Robert Morris - From Galilee to Gethsemane - Part 2
We have a very very special show today. Recently, some friends and I went to Israel. We went to all sorts of places. We went to places like the Temple Mount where Jesus was tempted, the Upper Room, the Garden Tomb, and you're going to get to visit those places with me today; and at each place I share something about scripture from that place, but before we do I want you to hear this very special song "A New Day".
I just wanted to remind you guys that the Bible is a spiritual book, written by a spiritual being, to spiritual beings. And there's so many spiritual things that we completely, totally miss. So think about even the three temptations of Jesus. Yesterday, a long way away from here, we were at the Jordan River. He gets baptized, He goes into the wilderness. After 40 days, Satan tempts Him with the first temptation, you know, "Turn these rocks into bread", okay. But then, the second temptation, think about this, it says: "Then Satan took Him to the Holy City". It's Jerusalem. And took Him up to the pinnacle of the temple, which could be, if you look right up here, on that corner, right there.
Jesus and Satan could've been standing right there. But think about this, they didn't walk for days and days and days. They were transported by the Spirit. I'm trying to get us to realize that we have this concept, y'all have probably heard me say this, that we are humans having a spiritual experience. We're not. We are spirits having a human experience. Jesus is a Spirit having a human experience. Somehow, Jesus and Satan teleported, transported, from the wilderness where we were yesterday, to the top of this temple right here, and that's where Satan said, "Throw yourself off the temple mount, and see if", and the Bible says, He even quoted the Scripture, you know, he'll give his angels charge over you, you'll dash your foot against stone.
Of course, every time, Jesus rebuffed every temptation with, "It is also written". "It is also written". Then, it says then Satan took Him up to an exceedingly high mountain. Many theories about where that mountain would be, but again, let me show you a spiritual thing. It says and showed Him the kingdoms of the world. Well, I don't care what mountain you go to. You can't see all the kingdoms of the world in the natural. So, again, it's a spiritual vision. And of course, he said, "All these have been delivered to me," or turned over to me, and that they were turned over by Adam and Eve. And I'll give 'em to You if You'll fall down and worship me.
Another thing that's wonderful about that is worship always requires an act of your body. Not just your heart and your mind and soul and strength, it's your strength as well. Just to think, when you think about if you came from a tradition like I did, you know, lifting your hands kind of scared you. Satan didn't say to Jesus, "If You'll worship me". He said, "If You'll fall down and worship me". If you would give an outward display of worship, you know, then I'll do this.
And of course, the Scripture also says, "You'll only worship the Lord your God". But just in the temptations of Jesus, those three temptations, we've read 'em all, now that you're here in the land, you have to understand, there was a spiritual world happening because they went from the wilderness, to the temple, to a mountain, and then had a vision of all the kingdoms of the world. And yet, Jesus said, you know, He rebuffed every temptation. But I just kinda wanted to remind you, because it's very possible they stood right there. Satan and Jesus, after being where we were yesterday, way down by the Jordan, and they were there, just like that. So there's a spiritual world going on all around us.
So, we're standing on the place where most scholars believe where the Last Supper happened. Let me just remind you a little bit about that. John 13, 14, 15, and 16, and then also 17, are some of my favorite chapters in the Bible, John 13 being the Last Supper and John 17 being the prayer in the garden, probably. John 14, 15, and 16 being Jesus, His last words to His disciples before the crucifixion and the resurrection, and I think part of the things He's talking about are about the second coming, and part of the things He's talking about are actually the three days, because He says I'm going away and coming back, and He actually says to them, and I'm telling you before it happens, that when it happens, you will believe.
Well, there's no one's gonna have trouble believing after the second coming, not even atheists. They're gonna believe. "Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess". But, in John 13 there's a Scripture that's very, very meaningful to me. For years, people would come and they interview us at Gateway, and they ask my team about me, and they say tell us some things about Pastor Robert, about his leadership. And here's what my team has said for years, and they say, he's the most empowering leader that we've ever worked for, ever met. He's more empowering. And so, they said to me one time, "Why don't you", "You ought to share on that, why you're such an empowering leader".
