John Gray - The Problem with Jesus
This is the Lenten season. This is a season where we celebrate the most significant event in the history of the human race. We celebrate the resurrection, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this Lenten season, we prepare our minds to really focus in on what is God did for us through his Son. Let me be honest with you, it's not easy, because there are certain things in the Bible that are very difficult to grasp. I can be honest to tell you I don't fully understand every concept in these 66 books. I don't understand all of it. And if you're honest, neither do you. Why you looking at me like, mm, that's a shame. You up here preaching, you don't even understand what you talkin' bout. I didn't say I don't understand what I'm about to say, I just don't understand it all, why you judgin'?
It's not easy, some of this stuff in the Bible is not easy. Clearly some of the people in the Bible in the Old Testament were black 'cause some of these names, Shashisa and Kaniqua and Shamazazeza, they black. I don't understand them names. Clearly, there are some places that I don't get understanding yet, but it doesn't stop me from attempting to learn. And I thank God that you, like me, are hungry for the next place of revelation in God.
I am gonna endeavor tonight to talk about something that I think is relevant across the world. Because the more I come to this church the more I realize, who wouldn't wanna be here? Like, seriously, who wouldn't want to be a part of this church? Last week Dr. Paul talked about mercy triumphing over judgment, what a phenomenal word. And he talked about the young man that was at Bible school with his father and he only had one outfit and how they laughed at him to the point that he said, "I can't take it anymore, I'm going home". And he said, "What could he have been, had they shown him mercy, had they extended grace"?
And that message impacted me and I knew as soon as I left I was gonna have an opportunity to either be judgmental or to extend mercy, and sure enough, that's what happened. That's when you know you're in the right ground, in the right season, when the Lord immediately begins to prod and to prime the word that's been received. It's my prayer that I will continue that on tonight. But Dr. Paul, I've been trying to figure it out, man. Because, you know, this place is amazing, okay? The people are really awesome. I mean, they love God, they smiling in the hallway, and it's real, it's not like that weird like, "Hi, praise the Lord", it's not that. It's like, "What's up? praise God! How you doing"?
Everybody's been so sweet, everybody's kind. And I'm sure you have bad days, but let's be honest, there's something about somebody that comes to this church, there's just something different. And I believe it extends from the leadership. Who wouldn't wanna be here? I know it's raining, but it always rains. That stop nobody from going to a concert. It don't stop you going to a sporting event. Oh, it's raining, Jesus don't me tonight. You didn't wanna come. It's raining, oh, it's too hot, it's too cold, whatever. When you love somebody, rain, sleet, snow, it don't matter, I'm getting to Jesus.
Who wouldn't wanna be a part of a church that has love, reconciliation, hope, healing, forgiveness, strength, commitment, humility, the Holy Spirit, who wouldn't want that? More than that, if I think about the body of Christ worldwide, when you think about the founding principles of the church, who doesn't want that? In fact, if you look at the principles of the church and the best non-profit and for-profit organizations and businesses, the principles are the same. Treat each other how you wanna be treated. Consider others better than yourself. Love your neighbor, pray for those who hate on you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who spitefully use you. Extend the helping hand to people who have less. Give so somebody else can be blessed. Cover other people, don't judge 'em, just cover 'em. You don't know why people do what they do or how they ended up where they ended up. More than that, you don't know where they're going to end up because where I am is not where I'm going to be.
Who wouldn't wanna be a part of an organization that espouses unconditional love, forgiveness? More than that, I got a piece of real estate with my name on it, already paid off, somebody else made it, a house not made with hands, and I don't have to go get it and I don't have to sign no mortgage, ain't no 30 year lease, mortgage, whatever, it's already paid off and it was paid off in blood, wouldn't' want that? Who wouldn't want that? But the reality is, there are some people that don't want it. How could you not want it? The best businesses run on biblical principles. The best organizations run on principles that are rooted in the Bible. Why isn't this place packed every time the doors open?
I found out, in spite of all of the great things that the church represents, we have a problem. We got a problem, and I'm gonna have to talk to you about our problem, we gotta get through it tonight. In Luke chapter 19 we get a glimpse of our problem. Luke chapter 19, verse 28, reading from the new King James version. I'm gonna read very fast.
When he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when he drew near to Bethphage, and Bethany, at the mount called Olivet, that he sent two of his disciples, saying, "Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, why are you loosing it? Thus you shall say to him, because the Lord has need of it". So those who were sent went their way and found it just as he said to them. But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, "Why are you loosing the colt"? And they said, "The Lord has need of him". Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. And as he went, many spread their clothes on the road. Then, as he was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest"! And some of the pharisees called to him from the crowd.
There's always somebody in the crowd, always somebody wanna start sneaking and skoonching and whispering from the side. Always somebody up behind somebody else, talkin' "Hey"!, and then they wanna hide. It's always somebody in the crowd always trying to be anonymous, you will have negative voices. You will always people that don't see what you see, won't celebrate what you celebrate, don't understand and don't wanna understand what you've come to know as the truth. There'll always be whisperers, but you've gotta respond the way this man responded. And they said, "Hey, teacher, rebuke your disciples". But he answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out".
I'm getting ready to run all through this nicely-carpeted sanctuary. This scripture finds Jesus heading into Jerusalem for the last time. You already know what happens a week from this moment. They're cheering you on right now, but a week from now you gonna be on a cross. The same people, "ha ha, Jesus! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna, save now, glory to God in the highest"! A week later, "crucify him, give us Barabbas! We don't want Jesus".
