Todd speaks of living between Friday and Sunday, the time between when Jesus died and rose again. For the disciples, their Sunday was coming, but our Sunday is coming... Some Day. Before you get to your Trial Day, you better know what happened on Sunday, or you'll never make it to Some Day.
As we live our lives between Friday and Sunday, take heart, for our Some Day is coming!
Christ in the Middle of Chaos
Trust Me.... I AM in Control
The "Real" Lord's Prayer - Part 2
Jesus: The Furthermore of God Church: The Furthermore of Jesus
The "Real" Lord's Prayer - Part 1
Well, good morning, Fort Worth! Good morning, Plano! It is awesome to be back with you all. I've had a chance to already greet my friends in Dallas, and I want to greet you as well, and it is a privilege to get to do this. We're about to dive back in to the gospel of John. Now, listen. I stopped in John 17, and apparently, we had a bunch of "Type A" folks who, if there is a blank on their outline, are not sleeping well.
The reason I stopped there is because it gets to what is called the passion of Christ. It gets to the story I teach every year of what Christ did for us, what happened when he offered his life for us, and how he took it back up again, but it fits perfectly with where we are, so we're going to go ahead and talk about this stuff.
I'm going to tell you the passage we're in today is one of my all-time favorite passages in the Bible. It's a place I go all of the time. Recently, about two weeks ago, I had a chance to dive in on Tuesday night and talk to my friends at The Porch, which I love being with my friends at The Porch here on Tuesday nights. They had recently done a survey amongst our young adults who are part of our family here in the Metroplex.
They said, "What is the number one topic you would love to hear from God about?" More than dating, more than relationships, more than sex, more than money, the number one topic by a landslide they wanted to hear more about was how to handle stress and anxiety. Isn't that interesting?
Just being overwhelmed with a world that is… I spent some time with them and one of the things I talked about is sometimes we're feeling stress and anxiety because our lives are introducing it to us. Sometimes we're living in a way that we know, "This is not going to work out well for long." I love to tell the story about people who, when they jump off a very tall building, there's a huge adrenaline rush right away, but sooner or later the reality of their experience is going to catch up with them.
No matter how much they mock gravity and mock God… "I don't need the laws that nature and God have placed above me," so they may mock those of us who are so old-fashioned that we walk down stairs instead of taking the quick route, but sooner or later the reality of their experience is going to catch up with them.
I think a lot of the reason there is so much despair, anxiety, and a lack of rest in many lives is because we're living lives we know deserve judgment or that are already under judgment. We're slaves to things we know are no gods at all. Yet, we just can't shake them because they've sunk their talons deep inside of us, so I dealt with that at the beginning, but then I moved quickly to the end about those times when we're not doing anything that is visibly contrary to God's Word and it just doesn't look like God's goodness is winning out.
Gang, we're about to move into a time when we celebrate and talk about how a lot of us live in those kind of times. We're living in what I would call between that Friday to Sunday world, where the God we say we believe in and the God we say we hope in has just gotten his tail kicked, or it looks like he's not able to do what we want him to do, and we're there saying, "Did we trust in the wrong God?" It's a long time between Friday and Sunday.
Let me just say this to you because I'm going to come back to this at the end. God does not promise us a Sunday event in our lives. He promises us a someday, and the only way you're going to make it to someday is if you know what happened on Sunday, because we are living in that time between the ascension and the return. It is a long weekend before God rolls up his plan and shows you that you were wise to trust in him.
John 18 is his last and best reminder to get you through the weekend, and for you, it might be to get you through all eight decades, so let's dive in. Here's what I'm going to do before we get to John 18. I'm going to remind you where we've been, and I'm going to tell you that had the disciples been there with him, with Jesus this whole time, and they were, had they been tracking and listening and holding on to him, they would have had a better weekend, and you're going to have a better life.
The reason I spend so much time in John is because John wrote that gospel specifically so that you might believe that Jesus is the Son of God and having believed in him have life to its fullest. Here's the deal. Jesus told you, "While you're living this life, it's not going to feel very full of blessings sometimes. It can be really hard. It can look like the Enemy is winning," and John 18 is the last glimpse of encouragement we get before we move into the long, dark weekend.
If you're a good Texan, and I became one starting in the 80s, I wasn't here long before I became aware of a flag that had a black star on it and a cannon and a couple of words. I think we have a picture of that flag. It is the "Come and Take It" flag, and that flag first appeared in 1835 down there at Fort Gonzales.