Well, I didn't know why I was such an empowering leader. And so, I went to the Lord and I said, "Lord, you've got to help me". And for me, it's always in the Word. It has to be in the Word. So, the Lord took me to John 13, where Jesus washed the disciples' feet. But it says something that I think a lot of people read over. It says, first of all, Jesus knowing that Judas was going to betray Him. That was one thing. And then it says knowing that all things have been given to Him by the Father, and where He'd come from, and where He was going. He arose and ministered to them, girded Himself, and He washed their feet.
So, we're talking about the Lord washing their feet. Okay, so there are a few things there. First of all, He knew that Judas was going to betray Him. Here's the thing: Even though Judas was going to betray Him, He knew that His future was not in the hands of any person or any man. So, I'm just trying to say that the reason Jesus was so secure is because He knew that everything that He had had been given to Him by the Father, and there was not a man in the world that could take it away from Him.
One of the greatest lines is Pilate, saying to Jesus, "Do you not realize that I have the power over You to save Your life or kill You"? And I just feel like Jesus had to laugh in that moment, you know? And when He said, "Do you not realize that I could call to My Father, who would send 10.000 angels"? "You don't realize", and He said to him, "You would have no authority over Me at all if it weren't given to you from My Father," I feel that, again, I submit to the elders, and they're very, very godly, humble men. But I still... I feel that in my heart. You would have no authority at all if it were not given to you by My Father, and if you were to abuse that authority, My Father would take care of that.
So, I just wanted to put in you what happened in that Upper Room when He began to talk about the Holy Spirit coming and all of that. But before He did any of that, the Creator washed the feet of creation, and the reason that He could come as a servant was because He knew that the Father had given Him everything. And He knew where He had come from, and where He was going, and even though He knew He was going to be betrayed, He knew that His life was not in the hands of His enemies, His life was in the hands of His Father.
Isn't Israel amazing? Hey, we are about to go to The Garden Tomb, and share communion together. I want to encourage you, share communion with us right now.
And this morning, I just woke up with an old hymn on my heart. And, I'm not gonna sing it or lead it, but I'm going to just give you a little history behind it. I like to read history behind hymns. And so, before I actually give you the hymn that's on my heart, I'll give you a little history of something you saw yesterday. And you may know this, but in the Friends of Zion Museum, we saw H.G. Spafford, who was a great friend of Israel and did a lot for the nation of Israel. H.G. Spafford was an attorney and a developer in the city of Chicago, and God had blessed him. He was a very devout believer, when he (his son)... No, and he had four daughters and one son, and when his son was two years old, his son died.
Right after his son died, the fire of Chicago came, basically wiped him out, financially. He had another business deal going in England, and so he sent his wife and four daughters ahead of him while he wrapped up some things. And then, the ship sank and his wife sent back a very famous telegraph now, "Saved, alone", so his four daughters had died, as well. So, they lost their son, they lost all their possessions, in essence, all his investments, and they lost four daughters and all their children. And so, he got on a ship immediately to go be with his wife, and on the way over, he asked the captain, "Please let me know the area where the ship sank, where I lost my daughters". And so, he woke him up about 2:00 in the morning, and they went up on the deck, and he was standing there on the deck. The captain then said, "If you want a moment alone," you know, and he left.
Standing there on the deck and he wrote these words. "When peace like a river attendeth my way," and then here's where the people never get this, "When sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well with my soul". So, he's writing that at the place where his daughters drowned, and he talks about, "When sorrows like sea billows roll," and he's looking at the sea billows, you know. So, this is the hymn that I woke up with this morning.
Somehow, we just don't catch everything that it says, it's so deep. But in 1912, Miles was his last name. He was a pharmacist. He left pharmacy to go to run a publishing company, and he did it because he felt like God wanted him to write a hymn, and so he felt like he'd be able to do it at the publishing company, but because he was a good businessman, he knew he could run the publishing company, and it was a Christian publishing company. And so, he was spending time with the Lord, asking God to give him a hymn for the body of Christ, and he said that he had a vision. He went to sleep and had a dream or a vision - he believes it was a vision, of Mary in the garden with Jesus, and how Peter and John had come, but they had left, and Mary was here alone.
