Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

April 9, 2017 Sermon

“Getting into Position”
Mark 14:32 – 42
Ted Jansen  April 9, 2017 Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        Holy Week is Jesus’ last week on earth.  It is Holy because in these days we see Jesus getting into a position to communicate His love in powerful and life transforming ways.  We see Jesus in several situations humbling his heart in situations that might puzzle us at first.  As we look at this week what we see is Jesus yielding His Spirit to doing His Father’s will.  Each day and each moment we see humility and a servant’s heart.       
            Holy Week is an invitation for each of us to humble our spirit as Jesus did.  We can’t rush past the events of this week to the celebration of next Sunday.  This last week is like walking on a bridge between two lands.  The only way to get to the other land is to give yourself completely up and allow God to use your life.  That is what we see in Jesus this week.     
 
2.)        Palm Sunday begins with Jesus on the Mount of Olives.  This is a high point east of Jerusalem.  Jesus at this pinnacle moment could have called the angels from heaven who celebrated His birth to sing His songs of praise and give Him the glory.  Jesus is high and lifted up! 
What we see is humility as Jesus comes down the mountain on a donkey with Palm branches being waved by children and adults.  People took off their cloaks to lay them on the ground and shouted, “Hosanna, blessed is the name of the Lord.”  While this is happening Jesus comes lower and lower from the mountaintop.  We hear the religious leaders arguing with Jesus as the crowd is shouting.  Jesus is not receiving a royal treatment at all.  He is choosing to be humbled and some are trying to humiliate Him.     
            As Jesus comes down the Mt of Olives descending He goes past the Garden of Gethsemane.  This is the place that He will visit on Thursday and further and completely yield His Spirit to the Father’s will.   
            Jesus came down from heaven to be with us on this planet.  He comes down the mountain to show us that He will humble His heart to be with us right where we are.  I think some people were surprised to see Jesus coming on a donkey.  This lowly animal was carrying God.    
             
3.)        One day a driver of Pope Francis’s limo finished loading all of the Pope’s luggage into the limo (and he doesn't travel light).  The driver noticed that the Pope was still standing on the curb. "Excuse me, Your Holiness," says the driver, "Would you please take your seat so we can leave?" "Well, to tell you the truth," says the Pope," they never let me drive at the Vatican, and I'd really like to drive today."
"I'm sorry but I cannot let you do that. I'd lose my job! And what if something should happen?" protests the driver, wishing he'd never gone to work that morning.
"There might be something extra in it for you," says the Pope.
Reluctantly, the driver gets in the back as the Pope climbs in behind the wheel. The driver quickly regrets his decision when, after exiting the airport, the Pontiff floors it, accelerating the limo to 105 mph.
"Please slow down, Your Holiness!!!" pleads the worried driver, but the Pope keeps the pedal to the metal until they hear sirens.
"Oh, dear God, I'm gonna lose my license," moans the driver.
The Pope pulls over and rolls down the window as the cop approaches, but the cop takes one look at him, goes back to his motorcycle, and gets on the radio.
"I need to talk to the Chief," he says to the dispatcher.
The Chief gets on the radio and the cop tells him that he's stopped a limo going a hundred and five. 
"So bust him," says the Chief.
"I don't think we want to do that, he's really important," said the cop. 
The Chief exclaimed, "All the more reason!"
"No, I mean really important," said the cop. 
The Chief then asked, "Who ya got there, the Mayor?" 
Cop: "Bigger." 
Chief: "Governor?"
Cop: "Bigger."
"Well," said the Chief, "Who is it?"
Cop: "I think it's God!"
Chief: "What makes you think it's God?"
Cop: "He's got the Pope as a driver!!
 
