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JOHN 1:10-13

Pastor Stephen Muncherian
April 24, 2011

Happy Resurrection everyone!

A couple of cartoons to get us started.

“YESS!  He is not here for He is risen!”

Jesus being born is understandable.  He’s dying for us kinda makes sense.  But resurrection is over the top.  Victory over death and the sinful crud of this world.  Huge hope for us.  That is astounding.  Can we say a collective YESS together?  “YESS!”

“For Sale - Single owner tomb.  Only used three days, and still has that new tomb smell.  Reason for sale..  Resident was resurrected.”

This morning we want focus on Jesus’ resurrection.  To help us with that we’re going to look at John 1 - verses 10 to 13.  If you would, please turn with me there.  John 1:10-13.  If you need a Bible - there should be one someplace under a chair in front of you.  In your bulletin are Message Notes which could be helpful in keeping track of where we’re going this morning.

There are three truths in John 1:10-13 that we are going to consider this morning.  Coincidentally there are three “R’s” in “resurrection.”  So, you’ll see that there are three R’s on your Message Notes.  Not a great acrostic.  I’ll leave the acrostics to Steve Y.  But three R’s none the less.

Let’s read these verses out loud together - to get them fresh in our minds - and then we’ll come back and look at the three R’s.

Verse 10: 
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

The first R is
Rejection.  Let’s say that together, “Rejection.”

Verse 10 tells us that Jesus is the Creator.  We talked about some of that last Sunday - as we looked at Jesus our King. 

Jesus is
the Creator of the material universe - what we can see.  He’s the Creator of the invisible - what we don’t see.  Radiation - magnetism and so on.  He’s the Creator of concepts and attitudes - the very essence of life itself.

Jesus is sovereign over His creation.  Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords - now - today - and forever.  Jesus
reigns with absolute authority - absolute dominion - absolute power over His creation and over the affairs of men.

Jesus knows us better than anyone else.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  He made us.  He has intimate knowledge of us - who we are and who we’re meant to be - who He’s created us to be.  He knows what hangs us up and what our potential is.  Jesus can do more for us than anyone or anything.

Verse 10 tells us that Jesus came to this world - His creation - and He was rejected.

The word “world” describes humanity - not rocks and trees and mountains, oh my.  But the world of human culture and thought and intelligence and business and all the things we do and think that make us human.

We know that the non-human part of creation pays attention to Jesus.  When Jesus was born the angels sang.  The demons know who Jesus is and tremble.  Even creation - inanimate creation - declares the glory of God.  Disease - sickness are healed by His command.  The wind and the sea - creation obeys Him.  Remember when He calmed the sea simply by commanding it to be still?  (Psalm 19:1; 69:34;  Mark 4:41; 5:1-13; Luke 2:8-14; 8:25-33; John 1:14)

But humanity ignores Him - yawns - walks away - laughs - scoffs at Him - pays no attention - rejects Him.  We have too many other things going on in our lives.  We’re too self-important to be bothered with Jesus.  At best, humanity treats Jesus with indifference.

Verse 11 tells us that Jesus came to His own and His own people rejected Him - wanted nothing to do with Him.

All of what God was doing in the Old Testament - with Abraham and Moses and the Law - all of what God revealed through His prophets to the people that God had chosen to be His people and pour out His blessing on - all of that was being fulfilled when Jesus was born - lived a sinless life - obeyed God - lived the life that God’s people were suppose to live.  And God’s people rejected Jesus.

Even in Nazareth - His home town - He’s ministry was resisted.  Mary - His mother - and His brothers - for a time thought He’d gone nuts.  His nation - His community - rejected Him.

It is extremely difficult to imagine a type of death more hideous than crucifixion.  The pain is so beyond words to explain that they had to invent a new word to describe it.  “Excruciating” literally means “out of the cross.”  Think about that.

By time Jesus finally made it to the cross He’d been flogged - that alone is a study in agony - flesh being shredded and stripped from the body.  He’d been beaten, spat on, mocked, a crown of thorns shoved down over His head.  He’d carried that cross beam at least part way to Golgotha.