What we had going on here at this particular moment was Texans were starting to assert and show their spirit of independence, and the Mexicans who had given us this cannon as citizens to protect, if you will, the northern boundaries, started to see this spirit of independence rising up a little bit in the Texans, and they said, "I think we'll take our cannon back," and a bunch of Texans said, "No, I think we'll keep our cannon." They said, "We're coming to get the cannon," and they said, "Come and take it."
Now, that original flag (you may not know this) was made of a wedding dress, which, I think, has a great application of it. If you're going to be a faithful bride, you don't ever surrender. You wait for your bridegroom to come, and you're not going to just give yourself away and make love to a world that you say you're not wed to.
You're going to put on your wedding dress and say, "If you're going to take me, you're going to have to rape me because there will be no willing surrender to the overwhelming darkness that is in this world. I am his. He is my bridegroom. I am his bride. I'm not giving myself to you as an adulterer. Come and take it. And you need to know something. I'm going to gouge your eyes out and kick you in the crotch while you're trying to grab it."
That's how we ought to do it. The way we do it, though, is by faith, and the way we do it is by saying, "I'm not going to let you intimidate me, and I'm not going to give you my love just because it's easy. I'm going to battle with you." You're going to see right here in John 18… I'm going to show you another flag I had them make for me a long time ago. What you're going to see in John 18 is Jesus saying to them, "Come and take it. You're not going to take my life. I'm going to lay it down," so here's this flag.
Jesus is saying in a very different way, "You come and take it. You take my life because I'm giving it to you. By the way, if I didn't give it to you, you couldn't take it." You need to remember that, because what I'm going to do now is walk you back through the gospel of John, and I'm going to show you what Jesus already said was going to go down, and I'm going to remind you what Jesus says is going to go down for us someday until the day.
If you know that he says, "I warned you. Don't freak out! You're trusting in the right one. You are my bride. Don't fall back in love with the world. You stand firm!" If there is ever a time we need to stand firm in the seductions of the world, the intimidations of the world, the threats of the world, and the impending threats of our government… "If you say certain things, we will not consider you a blessing to our society."
Come and take it. Come and take our tax benefit. Come and take our non-profit status. That's not why we give here. We give because this is truth, and it's loving to stand firm for our country and for others when we stand on it, and we are his people, and he is our God. Are you ready? Let's go back.
Let's start in John, chapter 10, when Jesus is interacting a bit with those who are contesting some of his claims, and he says this in verse 11. "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them."
I'm going to just stick this in right here. About four or five years ago, I did a series called The Wolf at the Door. In this little parable Jesus is telling, the wolf is the world coming after the sheep, the church of God. When I did that series, I think the wolf at the door (the thing that's coming after the church of God) is the false leadership in the church.
It is people who say they represent God and who say they can help you really understand what the Word means, and they're surrendering, surrendering, surrendering, and changing the commitment the church has always had to fidelity and righteousness and truth. That is the greatest evil in America today. It is the weak and perverted and feckless church. I did a whole series on that.
It isn't the pro-abortion industry. It isn't the LGBT community. It is the weak and ineffective church, and what you're going to find is guys are going to run to you and tell you, "You don't need to stand firm. Just marry yourself to the cultural context of today." That's what the church in Germany did, and it didn't work out well then, and it's what the church in America is starting to do with our corrupt view of righteousness, and it's not going to work out well for America.
Somebody has to say, "I am his bride, and I'm not going to surrender. I'm going to lay my life down for truth. Come and take it, if you want, but here I stand. I can do no other." Now, why would you do that? Because you know Jesus is King. He is in control. He is good. He maketh no mistakes, and if it's your turn to suffer, you get in line. You don't remember the Alamo. You remember Golgotha. Watch this.
"He flees [the false shepherd] because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again."
Do you see what he's saying right here in John 10? It's not the first time, but it's the clearest time so far. "I am going to lay it down." Now, if you're following him, you don't typically like to hear that, that your champion is going to kneel, but he's telling you, "I'm up to something that, if you don't listen to me, it's going to be too wonderful for you to attain to it, but I am in control. I lay it down, and I'll take it back up."
He says in verse 18, "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.""This commandment to lay it down and take it up I got from Papa, Creator, Sovereign God. That's who I am, but I'm veiled in humanity right now, and I'm not going to act on my own.
I'm going to live as a perfect man always does trusting in a good, sovereign, gracious, wise, powerful God who is intimately acquainted with my ways. I'm going to do what he said. What he told me to do was lay my life down." That's John 10. He's going to keep repeating this. Watch this. John 13. This is just hours before John 18.
