Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Extending the kingdom of God happens not by the power of the sword. It doesn't happen by the power of talent or the power of money. It happens by a greater power, the power of the cross.
You go back to any great movement of God and you won't see a group of people with an army, people with a lot of money or necessarily a lot of talent. You're going to see a group of people who very humbly and sacrificially embrace the way of the cross. Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch, and we are so glad that you're back with us today as we walk through Jesus's final moments leading us to Easter next weekend. Have you ever thought about the fact that the cross was a scary place, even for Jesus? But he went when he could have fled for us. He took it all, all of the suffering for us because it was the only one way for us to have salvation. God's wrath against our sin is like a toxic poison and Jesus drank it for us willingly. What an important message to hear today.
If you'd like to follow along with the transcript of each message, you can find that at jdgreer.com. And today Pastor J.D. is teaching from Matthew 26 in the message he titled Abandoned for Me. Edwards says this is what Jesus did in Gethsemane is the wrath of God was coming against our sin and Jesus stepped in the way and said, I'll take every drop of it so not a bit of it remains for them. The cup was offered and Jesus took it, he drank it to the dregs, he turned it over on the table and he said, it is finished. If I had been there and I had tried to stop Jesus, if I'd have said, no, no, no, what are you doing?
Don't do that. Jesus would have said, no, there is no other way. Either you drink this or I drink this. And if you drink it that you're apart from me forever, I'm going to go onto the cross and I'm going to drink the cup of God's wrath because your salvation is something only I can accomplish. You know Jonathan Edwards, the Puritan theologian went on to ask the question, he said, why do you think God showed Jesus this in Gethsemane? Why give him a glimpse before it actually began?
I mean, it's almost cruel. It's almost a little dangerous, a little risky because what if Jesus had lost his nerve at the sight? What if Jesus had backed down? What if he had not gone through with the cross? Why not wait until Jesus was secured by nails to the cross to then give him the glimpse of this terrible reality?
Jonathan Edwards answer, which I think is correct and I'll paraphrase, but his answer was this. It was so we, look at this, it was so we could see Jesus go to the cross voluntarily knowing full well what he was about to experience so that his love for us will be put on display even more. God wanted you and me to see Jesus, see the wrath of God, to see what he was about to experience and to voluntarily choose to go into it so that we would know that it was not this situation that he just got caught up in. He knew exactly what he was going to face for us and he chose to do it with eagerness and joy because of his love for us.
He wanted us to behold what manner of love the father has given to us that we would be called the children of God because God was demonstrating his love toward us and that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. One of the accounts, the other gospel writer says that an angel came to Jesus during these moments and ministered to him at this point. I've often wondered how would you like to be the angel that got that assignment? What do you say to Jesus to minister to him in a moment like that? Give him a John Piper book on suffering that he can read?
Give him some worship CDs to listen to? What do the angels say? We don't know, but what we do know is that the writer of Hebrews says that when Jesus got up from Gethsemane to go toward the cross he did so with joy. He did so with joy because of something that had been set before him. What did Jesus see now? What had been set before him? What did Jesus see that was going to make the horror of the cross an abandonment by God? What did he see that was going to make him say it's worth it?
Well here's another way to ask that question. What did Jesus have on this side of the cross that he didn't have on that side? What did Jesus have after going through the cross that he didn't have before? The approval of the father? He already had that. The rulership of the universe? That was his from eternity past. There's only one thing that Jesus obtained on this side of the cross that he didn't have on that side.
You and me. Behold what manner of love the father has bestowed on us that we should be called the children of God. Man of sorrows.
What a name. What a name for the son of God who came ruin sinners to reclaim. What else can we say but hallelujah what a savior.
That's why we're supposed to say I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene and I wonder how he could love me a sinner condemned unclean. It was for me in the garden he prayed not my will but dying. He shed no tears for his own sin but sweat drops of blood from mine. He took my sin and my sorrow.
He made them his very own. He bore my burden to Calvary and he suffered and died alone so that I would not have to. There was no other way to save us. This was the only way and so Jesus went into it gladly. Honestly can you think of any greater insult you could ever give to Jesus than to say the really popular thing that everybody loves to say and that is there are actually multiple ways of salvation. I know you think you're being compassionate and open-minded when you say that there are multiple ways to God and you slap a coexist bumper sticker on your car but honestly is there any greater insult you could ever give to Jesus that Jesus looks up at God the father and says if there's any other way let this cut pass for me and God the father says actually there is a bunch of other ways as long as you're sincere and kind and do what you think is best then you'll make it to heaven but I'm gonna have you go through this bitter torture anyway just for the fun of it. Stop trying to act like you're more loving than Jesus.
