Monthly Archives: March 2014

John 19.38-42

Title: Joseph of Arimathea

Text: John 19.38-42

Introduction: This week Wendy Baker and Jamie Warren shared their dream of a ‘school’ to help kids with learning differences. There story is wonderful, and yet pained me because I was reminded of the many kids who are mistreated because of their difficulties. They’re different and so they’re demeaned and bullied.

John Ortberg: In his book, Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them, John Ortberg tells of a young man named John Gilbert. At age five, John was diagnosed with Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy: a genetic, progressive, debilitating disease. At the age of 25, the disease finally claimed John’s life.

Every year John lost something. One year, he lost the ability to run, so he couldn’t play sports with the other kids. Another year he could no longer walk straight, so all he could do was watch others play. He lost the ability to do all the outward things that we think of that make us human. Eventually, he even lost the ability to speak.

John Gilbert suffered far more than what most of us can imagine during those years. Groups of students humiliated him because of his condition and because he had to bring a trained dog to school to help him. A bully used to torture him in the lunchroom where there were no supervising teachers. No one ever stood up for him; maybe they were afraid for themselves; who knows?

“What a silly species we are,” John writes. “We all need to feel accepted ourselves, but we constantly reject others.” (from PreachingToday.com)

Transition: Why is that? Why do we fear others or desire the acceptance of others? What are we afraid of? Today we look closely at a man who acted out of fear. That is, until at one moment, there was something greater than fear that motivated him.

Today we’ll simply read the text and deduce, as best we can from that text, what kind of man Joseph of Arimathea was.  We begin in v 38; Rd v 38a; After these things. Review: We’ve been studying different Characters on the way to the Cross: Judas, Peter, Annas, Caiaphas, The Sanhedrin, Pilate and Barabbas. All of these men have played a part in the story of our Savior’s death. Jesus was betrayed by Judas and denied by Peter. Then, the Jews perpetrated two mock trials and a third trial they would consider as Legit. They wanted Christ to die a humiliating death. Stoning him wasn’t enough. It’s something to hate someone so much you want them dead. It’s another thing to hate them so much that you’d orchestrated a publicly humiliating death. His death was planned by God since the beginning – a plan to substitute the innocent for the guilty. Barabbas represents that person in us. His death was ours.

At this point, Jesus hangs dead on the cross. Much of the blood on his body has dried and crusted. But there is blood still dripping from his body because one of the soldiers took his javelin, his spear and thrust it into his side, pushing up to the heart. Jesus hangs alone. His disciples have fled – their worlds upended. All that they had dreamed of is gone. The Jews smile a crooked smile, turn and walk away. But there is one from among them – one from their own group whose face is distorted from pain. He makes his way back to the place where Christ was condemned – the governor’s palace. Who is this man? Rd 38b-c; After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus,

The only point I have this morning is this: Joseph of Arimathea was…

  1.  A Disciple of Christ (10-13)

exp.: So, what do we know about this disciple? Well, we know he was from

1.   Arimathea: a village we know absolutely nothing about. Some scholars think it was apparently situated on the Judean hills in the tribal area of Benjamin. From Arimathea, his plan is to be buried near his home now – Jerusalem. I wonder if his purchase of a tomb tells us he’s old or maybe widowed. Maybe he lost a child and needed a family sepulcher. We don’t know. 2ndly, we see his devotion is from a distance. Rd v 38;

2.   Secretly – I’ve pretty much always been taught that there are no secret admirers of Christ. But I’ve learned through the years that is not true.

ill.: Son of Hamas; Mosab Hassan Yousef; Met a British Missionary who shared Christ with him. He spent the next two years studying and gradually coming to a place of belief and trust. It would be 6 years before he would be baptized.

app.: I wonder if our ‘easy beliveism’ has made wimpy Christians in America? What would it be like for us if it costs us greatly – if we had to admire Christ secretly before publicly acknowledging Christ as Savior? So why the secrecy for Joseph? Rd 38c; for fear of the Jews

  • He was afraid: Fear – specifically, of the Jews. This was common for the people who wanted to follow Christ or simply learn more about him; 7.13; Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him. And we see the disciples, in the hours and days after the crucifixion, while Jesus was in the grave and shortly after his resurrection, hiding for fear of the Jews; 20.19;

t.s.: I think there’s another reason for his secrecy;

  • He was wealthy: Matthew 27.57: When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. His wealth explains his ownership of this nice tomb, but it might indicate more about his secrecy. Following Jesus offends people. And, depending on what your goods are, people who are offended will often shop elsewhere.

–   Maybe they’re offended. They feel betrayed. To them, you’re now an apostate – an infidel. (Anger)

–   Maybe they just don’t want to see their old friend – it’s too awkward.

ill.: As a pastor, I’ve stopped shopping at businesses where former members work. It’s not that I want them to fail economically! It just hurts too bad to see them. (Hurt)

–   Maybe, they fear the Jews, too, and they know the consequences for supporting their old friend. (Fear)

t.s.: Mark gives us another clue to his secret discipleship: Mark 15.42-4342 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

Secretly cont.:

–    He was a council member: That’s why I painted this picture in the beginning with one of the Sanhedrin, not smiling wily. No, I don’t know if he was really there or not. I’ve only imagined it for our story line. But, what we do know is that he hears about it somewhere, somehow.

–   He is a ‘respected’ council member: He not only holds a position of importance, but there is an air of prestige about this membership. Here’s a man who secretly has been a follower of Christ. Because of the secrecy, he’s given nothing to Christ publicly. What can he give now? What would you give a dead man?He gives him a tomb – which BTW: he’ll only need for a few days! Rd v 43

–     He is bold – lit.: he dared to ask. Most of the time this verse is translated dare. As in: No one dared ask him more questions. This verse tells us his secret is no longer important to him.

ill.: I think we put value on issues and plans and dreams and position and prestige. We act in compliance with that value. We act in compliance with that value until something else becomes more important. This happened to Joseph and he’s no longer concerned with his money, his position in the council, his prestige as a respected Jew. Now, Christ is more important.

app.: If you’re a public follower of Christ, then this has happened to you. Something happened to cause you to say that you don’t care what it costs you – you’re going to follow Jesus. Nothing, absolutely nothing is more important to you than Jesus. You don’t care who knows and you don’t care anymore what they think.