He's starting now to just get his men together. In John 13, verse 19, he says, "From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He." Gang, let me just tell you something. You will cave when the world starts to intimidate you if you are not 100 percent sure who Jesus is.
It is time right now in a time of peace to figure out, "Is he God? Is he Lord? Is he worth giving my life for?" Because if you wait until that moment and try to figure out what you should do then and if you really believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that in him and him alone you'll have eternal life, I'm going to tell you what you're going to do in that moment.
It's like a high-school kid who just got through watching Divergent with his girlfriend at 11:30 at night lying on a couch, and they've been cuddling together, and she has her hand draped over him on his thigh and starts to kiss his cheek. If he goes, "What would Jesus have me do?" and if you wait until that moment to figure it out, I'm going to tell you what you're going to think Jesus wants you to do.
"Well, he wouldn't have made me this way if he didn't want me at least to experiment a little." You'd better figure it out right now and not get under the blanket on the couch at 11:30 at night alone when you can't be interrupted. You say, "I'm going to tell you what I'm going to do before it comes to pass." John 14. He says the same thing in verse 29. " Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe." You may not cave. You may keep the bride dress on.
John 14:27. Let me just read to you a couple of verses before that. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I." I'm telling you again. I'm reading it to you again. "Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe."
This is the purpose of prophecy in Scripture, and blessed God, we have seen him never ever make a mistake. We've never seen him say he's going to do something and not do it. Numbers 23:19: "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" There's a reason he introduces himself as, "Hi! I'm the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Because he wants you to go back and check out Abe's life, check out Isaac's life, and check out Jacob's life.
"How have they done? Were they faithful to me? No. Was I faithful to them? Yes. Did I make a promise to them? Yes. Did I fulfill my end of the covenant? Absolutely. Were they faithful to the covenant? No. It didn't matter because it was a one-way covenant, unconditional, my blessing. I said I was going to do it, and I have done it. That's who I am. I'm the God who never lies."
If we ever have a really big deal that we have to get out of here to… One Sunday, I'm going to preach a message called "The Mistakes and Apologies of God." It will be the shortest message I ever preach. "Today I'm going to tell you all of the mistakes and apologies of God. Let's close in prayer." We'll get out of here. You can go get your taco and whatever you get when you get out of here and run onto the next thing.
There aren't mistakes. "Well, Todd, it looks like a mistake to me. I'll tell you that one looked like a big mistake to me. That one time, when he had a chance to show everybody who he was and he went ahead and let them beat him up and strip his clothes and smack him upside the head and mock his claims to be God and nail him to a cross… What kind of God is that?" Well, it could be a madman. It could be a liar. Or maybe you hang around and see if what he said would happen happened.
Look here. Look at John 15, verse 26. He says, "When the Helper comes…" This is the word he uses for the Holy Spirit. The reason Jesus was able to stand firm is because the Spirit of God dwelled in him. In other words, he saw. He was spiritually appraised. He didn't think like a fleshly man. He thought like a man who was informed by the truth that was not currently making its way into the world and into fearful people.
He said, "The Helper is going to come. By the way, this is what it means. When you believe who I am and that what I say is true then my Spirit dwells in you." That's the thing. It's not like there's a geographical change. Let me just say this about the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is God just like the Father is God and the Son is God.
Here's the problem. Before you know Jesus is good and God is good and his Spirit is kind, you grieve the Spirit. You rebel against the Spirit. You don't listen to the Spirit when he says, "Pursue righteousness and love and peace." You go, "No! I'm going to pursue me, me, and me." The reason you do that is because you don't think God is good. You think all of this is a big rulebook you have to follow, and you don't like to follow rules.
"I don't like rules in school. I don't like rules in sports. I don't like rules with the IRS. I don't like rules! God, don't give me rules. You're not good. If you loved me, you'd let me do whatever I want to do. That would be the rule." Until all of a sudden you find out you're just a fool, and the way that seems right to you is the way of death, and you realize there was a big adrenaline rush when you rebelled against God.
You see the ground coming, and there's stress and anxiety, and there is no joy. You start going, "I wonder if there's a better way," and there's a God who is willing to rescue you. I mean, literally a super man who will swoop in. The word super we get from the Latin word supra which means above or beyond.
A man that is above or beyond any other man you could ever imagine, a man who you spit in his face, kicked and mocked him, and you jumped off the roof he told you not to jump off of, and you should die, and he should watch you splat, and he should draw a circle around you and tell everybody, "Look! This is what happens when people disobey me," but no. If you'll just cry out, "Help," he'll come swooping down in the person of Jesus Christ, and he will catch you, and he will restore you, and he'll take even your foolishness and use it as a means of his glory.