Stop arguing and just stand amazed. In this moment this is not a time for you to philosophize and come up with a better way of salvation. It's for you to stand in humble awe of how great the father's love was and what he was willing to go through so that you could be saved. This passage shows you the incredible love that Jesus had for you and makes you tremble for the terrible judgment that awaits you if you reject him. Like I told you this passage is in there for two reasons. One is to confront you with what Jesus did and the second reason is to show you how to respond because what we're going to see next is we're going to see Peter respond in the wrong way. Verse 47 while he was still speaking Judas one of the twelve suddenly arrived a large mob with swords and clubs was with him and the chief priest and the elders of the people his betrayer had given him a sign the one that I kissed he's the one arrest him so immediately he went up to Jesus and said greetings rabbi and he kissed him. Friend Jesus asked him why?
Why have you come? By the way the use of that term friend is not sarcastic it's sincere. The word friend in the Gospel of Matthew is always used to indicate like a patient warning that you're giving to somebody. To the end Jesus is loyal to Judas.
He is in this last moment in the garden not making fun of him not being sarcastic. He is saying Judas you don't have to go through this. You see I want you to see I want you to understand that if you die in go to hell it is not going to be because God turned his back on you. In fact I would say the last voice you'll hear as you step off the earth into hell is God the Father saying you don't have to go through with this.
Friend son daughter you don't have to do this I won't force you to receive it but you don't have to do it it's not because I've given up on you and I haven't turned my back on you. I didn't on Judas even after his unspeakably wicked thing I didn't turn my back on him I won't turn it back on you either. Verse 50, then they came up they took hold of Jesus and they arrested him. At that moment one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew out a sword he struck the high priest's servant and he cut off his ear. From John's Gospel we know that it's Peter who who actually did this verse 52. Then Jesus told him Peter put back your sword in its place because all who take up the sword will perish by the sword or do you think that I cannot now call on my father and he will provide me here and now with more than 12 legions of angels? By the way a legion consisted of 5,000 soldiers so when Jesus says 12 legions of angels he's talking about 60,000 angels just for frame of reference. In the book of Revelation when God wants to destroy all the armies on earth when God wants to bring the final judgment and destroy the entire earth with fire he sends out four four angels get the whole job done. Jesus has access to 60,000 in other words Peter I'm not in this situation because I'm short on power.
I got plenty of angel power here to get this job done. I didn't get caught in a bad situation Peter. You know this is all exactly according to plan I'm choosing to be here so he continues Peter how then if this doesn't happen are the scriptures going to be fulfilled that say it must happen this way? In other words Peter this is all according to plan and one of the ways you could know that is God told all this from before time when he wrote the Old Testament telling us exactly how this would happen. That's why he said in Zechariah chapter 9 for example the Messiah would be betrayed by 30 pieces of silver and that happened. Hey Isaiah 53 that I'll be wounded for your transgressions and bruised for your inequities that's going to happen. Psalm 22 the soldiers are going to divide up my clothes and they're going to gamble for them and they're going to pierce my hands and my feet and they're going to pierce my side but not a bone will be broken and that's going to happen.
Not one inch of this not one moment of this is out of control. God the Father had predetermined from beginning of time to accomplish your salvation and it's all happening like he had planned. And 300 other prophecies in the Old Testament that tell us how this is going to go down. But Peter and none of the other disciples see this yet so verse 56 then all the disciples deserted him and ran away. Last week we talked about how all of us are Judas. This week this week I want you to see that we're all also Peter. We're also Peter because what we see in this moment is that Peter has a wrong understanding of two things.
A wrong understanding of two things which we also instinctively have. This is why we're Peter. Number one Peter's got a wrong understanding of his own condition.
When Peter pulls out the sword he's thinking Lord I'm with you. I'm one of the good guys. You and me Jesus.
Let's execute judgment together on all these bad guys. But Jesus says Peter there are no good guys save one me. And the only way I can save you is if I am slain by the sword of judgment not if you and I wield it together. You see back in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve had sinned and been separated from the presence of God.
Do you remember what God put in the garden? An angel with a flaming sword. God blocked their way into his presence by a sword. Here we are back in the garden and Jesus who has the right to use that sword steps forward to be slain by it instead.
Slain by the sword in our place. Peter doesn't understand the gospel of substitution because Peter still believes in a gospel of self-salvation. Peter believes that he can be good enough to earn salvation. He believes he's on the good side.
And here's how you know that you think this way. When you think you're a good person that doesn't need saving or when you think that you're a good enough to save yourself that will always lead to you bearing the sword against others. Meaning that you will look in judgment on them. You'll think of yourself as a good guy and some other group as the bad people. According to Jesus there are no good people and bad people. There are only rebels against God. Thank God that God saves bad people because there are no other kinds of people.