Transition: We read in Scripture that he was from Arimathea, A disciple from a distance, and that he was

3.  Good and Righteous; and we get this from Luke (23.50) Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God.

1.   Proverbs 2.9 tells us that these two characteristics adorn the wise.

2.   Furthermore, the Scripture tells us that he did not consent to their decision, nor their action. Maybe he wasn’t there at 1st. Maybe he was and chose not to speak up. In any instance, he did not give consent to the decision, nor to their actions.

app.: I’m so glad we meet Joseph. It offers up hope that there were men who served as a part of the Sanhedrin who saw through the wicked actions of the leadership; men who were good men, righteous men in the actions and deeds. Indeed, in the following verse we meet Nicodemus, who appears to be a man cut from the same cloth as Joseph.

Conclusion:

Do you remember John Gilbert, the young man I mentioned in the intro? He had other moments in his life that weren’t so bad. Moments that were quite wonderful, actually. Once he was invited to a National Football League fundraising auction. When it began, one item in particular caught John’s eye: a basketball signed by the players of the Sacramento Kings professional team. John so desperately wanted that ball that when it came up for bid, he felt his hand raise up in the air. Not having the funds to participate, John’s mother quickly brought it back down.

They watched the bidding go up and up and up. It rose to an astounding amount compared to the value of the ball and especially compared to other items at the auction. Finally, a man made a bid that no one else could possibly match, and he won the prize.

The man walked to the front and claimed the basketball. But instead of going back to his seat, the man walked across the room and gently placed it into the thin, small hands of the boy who had desired it so strongly. The man put that ball into hands that would never dribble a ball down a court, never throw it to a teammate, never shoot a shot from the charity strip. But those hands would cherish that for as long as they lived.

John writes, “It took me a moment to realize what the man had done. I remember hearing gasps all around the room, then thunderous applause and weeping eyes. To this day I’m amazed. Have you ever been given a gift that you could have never gotten for yourself? Has anyone ever sacrificed a huge amount for you without getting anything in return except the joy of giving?”

A gift of great value, beyond what we could ever purchase for ourselves: that is what Jesus did when he died on a cross, was buried in Joseph’s tomb, and rose again on the 3rd day. He has given us the gift of eternal life. And he offers that gift to you.

Invitation: Do you want that gift? Do you want it so bad, you’d simply slip your hand into the air, like John did? I offer you Christ today, will you receive him?

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Genesis 25.1-18

Title: The Death of Abraham

Text: Genesis 25.1-18

CIT: God has kept his promises

CIS: God has kept his promises and therefore, we can trust him to keep his promises to us.

Introduction:

I’ve been blessed because of my faith-in-law; One day, I’ll move to the ranch w/ Lisa and we’ll live in the bunkhouse (maybe); when we’re old and Lisa’s mom has gone to be with the Lord, we’ll inherit the cabin; I’ll probably have some cows; I’m so glad my father-in-law worked that out with his children before he passed.

There is a theme Moses wants to convey to us. It becomes clear when you look at the passages before and after: Isaac gets a wife & Isaac get a couple of boys; Theme: God has kept his promises to Abraham by making his offspring into many nations; rd 24.67c; Sarah has died; now what? Well, I’ve divided this passage up into three parts:

  •       Abraham’s life without Sarah
  •       Abraham’s death and burial next to Sarah
  •       Abraham: the father of many nations

 

   1.    Abraham’s life without Sarah (1-6)

exp.: Abraham lives another 35-37 years without Sarah; So, rd v 1; he takes

       1.   A new wife: Keturah; Had she lived in his presence as a servant already? She gives him

              i.     6 sons; (v2-4) and

             ii.     10 grandsons; With all of these boys now, plans need to be made.

       2.   Estate Planning

              i.     His wife, Sarah’s son: Isaac (5, 10-11; previous chapter, next chapter); He is the sole heir;

             ii.     His Concubines: ??? (6); Why is it plural?Is this a reference to

                    1.   Keturah and

                    2.  Hagar, listed in 2-4 & 12-18? I think so. rd v 6;

                         –  He gave his sons gifts

                         –  He sent his sons away – out of the promised land. That way, there would be no conflict concerning inheritance;

ill.: Matthew Henry: Observe, He did this while he yet lived, lest it should not be done, or not so well done, afterwards. Note, In many cases it is wisdom for men to make their own hands their executors, and what they find to do to do it while they live, as far as they can.

app.: What a great plan! This way, when he’s gone, there will be no dispute of what belongs to who.

t.s.: 1st, we’re shown Abraham’s life without Sarah. Now, we’re shown

2.   Abraham’s death and burial next to Sarah (7-11)

exp.: rd v 7;

  •      Abraham’s life: 175 years; Gen. 11. Life is getting shorter; Gen 35.28; 180 years; Gen. 50.22;
  •      Abraham’s death: rd v 8; Gen 15.15; read v 9-10;
  •      Abraham’s sons bury him next to Sarah: We’ve not heard from Ishmael since he left; It appears he comes back into Abraham’s life after Sarah is gone. They bury him in the place set as a marker of their faith. Rd v 11;
  •      God blesses Isaac, who settles in the Promised Land. His actions show his faith and God blesses his faith. He inherits his father’s riches and settles at Beer-lahai-roi; Do you remember this place? Where Hagar called out to God. 16.14; 24.62; A place Isaac liked to go?

ill.: Isaac’s life; Not a whole lot of activity with God. There is, but like Abraham, there are many years in between the communication; most of what we’ll see will be about his descendants.

app.: Do you find it hard to keep your walk with God when you find long periods of time without clear direction from God. Really, what communication do you have that you find isn’t enough? Micah 6.8; John 3.16; 1 John 1.9; Matthew 28.18-20; others? Do you think that too often we’re just looking for a ‘feel good devotional’?

t.s.: Abraham’s life without Sarah; Abraham’s death and burial next to Sarah; and finally,

 

   3.   Abraham: the Father of many nations (12-18)

exp.: Really, this section sandwiches with the 1st, around Abraham’s death;

          –    Ishmael’s sons (12-16): 12 sons; look at the 1st two: Isa. 60.1-7; Prophecy concerning Christ; 1 Chron. 5.19; Isa. 21.14; Job 6.19

          –    Ishmael’s death (17); 137 years old! Sounds like v 8;

          –    Ishmael’s territory (18): in keeping with v 6; The sons of Abraham’s concubines were sent away from Isaac and the promised land.