That's who God is, and all of a sudden, you start to go, "I now know who you are, and the Spirit of truth and not the spirit of deceit I embrace." To talk about where God is is a category mistake. I'll just do this very quickly for you. Watch this. If the Spirit is God, and he is… We know that. We know God is Spirit (1 John 4 tells us), but when you ask, "Where is God?" the answer is he's omnipresent, which means he is everywhere.
I say, "The Spirit of God is everywhere?" You go, "Yeah, Todd!" "Even in non-believers?" You go, "Well, no." "Well, I thought he was everywhere." What it's talking about when it uses the word in in the Scripture (when the Spirit of God dwells in you), it's not like when you believe all of a sudden it's like there's a needle that comes firing out and it goes in you and a Todd Wagner-shaped Holy Spirit completely now indwells me.
What it means… The word in can be used (it's used this way in English sometimes, too) to mean direct influence or causal control, so here's the deal. The Spirit of God is at work everywhere even in and through non-believers (you'll see that in John 18), but only believers who are letting the Spirit of God be operative and sovereign in them are going to move in concert with God and not be rebels against God, not be children of wrath but sons of obedience.
Sometimes, when I go, "Oh, man! I have not been a good husband this week. I have been running hard. I've been unkind to my wife. I've been making it my world, and she's just living in it. I am in trouble!" You go, "What does that mean? Did Todd just step into trouble? Is there a physical place called trouble that he stepped into and now he's geographically in this place called trouble?" No!
What I'm saying is, in relationship to trouble, I got all of it, so when you have the Spirit of God dwell in you… I don't want you to be discouraged. There is a physical reality of your relationship with God, but you're not ever going to leak it. By the way, that's what it means when it says to be filled with the Spirit. It doesn't mean it's because you're leaking the Spirit. It just means when you're filled with something, you are continually controlled by it.
That dude right here who just got all bent out of shape because that guy cut him off… He was filled with anger. We don't think he leaned over and accidentally didn't grab his Slurpee but he grabbed the anger cup and drank it. It just means he is being controlled by anger, so what Paul is exhorting you to do is to be continually controlled by the Spirit who you've already agreed is good and kind and always has your best interest in mind. Do you get that?
Jesus says, "I'm going to send you a relationship with the Spirit because right now you have a relationship with the Spirit through me, but I'm going to leave, but guess what? God is not going to leave you. He's going to come and now all of you, everybody who believes, will have that intimate relationship with God the way you have an intimate relationship with me." That's what's going on in John 15.
"When this Helper comes whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning." John 16, now. "These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God."
Do you all hear that? An hour is coming when everybody who comes against the church that holds true to the fidelity of God's Word is going to think they're doing the world a favor by getting rid of these bigoted, hateful people. It's right there. Don't be surprised! "These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you."
"But I'm about to leave, so I don't want you to cave. I want you to keep the bride dress on. If I'm your bridegroom, stay faithful." John 16, verse 19: "Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, 'Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, "A little while…"'" The disciples were wanting to ask him some questions, and he said, "Are you guys wanting to know how long it's going to be before this all happens?"
This is verse 20: "Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy." This is Thursday night that this goes down. When were they going to weep? Just give it to me from a day of the week perspective. Friday, and it was going to be bad on Saturday, but then on Sunday…
You're like, "Duh! A rough weekend and then they get it all back! Todd, I was born in 19‑something, and it is 2015. When is my Sunday?" My answer is, "Someday, and you are a fool to wait for your someday unless Sunday is a historical reality and effect." Before you get to your trial day, you'd better know what happened on Sunday, or you'll never make it to someday.
Did you all get that? That right there will preach all day in an African-American church. "Oh, pastor, that is good right there now!" Let me say it to you again, you white stiffs. Here we go. If you don't know what happened on Friday, when it gets to be your trial day, you will not make it to your someday because you forgot what happened on Sunday. Do I hear an amen? Okay.
Now, Tony Evans and I are going to switch the pulpit one Sunday, and you're going to find out how to respond, and I'm going to get people who finally respond to me. That's what he's saying right here. That's what he's saying. "In this moment, you have to remember this!" "Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born…"
You're going to go through labor pains. He tells you this, by the way, in what is called the Olivet Discourse. There are going to be birth pains. Verse 22: "Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you." End of chapter 16: "Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me."