When they laid Jesus out on the cross they drove 5 to 7 inch spikes - nails - through His wrists and feet - severing and crushing vital nerves.  Searing jolts of unimaginable pain would have shot though His body.  When the cross is raised and set into place Jesus’ arms are stretched - probably six inches beyond their normal reach.  His shoulders are dislocated.

Death by crucifixion is ultimately a slow process of asphyxiation.  Stresses on the muscles and diaphragm put the chest into an inhaled position.  In order to exhale - Jesus would have had to push up on His feet  - causing the nails to tear through the flesh of His feet - pushing up enough to relax the tension on the muscles just enough to exhale.  That went on and on - and agonizing process of pushing up - exhaling - letting down - pushing up - exhaling - until exhaustion took place and the victim simply couldn’t breathe anymore.

The slowing down of the breathing - because of that process - probably resulted in an increase of acidity in Jesus’ blood leading to an irregular heartbeat.  In other words, Jesus could have ultimately died of heart failure.    

Then there was the shame of hanging on a cross - a death reserved for thieves and murderers - being hung before His family and friends.  And grief - not for Himself - but for those standing around the cross - jeering - laughing - mocking - arrogant.

The rejection of Jesus has been duplicated by every generation of humanity for two thousand years - even ours.  He came into His world and His world - His people did not know Him.  His own people rejected Him.

The second R is
Reception.  Let’s say that together, “Reception.”

Verse 12 says, 
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

Jesus - for 3 plus years - has been purposefully moving around the countryside from Judah in the south up into southern Lebanon - traveling from the coast of the Mediterranean - around the Sea of Galilee - to east of the Jordan.  He’s taught multitudes on dusty roads - by the shores of the sea - in humble homes - and in the grandeur of the Temple.

During that time of ministry - reaching out to the multitudes living in God’s promised land - during that ministry He’s triumphed over demons and the forces of darkness - proving that He’s greater than Satan and his minions.  He’s proven His authority over the forces of nature - calming the wind and the sea.  He’s healed the sick - the lame - the blind - proving His authority over disease and the infirmities of this world.  He has raised the dead.

He’s bested the greatest theological minds of His day - of any day for that matter.  Jesus has forgiven sins - claiming to be God incarnate - the Messiah.  And God the Father Himself has more than once attested to the truth of Jesus’ claim.

Jesus has brought the reality of God’s kingdom into the lives of God’s people in a way never before understood - the realization of what God has promised His people.

That Jesus was crucified is one of the undeniable facts of history.  Some people may choose to deny His crucifixion.  Many choose to deny His death.  But, under the scrutiny of the historical record we know without a doubt that Jesus was crucified - put to death in exactly the manner God foretold - according to God’s plan - in God’s timing - and for God’s purposes.

God gave His Son to exile among men - to be born in a manger - to work in a carpenter’s shop - to be among scribes and Pharisees - and their cruel tongues and slander.  He gave His Son to hunger and thirst - amid poverty and desire.  He gave Him to be scourged and crowned with thorns.  He gave Him to die on a cross - crucified.

know that the Romans and the Jews took tremendous security precautions to protect against potential fraud and lies by the disciples of Jesus.  Ordered by Pilate to use the maximum measures possible - a detachment of soldiers - who’s very lives were forfeit if they failed to keep the tomb secure - a detachment of soldiers is placed at the tomb.  An imperial Roman seal is affixed to the stone - warning of death to any unauthorized person one who would break that seal.  Jesus’ enemies took every possible precaution to make sure that Jesus stayed dead and in the tomb.  Apparently He didn’t.

Early in the morning of the first day of the week the women arrive at the tomb.  They’ve come with spices and perfumes - ready to complete the preparation of Jesus’ body for burial.  When they arrive they find the stone rolled away from the tomb and the body of Jesus missing.

Two angels are there to state the obvious. 
“He’s not here.  He has risen.  Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  Don’t you remember what He said to you in Galilee about His crucifixion and resurrection?”  The Bible tells us that at that point the women understood - believed for themselves - the reality of what Jesus had been trying to tell them.

A series of events unfold.  Jesus walking with disciples on the road to Emmaus - a village about 7 miles outside of Jerusalem - revealing Himself to them.  Jesus coming to the disciples where they’re hiding - cowering - mourning - hopeless.  Showing them that He’s alive.  Thomas having his doubts removed.  Encounters with the living God.