Conclusion: What a legacy:

  • Matthew 1.1 begins with his legacy to Christ – What a promise…
  • Romans & Galatians tell us that we’re justified by faith, just as Abraham was; we believe God at his word and we’re justified. Christ is the fulfillment of the promise.
  • Hebrews gives us the faith chapter and teaches us there about exercising our faith: in obedience (v.8) go where he sends; in living out our daily lives where he plants us (9), in hope, casting our eyes on the real promised land (10), in doing (living) the impossible (11-12); rd v 13-19;
  • James tells us that we’re justified when we work our faith out, just as Abraham worked out his faith by taking his son Isaac up to Mt. Moriah and offered him to the Lord. Abraham just didn’t give mental ascent to God’s promises, but loaded up his donkey and his servants and journeyed three days to that place in faith. 2.22

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John 19.1-37

Title: The Soldiers of Pilate

Text: John 19.1-37

Introduction:

When my cousin Jeffery was murdered, I remember watching the news on the local stations. There was video and reporting – just like so many other homicides reported on. But this one was different. This one was someone I knew and loved. I told myself that I’d never forget that when I see a news report of someone being murdered or dying in some sort of accident; That was somebody’s son – husband, friend.

I guess, to be honest, as the years have passed, I’ve reverted back to the callousness that pads the emotions. Oh, it still effects me, but not like when I first experienced it. I wonder if we’ve grown calloused to the death of Christ. And, not just his death, but also the way he died. We forget the trials, the mistreatment. We forget the hours that passed. We forget the people involved. We become desensitized to the suffering of Christ.

I wonder if not only us, but those who were closest to the execution were calloused to the pain they were inflicting. I’m talking about the soldiers who were tasked with the responsibility of punishing and executing Christ.

I’ve been working my way through the gospel of John this year. I started in January with the Lord’s Prayer and have been looking at Christ’s suffering over the past two months. Really, I’m focusing on characters on the way to the cross. Today, we’ll focus on The Soldiers. In John 19, you’ll find them listed as not only the soldiers, but also with the pronoun: They.  3; 16; 18; 23; 24; 29; 33; 37.

 

Two notes about the soldiers.

–       Please understand, not every They is referring to the soldiers, so I’ll be careful to point that out.

–       These soldiers are not of the Temple Guard. These soldiers are Roman.

As we look at the soldiers, I’ve divided this message up into three parts:

  1.      Their Responsibility
  2.      Their Ridicule
  3.      Their Reaction

Transition: Let’s look first at their responsibilities

   1.   Their Responsibilities:The soldiers impose the punishment

exp.: rd v 1; Pilate rendered the verdict; the soldiers imposed the punishment.

  • They flogged him (1)

ill.: we spoke about this last week, so please bear with me a bit as we review for those who missed: to flog someone meant to discipline them; Heb 12.6: For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. Hughes tells us:Many died from it, and others went mad. Ancient authorities as diverse as Eusebius, Josephus, and Cicero relate that scourging normally meant a flaying to the bone. Eusebius tells of martyrs who “were torn by scourges down to deep-seated veins and arteries, so that the hidden contents of the recesses of their bodies, their entrails and organs were exposed to sight.”M.S. Mills in The Life of Christ: A study guide to the Gospel record says that there were 6 soldiers, each with a flagel or what is commonly called today A Cat of Nine Tails. Jesus would have been tied to either a column, with his hands above his head or to a stake, where he would have been down on his knees, his arms out in front of him. These six soldiers would have taken turns whipping Jesus, one swing at a time. This way the whipping would be applied to the back and the chest. The flagel’s tail would often strike the face, sometimes knocking out teeth and, on occasion, even an eye. The victim was invariably reduced to a bloody mass of quivering flesh, with virtually all strength drained from his body.

t.s.: so, we begin to see the number of soldiers involved. Maybe too many, because next we see them mocking Jesus.

   2.   Their Ridicule:The soldiers mock Jesus

exp.: rd v 2-3;

  •      Mt 27.27 & Mk 15.16: mocked him before a whole battalion

exp.: now, Pilate brings him out in the ‘mocked state’; rd v 4-5; I mentioned when we looked at Pilate that I don’t think Pilate was joining in on the mocking. I wonder if he was appealing to the compassion of the crowd. I wonder if he thought they’d agree with Pilate’s verdict of: I find no guilt in him. The soldiers have had their fun at Christ’s expense, but Pilate might be able to use this to gain compassion for Christ. That’s just my assumption.

app.: So we’ve read that they flogged him and they’ve mocked him, we even see him paraded around in this kingly outfit.

t.s.: We’ve looked at their responsibility to flog and scourge him and how they mocked and made fun of him. Now, we’ll return to their responsibilities. After Pilate tries to release Christ and is unable to do so, he turns Christ over to the soldiers to impose the punishment rendered in the verdict – crucify him.

  1.   Their Responsibilities:The soldiers impose the punishment

exp.: we’ve already seen their responsibility to carry out the punishment of flogging Christ. Now, as they continue their responsibilities,

  • They flogged him (1)
  • Rd v 16a; Pilate delivers him over to the soldiers – not the Jews. Rd 16b; lit.: They took charge of Jesus; They took him to the hill of Golgotha; the via dolorosa; he was marched through the streets out of the city; this would be humiliating, but this isn’t the soldiers mocking – this is them doing their job. Rd v 17; he left the governor’s quarters, and carried this large piece of wood on his back. Scholars believe it weighed as much as a hundred pounds. Barclay says that it was customary to parade the condemned throughout the streets, taking the longest way, so as to be seen by the most people. Somewhere along the way, we know Christ collapsed under the beneath the weight of all he’s endured. Mt, Mk & Lk tell us about this moment: 26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. Mark tells us that he is the father of Rufus and Alexander. We read about Rufus in Paul’s letter to the Romans, which is where Peter mentored Mark. Once this processional arrived at the hill, these soldiers would have laid Jesus down on this large piece of wood and driven a large spike through each wrist and crucified him.
  • They crucified him (16-23a; 18; 23); v. 23 clarifies that it is the soldiers, not the Jews who crucify Christ. It is their responsibility. Hughes: At the place of execution Christ was laid upon the patibulum. Quickly spikes were driven through his hands or wrists, and then the crossbar was hoisted into place. His legs dangled until they were nailed, leaving only enough flex in the knees so he could begin the horrible up and down motion necessary to keep breathing.