Verse 33. Underline it. Circle it. Memorize it. Know it. "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace." No stress or anxiety when you're living a righteous life and it doesn't look like it's working out too right for you. "In the world you have [trouble] …" Your someday isn't here yet. "…but take courage; I have overcome the world."
Do you know where we got "Come and Take It"? It came from the greatest warriors men have ever known. It came from the Spartans. They were the very first ones who ever said it. "Molon labe," in Greek. It's from King Leonidas when he and 300 Spartans and a few other eclectic Greeks stood at the battle of Thermopylae when King Xerxes and the Persians were marching on Greece, and all of Greece was already surrendering.
They said, "We have to figure this out." They kind of put aside their petty differences and said, "The Spartans are the mightiest of men," so the Spartans stood at a very strategic spot right there and said, "We'll take them on." This has been made famous in the movie 300, which I don't recommend because of a few scenes that are in there, but you can catch a few clips on YouTube. You ought to sit there and just go, "That's who I want to be. Come and take it! I know we're outnumbered."
At the Alamo, we were outnumbered 10 to 1 by Santa Anna. The Spartans were outnumbered 100,000 to 300, plus there were about 6,000 other Greeks, and they stood firm in the narrow way, and they said, "Molon labe," because King Xerxes said, "You give us your weapons," and they said, "You come and take our weapons."
For two and a half days they held firm. Then, what happened was there was a traitor. His name was Ephialtes (it means nightmare or demon of night in Greek) who went and wanted riches with the enemy, so he said, "What no one knows is there's a back way that only the locals know of, and I'm going to tell you how to get there, and you can flank them, and you'll take these men out."
Does that sound familiar? You're about to see an Enemy show up who is going to flank Jesus, except Jesus is not King Leonidas. He knew exactly where it was coming from, and he was ready on both sides. That's who you're trusting. He says, "Come and take it," except watch what he does. He gives himself up. He didn't fight to the death. He gives himself over to death sovereignly in control.
That's crazy! You go, "Well, that's convenient. He says he lost on purpose." Yeah, he did. Anybody can say that, but, gang, who can take their life back up again? Well, nobody except God, and that's what Jesus kept saying he was going to do. He didn't say, "My Spirit will go forward."
He said, "I will come forward. There will be a bodily resurrection. Then, I'm going to leave you here. Once I go 40 days later from that bodily resurrection, I'm going to put my Spirit in you, and you are going to do what I did until I roll up all of history and I come and take all of earth back, but the reason I'm not going to do that just yet is because there are some people who I love. You go and get them and you suffer, and there will be a someday when you'll experience your Sunday, and we will rejoice together."
After John 16, where he says this, we go to John 17. It's the high priestly prayer. Let me take you to the very end of that. Then, we're going to dive in chapter 18. Watch this. He says in verse 22 of the prayer at the very end, "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one…" That's why we did the Together series. We have to be in this thing together.
"…I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."
Jesus is saying, "Let them see the other side. I'm going to pay a debt so they can come and see you in all of your fullness and not be consumed in their sin." Can you imagine? There's going to be a day this Jesus you saw unveiled in humanity and this God you've known by faith who you're going to see by sight, and you're going to go,
"I was not a fool. God let me see what no man could see apart from grace, and I lived faithfully waiting for that day. I knew. I knew he was the faithful bridegroom. I knew I gave my heart to the right one. I knew falling away to the spirit of the age and the rule of this world and the demon of night who kept taunting me that I should remain faithful."
Watch this. "O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me…" These are the battle lines right here. You're going to see from here on out what you have very clearly the world doesn't know Jesus, but Jesus knows the Father so he can go to Gethsemane, and those who know Jesus is with the Father and one with the Father won't bail out when they are pressed either.
It's fixing to get good. Are you ready? Because I'm going to show you who your God is. I'm going to show you who you are to be. This is the way it ends. "…and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." In effect, "They can then do what I did until that someday when we roll this whole thing up and celebrate together."
John 18. "When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples…" What words? What words? Everything I've just said. There are no surprises. Let's just review. He has been telling us for chapters. He has been telling us for years, "I'm going to lay my life down. I'm going to take it back up again."
Remember, that's where we are. He has been telling you since you were born and paying attention to your Bible, "In this world, you will have trouble, so don't be surprised when you have trouble. I'm not just talking about persecution. I'm talking about poor health. I'm talking about friends who said they were faithful who turned out not to be faithful, spouses who said they would love you forever who don't turn out to love you forever. Don't be surprised! It's a broken world. You just be my bride."