We know that hundreds if not thousands witnessed the resurrected Jesus.  The lives of the disciples were changed forever.  Closer to home - the reality of so many in this room - myself included - who will testify that we personally know Jesus Christ who is very much alive today.  (Matthew 27:57-28:15; Mark 15:42-16:18; Luke 24:1-49; John 20:1-21:25; Acts 2:14-47)

If Jesus didn’t rise from death then what we’re doing here today is really just a bunch of religious happy thoughts with no meaning beyond some false hopes that weak minded people need to cling to in order to cope with the emptiness of life.  Should have skipped the church thing and gone straight to the food.  Grab as much of life as you can because this is all there is.

But - if one does honest research there is only one inescapable conclusion:  It really was God - Jesus - who died on that cross for the sins of all of us.  And He - Jesus - really did leave that tomb on the first resurrection Sunday - physically alive.

Paul writes to the Corinthian Church - read it with me -
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20)  Amen!

That reality demands response.

God demonstrates the reality of Jesus’ resurrection through the empty tomb - through the rolled away stone - through the facts of the resurrection.  Jesus demonstrated it to His disciples with each encounter.  We need those images.  We relate to them.  They connect with our lives.

But as Jesus moves from encounter to encounter - its not about establishing evidence for what is an incontrovertible fact of history - its about application.  Bringing the reality of His resurrection into the lives of His disciples.

The resurrection isn’t about crosses and tombs and flowers, oh my.  The resurrection is about the saving work of the living Jesus touching us at the deepest need of our lives.  The resurrection is about the forgiveness of sin - being set free - acquitted - from the penalty for our individual sin.  Salvation from the wrath of the Holy God which must be poured out on the unholy.

The resurrection - minus all the bells and whistles - is about our need  to believe that Jesus - the Savior - is alive.  That what God’s offers us in Jesus - through the crucified broken body and shed blood of Jesus - God’s Son - God’s offer of salvation - is real.  An offer that has been placed on the table before each one of us.  The question before each one of us is whether we will receive what God offers us - whether or not we will accept God’s offer - to turn from our sin and trust God with our lives. 

The third R is
Rebirth.  Let’s say that together, “Rebirth.”

Verse 13 tells us that those who have received God’s offer of salvation in Jesus have become God’s children.  Children of God who aren’t born of blood or the will of the flesh or the will of man - but of Who?  God.

There’s a description here of ways people try to come to God.

First:  Born of the blood
probably describes the experience of most of us here.  Hopefully.  Physical birth.  What John is getting at here is inheritance - human ancestry.  We cannot become reborn as children of God by being born into a Christian family - being brought to church - attending Sunday School - attending a Christian School - being involved in Christian activities - all that is good.  But it doesn't make us Children of God.  We’re not saved by being born to Christian parents or Christian grandparents or being born in a Christian country.

Second:  Being born of the will of the flesh
describes an act of our will.  We cannot will ourselves to be born as God’s children.  We can’t talk ourselves into being a one His kids.  If we study Christians and try to act like them - talk like them - sing the choruses - pray the prayers - memorize the verses - clean up our vocabulary - go through all the motions of being a Christian - while all that may be good - it doesn’t make us to be a Child of God.  

Third:  Being born of the will men
focuses on the efforts of others.  Nobody - pastor, priest, bishop, archbishop - no one can make us to be born anew as a Christian.  No ceremony, or reading some creed or saying some prayer, or kneeling at a bench or kneeling at the front of a church, or coming forward at crusade, sitting up or sitting down or raising our hand, or offering confession or saying a billion Hail Mary’s - none of that makes us to be born as a child of God.

Being reborn as a child of God is what’s happened in our hearts that makes us God’s children.  It’s a new birth.  Its what’s done by God in us.  Salvation - our restored relationship with God - being born again - is all about God - not human effort - not our cleverness - not our manipulation - not our worthiness.