ill.: we could spend some time now discussing the excruciating pain and suffering Christ endured. We could list the medical aspects of his misery. As we move each week toward Easter, I’d encourage you to study this. For now, we’ve seen enough and heard enough to know or at least be reminded of Christ’s suffering.

app.: So the soldiers have done their duty. They’re actually not done, but as the minutes pass into hours, they begin to act like their bored. Rd v 23-24;

t.s.: And so we come to another of their moments of ridicule…

   2.   Their Ridicule:The soldiers mock Jesus

exp.: So, we’ve seen them mock him, mistreat him before an entire battalion. Now, Let me paint this picture for you: as he hangs on the cross dying, in your minds eye, as your above the cross, you see Jesus. Back away with the camera of your mind down below and just to the side, there some soldiers are arguing over his clothes. Rd v 23-24.

  • They divided his garments; someone took his sandals, another his cloak; dividing what he had among the four soldiers. That makes sense, because it was four soldiers, one on each side that walked with him to Golgotha. Then, they cast lots for the one piece that they didn’t want to ruin (23-24). Their so calloused to the pain and suffering of Christ. Maybe they’ve done this before. Maybe so much so that it doesn’t even bother them anymore. Some hours pass and just before he dies, they mock him again. Rd v 28-30;
  • Mocked him further by offering him sour wine (28; Luke 23.36); you don’t notice this when you read v 28 – nor in a couple of the synoptics; but listen to DA Carson: The drink offered here is not to be confused with the ‘wine mixed with myrrh’ which some charitable people offered him on the way to the cross (Mk 15.23). That was a sedative designed to dull the agony and Jesus refused to drink it. He was fully resolved to drink, instead, the cup of suffering the Father had assigned him. The episode in John 19.29 finds its parallel rather in Mark 15.36. Far from being a sedative, it would prolong life and therefore prolong pain.

i.     So, their ridicule is to extend his pain and suffering. They could do this by putting the sponge on a stalk, kind of like a nest in some limbs that come together. Also,

ii.     Some believe these particular branches were weak and would bend and wave around. Even if Jesus wanted to drink, he wouldn’t be able to do so because the branch would bend away.

transition: even here, they’re still mocking Jesus. But, when the time comes for this to be over with, the soldiers are given the task of speeding up the process of death. We read about this in v 31-33

   1.   Their Responsibilities: The soldiers impose the punishment

exp.: they broke the legs of the two criminals, so that they could no longer rise up and get a breath. Basically, they suffocated. Not Jesus, though. He died up in v. 30; but, the soldiers must be sure their responsibilities have been fulfilled. So, rd v 34;

  •      They flogged him (1)
  •      They took him to the hill of Golgatha
  •      They crucified him (16-23a; 18; 23)
  •      They pierce his side with a spear

   3.   Their Reaction: The soldiers confirm his position (Matt 27.54)

exp.: 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Surely this was the son of God; Notice: they were filled with awe.

Conclusion: rd v 19.35; Invitation to come to Christ

 

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Genesis 24.1-67

Title: The Faith of Men and the Providence of God

Text: Genesis 24.1-67

Introduction: I think one of the most interesting aspects of my faith in God is His Sovereignty. I’m blown away by my actions and his providence. Note: Never when I’m in it – only after I’ve gone through it (whatever it may be)! I look back over my life and see His hand.

One of the most amazing things is a dream I had. I’ve mentioned this before on Sunday morning, but most here haven’t heard. I believe it was a supernatural experience. Until recently, I only shared this with a few people, because it is so precious to me. There are two things about my dreams that stand out: 1. My dreams are 99% of the time in black and white, and 2. 99% of my dreams are forgotten by the time I get out of bed. I can only remember a few of dreams from my whole life. One in particular occurred when I was in Harlingen. I asked my pastor about it, because it wouldn’t go away – it just seemed so significant. 1st, I remembered it vividly. 2nd, it was in color.

Over the next few years, every event played out in my life and I came to realize that my dream was a very special gift from God. 2ndly, as everything played out, God showed me that he was in control of my life and ministry all along. And, that carries me today. God is in control of my life and ministry.

Today’s lesson from Genesis teaches us just that: God is in absolute control. Yes, we make decisions and choices and interact with each other everyday. And, somehow, someway, God is behind it all.

Listen to Hughes: In Genesis 24, the structure of this twice-told story of Isaac and Rebekah gives us the advantage of knowing what happens before the main characters do and thereby observing the providential workings of God in everyday life. The position of this great story in Genesis at the end of Abraham’s life serves, in effect, to tell us that this is the way God works day in and day out in our lives. Such a God, of course, is great beyond our imaginings because he maintains all of life, involves himself in all events, and directs all things to their appointed end while rarely interrupting the natural order of life.

That’s incredible to comprehend. He maintains all of life, involves himself in all events, and directs all things to their appointed end while rarely interrupting the natural order of life. Let that sink in: God isn’t an absent God. He isn’t ‘watching us from a distance’ either. God is interacting with his creation.

Transition: God had blessed Abraham with a very special relationship. God’s faithfulness to Abraham throughout the years has caused Abraham to trust Him – implicitly. At this stage in his life, he knows his life is coming to an end and God would continue to do what He had promised.

I’ve divided this passage up – all 67 verses – into 4 parts:

  • The Faith of Abraham
  • The Expression of Faith
  • The Blessing of Faith
  • The Rewards of Faith

Let’s look first at Abraham’s faith…

I.             The Faith of Abraham (1-9)

exp.: rd v 1-4; as expressed in his servant’s charge: Swear to me! Take an oath!

The Oath: Get my son a wife (4)

The Specifics: A wife who is not a Canaanite, but rather from my kindred, from my home country. (3)

The Stipulations: (2x’s); rd v 5: What if she won’t come? Do I then take your son ‘back home’? rd v 6-8; Don’t take my son out of this land – the land promised. V 7 declares Abraham’s faith in God’s promise.