4.)        On Thursday of Holy Week we see Jesus with His disciples in the Upper Room.  He talks with them, shares the Passover meal with them.  Jesus also begins focusing on His blood and body with the elements of the bread and wine of Passover. 
Jesus then humbles Himself and yields His spirit to the Father’s will when He washes the feet of His disciples.  Jesus, has a basin and a towel and he is washing the feet of these twelve men.  This was something a servant, a slave would do, as a duty for those who are more important in the house of the owner.  Jesus, as the Creator of the universe with the Father and the Spirit, should not be washing feet.  But He is.    
            As we think of humility Jesus appears to be going lower and lower in regards to His position as the Creator of the Universe.  He wants to love and teach in each moment of Holy Week.   
                         
5.)        As we think of humility in our own lives we realize how hard it can be to express.  Listen to some quotes on humility and see if you can identify with any of them.    
 
When you are as great as I am, it is hard to be humble.  (Muhammad Ali)
If only I had a little humility.  I would be perfect.   (Ted Turner)   
You know what keeps me humble?  Mirrors!  (Phyllis Diller)
What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left. (Oscar Levant)
Humility is like underwear, essential, but indecent if it shows. (Helen Nielsen)
 
6.)        On Thursday of Holy Week after the disciples left the Upper Room Jesus took three of his disciples and went to the Garden of Gethsemane.  This garden was where olives are grown and olive presses squeeze the olives into oil. 
While I was in the Holy Land this was one of the places that I became convinced of God’s love for me as I considered what Jesus did in this place.  He allowed His life to be squeezed out for me, like an olive was pressed to give up its oil.  The Church of All Nations has been built around a large stone that is called the “Rock of the Agony.”  This could have been the place where Jesus prayed for three hours as he yields His spirit to the Father’s will.   There are still olive trees there today that are really old, perhaps 2,000 years old.     
7.)        I believe that God’s grace and Spirit is available when we humble ourselves, when we yield our spirit.  There are times when we freely yield our spirit and there are time when we fall from grace and we learn the hard way. 
            When you are humbled or you choose to be humble you learn grace and your life is different.  I can remember crying on a seat in the sanctuary realizing how Jesus humbled His life so that I could have love in my heart. 
            I want each of you to know that you are loved by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit has been preparing experiences in your life to teach you about His plan.   
 
8.)        I was once humbled on a Sunday morning when I was preaching.  When you are humbled it is not an easy thing to learn from.    
Twenty seven years ago I was an associate pastor at New Haven.  It was my time to preach, which I did about once a month.  I started to preach and during the first five minutes of the sermon I heard people talk and point to something behind me.  I focused on my message but people were distracted.   I felt like I needed to take a look and see what had happened. 
What had happened was that one of the candles on the altar table had shot out of the candle holders and landed on the table.  This was odd and unusual. People didn’t know what had happened and were unsure of the flame.  The light on the candle had gone out so I showed the candle to people that it wasn’t lit.  
I discovered later that the women who put the candles in used some smaller wax candles to put in these metal candle holders with a spring.  The design was that as the wax candles burned inside these white tubes you would use all the candle because the spring pushed it up as it burned.
But if the candle is a little smaller than the opening they can shoot out.  I didn’t realize this at the time I was preaching.   
So, I decided to go back to preaching.  I held the one candle and put it down on the table and said to each one there that if the other candle shot out of the tube that was a sign from God that I needed to quit preaching.  So, I started to preach and after five minutes the other candle shot out. 
This time the congregation looked at me and started laughing.  I had been humbled by a candle.  I held the candle in my hands looked at them and looked at the candle and said, “the sermon is over!”   I prayed and sat down.  I learned humility the hard way. 
           
11.)      On Friday of Holy Week we see Jesus not on a donkey, not in an Upper Room washing feet, not in the Garden of Gethsemane, but on a cross.  Jesus willingly allowed the Jews to accuse Him and the Romans to crucify Him.  Jesus yields His spirit to show love for the entire world.  Jesus is getting into position to show love in a way that we will never fully understand but will let it hit us right in the soul.     
            This cross, is the bridge, that Jesus travels, the last place He breathed His last breath on this earth.  The cross, the place where we see humility from Heaven expressed.