Don't surrender. You make him come and take it. "Todd, what do you mean by that?" All the way to the grave. For you to live is Christ, and to die is gain. "When Jesus had spoken these words…" reminding them he was in control, and by the way, what you're going to see in John, because John is a very unique gospel from any of the other Synoptics, is John is going to focus on Jesus' interaction primarily with Rome.
Four times as much Scripture in John 18 and 19 is spent on Jesus' interaction with Rome as it is with the Jewish leaders. Why? Because Rome represents the spirit of the age. It represents the power of this world. It represents the greatest power on earth, and what you're going to see is this it not just some little religious dispute.
If the Jews were going to kill Jesus, according to Leviticus 24:16, how would they do it? They had already called him a blasphemer, and when they did that, they picked up rocks to stone him because that's what they did with blasphemers. Rome doesn't crucify people who say they're the leader of a religious organization.
Rome comes after people who say they are the king of somebody they think they're the king of, so Jesus is saying, "I'm King. I'm sovereign over everybody. Caesar? I gave him his power. Pilate, you have no power unless my Dad gave it to you, so he gave it to you for this moment. You should use it wisely. If you want to use it this way, use it this way, but you have no power unless I gave it to you."
I think Pilate looked down at this guy who he could kill with a spear and with a cross and he realized, "That guy has something I don't have." I think he knew he was right. That's exactly what the Bible says the world ought to look at with you when it doesn't see you back down at their intimidations. They're going to go, "Wait a minute! There's a resolve there that just doesn't make sense to me." I'll show it to you in the Scripture in just a moment.
"When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples." I'm going to show you this. I've been to Israel a few times now. If you ever go to Israel, please don't go with a guide who wants to take you to all of the churches over there, the shrines that are built on top of holy sites because they all have musty stink and smell in them.
They all look exactly alike, and it won't do you much good. Don't spend all of your time saying, "Where is the birthplace of Jesus?" Go there, if you want, just so you can see it, but get in and get out quick. "Where is Joseph and Mary's house?" There's a huge church built over it we think. I don't know.
Here's what I would tell you. Spend time in the land, but there is one church I want you to go into. It's called the Basilica of Agony. I'm going to show you a picture of it. This is if you were standing on what is called the temple mount. Imagine you're on the roof of the Dome of the Rock and you're looking east. You would down, and the Kidron Valley is a little valley, and that's the Mount of Olives right there.
It's this Flag Pole Hill. That's what it is, so when you hear that Jesus came from the Mount of Olives and made his way to the temple mount, I think sometimes what you start to think is, "How did he do that? It takes all day to climb Pike's Peak. It sounds like he did that three times a day. It's like he's on top of Flag Pole Hill."
Fort Worth friends, I would say it would be like being at one side of the Stockyards elevated 100 feet and walking down to Main Street. It's just doesn't take that long. It's what the cattle do in their little rounds. At the base of that, though, you'll see some olive trees. Here's a picture of the olive trees right there that are still there. They believe these olive trees can live in families for thousands of years. They think these are families of the exact same olive trees that were there when Jesus and his disciples were right there.
This is really cool. I love this place because you go inside of there and church tradition is held inside there. There's the Rock of Agony, so that is a church that is built around an actual part of the ground, and tradition has always held that's where Jesus went and put his head down and prayed, "Father, if there's any way to do this another way, let's do it another way." You'll see it's kind of a cool design right there around that little rock. They built a little gate that's a crown of thorns is what it is, but watch this. It gets even better.
What I really love about this is when you go out and you look at the front of it, there's a mosaic on the very front of that thing. That mosaic is beautiful. In the middle is Jesus. On Jesus' left (our right), you'll see a woman who is mourning, and you'll see people who are grieving, people in the middle of a someday and they're hurting, and they're crying out to God, "This is not the world we wanted!"
You're going to find out the Father, who is up there above Jesus… You're going to find out Jesus is the mediator between God and all men. "What do you mean all men?" Back to the previous picture, you'll see on our right (Jesus' left) broken people who are crying out for God to do something. On the other side on our left and Jesus' right (I love this) you'll see a soldier with his sword. You'll see a ruler bowing down with his crown. You'll see a wise man who is professing his lack of wisdom in light of the glory of God.
You see, here's the thing. Going back one more time to the full mosaic. I love this mosaic because right here in this spot is where you see that Jesus is the interceder of all men who know they need him. Some are broken by life circumstances. Others are just broken by the beauty and glory of who he is.
