Today we are blessed to have among us some of the finest men and women among I know. These are pledged to serve and protect us, our families and communities as sworn officers of the law. God bless our police men and women … they have a special place in our lives and I hold a tremendous respect for them and what they do for us on a daily basis.
As a young man I attended a police academy where I learned how to be a law enforcement officer and then furthered my hopes of a police career by continuing my education in the criminal justice field. Once on the job however, I realized that not everything is as textbook perfect as the classroom led me to believe.
Whether investigating a traffic accident, a missing persons report, a domestic disturbance or a crime scene, I quickly became aware that not every witness sees the same thing. Take something as simple as routine traffic accident. After interviewing each witness independently one might conclude that they had all been at completely different accidents.
What I came to understand is that people focus on and often recall certain facets and facts which are like pieces to a puzzle. After taking several statements I could most often put the puzzle together and reconstruct the accident from the several vantage points which complimented each other and provided me a better grasp of what had actually happened.
Some officers I worked with spent huge amounts of time trying to get the witnesses to all agree when in fact, they did agree but they were simply adding ancillary bit of information that had caught their eye, each bit a vital part of the truth. To comprehend the truth I had to listen to all of them.
In many ways this is not unlike the 4 Holy Spirit led individual accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus as witnessed and testified to by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Matthew recounted what caught his eye, Mark recorded the perspective of Peter, Luke researched and reported from several eye witnesses, while John was wholly given to the greater and deeper earthly aspects of the divine nature of Christ interacting with mere mortals. Somewhat different, all of these anointed and appointed records go together to tell one story … His Story – the Truth!
So, this morning I want to take the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John accounts leading up to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and present them to you as one story. I will try my level best to not confuse you or make you feel jerked around. What I propose you do is follow me on this synoptic walk through the 4 Gospels and then get a copy of the notes I have published for today and read each verse in context to verify the report I will present today.
Are you ready? Let’s begin at the same place we began last week;
1 ¶ Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover.
2 And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Jesus, for they feared the people.
John 11:57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.
John 12:1 ¶ Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.
Mark 14:1 ¶ Two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Jesus by trickery and put Him to death.
Matthew 26 - Jesus, knowing this, said to His disciples:
2 "You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified."
Matthew 26:6 ¶ When Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,
John 12:2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.
Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.
3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
4 Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said,
5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"
6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
Matthew 26:10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.
John 12:7 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.
Mark 14:8 "She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.
Matthew 26:12 "For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.
9 "Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them.
Matthew 26:15 and said, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.
5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.
6 So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Jesus to them in the absence of the multitude.
Last week we launched from this scripture to discuss the crucifixion. This morning we are going to focus on the burial of Christ. Jesus made it clear that Mary used the oil to anoint His body for burial. Later Jesus told His disciples:
John 14:19 "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.”
The crucifixion of Christ speaks of death. Galatians 2:20 says that we are crucified with Christ and by that crucifixion we enter into death with Him. However, there is a distinct difference between the fundamentals of death and those associated with burial.
When we die, we cease to see the things of this world. However, only when we are buried does this world cease to see us. When we are buried, the world and those in this world only see where we are buried and what we are buried in. In Christ, the old us dies and then afterwards we can be buried in Him. The scriptures tell us about a grave for our old man.
You may see your old man dead to sin but is the world still contending with your old nature? Has the old you gone down into the grave with Christ or does that old nature keep getting up and running around? Are you dead and buried or just dead and stinking up the place? The biggest problems we face are not always the lost but often the saved who live like they are lost. When others see you do they Christ who covers you or do they see you uncovered? Want some good advice? Cover up! … You might say How?
Would you like to be buried with Christ? The first step is to make sure your old man is indeed dead. When we get saved our old man dies and a new man is born. You were born once, but you need to be born again.
Once born again, the new man takes the old man down into the waters of baptism and buries him and leaves him there. This is the first step. And, if that old man tries to get back up we smack him back down and remind him that he is dead and buried and no longer has any place in this life.
This can happen with you … you can do this … in fact, you are the only one who can do this. Perhaps you have been saved by faith in Jesus but nobody around you at school or on the job or in your family really knows it. Perhaps they continue to see and have to keep dealing with your old man. That’s the worst you … the one that is dead but won’t stay buried and just keeps hanging around stinking up the place. You may need to be buried …
There are Three Things Are Certain this morning:
1. God is unafraid of your problems
2. God is unlimited by your past
3. God is unashamed to call you His own
How about you? Are you ashamed of Him? Will you identify with Christ? Will you say yes to being buried with Him by faith? Are you ready to publically identify with Jesus and take that next step? Will you be water baptized in His name? Are you ready to let the world see you in Christ?
Next Sunday, April 20th, we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The following Sunday, April 26th, we are going to be water baptizing everyone who wishes to bring their old man or woman and put them in the grave. There is a power in baptism … it is the power to cleanse our conscious towards God, stop the haunting voices of the past and finally bury that old nature.
If you would like to follow Christ in water baptism on the 26th then today I want to pray a special “beforehand” anointing over you in the name of Jesus. Come now …