Ephesians 2:8 - say it with me,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

John put it very clearly in his first pastoral letter: 
“He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  (1 John 5:12)

Its that simple.  What God has made simple let’s not complicate.  When we accept that we’re sinners - separated from God by our sin - unable to come to God on our own - there is a real reason why Jesus had to die in our place - when we confess our sin and receive Jesus as our Savior - asking Him to take over our lives - to enter in and have control over the core of who we are - God gives to us new birth. 

God saves us - makes us to be His child.  God does it.  We cannot do it.

We’re born once - physically.  Born into flesh and sin and the groaning and the suffering of this creation.  When we come to salvation in Jesus - the same Holy Spirit present at the conception of Jesus - God the Holy Spirit enters into us - producing fruit - giving us a new birth - a spiritual birth - as a son or daughter of God.

As God’s we’re able to come into His presence and to call Him
“Abba.  Father.”  With all of the trust and intimacy and privilege of what that title implies.  With Jesus - we’re heirs of the riches of the kingdom of God.  

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15 - that one day the perishable will put on the imperishable - mortal will put on immortality.  We - God’s children - will live forever in the presence of God - our Father.   There’ll be no pain - no sorrow - no crying - no death.  Whatever is empty - unfilled - lacking within us now - God will take care of the stuff deep within us.

But grab this:  Getting to heaven is a today part of what God has in store for us forever - God’s future that’s waiting for His kids.  What’s coming isn’t just about being set free from aches and pains - but being set free to live life as God created life to be lived - even today.  To live out God’s great purposes for us as His children - today.

I read a story of a young man
- maybe you’ve heard this - there’s a story of a son who had quarreled with his father and left home.  He continued to keep in touch with his mother, and wanted very badly to come home.  But, he was afraid his father wouldnt allow him to come home.  His mother wrote to him and urged him to come home.  But, he didnt feel he could until he knew that his father had forgiven him. 

Finally, there was no time for any more letters.  His mother wrote and said she would talk with the father.  If he had forgiven him, she would tie a white rag on the tree which grew beside the railroad tracks near their home, which he could see before the train reached the station.  If there was no rag, it would be better if he went didn’t come home.

So the young man started home.  As the train drew near his home - he was so nervous he said to his friend - who was traveling with him,
“I can’t bear to look.  You look and tell me whether there is a rag on it or not.”

So his friend looked out the window.  After a while the friend said,
“Yes, I see the tree.”  The son asked, “Is there a white rag tied to it?”  For a moment the friend didn’t say anything.  Then he turned, and in a very gentle voice said, “There is a white rag tied to every limb of that tree!”  (1)

In Jesus, God has removed all the condemnation and made it possible
for us to come freely home to him as His children.  Why and how - we really dont understand.  His love is too deep - too pure - too holy.  But He has.

Which brings us to a fourth R.  Its not in resurrection.  But it is made possible by Jesus’ resurrection.  That fourth R is
Response.  Let’s say that together.  “Response.”

Resurrection is personal.  It demands personal response.  Today - all over the world people will hear messages about Jesus’ resurrection.  Probably this isn’t the first time you’ve heard a message like this.  But without our personal response to the message this all is just another exercise in religion. 

John writes in John 3:16 - Let’s say it together: 
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.“

In God’s eternal purpose - Jesus was given before the foundation of the world
.  God gave His Son.  Gave purposefully as an act of His will - His initiative - the process of which - the very intent of which - the demonstration of His love towards us as sinners - all of which was laid out before God even called creation into being.  God so loves each of us that He gave His only Son to die for you.

God’s promise is that whoever will respond to His love given to us in Jesus Christ - God’s offer of salvation laid out for us - whoever will respond to that offer with belief - turning from their sin and trusting Jesus as their Savior - God promises - that we will not perish - but we will have eternal life - life now and into eternity with God.

That offer is on the table.  An offer it seems impossible to refuse.  Sadly many do.

Maybe we can
’t fully understand what it means that God loves us.  His love is beyond our experience.  And yet, we need to receive His love - and trust Him - to believe in His Son Jesus as our personal savior.

Have you chosen to take God at His word?  To receive His offer?  To trust in His love?  To receive what He’s chosen to give you?  Salvation in His Son Jesus?  What choice have you made?

1. Ray
Stedman, John 3:16-36, “The Best Possible News

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.