April 21, 2019
Speaker: Jon Thompson
Scripture: Matthew 27
Matthew 27:21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.“Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!”
So it seems even Jesus with all his miracles, and love and kindness cannot overcome the world as it is even today. They held all the cards, this are the best 3 expressions of earthly power. Nothing changes again, religion wins, power wins, violence wins, injustice wins, Barabbas goes free, Pilate washes his hands, the Caiaphas keeps all things intact. Control, fear, intimidation, status quo at any cost So Jesus Barabbas is free and on his way, Caiaphas the religious leaders win, their greatest threat is dead! But fear based living makes them tie up all loose ends. Rome and Jerusalem get together one last time to end this religious, political, personal issue.
Well what happened? Well Matthew tells us just before the women arrive the best the institutional fear based religion could bring, the strongest political and military might, the worst back room scapegoating and injustice is thrown to the side like it was nothing. Heaven comes down into all we trust and hope for purpose, meaning identity, freedom and rest and breaks it, brushes it aside and opens up a new and living way.
So just when is seems that nothing will change, the powerful win, it is the most powerless, those that did not have access to anything money, power, backroom dealings it all gets swept aside by a greater more holy, more loving power.
What Saviour do you want? The answer, your response, is seen in which way you turn, will you be like the women running to find Jesus? Or will you be like the soldiers running back to the old forms of power and trust, running back to the world of Pilate, Barabbas and Caiaphas. Notice both were filled with fear but the end points are drastically different. Which news will you carry, to whom will you run. Most of us will run back with soldiers.
The resurrection of Jesus proves the body mattes, proves God is not done with you, proves our body will last forever. Your body has been stamped for resurrection, it is part of God’s plan and work to make all things right. We don't confess the immortality of the soul, we confess foreverness of the whole person, And so we cry out with all hope and confidence the old confession in the Apostles Creed that yes we believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen! you personally matter to God.
N.T.Wright simply wrote “The message of the resurrection is that this world matters!”
Series: Easter 2019
All of us want purpose, all want meaning, all want peace in the end. Which of course is part of being human, part of the human experience. And this leads all of us today seeker and skeptics, believers and unbelievers to ask where can one find these identity giving moments. Can it last more than a moment or is it always fleeting? Some of us trust in wealth, many chase beauty and youth, others follow power. Most want promotion. Some demand likes and status. We clamour around certain movements, systems of thinking found in books and podcast or other people or ourselves to find purpose to escape it all. Politics, video games, sex, money, jobs, friendship, food, travel, religion, Netflix, spirituality, mindfulness, control, manipulation the list goes on and on.
And it is here in this ongoing search that 3 people in the story of Jesus just before his death bring so much of this home. One is the best expression of political power and self-reliance, another the best that family connections and religious power hold and the last is what rebellion and brut force can bring, a Pilate the Roman leader and there is Caiaphas the high priest, and Barabbas the insurrectionist. We enter the Easter moment just before Jesus is confronted by Pilate and the Barabbas
And as we look at each historical person the question to all of us if we truly allow this to happen will be who do you trust in, who do we do want, who can give us real purpose, peace and meaning, identity?