Most of us prefer to see the world in two categories. There's a group that we're a part of and that's the good group. If you're a conservative then it's the liberals that are bad.
If you're a liberal it's the conservatives that are bad. And so what you do is you look at the other group and you look at them with a sword. I don't mean like maybe a literal sword like you want to kill them but you look down on them in judgment.
They're the bad people we're the good people. According to scripture there is no you in them. There's just a big gigantic we all people under judgment because all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Therefore not a one of us who deserves to bring the sword against another. The only one who truly could have used the sword against us was the one who chose to stand under it for us in our place. That is why we say Jesus just didn't die for you.
Jesus died instead of you. You're listening to a message titled Abandoned for Me on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Don't forget this is a special week on the program because we are giving 50% of every dollar we receive to help provide food, shelter, medical care, clothing, and relocation assistance for mostly displaced women and children in Lviv, Ukraine.
Give us a call at 866-335-5220 or you can give online at jdgreer.com. We're so thankful for this chance to provide real aid through one of our trusted partners so won't you join with us today? Now let's rejoin Pastor J.D.
with today's message. Second thing that Peter doesn't understand he doesn't understand his own condition. Number two he doesn't understand kingdom power. Doesn't understand kingdom power. Peter picks up the sword because he thinks like most people in the world think that the way that you bring about change in the world meaningful change is through coercive power.
Jesus says nope through my death I'm going to release a power that is greater than the sword greater than 12 legions of angels. You know whenever I get interviewed by a secular journalist they always want to know immediately who I vote for and who I push you to vote for. You want to know why they want to know that?
Because they think that the power that makes a difference in our world is the kind that sits in the oval office rides on air force one controls the federal budget and has his fingers on the nuclear arsenal. But can't you see from this story how wrong that is? I mean ask yourself even if you're not religious ask yourself who is the most influential person in the history of the world? Who has changed more societies and more lives than any other person? Who?
Well Jesus of course. How many elections did he win? How big was his endowment that he had to work with? How many lands did he conquer?
How many battalions did he order around? Literally he had nothing. He had no place to lay his head. He had no money to work with.
He had no armies that he commanded. He literally died as an outcast giving his life in sacrificial service. Mohammed the founder of Islam rode in on a horse and conquered cities. Jesus was born in a manger and washed his disciples feet. And that's because the salvation this world needed would not come in riding on the wings of air force one.
It would come in the womb of a poor immigrant woman. You see the cross means that the world's values about power are wrong. The way to really change people whether we're talking about a spouse who is not treating you the right way or whether we're talking about neighbors who don't get along with you or whether we're talking about enemies who want to kill you. The way that you change them is not by conquering them but by serving them.
We change people by speaking the word of God to them and the power of the Holy Spirit and serving them with the grace and love that we've been served with and offering to them the forgiveness that we have been given in Christ. Now I want you to note here because I don't want you to be confused that we're talking here about kingdom power. This passage is not teaching some total approach to pacifism or saying that nobody in government should ever bear the sword. In fact both Jesus and the apostle Paul taught that God establishes governments and gives them the power of the sword in order to keep peace and establish justice. What we're talking about here is kingdom power. When it comes to believers extending the kingdom of God that happens not by the power of the sword. It doesn't happen by the power of talent or the power of money. It happens by a greater power, the power of the cross. You go back to any great movement of God and you won't see a group of people with an army.
You won't even see a group of people with a lot of money or necessarily a lot of talent. You're going to see a group of people who very humbly and sacrificially embrace the way of the cross. God's way of releasing his power into the world is not through superior force or superior riches. It is through the power of sacrifice living like Jesus lived. Which is why we often say to you here at the summit church, God doesn't need your money. God's not sitting up in heaven wringing his hands going, oh if they would just give me some of their money then I could do so many things in the world. God doesn't need your money. He's got access to 12 legions of angels. He's got plenty of money. What he does use in the world is cross-based sacrificial giving which is why he looks at the woman who gives two mites, two half pennies, and says she gives more than all the rich people in the world.
Why? Because hers represented a cross sacrifice. God doesn't need the riches of the rich people. He needs rich and poor alike to offer their first and their best to him in sacrifice. Don't flatter yourself that you got enough money to actually make a difference. You don't have enough money to make a difference. Not when you're talking to Jesus who's got 12 legions of angels.
It doesn't make a difference. Which is why we say that yeah, if you're really wealthy and you can stroke a check and meet all the financial needs of the church but it doesn't represent sacrifice for you, then it doesn't move the needle one iota. What Jesus wants from us is not our money. What he wants is our first and our best.
And so when we offer financially to him, I'm not trying to meet a financial need he has. I'm trying to say, God, this represents me embracing the cross like you embrace it for me. A few weeks ago I brought up the story of Jim Elliott, Nate Sainen, a group we call the Alkafai. He's a group we call the Alkafive. It might be the most significant missionary story of the last century.
