The Devil conquered by Jesus’ Death and ResurrectionMarch 13, 2016 in Bible - NT - 1 John, Bible - NT - Hebrews, Bible - NT - Revelation, Easter, Good Friday, Meditations, Postmillennialism, Satan
The Flesh conquered by Jesus’ Death and ResurrectionMarch 6, 2016 in Bible - NT - 1 John, Church Calendar, Easter, Good Friday, Meditations, Sin
Christ, the Center of TimeDecember 14, 2014 in Ascension Sunday, Bible - NT - Colossians, Christmas, Church Calendar, Easter, Ecclesiology, Good Friday, King Jesus, Liturgy, Meditations, Pentecost
17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Mark 10:32-45 (NKJV)
32 Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: 33 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; 34 and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; 40 but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
There are times in every teacher’s life when he wonders if the people in whom he has been investing his energy are even listening. No doubt this was one of those times in Jesus’ life. Here he has just told the disciples for the third and final time that his mission in going to Jerusalem is one of suffering and death, and immediately James and John sidle up to Him and ask Him, “Lord, when you enter into your glory, grant that we might sit one at your right hand and the other at your left.” Grant that we might be your most influential counselors when you finally take charge in Jerusalem. We can imagine Jesus’ furrowed brow.
What lies behind James’ and John’s request is a distinct notion of kingship, a notion shared in common with the scribes and the Pharisees, with the chief priests and the elders, with the Herodians and the Zealots, with Rome and with Egypt. Kingship, they believed, is a display of power, a show of force, an exhibition of authority. True glory, therefore, lies in making others do one’s bidding, in being served by others.
As James and John are heading to Jerusalem with Jesus, therefore, certain that now is the moment when Jesus will enter upon his glory and take power, they ask him this very pointed request – we want to sit with you, one on your right hand and the other on your left, in your glory.
The interesting thing our text reveals, by the way, is that this radical misunderstanding was not unique to James and John. For when the other disciples hear what James and John have requested they do not laugh the request off – My goodness, how could James and John have so misunderstood what Jesus has been teaching us? No, instead, we are told, the ten are indignant. They are incensed that James and John asked the question that all of them have been yearning to ask but afraid to raise. All the disciples share this same mixed up notion of kingship. And so Jesus takes the time to instruct and correct them once again, to teach them.
Jesus’ response to James’ and John’s request is disbelief. “You do not know what you ask,” he declares. “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink and to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” Don’t you remember what I’ve been telling you? I’m heading to Jerusalem to suffer, to die, to be rejected – is this really what you want a share in? But James and John miss the rebuke; they persist in their request – “Oh, yes, we are able. We can do it. we’re going to suffer right alongside you, have no fear. We will fight with you and make sure you get your seat in glory. All we ask is that you let us sit beside you, on your right and your left, once you are there. You know our loyalty.”
And so Jesus, ever the patient teacher, knowing that soon James and John along with the others will receive the rude awakening that will enable them to see their ignorance, replies – “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink and with the baptism that I am baptized with you will be baptized” – you will be made to suffer, James and John – “but,” he continues, “to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”
So James and John, and the other disciples, are left wondering, wrestling with themselves – who will it be? Who will get to sit on his right and his left hand in glory? When he is revealed as the radiant and resplendent king, the long-awaited Son of David, who will be beside him?
So the question for now, in Mark’s Gospel, is left hanging. Who will sit at Jesus’ right hand and his left in his glory? The question has been asked but no answer has been given. Yet.
For Mark does give us the answer to the question. Mark does reveal those for whom it was prepared to sit on Jesus’ right hand and on his left in his glory. When Jesus’ glory as the King of Israel was most fully displayed, Mark tells us who was honored to be on his right hand and on his left.
“Now it was the third hour,” Mark tells us in chapter 15, verse 25, “and they crucified Jesus. And the inscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS. With Him they also crucified two revolutionaries, one on His right and the other on His left.”
So here’s the question we pose this evening: where is the glory of Jesus as our King most fully displayed? Mark tells us that Jesus’ glory was on display in the cross.
And it is this very lesson that Jesus endeavors to teach the disciples once again in our text. Your notions of kingship are all messed up. “You know that those who are appointed leaders among the Gentiles lord it over them and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus’ true glory as King is that He gave His life for His people. And it is this that we celebrate on Good Friday. So let us thank God for our glorious King.
Let us pray:
You are worthy, O Lamb, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God. we adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us a kingdom of priest to stand and serve before our God; to him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor, glory and might, forever and ever. Amen.
Colossians 1:19-20 (NKJV)19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
This evening we celebrate Good Friday, the day on which our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified nearly two thousand years ago. A frequent question asked and answered on this day is, “Why call it Good Friday?” We often answer this question in terms of why the cross was good for us. In the cross, we are forgiven, we are cleansed, we are restored. And of course these things are very true and biblical. This day is good because it was and is good for us.
Paul, however, in the text before us today encourages us to consider another reason Good Friday should be called Good. And the reason proceeds from God’s attitude toward this particular event. Good Friday should be reckoned Good because it pleased God to orchestrate the event. God calls this day Good and so we should too. Notice that Paul says “it pleased the Father” – it gave Him delight, satisfaction, fulfillment.
What exactly is it that pleased the Father? What is the “it” of which Paul speaks? Paul draws attention to two things. First, it pleased the Father for all the fullness of deity to dwell in our Lord Jesus Christ. It was no accident that the Second Person of the Trinity assumed human flesh for us. He did so because it pleased the Father. Before the foundation of the world, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in eternal communication and fellowship with one another planned our redemption, planned the Incarnation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, planned His death on the cross, planned His resurrection to new life. Our redemption was not some afterthought; no plan B; no accidental insurance plan. It was the very plan that delighted the Father before the foundation of the world and that continued to delight Him when our Lord Jesus Christ took on human flesh.
But Paul doesn’t stop here. Not only was the Incarnation of our Lord pleasing to the Father, so too is the effect of that Incarnation on the world. This second point is directly connected with Good Friday. Paul says that it pleased the Father through the death of Jesus on the cross to reconcile all things to Himself.
Recall that at the beginning of human history things went awry at a tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan triumphed over man at the foot of a tree and ever since man was subject to slavery and death. But not only was man subject to slavery and death, the creation too was subject to decay and destruction. All things were put out of joint. The whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. The original vision for creation was warped and marred by the evil one through Adam’s failure at the tree.
And so, Paul tells us, the great delight of the Father was to reconcile all things to Himself through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ – all things. Jesus didn’t simply come to reclaim sinners; he came to reclaim the world. To reconcile all things to himself – whether things in heaven or on earth or under the earth. All has been reconciled and eagerly awaits the full revelation of the sons of God. On the cross, the new tree of life, our Lord Jesus Christ put to death the devil and overthrew his works, dealing the mortal blow to death and slavery. In the garden we perished at a tree; in Christ we live through the tree.
So why is Good Friday Good? Because on this day, our Lord Jesus Christ went voluntarily to the cross, humbled Himself, that He might rescue the creation and demonstrate the full glory of our Triune God – the very God who planned our redemption before the foundation of the world.