The Promise: rd v 9 – the servant promises…

t.s.: Now v 10 takes place over the course of many months and many miles as Faith is Expressed through the actions of this servant…

II.          The Expression of Faith (10-28)

exp.: rd v 10; So much activity in one verse; rd v 11; we know that archeological evidence has proven Scripture to be false because there were no domesticated camels back then! Have ya’ll heard that?

John Noble Wilford; NY Times; These anacronisms verify that the Bible was edited well after the stories were written and is not reliable for verifiable history. They insinuate that the Bible is wrong about the fact that there were camels in the time of Abraham. But what about the bones of camels found in deeper sediment? Those bones probably were probably wild camels hunted for food. Seriously. This is an article in NY Times in mid-February.

How does this apply? I only bring it up because it’s recent. There have always been, and I suppose, there will always be in this life, people who use weak arguments to establish facts that disagree with the Word of God. But let me ask you: What if there were solid archeological evidence that the world was not created but rather ‘just came into being’? or, what if there were solid evidence that Paul never existed, or that … you fill in the blank. Ladies and Gentlemen, we live by faith – just like Abraham. And, even if the entire scientific world had proof that there were no camels in Abraham’s time or no giants in David’s time or no lions in Daniel’s time – we still believe God’s word to be true. Let’s move on… look at this servant’s faith as expressed through prayer;

1.     Through Prayer: rd v 11; he’s doing what he would normally do after a long journey;

App.: here is our 1st application. God acts in and through our normal activities of everyday life. Now, we see this servant’s faith as expressed in…

–   His Petition

  • Request: rd v 12; Grant success
  • Real life: This isn’t a ‘stop the sun’; send fire from the sky request; rd v 13; the women are coming out; let the one you desire stick out; rd v 14;
  • Recognize her and he does by; rd v 15-16;

–  Her Beauty (Easy on the eyes); rd v 17-21; Kindness, Character, work ethic,

–  How many camels did he have? 10 Camels – camels drink on average 25 gallons of water, a typical jar in that day would hold about a 3 gallons; 8 trips per camel, 80 trips in all; (20) Now, there is another way he would recognize that this is the woman God has chosen: she’s to be a family member; He seeks confirmation; rd v 22-25;

–  Family member – a distant relative; And so how does he respond? This is the 2nd way we see his faith displayed in his prayer – through worship;

–  His Worship; rd v 26-27

  • His posture
  • His gratitude is poured out before God.

Transition: so faith is expressed through prayer in petition and worship, but next we see it is expressed through everyday life

2.     Through Everyday circumstances (29-33); The women going out to the well; the hospitality of I can’t eat until I’ve said what I’ve come to say; Speak; so we now hear his …

3.     Testimony (34-49); a repeat; why? Listen to Hughes: At this the servant launched into a lengthy retelling of Abraham’s commission to find a wife, his wife-finding mission to Mesopotamia, and his amazing encounter with Rebekah. The rehearsal of the story may be tedious to our western ears, but by ancient conventions it was essential. And as the servant told the story, recorded in verses 34–49, he repeated the central points of the narrative while adding and subtracting minor points to maximize the effect on Laban and his father Bethuel. His purpose was, of course, to convince them of God’s providential guidance so that they would consent to sending Rebekah to Isaac. Matthews, in his New American Commentary says that all of this was done to convince both the readers and Laban and his family that this was a “match made in heaven” as it were. And both father and son agree: rd v 50-51;

t.s.: Which brings us to point # 3…

III.       The Blessing of Faith (50-61)

exp.: So, these men agree and the servant bows in worship for the 3rd time; rd v 52-60; What a wonderful feeling it must have been for this servant of Abraham’s as they head out in v 61;

1st we looked at the Faith of Abraham – obviously too old to travel himself; 2nd we looked that the faith of the servant as expressed through his prayers and everyday life; 3rd, we saw how God blessed their faith. Finally, let’s close this section out by seeing this blessing blossom. Rd v 63-67; this is our 4th section

IV.        The Reward of Faith (62-67)

exp.: Really, is there a difference between reward & blessing? Eliezer is blessed, Rachel is blessed, Isaac is blessed, I’m sure Abraham is blessed;

Conclusion: Invitation to trust Christ with every part of your life…

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John 18.33-40

Title: Barabbas: Substitutionary Atonement

Text: John 18.33-40

Introduction: We’re in John 18; Matthew 27; Luke 23 this morning. While you are bookmarking them, let me tell you a story. Years ago, I was in an Easter Musical: We want Barnabas! Give us Barnabas! Well, today we’re going to talk about Barabbas. I may struggle from time to time with the wrong name! But that probably doesn’t surprise most of you…

I’ve been working my way to the cross each Sunday morning, looking at the different Characters who touched Christ’s life. Judas, Peter, Annas, Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate and now, Barabbas. Barabbas is different than the others. We feel disdain toward Judas and his betrayal. We’re disappointed in Peter. Our anger wells up at the Sanhedrin and High priests. And Barabbas… well, we’re not sure how to feel toward Barabbas. Each person mentioned has wronged Christ in some way, but not Barabbas. It wasn’t his doing that got him off. It wasn’t his lawyers who helped him walk free. Guilty Barabbas. He’s guilty, but he is set free. He should have been mocked, mistreated and maligned. He is the one who deserves death, but he lives.

We pick up in 18.38, rd v 38; After Jesus is questioned by Pilate and Pilate renders his verdict: Not Guilty. Rd v 39-40a; What a wonderful set up; John doesn’t tell the whole story. Maybe because the synoptics do, or maybe because he thought his readers would already know – So, we’ll have to look to the other gospels for help; For now, note that John wants us to see that Jesus in not guilty of any crime deserving death, but instead wants to release him.

