“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Matthew 27:22
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Ã¢â‚¬â€¢ (A.W. Tozer) “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” (Matthew 27:22 ) This question, that Pilate asked the Jews, applies to all of us believers and unbelievers. As we as believers in Jesus celebrate His triumphal resurrection this Easter let’s take a fresh look at our Lord as Savior, King, and Judge.
JESUS AS SAVIOR – “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save (or deliver) his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21) It is amazing to me and many of us that the very people who waited with such anticipation for their Messiah could miss the time of their visitation. (Luke 19:44) The people who praised Him on Sunday (Palm Sunday) shouted “crucify Him” on Friday because He did not meet their expectations. As a Man, Jesus wept over this; that His own Jewish people and the nation as a whole, rejected Him and thus have suffered more than any other people for 2,000 years plus and will continue to do so until, at the end of the Tribulation, they recognize Him whom they pierced (Zech.12:10)- and finally acknowledge Him as their Messiah, Savior and King. His very date of crucifixion was prophesied by their own prophet Daniel and yet they missed Him because they wanted deliverance from the Romans more than deliverance from their sins. (See Daniel 9:24-26)
There are two main applications for us today in knowing Jesus as our Savior Who promises to keep us now and for all eternity in His loving care (John 10:28-29; Rom. 8:35-39; Eph. 1:13; 1 John 5:11-13):
1) A response of love, gratitude, joy, praise, and humble service for our Lord should mark our lives. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
2) The second application for us today is to not expect Jesus to deliver us from our trials and suffering but to earnestly desire to be delivered from (not just forgiven for) our sins. We can be like the Jews of Jesus’ day who wanted Him to be a political King and conquer their enemies more than they wanted sin conquered in themselves. Likewise when we want deliverance from trials more than deliverance from sin we miss the “day of our visitation (in this life)” and the purpose for which the Father sent His Son to die for us – to conform us into the likeness of Jesus. “Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens (every trial and blessing) fits into a pattern for good. God, in his foreknowledge, chose them to bear the family likeness of his Son, that he might be the eldest of a family of many brothers.” (Romans 8:28-29)
JESUS AS KING – “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.” (John 19:15) Jesus the long-awaited King of Israel is rejected by His very subjects – the Jewish nation. But Jesus is not just the King of Israel, He is the King of kings and King of all people. 10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.” (Psalm 2:10-11) He is King of His church: "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col. 1:13-14) And He is the King of those who deny and reject Him: 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (See all of Matthew 25:31-41) I just read an interesting booklet, entitled Surrendering Ungoverned Desires by Bob Mumford, that addresses Jesus’ Kingship over us. It discusses how Adam and Eve (and all mankind after them) rejected God’s rule over their lives (as Satan had done earlier). Then Mumford shows us how Jesus, as a Man (the God-Man) totally submitted to God’s rule over Him all of His life. This not only allowed Him to be a perfect sacrifice for mankind but His life is the Model and the Means through which we, as believers indwelt by Christ, have the spiritual power to say yes to God’s rule and no to the power of sin. 2For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.3For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh the [entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],4So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].5For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.” (Rom. 8:2-5) There are temporal consequences now and eternal consequences in eternity for all who disobey King Jesus. But thanks to His mercy, we as believers, will not have to suffer the ultimate consequence for disobeying Him – eternal condemnation and separation from Him.
Application: “Therefore, since we are receiving (not achieving) a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29) God will burn out the sin that is in us either in this life or at the Bema (the judgment seat for believers – 1 Cor. 3:5-10) or at the great white throne judgment (lake of fire) for unbelievers (Rev. 20:11-15) which leads us to the next point.
JESUS AS JUDGE – Although believers will not suffer eternal condemnation for disobeying King Jesus, we will 1) suffer loss of peace and joy in this life and 2) loss of rewards in eternity at the judgment seat of Christ for believers. 3) The great white throne judgment is for unbelievers.
1) “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 14:17) Being right with God both through salvation and walking in obedience gives us peace and joy. “May you abound in and be filled with the fruits of righteousness (of right standing with God and right doing) which come through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), to the honor and praise of God that His glory may be both manifested and recognized.” (See Phil. 1:11)
2) “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Cor. 3:10-15)
3) But unbelievers will face the great white throne judgment and be judged and condemned for every sin and cast into the lake of fire. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:11-15)
Application: “Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that's what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we'll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what's coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad. 11-14That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It's no light thing to know that we'll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That's why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God.” (2 Cor.5: 9-11The Msg.)
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION
JESUS AS SAVIOR – “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save (or deliver) his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21) Take turns sharing at your table the many different blessings we have as believers because Jesus is our Savior. What tops the list for you?
JESUS AS KING – “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29) What does this passage say to you about obeying King Jesus?
JESUS AS JUDGE -“ Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that's what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we'll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what's coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad. 11-14That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It's no light thing to know that we'll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That's why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God.” (2 Cor. 5:9-11 The Msg.) Are you motivated by the hope of receiving rewards at the judgment seat of Christ? Read Hebrews 11:24-26 and discuss what motivated Moses to sacrifice for Christ by choosing to serve God’s people over power and pleasure.
Because He Lives – Written By Bill and Gloria Gaither,
God sent His Son, they called him Jesus;
He came to love, heal, and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow;
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living, just because He lives.
How sweet to hold a new born baby,
And feel the pride and joy he (she) gives;
But greater still, the calm assurance.
This child can face uncertain days, because He lives.
And then one day, I'll cross that river.
And fight life's final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to vict'ry.
I'll see the lights of glory, and I'll know He reigns.