Title: Pathetic to Empathetic Christianity
Focus: Through his incarnation, Jesus entered fully into our experience as humans which included cruel suffering and death so that he would become a merciful mediator between us and God
Function: To motivate the hearers to do as Jesus did by entering into the experience of others, to empathize and care so that they could bring them to God
Text: Mark 15:34
Intro: 1. Have you ever had one of those days? 2. Stacey had one of those days a. Car broke down at main intersection, no one helped b. Kids had been arguing with each other c. Late to work d. Coworker kept being nasty to her 3. I come home humming, and say, “Hi dear, isn’t it a nice day?” 4. What does she want from me? To listen and understand 5. Can you relate to that? Sometimes you want someone to identify with you I. This time of year, people remembering the greatest identifier of all A. Nativity scenes all over - Do you know the significance of it? B. The Bible tells us 1. Jesus born in a barn far away from home 2. Born into a working class family 3. Even his name says something of his identification a. Means, “deliverance”, to us sounds like an unusual name b. But it a very, very common name, for a common person C. Most significant statement of identification - John 1:14 1. The word became “flesh” (became a baby) 2. “Flesh” has a negative connotation 3. Speaks of human weakness that opposes the spirit 4. Spirit is willing, the flesh is weak D. But ultimate empathy not in his birth 1. Only 2 gospels give us birth narratives 2. All four give us death narratives 3. Ultimate identification at the cross 4. Can be seen vividly in one of his cries/prayers on the cross II. Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” A. Why? 1. Did God forsake him? Is God not faithful? 2. If not feel like God is close any more, who moved? B. But God is faithful, he does not move 1. Jesus cry was not a cry of faithlessness, it the opposite 2. Prayed Psalm 22 a. Felt complelete overwhelmed by enemies b. In the end, the Psalm praises God c. This a Psalm of a righteous sufferer d. Jesus was a righteous sufferer 3. This all according to plan, so God does not abandon Jesus a. Peter affirms this in Acts 2:27 b. God did not abandon Jesus to Hades C. So why did Jesus cry out this way if God is faithful? 1. BECAUSE of his identification with us 2. 2 Cor 5:21 - He felt all the effects of your sin, though he sinless a. Have you ever felt failure? He did, though he not fail b. Ever felt guilty? He felt your guilt though he was guiltless c. Ever felt betrayed or isolated? D. Jesus felt isolation of sin though he was sinless III. What is this identification suppose to accomplish? (Heb 5:7-9) A. This identification cause him to be made perfect B. How could he be “made” perfect? Wasn’t he already perfect? 1. Wasn’t he already the pefect son of God? 2. He was not perfected human (Jas 1:2-4) a. How are humans perfected? b. Humans are perfected through trials C. Jesus identified with us by walking in our shoes! D. Just like any other human, he was perfected through sufferings! IV. Big deal! So what? What does a perfected Jesus do for us? A. Unlike other humans, he became source of eternal salvation B. (Heb 2:14-18) - Describes how he became source of salvation 1. Made propitiation - Offered himself in our place 2. Became “merficul” and “faithful” High Priest a. What is a High Priest? Mediator b. He merciful because he knows we are human c. He merciful because he walked in our shoes 3. He identifies with us! Became “flesh” C. (Heb 4:14-16) - Can draw near and find grace and mercy D. What does God do with us AFTER we draw near? 1. This is where rubber meets the road 2. There is a message here for everyone V. (1 Pet 2:9-10) - God transformed Christians into a priesthood A. What does a preist do? 1. Mediate God’s presence! 2. Not by making atonement, can’t do that, Jesus did that 3. We “proclaim the excellencies of him” B. How do we do this? 1. By being “flesh” - by “identification” a. How did God reveal Gospel? Word became flesh b. Not radio waves, tract ministry, debates c. The message was a PERSON who identified with us 2. (2 Cor 5:18-20) - Ministry of reconciliation as amassadors a. Where do you find U.S. embassies? Foreign countries! b. Jesus went to foreign country, to earth c. Jesus an ambassador from Heaven to earth d. Ambassadors have to leave home and go 3. We must leave and enter into another’s experience 4. Must become all things to all men - 2 Cor 9:19-23 C. Word became flesh, and we beheld his glory? How? In the flesh 1. As Jesus was himself the message, you yourself are 2. Can win aruments with words 3. Only way to win hearts is through action - identification / flesh 4. God interested in winning hearts, not arguments D. How? By identifying with others - DEMONSTRATE that you care 1. Not to manipulate, Jesus never manipulated a. Do it to draw people to God b. Reflecting character of the God who cares 2. Help sick, poor, needy 3. Pray with someone who is struggling 4. Rejoice with those who rejoice E. People not care how much you know, until they know how much you care Invitation - Also a message for those who have yet to draw near to God 1. Jesus provided the way for you to draw near 2. Drawing near to God is called repentance a. Live according his his desire and aspirations b. Begins with decision of faith - That’s called repentance c. Then a profession of faith in Christ - That’s called confession d. Then a demonstration of faith in Christ - Baptism, life of submission 3. Acts 22:16 - What are you waiting for, arise ... a. But I don’t know enough - Welcome to the club b. I’m not perfect - That’s why Jesus became our mediator c. Later! Why? 4. Once again, what are you waiting for?