Transition: This morning’s message will be presented to you in the form of 3 questions. In our search to find out who Barabbas is, we’ll ask:

  1. Who is Barabbas?
  2. How does he compare to Christ?
  3. What does this mean for us?

Let’s begin with the 1st question:

  1. Who is Barabbas?
    1. A Robber (John 18.40); a popular word for a thief; This is what Jesus called the religious leaders who turned His Father’s house of prayer into a den of thieves; it is the word Jesus uses to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10); And, this is what Jesus calls those people who lead God’s people astray, when he says of those who enter not by the door, but over the fence – they are thieves and robbers; He is someone who steals that which is not his own (8th commandment: Thou shalt not steal); The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Christ comes to give life; Matthew 27 describes him as…
    2. A ‘Notorious Prisoner’; rd Matthew 27.15-16; simply meaning he is well-known; rd v 17; Why would Pilate do this? Rd 27.18-19;

i.     He discerned their motives

ii.     His wife had warned him – a woman’s intuition

iii.     Perhaps he thought the crowds of Jerusalem would never choose this notorious criminal, Barabbas, and their fondness for Jesus would set Jesus free.

t.s.: A Robber, A Notorious Prisoner and 3rd

                3.   An Insurrectionist and Murderer (Mark 15.7; Lk 23.18-19) – Insurrection: an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government. It appears that Barabbas was notorious because he had been leading a revolt against civil authority, against the Roman Govt. This would make him a zealot and popular with the people. Furthermore, it appears that during an uprising, Barabbas had killed someone or more than one. Who? We don’t know. Note the two crimes again: Murder & Rebellion.

Listen to Warren Wiersbe: It is ironical that Barabbas was apparently a member of the zealot party and, therefore, guilty of the very charge for which Jesus was condemned (cf. Mark 15:7; Luke 23:19, 25). Wiersbe seems to think that the Jewish authorities because of Barabbas’ notoriety easily swayed this crowd. He continues: This crowd apparently had been waiting there to support their local folk-hero. The Jewish authorities just took this opportunity to assure the condemnation of Jesus (cf. Mark 15:11). Now, I’ve been taught that this crowd is the same crowd that welcomed Jesus on Palm Sunday. But, Kevin DeYoung says no… this is a different crowd, easily swayed. Just to be clear: the crowd on Palm Sunday welcoming Jesus with shouts of “Hosanna!” is by and large not the same crowd on Good Friday that demands his death with shouts of “Crucify!”

R.T. France summarizes: There is no warrant here for the preacher’s favorite comment on the fickleness of a crowd which could shout ‘Hosanna’ one day and ‘Crucify him’ a few days later. They are not the same crowd. The Galilean pilgrims shouted ‘Hosanna’ as they approached the city, the Jerusalem crowd shouted, ‘Crucify him.’

Same crowd, different crowd, I don’t know for sure; but this I know, the Jewish leaders were able to get this crowd of people to have Barabbas released.

Transition: So, He was set free, even though he was guilty: a robber, a notorious prisoner, a murder, a rebel – insurrectionist or in today’s terms: a terrorist. He didn’t suffer, he wasn’t punished, he wasn’t mistreated. Cut the ropes and walk! But not Jesus – let’s look at these two, side by side…

2.   How does Barabbas compare with Christ:

           1.  Barabbas was guilty vs. Jesus was innocent: Irony of Ironies: the Jews had accused Jesus of the very crimes Barabbas was found guilty of: Rebellion. And yet, they wanted Barabbas released. Rd Lk 23.2: Here are the charges And they began to accuse him, saying,

i.     “We found this man misleading our nation and

ii.     forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and

iii.     saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” Add v 4-5;

Not Guilty – cf.: John 18.38, 19.4-5; this is after Herod’s inquisition; Luke expresses it 9 different ways (23.4, 14, 15 [2x’s Herod & Pilate], 20, 22 [2x’s: not guilty & I will release him; 41; 47];

           2.  Barabbas was released vs. Jesus was punished:

i.     Jesus was Flogged – 7x’s; Heb 12.6; Maybe Pilate thought that he would be disciplined this way and the people would be moved to release him. You might be thinking: Really? Yeah! Listen to Hughes: Many died from it, and others went mad. Ancient authorities as diverse as Eusebius, Josephus, and Cicero relate that scourging normally meant a flaying to the bone. Eusebius tells of martyrs who “were torn by scourges down to deep-seated veins and arteries, so that the hidden contents of the recesses of their bodies, their entrails and organs were exposed to sight.” M.S. Mills in The Life of Christ: A study guide to the Gospel record describes scourging this way: A Roman scourging was a frightful punishment. The whip (or flagel) used was braided from leather thongs and interlaced with lead balls and metal and bone spikes. Six soldiers, lictors, wielded these flagels on the prisoner who was usually tied to a column or stake. The severity of the scourging was such that prisoners usually fainted and sometimes died under it. The whipping was applied to the back and chest. Each stroke cut into the quivering flesh until the veins and sometimes the entrails were laid bare; the flagel’s tail would often strike the face, sometimes knocking out teeth and, on occasion, even an eye. The victim was invariably reduced to a bloody mass of quivering flesh, with virtually all strength drained from his body. Not only was he punished in this fashion, but then he was mocked for their entertainment.

ii.     Jesus was Mocked – Jesus was mocked by the Jewish guards first. Later, Herod’s men would mock Jesus; 27.27-31; and that’s the final form of punishment…crucifixion.

iii.     Jesus was Crucified – He died Barabbas’ death; Barabbas should have been on that cross with his buddies on both sides; He should have died that criminal’s death; the execution had been planned for Barabbas because of his rebellion and murder. That’s why there was a cross ready to go.

 3.  What does this mean for us?

  • We identify with Barabbas when we acknowledge we have rebelled against God.Rev 12.10; Zech 3.1; Satan stands and accuses us. We’re more like Barabbas in that we’ve rebelled against God’s authority, and furthermore, have encouraged others to do the same. And so we stand here rightly accused with no defense on our own.
  • We identify with Barabbas when we comprehend the magnitude of our sin. Romans 6.23 says that our just punishment for our rebellion against God is death; Our great sin needs a great savior to rescue us.

But you may say: I’m not that bad. The Bible says you are. The Bible says you and I both are the one’s who deserve to be flogged, scourged, disciplined. It is our sin of rebellion against God that has determined our state. It is our anger toward our brothers that has made us murderers.

  • We identify with Christ when we understand that he died as our substitute. His death is our death. 2 Corinthians tells us For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. We’ve been released, even though we’re guilty, and someone else took our place of punishment.
  • We identify with Christ when we surrender our lives to him. Paul said, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. And, in Col 3.3: For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Conclusion: Application?

