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What To Do With Jesus? - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
December 31, 2023 5:00 am

What To Do With Jesus? - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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December 31, 2023 5:00 am

Any lawyer can tell you that whenever the star witness is a resurrected corpse, you have a pretty good case! But Lazarus being alive from the dead doesn’t seem to persuade everyone. And so the big issue becomes what shall we do with Jesus? The decisions made here set the clock in motion for an impending hate crime—the crucifixion of Christ. But from heaven’s vantage point, this is all part of God’s plan for redemption. Let’s see the responses and how we can make a difference.

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How is it that they didn't all believe after seeing this? This is interesting to me.

It can only be one answer. It's the hardness of the human heart that rejects an alien will ruling over them. That's the bottom line.

Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. We've all heard small children shout, look, look at me, as they play their games. That's because little ones desire the approval of people they love and look up to. Well, approval is not a desire confined to children. Even as adults, we can desire the approval of others.

But at times, approval is exactly what we don't need. What to do with Jesus. That's the name of today's teaching.

And as you turn in your Bible to John chapter 11, let's get started with Pastor Skip Heitzig. Our choices are both powerful and consequential. I know that you can all think back to choices that you made in your life and you thought that was a good choice.

And I bet there are some others that you wish you could have a do over because you don't think they're really that good. Somebody once said we make our choices and then our choices turn around and they make us. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and everybody who saw that now had to make a choice. The choice is what are we going to do with Jesus? What will we now say about him? What will our decision be concerning him in light of what we just saw?

Because the last thing they expected to see was that dead Lazarus get up from the grave. I heard a story of an airline that landed in Dallas, Texas and the baggage handlers went to the special part of the aircraft where special baggage is kept and they found an animal carrier and inside was a dog, but it was a dead dog. Well, they panicked and they thought a lawsuit was impending, so they went and told the owner whose name was written on the dog carrier. They said, you know, your dog has been sent to a different destination. We messed up, but we're tracking it and we promise we'll get him back and we'll deliver the dog to your house later on in the day. In the meantime, they disposed of the dead animal and they bought a brand new live same size dog and put it in the crate thinking they were in the clear. They delivered the dog to the woman's house in the afternoon. She took one look in the crate and she said that is not my dog. My dog is dead and I was bringing it home for burial.

Oops. The last thing that woman expected to see was an alive dog and the last thing the people in Bethany were expecting to see was an alive Lazarus. It's the last thing they expected. Now anytime a notable event happens, it takes time to process that event. We have to get our minds around that incredible event. We cogitate, we mull over it, and we then frame some kind of a decision about that event that happened so that we can deal with it. Now in this case, in this case, the star witness is a resurrected corpse and they can see that he's alive.

He's eating in the cafe across the street. What will they do with that star witness? You would think that with that kind of evidence, this would be an open and shut case. Everybody's going to follow Christ after this who saw it. That is not the case. That is not the case. In his classic book, One Solitary Life, James Heffley wrote, I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has this one solitary life, speaking of Christ.

I believe he's right. No one has affected life on the earth like Jesus, but how has he affected? How has this one solitary life affected people? What are the common ways that people deal with Christ? What are the common choices, decisions that people make regarding him? What do they do with him?

And how can we help them make the right choice? Is that even possible? All of that is tucked away, I believe, at least in seed form, in nascent form, in this last paragraph of John chapter 11. You're about to read the sequel of the resurrection of Lazarus. It's the sequel.

It's the sequel. It's what happens now. It's what they do now.

This is the effect of that. Verse 45. Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary and had seen the things Jesus did believed in him, but some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, What shall we do?

For this man works many signs. If we let him alone like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people and not that the whole nation should perish. Now this he did not say on his own authority, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation and not for that nation only, but also that he would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

Then from that day on, they plotted to put him to death. Therefore, Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with his disciples. And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. Then they sought Jesus and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple.

What do you think, that he will not come to the feast? Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command that if anyone knew where he was, he should report it that they might seize him. I've given you three words in your worship folder that sum up this last paragraph, and I've attached principles. The three words are division, discussion, determination. Those three words sum up the sequel of the resurrection of Lazarus. Division, discussion, determination.

But I want to hang our thoughts on the principles that emerge from those words, and here's the first one. People are divided over Christ. They were then, they are now. I want you to notice in verse 45, it says, many, notice that word, many of the Jews who had come to Mary and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in him. We're not surprised at that. I mean, they saw a resurrection, and they saw with their eyes and processed the event in their minds, and thus they believed in their heart, which is the theme of the gospel of John, that we might believe. So John writes, and we're not surprised when we find in every chapter this group believed. This group did not this group did not believe. It's all about belief. Many believe.

What we are surprised, at least I am, is the next verse. But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did, implying some did not believe. Many believed, some did not, and those that did not went and snitched to the Pharisees.