The wise men know they're not wise in light of the wisdom of God, powerful men know they're not powerful in light of the one who is sovereign over everything, and rulers know there is no authority except that God gives it. I love that mosaic, and what's really great about it (we'll go back one more time) in that picture of Jesus with God on top, at the very top there is that cross, and there are two little bucks or two little stags (two deer). It's a reference to Psalm 42. "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God."
"But right now I have to be right here dying for the sins of the world so the broken and the humble can know me and know you." I love to go to Gethsemane. It means olive press. That's what it means. Olive oil is a source of great joy and gladness and provision and prosperity for the Jewish people, so whenever you get an olive press and you take those olives and crush them and the olive oil comes out, it means it's going to be provision for food and for everything you need to have blessing.
Guess what. That's what your Savior did. He was your olive tree. He was crushed for you so that blessing would come. The olive press. It's great stuff. "Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. Judas [Loudas or demon of night] then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons."
Watch this. See what's going on here. Remember this as you wait for your someday. Remember this. Verse 4. Underline this. "So Jesus, knowing…" He was not surprised that he got rear-ended here. "…knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth…" Do you remember John 10? The Good Shepherd does not run. He goes forth to lay down his life.
This is a man. "Come and take it." Your little Jesus, meek and mild, skipping around picking daisies and telling stories on top of hills, doing a few little niceties here and there, speaking eloquently… Do you know what? I need this Jesus. I need a man. I want to know my God has it going on because this world is hard. I don't need a poem. I need a prophet King, and that's who he is.
I love this. "…and said to them, 'Whom do you seek?' They answered Him, 'Jesus the Nazarene.'" He said, "Well, I have to let you know something. I have another name. I AM ('Elohiym)." See also Exodus 3. Moses is like, "I can't go tell Pharaoh to let the people go. Who am I supposed to say sent me?"
"You tell him that I AM, the one who was and is and is to come, who always has been and who always will be, who gave Pharaoh all of his power. You tell him that one sent you!" Yahweh is the name in Hebrew. In Greek, it's 'Elohiym. He said, "My name isn't Bruce Wayne. It's Batman! This ain't Clark Kent. I'm Superman, a man from above who is not just a mere man. This ain't Peter Parker!"
Do you understand what he's saying right here? "I have another name!" Watch this. I don't know if you're an expert in hostage negotiations, but typically, when a Roman cohort with 600 armed and trained men of special forces show up, and you are there in a robe, it's the armed people who tell the unarmed robed man what to do. That's not what goes down in John 18.
What goes down in John 18 is Jesus saying, "'I am He.' […] So when He said to them, 'I am He,' they drew back and fell to the ground." Just like humble men always do. Whether you want to lay your sword down or not, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, so you may as well lay it down right now. This is the… Because he said, "It's Batman! This ain't Bruce Wayne." It's Holy God.
Then, he said, "Get up because you have work to do. These you're going to let go because I said I won't lose just one. Not a single one of them. You're going to take me. We're going to go, and we're going to get it on. You're going to come and take it, and I will take it back up again. Wind the clock. Let's go!"
Now, this is my favorite text in the Bible, because I go, "Yes! That's my King right there!" Three times this is in the text for a reason. "'Whom do you seek?' And they said, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' Jesus answered, 'I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,' to fulfill the word which He spoke…"
He always fulfills the word of which he spoke. Do you know that? All of his ways are blessed and peace. It doesn't mean you won't have cancer. It doesn't mean your wife won't leave you. It doesn't mean your husband won't be a jerk. It doesn't mean your kid won't get cut. It doesn't mean the economy is always going to go up and to the right. It doesn't mean America is always going to be free. It doesn't mean being a believer in this town is always going to be easy. It doesn't mean you're going to be popular because you're a man of conviction.
No! It just means he always accomplishes his word, and now is the time to figure out who he is. Is it he? Are you going to go faithful to the end in your little wedding dress and say, "You can come take my life, but I'm not going to lay it down because it's easy"? Here's the application for you.
The only way the disciples would stay faithful till Sunday was if they remembered what he said before Friday. For you, the only way disciples will stay faithful till someday is if they remember what he said before the trial day. The Lord doesn't promise us a Sunday, meaning in our life he's not going to wrap up everything up and make it nice. He promises us a someday, and remembering what happened on Sunday is the only way we're going to hang on till someday.
That's why we sing. That's why we remember. He just tells you, "This is what I'm going to do." Sometimes, things work out really well. Here's a picture of a kid. I love this kid. It's a picture of a kid in England who was going to actually do something. He's a 13-year-old kid. He had lost some family members to cancer and some friends to cancer. He's 13, so he shaved his head to raise some money for the American Cancer Society.