But here at this moment his disciples and all the people that had been watching were waiting for Jesus to turn into what they wanted him to become. And I wanna tell you, I figured out why the church across the world is not packed, why people don't wanna be bothered. We got a problem. Our problem's name is Jesus. What I wanna talk to you tonight about is the problem with Jesus. Lord, open ears and hearts and let them not be shocked by the title but let them be prepared for the glorious conclusion to this dilemma, the problem with Jesus.
The problem with Jesus. On the surface, it would be an offensive title for a Christian message until you realize that really what I'm saying is the church would be packed if it wasn't for Jesus. Because Jesus changes things. Nobody is offended by the concept of God, even if you don't believe in God. The concept of God is very generic. But when you take the ethereal concept of God and bring it to the form of a man, now we got a problem. 'God loves you, God is in the trees, God is in the butterflies, God loves you and he's in the air and God is on the birdies, and God is, God is in the, he's with the...", but when you say Jesus, now we got a problem because Jesus cannot be dismissed.
The concept of God can become subjective based on your understanding of that term. But Jesus is a historical fact. I feel the Holy Ghost. That Jesus lived is a matter of historical record. That he lives is a statement of my faith. And the problem is that there are people who refuse to believe that Jesus died and that was it. Historians would say he was a good man, from all historical accounts, and he died an unfortunate death, and that was it. But the problem is, too many people believe that wasn't the end of the story. I got some people in here who know what I'm talking about.
My problem is that I believe that Jesus didn't stay dead too long. My problem is that three days is what it cost him to redeem my soul, but he did not stay dead. He rose on the third day, he is currently seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us. And one day he will crack the sky at the last trumpet sound and the dead in Christ shall rise first. And those that remain will be caught up to meet him in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord. Comfort one another with these words. I need everything in here that's got hands to give God praise. I'm looking at you, give God praise. Don't make me come up there. Give him about five more seconds of I got here in the rain praise.
The problem with Jesus is that he said, "I'm the Way, the Truth". The problem with truth is that you can't manipulate it. You can't alter it, Dr. Paul. The truth is what it is. I can say what I want, but the truth simply stands there unmoved and unaffected, I am that I am. The problem with the church is it's founded upon a man, but he wasn't just a man, he was God as well. He was fully man and fully God, he was 200%. I'm trying to get some help over here. It's about to be real Pentecostal on this right hand side. And you at home, you can shout.
Don't worry about your land, Lord, they ain't even home. You might as well go ahead and praise God at the kitchen table. Go ahead, grab your wife's hand and go ahead and take a praise break, 'cause we down here in Houston in the rain, but let it rain, let it rain, let it rain. Pray for the rain and the time of the spring rain. It means pray for favor while favor is falling. God, let it rain. You getting ready for spring. Let it replenish the earth. Prepare us for the shift that's occurring in the atmosphere. We receive. I need some help in this section right here. Y'all look a little tired. Don't mind us in here, the spirit of the Lord is stirring us in this room.
The problem with Jesus is that he doesn't play political games. See, the Jews had been oppressed by the Romans for a little while, and they thought that when Jesus showed up on the scene, start doing all these miracles, started with him going to a wedding. And they was just in their doing the electric slide. And his mama came over there, "Jesus". He's like, "Hold on, I'm doing a dance. Hold on, let me turn. Bam, what you want, mama"? She's like, "Hey, they done ran out of wine". He was like, "Cool, why you telling me? I'm in the middle of the dance". And she was like, "Because, they need wine". He was like, "All right, just go get some water. Put it in some jars". And he turned water into wine, and they said, "Wow, you saved the best for last".
How'd you take new water and make it taste like old wine? What God is doing is he's bringing a new hunger and a new passion, with the foundation of the old heart and the old principles of the word, the ancient foundational principles. Yeah, we a technological generation, but don't forget your hymns. And don't forget what got grandma through and auntie and uncle through. It's new wine, but it tastes old. I'm trying to help somebody in here. It's the best of both worlds. I'm trying to help somebody.
The problem with Jesus is that he started doing miracles, healing people, messing up people's plans. 12 years, issue of blood, healed. Little girl dead, healed. Widower with her only son up on the, in the coffin. Jesus interrupts the funeral. Don't you start with me in here. I know I'm supposed to be more proper right now because we have an international audience, but I'm so glad I serve a Jesus that can interrupt a funeral. Stops a funeral in its tracks, "Get up, sir. God's not finished with you yet". Deaf ears opened, can you hear me now? Blinded eyes, I can see.
I'm telling you, Jesus was a problem. People didn't know how to take him. What is he, is he a prophet, is he a man, is he a man of God, is he Elijah, is he John the Baptist? We just cut off John the Baptist's head, did he come back, is this thriller, what is going on? People coming out the grave, we need to know. His name is Jesus, Jesus Christ. All right, focus, people. The problem is Jesus would not change for people. They wanted him to be a political figure. And people still try to use Jesus as a political figure. But Jesus will not lower himself to play politics. As he was heading into the city from the Mount of Olives, as he was descending, they start shouting. Ha ha, here comes Meshiach, Messiah. He's coming to break the rule of the Romans. He's gonna break us and free us from the oppression of the Romans. He's thinking to himself, "I am, but not how you want me to".
The problem with Jesus is that he wouldn't play political games, he wasn't here to overthrow Caesar. He was here to overthrow the devil. I wish I had some help in here tonight. Y'all got me dropping napkins. All over the church, can somebody just give God praise? Because Jesus came to overthrow the devil. And he came to undo the works of the devil, make him an open spectacle. The problem with Jesus is that no matter what people wanted him to be, he would be nothing less than what he was called to be. The problem with the church is we want Jesus to be less than who he is. We want you to conform to the new era church. The new era church doesn't have the same standards. God is love and God loves everyone. And God loves everything, and you can do whatever you want. Yes and no.