That's surprising. After seeing such a miracle as a resurrection, wouldn't you expect to read, and all of them believed in Jesus after seeing this? Now, if this were an evangelistic crusade that we were reading about, and the evangelists got up and called people forward, I would expect it to read, and many believed in Jesus, but some did not. If this were a church service, and the teacher or preacher is giving a message and calls for a response, I wouldn't be surprised to read, many believed, some did not. Or if this group, if it said, and they heard, not seen, they heard that a guy named Lazarus was raised from the dead, I would expect it to read, many believed, but some did not. But to see a resurrection with your own eyes, to witness a once putrefying decaying corpse get up and move and have new flesh and life again, you would expect it to read that all believed. How is it that they didn't all believe after seeing this? This is interesting to me.

It can only be one answer. It's the hardness of the human heart that rejects an alien will ruling over them. That's the bottom line. Doesn't matter what miracle a hardened heart sees, they interpret it differently. Often unbelievers accuse Christians of being predisposed to believe, oh, they believe anything. You kind of want to believe.

That's the accusation. Well, I would contend that unbelievers don't believe because they're predisposed to not believing. So it doesn't matter what they hear or what they see.

The miracle itself isn't enough to do the trick. There's great examples of that in the Bible. Children of Israel, what did they see? Well, start out, they saw a body of water open up. I've never seen that. They saw that.

They saw manna come from heaven every day. I've never seen that. They saw that. Water came from a rock.

I've never seen that. They saw that. Every day and every night, there was this pillar of cloud and fire that would lead them to the wilderness. You know what the Bible says, though? It says, but they hardened their heart. They hardened their heart. How about a few chapters back when Jesus fed the multitudes with a few loaves and fish? They were so excited to have a free lunch. But once Jesus started preaching truth, right after that free lunch, it says in the Bible, many went back and walked with him no more.

And here's the classic example. Jesus tells a story in his own words. He says, there was a rich guy and there was a poor beggar, and both of them died. And the rich guy went to Hades, and the poor beggar went to Abraham's bosom and was comforted. And in torment, the rich guy cried out, Father Abraham, send that poor beggar. Rise him from the dead.

Raise him from the dead and send him back home to my father and my brothers, because they'll believe if they saw a miracle like that. Jesus said that Abraham said, oh no, they won't. They have Moses and the prophets. If they won't listen to them, here it is, here it is, if they won't listen to them, neither will they be persuaded, though one rises from the dead.

Lazarus has risen from the dead, and this group won't believe in him. According to Princeton University Religion Research Center, they issued a statement, and they asked people to respond to this statement. Do you agree with this statement? Do you not agree with this statement?

Here's the statement by Princeton. Even today, miracles are performed by the power of God. That was the statement. And then they asked, do you agree or disagree? Even today, miracles are performed by the power of God. How many do you think in that poll agreed? You might be surprised. 82 percent of American adults in that poll agreed that even today, miracles are performed by the power of God.

I got to tell you something. 82 percent of American adults do not follow Christ, though they may make a statement like that. Miracles don't cause belief.

If the heart is hardened against God, they may reinterpret it in a number of ways. Now, you'll notice that this group didn't just not believe. They went to the Pharisees and snitched.

They told the whole event to the Pharisees. You wouldn't believe what happened. Let me just tell you what happened.

Why did they do that? It's curious, but we've seen it before. I want to remind you of it. A few chapters back, John Chapter 9, Jesus heals a blind guy. As soon as the blind guy is healed, some of them, the Bible says, they brought the man who was formerly blind to the Pharisees.

Same idea. They brought the blind guy to the Pharisees. Here, they tell the Pharisees about Lazarus. It's as if they're afraid to do anything or believe anything unless it's sanctioned by the religious authority. The religious authority has to tell me if it's okay for me to believe I saw this miracle.

I wanted this so bad when I was 18 years of age. I was asked to stand in front of a Catholic synod. I grew up in the church. It was a group of convening priests and nuns. See, they had all heard that there was a group of young kids who were turned on to Jesus Christ and read their Bibles and were in love with Jesus. And there was this Jesus movement, and they wanted to get their minds around that event. So they asked me to appear before this synod, priests, nuns, and lay leaders, including my own dad. So I told my testimony of what happened to me, and I was just so excited for the opportunity to tell them about Jesus and what he did in my life. The only response I got is, well, the official position of the church is, and so I go on and tell them a few more things that I read in the Bible and how excited I am about Jesus, and well, the church officially teaches that. And honestly, at 18, I didn't care what the church officially taught. I cared about what God officially thought and said. But sometimes we are so afraid to do anything at all unless it's sanctioned by the authority that we deem the authority.

Now, that's not a bad idea. It's good to have accountability, but if the authority doesn't match what the book says and you're more caring about the authority rather than what God says, that's a problem. Here's the mistake. The mistake is to live your spiritual life through the lens of other people's approval.

That's a mistake. Well, what will they think? Well, what will they say? The Bible says in Proverbs 29, the fear of man brings a snare.

A better translation, the fear of man is a dangerous trap. Sometimes people will ask me after a service or between services or during the week, they say, skip. What is Calvary's official position on this person or that belief?

And I always think that's the wrong question. A better question is, what is your personal conviction based upon the truth of God's word? What does the Bible say? What is the official position of the church or my official position is irrelevant?

