Matthew 21: 1-11
Matthew 26: 17-35, 69-75, 27: 11-26
The whole world is caught up in this pandemic of the Covid-19 virus. As I’ve shared earlier we will have to go through it, to get to it, and the “it” is the end of this viruses deadly presence. It is precisely that going through it, that is so very troubling to our short attention span nation, that has been attuned and accustomed to something having our attention over a forty-eight hour news span, then we’re bored with it, and move on to the next attention grabbing headline.
We all want desperately a return to some basic degree of normalcy to our lives. It is a struggle to be told gatherings, be they of family, community or just public outing events have shown the very real possibility to further the spread this deadly microbe, so we must halt all social interactions until the spread is halted and some medical cure is determined.
This process of returning to whatever our new normal will look like will take some time. And that is problematic for our nation, we love the instant, the quick, precise and to the point, we don’t like the long and drawn out.
We love to call or designate most phenomenally successful persons as overnight successes, often not taking into consideration the long hours of work, practice and commitment they dedicated to their respective trade, vocation, or calling.
To do such is to overlook the time and thousands of hours they invested to hone and perfect the skills and techniques their respective fields of focus requires. Michael Jordan spoke of making five-hundred shots every day while growing up. From middle school until college Bill Gates, and Paul Allen spend hours on computer terminals at the UW medical facility, the Beatles played twenty-four sets at a club in Hamburg, Germany that never closed, Sebrina and Venus Williams spent all their time when not in school perfecting their tennis serve and return shots.
What this says is these were not plainly just lucky fortunate persons, they spent thousands upon thousands of hours perfecting their skills for their chosen field of endeavor. Writer of the book “Outliers,” and researcher Malcolm Gladwell, who researched phenomenally successful people, along with neurologist(brain-surgeon) Dr. Daniel Levitin, both state there is something they called the 10,000-hour rule. Persons who spend 10,000 hours, or an equivalency of ten years at a particular skill, should rise to a level of mastery to a world class level. In other words, such persons have put in the dedicated times along with some other qualifications to perform the best when the opportunity is presented.
I humbly submit for your consideration this morning that Jesus easily spent over 100,000 human hours preparing to deliver us from fear and slavery to sin, and death, and as we head into Holy week let us be mindful of both who Jesus was, and what he came to accomplish with his earthly ministry.
1 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.
After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2: 41-49)
In Hebrews 10: 5-10, we read these words about who and what Jesus the Christ came to do; “Here I am, I have come to do your will. He set aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.”
Jesus himself declared; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”(John 14:4-6)
Jesus further claims; “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life, and have life eternal. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:10,11)
And lastly we read of the nature of the charge God entrusted Jesus with as Jesus became Immanuel, that is God in our midst;
”No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[a] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[b] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[c]
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
Jesus was and is the Word of God made flesh, Jesus as the creative power and force of God was there before creation, we read it in the opening monologue of the book of John; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.” (John 1:1-5)
So as I close. Before the betrayal, before the Last Supper, before the Garden of Gethsemane prayers and subsequent arrest, Jesus was about His Fathers who art in heaven business, Jesus was about saving us, redeeming us because God so loves each one of us.
Whatever we do it’s about the times the hours we give to a task, to an endeavor. There are 8,800 hours in a year, Christ Jesus existed in the Spirit form of God’s creative Word, before entering time and history, once here in human form Immanuel, Christ Jesus honed his ministry skills and understanding of human nature.
Applying the earlier mentioned 10,000 hours-rule, from age 12 -30 Jesus would have had nearly 160,000 hours of doing what he told his earthly parents, my Father’s work.
The three years of his ministry that led directly to the cross on Golgotha 26,000 hrs, Jesus was not merely a world-class master of ministry, He was heavenly certified and ordained Elohim, the Almighty, el Shaddai, the Great “I AM,” Jesus went through the flogging, the beating, the rejection, being deserted in his last hours by those who claimed they would die with him. Why, because God loves us. “The Betrayal, The Pain, all Before the Glory,” we’ll have the pleasure of acknowledging and celebrating next week.