can be unappealing or even humiliating, but he will be with you to supply courage.
We need courage for the moments when the divide is clear between siding with Christ and not. Joseph risked it all to choose Christ even when Christ seemed powerless to prove himself. How much more can we have courage knowing Jesus is risen!
- When all seems lost, take the next step in faith.
We live in between God's promises and their fulfillment. Jesus said he would not leave us as orphans but would give us his Holy Spirit to help us while he is gone. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inhereitance and he lives in us in part to keep us hoping in what is to come. In fact, the Spirit is able to make us abound in hope (Rom. 15:13) so we ask him to do so, even if hoping means simply getting out of bed.
- Your hope is unseen, so weigh what you see.
The news, the break room, and our own circumstances are always attempting to teach us what is really going on. Joseph was living in a moment where what he saw spelled disaster and the death of hope, and yet he continued to distrust what was right in front of him and entrust himself to a God whose ways are higher than his. Weighing that you see against the Word's description of the world around you will enable you to put your hope in the right place, a place that can remain unshaken. For example: "Things seem out of control." But are they truly?
- Isaiah 53:1-12
- Romans 6:1-14
- Romans 8:24-35
- John 19:38-42
- Matthew 27:57-61
- Mark 15:42-47
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