Who cares? What the Bible says is most important. You see, people are a lot like boats.

They don't do well when directly pushed by winds behind them into one direction. So there is division. People are divided over Jesus.

That's not always a bad thing. In fact, Jesus said, don't think I've come to bring peace on earth. I haven't come to bring peace, but a sword to divide people. And the reason for that is when people are divided over Jesus clearly, then that person knows where they stand.

There's no ambiguity at all. That's why Jesus said things like, if you're not for me, you are against me. If you don't help gather, then you actually scatter.

If you're not part of this process, then you are working against it. So he divided people. People are divided over Christ.

Here's the second principle. People will often discuss Christ. Now there's a discussion going on here. In fact, there's two discussions. The first discussion is a leadership meeting in verse 47 down to verse 50. The elite leaders of the Jewish religion have gathered together to discuss Jesus. The second discussion are on the streets of Jerusalem beginning in verse 55 to 57.

Notice that. These are people bantering back and forth. The discussion is about Christ. What do we do with them? Some are afraid that if we let them go, it's bad news. Others are cold and calculated, want to do them in. We'll read that. We'll get there in a minute. And in the last discussion, they're sort of indifferent.

It's like, well, yeah, I'm interested, but I'm not committed. Look at verse 47. First discussion. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council.

Stop. The word council is the Greek word sunedrion. We get the translation, the Sanhedrin.

You've heard that term, yes? It's the 70 ruling elders of the Jews. That's the council, sunedrion. Probably, this is the subcommittee of the 70, official representatives of the Sanhedrin in a smaller meeting. They gather a council, and they said, what shall we do?

Board meetings and council meetings always start with that question. What do we do now? We gather together. We got to do something. What do we do?

This man works many signs. Notice they don't deny the miracle. They can't deny the miracle. There's Lazarus eating a falafel across the street. He's alive.

They don't deny it, but now they got to deal with it. What to do with Jesus? That's the teaching you just heard here in Connect with Skip weekend edition. Today's study is available on CD for just $4 plus shipping when you contact us at 1-800-922-1888, or when you visit connectwithskip.com, where you can find out all about this month's resource offer.

It's a fact. Many people look forward to regular Bible teachings on Connect with Skip Heitzig. If you benefit from this program, we'd like to ask you to consider an end-of-year gift to support the costs and expansion of this program. As we roll toward the end of 2023, there is still time to make a tax-deductible gift to Connect with Skip Heitzig. And for this final week of the year only, we're offering a special resource package to thank you for your gift. This set includes 10 of the most popular guest speaker messages that Skip has invited to fill his pulpit, such as Joel Rosenberg, J. Vernon McGee, and Tim LaHaye. This end-of-year collection also includes five excellent books, such as Is God Real by Lee Strobel. Here's Lee to explain what motivated him to write this book. I was talking to a guy I know who's a real techie, you know, and he said, Lee, I've discovered something really fascinating. I said, what? He said, I've learned that 200 times a second around the clock, someone on planet Earth is typing into a search engine. Basically, the question, is God real? That's fascinating.

And I thought, but then again, isn't it logical in a sense because everything hangs on that question? The five-book collection also includes We Will Not Be Silent by Erwin Lutzer and The Word for Today Study Bible, featuring notes from Pastor Chuck Smith. Bound in genuine leather, this new King James Study Bible has definitions of Hebrew and Greek words, pages for notes, color maps, cross references, and introductions to each Bible book. Here's an invitation from Pastor Skip to encourage your end-of-year giving to help this program expand into more major markets. Hi there, Skip here. Well, we enter the final stretch of 2023, and I've got a very important request for you. I'm asking you for your best gift by December 31st to help Connect with Skip Heitzig finish the year strong and ready to reach more people for Jesus in 2024.

Your support today will help Connect with Skip Heitzig grow so we can reach even more people across the globe with the timeless wisdom of God's word that speaks to every aspect of life. So please give your best gift today and help seize every opportunity in 2024 to share the unchanging truth of Scripture with more people in an ever-changing world. I thank you for your gift of $100 or more with my prized pulpit package. This exclusive collection brings you preaching, teaching, and apologetics from influential speakers that we've had speak here at the church, people like David Jeremiah, Josh McDowell, Eric Metaxas, and others that I've invited over the years at Calvary. And if you give $500 or more, I'll also send you five books that our team has carefully selected from some of these speakers. These resources are sure to help you deepen your understanding and love of God's word in the year ahead. So be sure to request them when you give today, and thank you for your generosity.

God bless you. Give your support of $500 to Connect with Skip Heidzig, and you'll receive the full pulpit package audio by download or on CD and the five-book set, including the word for today, Leather Study Bible. Call 1-800-922-1888. That's 1-800-922-1888 with your gift or give securely online at connectwithskip.com. That's connectwithskip.com. This offer expires at midnight on December 31st, so please act now. Call 1-800-922-1888 or go to connectwithskip.com. And join us next time as we see more of what to do with Jesus and continue our series, Believe 879, right here in Connect with Skip weekend edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-31 04:08:55 / 2023-12-31 04:17:48 / 9

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