A call to recognize you’re a sinner (rebellion), to repent of your sin and rebellion, to return your life to Him as King.

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John 18.28-32

Title: Pilate

Text: John 18.28-40

Introduction: Turn to Jn 18; Let me bring you up to speed – especially if you’re not familiar with where we are in our study and what I’m doing that’s different than, say, a typical message at Calvary.

I have chosen to finish out the book of John. I preached some years ago through to Chapter 12. Then, I did a short series from 12-16. I wanted to finish out the book and outlined it this way.

  1. The Lord’s Prayer – 17
  2. The Lord’s Passion – 18-20 – Characters on the way to the Cross
  3. The Lord’s Purpose – “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (20.21)

Today, as we continue in our study of the Lord’s Passion – that is, His suffering, we’ll look briefly at Pilate; We’ll look at three areas of his life: The Storied Relationship, The Reason they needed him to Kill Jesus, The Reality of the whole situation. rd v 28a-b; his name isn’t listed yet, but the governor mentioned here is Pilate.

Review the 1st three mock trials beginning with the arrest in the garden; Now Jesus is brought before the governor, Pilate – note, that it’s still early. Their third mock trial had already been composed. They had worked through the night to ensure their story was straight and everything was being done by the book. Rd v 28c; Hypocrisy at it’s worst – These guys are willing to break their own laws to get what they want, but explain it away so that they can celebrate this evening with their families, stuffing their faces and drinking their wine. It makes me wonder about us: When we’re willing to bend what we know is right in God’s Word, just enough to get what we want, but still keep a strict regimen to our traditions, especially when it comes to stuffing our faces and filling our stomachs. Isn’t it so human to satisfy our physical appetites, often in the name of Christian Celebration, but we fail to satisfy the hungering of the soul? Rd v 29; Was he just sitting down to breakfast? Had he even eaten yet? He knows they won’t come in. He’s been here now for a few years, had some struggles with them and he knows he’ll have to take this outside because of their ‘traditions’.

Notice the verbal sparring that takes place; rd v 30-31a; They just want a stamp of approval. No need to inquire, we’ve done all the work. He’s guilty. We’ve got God’s work we need to be doing and we can’t get our hands dirty. I think John wants us to see the enmity between these two – Pilate and the Jews. There is a history here – some info we get from the Bible and some that we’re not privy to in the Bible. Often times we see Pilate as this wimpy man, kowtowing to the pressure of the Jews. But he wasn’t really that way toward them. No, he was a pretty tough ruler.

Here’s what we get from History and extra-biblical material: Pilate: The Relationship with his people.

1.     Little to nothing is known about Pilate before 26 AD – that is his life before living in the holy land. He was appointed to this position as Perfect, Procurator, and Governor. Note these titles:

  • Perfect, a title found describing Pilate on an inscription found in 1961. Before that time, there was no archeological evidence of Pilate, though he is mentioned in extra-biblical literature such as Tacitus, Josephus and Philo.
  • Perfect & Procurator titles are used by Tacitus and Josephus and
  • Governor is used in Scripture (Mt 27; Lk 3). It appears that this was the last title he held.
  1. Little to nothing is known about Pilate before 26 AD
  2. His rule was plagued by conflict with those he governed:
  • Josephus identifies the problems with the Jews when Pilate tried to set up columns or standards bearing the image of the emperor in Jerusalem. The Jews raised up a public resistance, and in spite of death threats remained. They very publicly chose death over the display of what they deemed as idols. After a 6 day standoff, Pilate gave in and ordered the images back to Caesarea.
  • Josephus and Eusebius record another struggle Pilate had with the Jews over Temple money Pilate wanted to use to build an aqueduct. That all sounds nice, but come to find out, the spring from which this water would come was some 40K away! That’s a lot of money. Tens of thousands of Jews demonstrated publicly when Pilate showed up for the Festival in Jerusalem. Pilate then ordered his soldiers to infiltrate the crowd in disguise by wearing plain clothes. These men killed many in the crowd as they would yell out opposition and protest.
  • Some scholars believe this is the event recorded in Luke 13.1-2; Maybe this is a separate incident! That would only add to describing his character!
  • It is believed that Pilate also, by such a careless act of random killing, killed some of Herod’s subjects – thus alienating him. Luke 23.12 records their reconciliation.
  • Furthermore, Pilate minted small copper coins with images on them, a clear violation of the 2nd commandment as understood by the Jews. He only did this for three years (29-31 A.D.); This action caused Pilate a lot of heartache with the Jews. One such coin has been discovered through archaeological excavations. I have a picture here;
  • Pilate had trouble with the Samaritans when a group of these folks descended upon Mt. Gerizim. It was rumored that Moses had hidden the ark on Mt. Gerizim (which would have been impossible, because Moses never entered the Holy Land) and someone had sparked this great crowd of people to come and search for it. Pilate surrounded them with his men and captured them, executing their leaders. The Samaritans issued a formal complaint to the Emperor and Pilate was summoned to Rome to defend his actions. The emperor died while Pilate was in route and nothing is ever heard of Pilate again.

These stories give us some insight into (1) struggles Pilate dealt with, (2) his hatred for the people he governed and (3) his ruthlessness toward them. The Jews don’t want to come to Pilate – they have to, in order to rid themselves of this man Jesus. When I say ‘have to’ listen carefully to what that means; Rd v 31-32;

Pilate: the reason he was needed.

Here now, we see some foreshadowing of the role Pilate will play in the life of Christ: his death. This is important: The Jews could have killed Jesus without Pilate’s permission. John 8.59; 10.31-33; This was obvious even to his disciples, who in 11.8 are shocked that Jesus wants to return to Judea again. The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” I don’t want you to just see that they wanted to kill him – but that they could have killed him. It was fully in their power and authority. I’ve been mistaken in the past when I’ve said they needed Pilate to kill him. But I think I was wrong. If you turn to Acts 7-8 you’ll read the story of a man named Stephen who as stoned by the Jews for his blasphemy. It wasn’t just in Jerusalem, but we read through out Acts that the Jews, according to their own Law and Practice could put someone to death by stoning.

