Sermon Follow Up - Week 30, 2021
There really is a reason we exist – and there are foundational realities that we must understand. There is a grasping, an understanding, that is effectual, and a grasping that is ineffectual and futile. There is a dreariness and hopelessness to a life that doesn’t truly grasp those foundational realities of our existence. And each of us find something, or someone, to offer our lives to…the question is, is that thing, or person, worthy of our all?
“So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent. There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.” And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question. But he said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?” And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”” (Luke 20:20–21:4 ESV)
When we truly grasp the foundational realities of our existence, our faint hearts explode into lives of joyful offering to the One who is worthy of our all.
SUBPOINTS AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. We Must Grasp that we Belong to God (20:20-26)
“… render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”” (Luke 20:25 ESV)
Some things were due the Emperor, but not everything. The Emperor demanded worship and outright allegiance and while some level of taxation was appropriate, worship and primary allegiance wasn’t his. Worship and absolute allegiance of all humankind is God’s, not Caesar’s. Humanity bears not the image of Caesar, but the image of God. Even Caesar belongs to God. Not one human doesn’t belong to God.
What greater mercy is there but to understand that we belong to God? And what kind of God is that? God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He is the God whom the Psalmist cries out to in praise in Psalm 103 as he rejoices in God’s forgiveness and healing and redemption and justice and satisfaction and compassion and love and righteousness and faithfulness and so much more.
What is it that belongs to God? Well…everything…but specifically, WE do. And if we are to give to God what is God’s, what does that mean but that we who belong to God are to give ourselves, in whole, to God. What is it we must render to him? The answer is entirely clear and has no nuance. We must render ourselves to him.
Do you grasp that you belong to that God? How so? How would you describe how that reality informs your thoughts, plans, and actions?
2. We Must Grasp that there is Incomparable Hope in the Son (20:27-40)
“ …but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead…,” (Luke 20:35 ESV)
The second foundational reality of our existence is that there is life after death. But the resurrection of the righteous where there will be no more death and joy of being alive to God eternally is only for the one who has become worthy by faith through grace alone in Christ alone. When we truly grasp that second foundational reality of our existence, our faint and weary hearts explode with purpose and meaning and incomparable hope as we give our lives to the one who is worthy of our all. A hope in Christ that far outlasts and is infinitely better than anything that we experience here. We were made for God and we were made to enjoy Him, and to do so forever – not only in this life but the life to come – resurrection life.
Do you grasp the incomparable hope in the Son we have? Do you live in the good of the promised resurrection amid the joyful, humdrum, and difficult days of this life? How so? Or why not? How might doing so prove beneficial?
3. We Must Grasp that the Son is Worthy of Our All (20:41-21:4)
Jesus is not a political liberator. He’s infinitely more. He is Lord in the most enormous sense. The Messiah is the Son of David after his human nature but he is more than a mere man. He is God Incarnate, he is the Son of God. This is the One by whom and for whom the world was made. This is the one to whom all things are due. This is the One who came into the world to save sinners. This is the One who came to his own only to be rejected by them and crucified by them. He is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He is heaven’s delight. He is the Father’s Beloved and Unique Son. He lives on in the power of an indestructible, resurrected life and will return for his own, to judge the world having been given all authority as the Son of Man. And as such, He is the one to whom all nations will one day give account (Phil 2:11). He is worthy of it all. The Son is worthy of our all.
Do you grasp the the identity of Jesus? His value? How does the infinite value of Jesus inform your private life? Family/Marriage life? Work life?
- Consider the Example of the Scribes - They are those who do not truly grasp the foundational realities we've considered. They walk about with intent on people seeing their importance. They look for public praise. They look for special favor in religious settings. They pray long for the praise of man in an impotent exchange with the powerful prayers of a dependent man. And their wealth comes from defrauding people, widows specifically. Love for themselves usurps love for others, and care for the widow and obedience to God. They simply worked to maintain a religious façade. They had to keep up appearances. They could put on a good show, but there was not any sense of truly and humbly giving to God what was God’s – their entire life. No sense of, or belief in, the wonders of the promised resurrection through the imputed righteousness of the Messiah. No belief that Jesus is the Lord of Creation, the Lord of the Sabbath, the Lord of life, the Son of God, Son of Man, Son of David, the one to whom has been given all authority and will return to judge the living and the dead. There is, as another biblical author states, no fear of God before their eyes.
Where do you see a little scribe inside your own heart? A little religious façade. A little desire for glory. A little desire to give unto ourselves what belongs to us. The Lord Jesus warns us to beware of not only those who exhibit this kind of anti-faith but is gracious to warn us of the potential of the very same at work in our own hearts. Take some time and confess those areas to the Lord.
- Consider the Example of the Widow - In verse one of chapter 21, Jesus looks up and he sees the rich putting gifts into the treasury. But what strikes him is a poor widow. A widow that likely had been preyed upon by the scribes as mentioned above. Here’s what marks her…She knew she was not her own but belonged to God. She was dependent on Him. Her hope certainly doesn’t seem to be in the wealth of the world, but rather, the promised treasure in heaven. And so she gives literally all that she has. This is an unlikely outcast who actually grasps the foundational realities of her existence and it has caused her faint and weary heart to explode into a kind of generosity that holds nothing back. She gave her all.
How might you, by the grace and mercy of God, turn away from the way of the scribe towards the way of the impoverished widow? Where you grasp the foundational realities of your existence, that you belong to God, that you have an incomparable hope of the eternal Son, the very One who is worthy of your all.
What might you do this week to grow in your grasp of these three foundational realities that will serve to strengthen, embolden, enliven your weary heart?
More in From the Pastors
March 6, 2023A Compelling Community of Christians
February 21, 2023Sermon Follow Up - Week 9, 2023
January 15, 2023Sermon Follow Up - Week 3, 2023