Basically it goes like this. In 1956, after a few years of trying to reach one of the most unreached and violent tribes in Ecuador, the Alka Indians, Jim Elliott and four other men landed their little plane on a beach nearby where the Alka stayed in order to establish contact. The first meeting between these five men and this tribe went pretty well but at their second meeting on January 8, 1956 a group of Alka warriors stabbed the five men with spears until they were dead and left their bodies floating in the river. I told you the story has a beautiful ending because a few years later the men's wives and their children continued the effort of of reaching this tribe and eventually they not only established contact, they built schools and hospitals and taught them the Bible. In fact, I told you in one of those beautiful stories of grace, Steve Saint, who was the son of one of the men who was murdered, led the man who murdered his dad to Christ and baptized him and then adopted this man into their family as the surrogate grandfather for his children to replace the one that this man had killed.
But here's the part of the story that most people don't know. The moment that Jim Elliott and Nate Saint and Roger Guderian and the other two guys were murdered, all five men were armed. They had loaded guns with them but when they recovered their bodies later they saw that not a single shot had been fired. In fact, in one of the recovered journals, Jim Elliott recorded that the five men had decided a few days before that they would never fire a shot at these tribesmen for any reason whatsoever. As Steve Saint would explain later, he said, my dad knew that if he died he'd go to heaven. He also knew that if the men attacking him died they would not go to heaven and so he thought it appropriate to do for others what Jesus had done for him and that is when it came time to do battle he would give his life not take it.
So he refused to shoot. You see the church, the true church is built not through the power of the sword, it is built through the power of the cross. Or I think of another story in which Branch Rickey famously tells Jackie Robinson that if he wants to really change the world he's going to not have the strength to fight back but he's going to have to have the strength to not fight back at least not to fight hate with hate. He said because then you will show the world that there is someone capital S someone behind this cause greater than you and ultimately that spirit is what turned the tide because the power of the kingdom the power of change again whether we're talking about a spouse who doesn't treat you correctly or we're talking about a enemy that wants to kill you the power of true change kingdom power comes not through coercion it comes through grace we love because he first loved us be kind tender-hearted to one another forgiving one another just as God in Christ forgave you. So you see in short by pulling out the sword Peter shows that he doesn't get the cross in that way ironically he's got a lot in common with Judas. You know Peter and Judas look at first like they're on opposite sides don't they Judas betrays Jesus Peter defends him but they actually suffer from the same core problem neither understand that suffering is central to the Christian mission Judas wants to send Jesus to the cross to get rid of him Peter wants to keep Jesus from the cross to protect him neither understands that the cross is why Jesus came because Jesus had to take the cup of God's wrath the only way to deliver us from the sword was to step under it for us it was the only way and the same way that we're going to extend salvation in the world is not by conquering and amassing power it is by giving it away it is by living like Jesus lived and seeing the power of the cross flow through us just as it flowed through him true salvation is not something we can achieve it is something we must receive. Please don't say the very popular but extremely silly thing that all religions are teaching the same thing they're not what Jesus did here was absolutely unique do not insult him by saying otherwise what Jesus taught was you can't save yourself so I'm going to do it for you and I want you to lay down your life for others the way that I lay my life down for you Jesus went to the garden alone so that he could purchase salvation for you so he could drink your cup and bear your sword the question that you have to ask yourself is have you ever received that have you received it and have you responded in the right way to it by beginning to love and serve others like Jesus served you I told you this passage is not in there for me to be cute and creative with it's just there to confront you with what Jesus did and ask you if you responded in the right way. Amen this is Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. What turbulent times we live in with the invasion of Russian forces into Ukraine the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary has actually halted classes and is now focusing on providing humanitarian aid to those fleeing west toward Poland in the city of Lviv. UBTS volunteers are caring for their physical, spiritual and emotional needs by providing food, shelter, medical care, clothing and relocation assistance as well as prayer and counseling. We've chosen to partner with them this week and join the relief effort in a tangible way.
50% of every dollar donated this week will be used to meet needs that are emerging from the war in Ukraine. And as a thank you we'll send you our newest resource a book titled Listen Up 10 Devotions from the Parables of Jesus by Pastor J.D. Ask for your copy when you donate today by calling 866-335-5220 that's 866-335-5220 or if it's easier you can give and request the book online at jdgreer.com. Before we close let me remind you that if you aren't yet signed up for our email list you'll want to do that today. It is the best way to stay up to date with Pastor J.D. 's latest blog posts and podcasts.
We'll also make sure that you never miss a new resource or series. It's quick and easy to sign up at jdgreer.com. I'm Molly Venovich inviting you to join us again tomorrow as we continue our journey to the cross here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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