No, Caiaphas didn’t want to just kill Jesus. Caiaphas wanted Jesus to be made a public spectacle, put him on display to demonstrate that Jesus was cursed. Deuteronomy 21.22-23: 22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance. Multiple times in Acts, the disciples testify to this fact. And, Paul clarifies this for us in Gal. 3.13: 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.”

Little did Caiaphas know, though he should have, that he was doing was exactly what Jesus had said would be done. That’s why John records these very important words: 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. Jn 12.32-33; Mt 20.19; 26.2; Mk 10.33; Lk 18.32; Jesus is in total control of this situation. Ladies and Gentlemen, Jesus is sovereign, even over his own death. They thought they were killing him, but really, he was giving his life. He was laying down his life for you and me.

These men, Pilate, Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin, hold power and authority. But as it seems to do to most everyone who has it, power and authority corrupt men who think they’ve come to such a position of their own strength and wit and cunning. John 19.9-10, but Jesus clarifies for him just where power and authority come from: rd 19.11. παραδίδωμι appears here, 35, 36 & 19.11;

Pilate: The Reality of his position and power

Application: Each of these leaders, both religious and secular, thought that they were in control. The Jews thought they were controlling Pilate – controlling Jesus. Pilate stood before the Jews and the people and thought he was in control as their ruler. But really, this is all being played out as had been determined by God.

Contemplation: Let me ask you today, how is your life any different? Do you think you’re in control of your life? Does God seem to be distant and not really involved in your day-to-day activity? Think again! I understand this tension between the sovereignty of God’s will and the free will of man. I do.

Ill.: this week I was summoned to the hospital. A young man was in a car accident and broke his neck. From what I understand, this man will never walk again. This man, at this stage, cannot use his hands or even feel anything below his neck. I wrestle with this tension when I talk to his parents, his girlfriend. I wrestle with this tension when I pray for his healing.

  • Did God cause this?
  • Are we at the mercy of total chaos when our vehicles hit ice? Is not God strong enough, powerful enough, in charge enough to have prevented this?
  • Do accidents ‘just happen’?

I’m comfortable with God’s sovereignty. I like knowing God is fully in charge. I don’t like it when I suffer, because I feel like He’s picking on me. Mostly because, I think I don’t deserve whatever struggle I’m going through. I’m totally comfortable with God’s Sovereignty because I don’t like the idea of being subject to luck or the idea that I’m in control when the world is in such chaos.

Here’s what I know, according to Scripture: I’m not in control. Yes, I have freewill. Yes, I make decisions and I try to make good ones – most of the time. But, because I’m a sinner – living in a fallen state – I don’t always do that. I think about Pilate and his situation. He could have released Jesus and left it to the Jews. His wife warned him, telling him that she’d had a supernatural dream about this whole thing. But, in the end, Pilate, being Pilate, chose to put Jesus to death. He responded to this situation in keeping with his character. Taking it a step further, I believe Pilate acted totally within the will of God.

Chuck Swindoll, one of my all-time favorite preaches has said it so eloquently: Nothing touches me that doesn’t first pass through the hand of God. That’s a soft way of putting it. Isaiah was much more forceful: Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; Or Peter in Acts 2: 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

God, whose will it was to crush Christ for your sin and mine, also willed to raise Christ. Through it all and even before – centuries before, God had a plan for your redemption.

Invitation

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Genesis 23.1-20

Title: The Expression of Faith

Text: Genesis 23.1-20

Introduction: Sarah lived and died (1-2)

a.     Her life (1) –

i.     Her example: Isa 51.1-2; Heb. 11.11;

ii.     127 years; Gen 12.4; 62 years since they left Haran; probably married over 100 years; rd 25.7; he lived 33 more years without her!

b.     Her death (2) – you understand his mourning and weeping;

Main Point: Abraham Requests a Burial Plot

a.     Abraham Rose Up from before his dead (3)

i.     v3, 7, 17, 20;

b.     Dialogue #1: Abraham Requests a Plot

1.     His Request (4)

2.     Their Response (5-6)

c.     Dialogue #2: Abraham Requests a Specific Plot

i.     His Humility (7-9)

ii.     Ephron’s Haughtiness (10-11)

1.     He raises the stakes – expands what Abraham is requestiong

2.     His head lowered; lifted up his eyes;

d.     Dialogue #3: Abraham Petitions to pay full price (12-13)

i.     Ephron presents a price (14-15)

ii.     Abraham pays full price (16)

Conclusion: The Family Plot (17-20)

a.     It was sold to him (17-18); made over (rose up)

b.     He buried his wife there (19-20)

c.     A Marker of Faith (R. Kent Hughes)

•            By faith Abraham believed God’s promise that his descendants would inherit the land (cf. 12:1–3; 13:14–17; 15:17–21; 17:3–8).

•            By faith Abraham sojourned in the land for almost a century, living as one to whom it would belong (cf. 13:7, 8; 18:1; 21:34).

•            By faith Abraham purchased the cave at Machpelah in Hebron (23:19, 20).

•            By faith Abraham buried Sarah in the cave at Hebron (23:19, 20).

•            By faith Isaac buried Abraham with Sarah at Hebron (Genesis 25:9).

•            By faith Jacob buried his father Isaac at Hebron (cf. 49:31).

•            By faith, while in Egypt, Jacob charged his sons to bury him in Hebron (cf. 49:29, 30).

•            By faith Jacob’s sons had him embalmed and took his remains to Hebron for burial (cf. 50:1, 2, 12–14).

•            By faith, as the very last lines in Genesis record, “Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.’ So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” (50:25, 26).

•            By faith Moses, 430 years later, at the exodus took Joseph’s bones up out of Egypt (cf. Exodus 13:19) and then for forty years bore his mummified remains throughout Israel’s wanderings.

•            By faith when Joshua conquered the promised land, he buried Joseph’s body in fulfillment of the same principle in a plot of land earlier purchased by Joseph’s father Jacob (cf. Joshua 24:32).

d.     All that took place there

i.     Caleb asked for that Land to settle in… Josh 15.13; Judges 1.20

ii.     David was anointed King at Hebron (2 Sam 2.3-4); He reigned 7 years there 1 Kings 2.11;

e.     A Testimony to God’s faithfulness.

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