In doing that, he violated his school's dress code, because it says, "Extreme short hair or hair with a design etched in it is considered an extreme haircut," so after he had shaved his head to raise $200 for cancer at the Churchill Academy, they put him in an in-school suspension in isolation. No, no, no, no! He wasn't doing this because he was being a rebel. He was doing this as an expression of love for his family and for those who were suffering from cancer.
Here's what's amazing. Sometimes when evil comes and persecutes you, it works out well. They started a Facebook page to save him. They started petitions all around the school, and the local media picked it up that this kid who had lost family and friends to cancer who wanted to raise $200 for cancer was in an in-school suspension. It went all over England, and he went from raising $200 to over $30,000 inside a week, and the school apologized and made him a hero!
That's the story I like. Give me three days of in-school suspension, multiply my prosperity by tens of thousands, and I'll serve you. God says, "Sometimes you don't get a three- or four-day in-school suspension. Sometimes the lions open their mouths and eat you." It's great when those stories turn quickly, but he's preparing you for it not to turn quickly. He's preparing you to be a Philippians 1:27-30 person, and I'm going to tell you that you will not be a Philippians 1:27-30 person unless you are a John 10-18 person, and now's the time.
Philippians 1: "Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel…" You're his bride! He's your bridegroom! "…so that whether I come and see you or remain absent…" Paul is writing to the church. "…I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…"
I don't know if I'm going to get to see if things get really nasty, but I know this. You have to stand firm in your little community at your little post with one mind and one faith. "…in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you…"
In other words, when the world looks at you and says, "Don't you know what we're going to do to you?" you go, "You just do it, baby. Come and take it. For me to live is Christ and to die is to gain." They're going to look at you the way Pilate looked at Jesus and say, "Uh-oh! It appears they know something I don't know." What we know is Sunday. Do you know it? Do you know he's the I AM? It will change you. If your life makes sense without really understanding who he is, your life is not biblically informed. Let's go.
Father, thank you that you are the great I AM. I thank you that you are the first one who said, "Come and take it. Have your way with me because it's not you who is in charge. I'm laying my life down, and I'm going to take it back up again." You are I AM. You're the one, Father, who shuts the mouths of lions. You're the one who parts the sea.
You're the one who walked into a garden and faced the greatest power on earth and told it what to do which was just to march out your prophetic decree which was your perfect life given for me, and as it was crushed, blessing and life and prosperity would come out for me. It doesn't make any sense.
That's not the way I would have done it. It just makes perfect sense looking back that that's what you had to do because you're a God of justice so you poured out your wrath and justice on the Good Shepherd that I, your sheep, might be saved, so may I take heart! May I take courage! May I wait through my trial days for someday just like my King did, knowing if he picked his own life back up I'm figuring to believe he can pick up mine. You are I AM.
Now, that's my King! We're crazy unless he did shut the mouths of lions like he did for Daniel, but sometimes…read Hebrews 11…some of them got eaten by lions and God was still God. Sometimes Stan Lock and isolation is flipped and he gets $30,000 for cancer, and sometimes Stan Lock dies of cancer.
Sometimes he calls out kings. Sometimes kings call you out and chop your head off, and it doesn't change who he is. You just have to wait for your someday, and the only way you're going to wait for your someday is if you know what happened on Sunday, that he told you for a long time, "Friday is coming," but you be a faithful bride, and you tell them your life has already been given to another so you ain't going to lay it down to somebody else. They're going to have to come and take it.
For you to live is Christ and to die is gain. Listen, gang. This is the mighty God we serve, the God of angel armies who is always on our side. We cannot lose unless we take our dress off and skip to them and say, "Come and get me. I'll love the world. I'll love you. I won't follow the Spirit of truth."
This is not just a persecution message. This talks about how you're going to love your family this week, how you're going to steward your money this week, how you're going to love your neighbor this week, and how you're going to battle against pornography this week. Is it worth it? You bet, because he's King. He's good. He loves you. He's ready to use you in your faithfulness. He has made every provision for your sin. Serve him.
If you don't know this God, can I introduce him to you? Would you just check the box? "I want to know him, Todd. I've never heard Jesus talked about that way. He's always been this teacher and this law giver." No. He is the prophet King. He shuts the mouths of lions, and he paid for my sin, and he has set me free, and I will live for him this week by God's grace with his people. Amen? Come and know him.
Go and serve. Have a great week of worship. We'll see you.