April 13, 2014 INTRODUCTION – Ever wonder how Jesus feels about some of your neighbors or co-workers or perhaps fellow students or relatives or maybe teachers or professors – – who routinely scorn God, Christianity, the Church, the bible, maybe they scorn you because of your faith…? Perhaps you are here this morning, and for much of your life you’ve done your own thing, and haven’t really sought the Lord at all…and more times than you care to admit – – you have given into peer pressure; and not stood up for Christ like you should have.
Fortunate for you and for me – – Jesus Christ – – the Lord of Lords and King of Kings and Creator of the Universe and Judge of all – is full of mercy.
There are many events in the course of Jesus’s life and ministry on earth that show us how merciful a God He is. But none more than His last moments on earth.
This morning as we prepare our hearts to come to the Lord’s table on Palm Sunday, I want to walk you through five of these events.
I. Jesus & Peter, James & John in the Garden of Gethsemane – Matthew 26:36-46 (read it) A. At a time of great intense personal struggle, and at a time where these three disciples actually could have been a support to Him, they failed Him miserably. I suppose dozing a little bit in the beginning is somewhat understandable, but even after His first probing question, the second time and the third time He came back to them – – they were again sleeping instead of praying as He has commanded them.
B. While Jesus admonished them, He never rejected them or demeaned them. And He chose to use them to establish His church later on. What a merciful Savior!
II. Jesus & Peter’s 3 denials – Luke 22:31-34; Matthew 26:69-75 A. Jesus – knowing of the tremendous failure of Peter’s that was coming, spoke prophetically to him of his future – – Luke 22:31-34
B. Read Matt. 26:69-75
C. Not only did Peter deny Christ 3 x’s after vowing he would never deny Him once; at the third instance – he cursed and swore! You would have never known at that point that He had ever been around Jesus. Just a crude mouthy fisherman.
D. God’s mercy seen in – Peter was the first of the male disciples to see the empty tomb and had at least one private audience with Him after He rose from the dead and before He ascended (“do you love Me….feed My sheep – – John 21:15-22). He became the focal leader of the early church in Jerusalem.
III. Jesus & Pilate – Matthew 27:11-26 (read & comment); Luke 23:13-25 (read & comment); John 18:28-19:22 (read & comment) A. Refused to answer chief priests and scribes, but did dialogue with Pilate
B. God spoke to his wife through a dream obviously given by God
IV. Jesus & the Thief on the Cross – Matt. 27:44,45; Luke 23:39-43 A. Earlier both thieves scorned him – Matt. 27:44,45
B. Then the one rebuked the other and pled for mercy – Luke 23:39-43
C. He had wasted his whole life; no time left to do anything for Jesus…but Jesus graciously and gladly extended mercy and salvation to him.
V. Jesus & the Roman soldiers, the Jewish leaders, the Jews in general – Luke 23:33-35 A. Pilate pled and tried to reason with the Jewish leaders, but to no avail. (Luke 23:13-25)
B. The Roman soldiers not only gladly scourged and crucified him, but they also mocked Him.
C. The Jews in general rejected Him and demanded His crucifixion. They voted for Barabbas the murderer and insurrectionist to be released so they could have Jesus – the sinless one crucified.
CONCLUSION – The reality is Jesus Christ has been extending mercy to you since the day you were born. Are you aware of that?