And so, just to make sure I got the words right, I called it up today. But, think about this: so, when he woke up from the vision, he said he wrote these words. He wrote them so fast that he never made any revisions to the words, so he just wrote the words that came to him in the vision, and that night then he put music to it. But this is Mary, so he wrote this hymn that we sing. "I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses". In other words, He disclosed Himself to her. "And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there," I want you to think about this line: "none other has ever known".
In other words, no one had ever talked to the risen Christ before. She was the first person to ever talk to the risen Christ. No one had ever spoken. People had heard Jesus, but no one had ever talked to the risen Christ before, and that was the revelation that he had, was she was the first person to talk to the risen Christ. Now, I was praying about this this morning and thinking about it, and I thought, isn't it amazing that we can talk to the risen Christ at any time? She was the only person that had ever done it at that time, but now we can talk to the risen Christ, because He said, "I won't leave you as orphans, and I'm going to send the Holy Spirit". And 50 days after the resurrection... 40 days, ten days after His ascension, 50 days after the resurrection, He sent the Holy Spirit, the indwelling Spirit in us, so at any point we can talk to the risen Christ, you know.
So, if you've not listened to my son Josh's message - about two years ago, he preached a message and called it, "Eucharist". We don't use the word "Eucharist" much, because it's more of a Catholic word, and we're Protestants. But, I think we've lost some things by saying, well, that's this, and we're not, and "Eucharist" actually comes from a Greek word, "eukharistia". But it means, and right in the middle you'll see "charis". Eucharist, "charis", and so many people miss this. They translate it as thanksgiving, and they translate "charis" as giving, and so it means giving thanks, but it's not really what the word means. "Charis" is grace, and the first part then is to give, to impart. And what the Eucharist is, is God giving us grace. That's really what it is.
And the early church believed that when they celebrated the Lord's Supper, that the Lord was there. That's what we're missing. We're missing that the Lord, His presence is among us when we eat the bread and when we drink the juice, when we celebrate that His body was broken for us and His blood was shed for us. And many, many, many people were actually healed during the Lord's Supper in the church for hundreds of years, because they could receive the presence of the Lord at that time. And of course, people have gone to extremes on both ways. One is that, you know, that it actually becomes the body and the blood of Jesus. That's one extreme. Another extreme is that it's just a symbol and it just doesn't really mean anything.
And one of the examples that Josh gave when he preached on it was if you came to a street corner and someone had gone off the street, maybe an icy road or something, and hit a stop sign, you wouldn't probably get out, and pick it up, and dust it off, 'cause it's just a symbol. But if you came up to that same corner and an American flag had maybe blown off of a pole and it was down in the dirt, and the slush, and the mud, you'd probably pick it up and clean it off because it's more than a symbol. It's not the actual blood of Americans, but it symbolizes the actual blood of Americans.
So, we need to land somewhere in the middle when we talk about communion, and that is that the presence of God is here during this time. The Scripture says to prepare your heart, examine your heart. Just close your eyes for a moment and let me just put this in your heart. Please understand that the same apostle that wrote to examine your heart was the apostle that understood grace more than any other apostle. And so, examine your heart has, again, completely gone to an extreme that God never intended it to go to, and we need to know that all of our blood, all of our sins are under the blood. And, examine your heart was more of is there something that I'm holding back from the Lord right now?
The word "integrity" means the whole of, something that's the whole of. And if you cut something off of it, if you hold something back, that's not being integrous. It's like Ananias and Sapphira, when they sold the plot of land, they came to the disciples and they said, we sold some land and this is all of it, but they were holding something back. I actually think it would have been fine if they'd have given 50%, or 10%, or what they wanted to give. What was wrong was they were holding something back. And so, I think that's what Paul is talking about, is if you're holding something back from the Lord, then that's examining your heart. But, I don't think he was talking about that you're perfect and that you've done everything right, because Jesus lived the perfect life.
So, if there's something in your life that you feel like, Lord, I just don't want to be holding back in this area anymore, then take that time. But the other thing, the examine your heart, is to examine that you have a new heart, that by grace Jesus has forgiven you of all your sins. And in other words, this should be a joyful time, not a guilty time or a condemning time, and that's an extreme that we never want to go to, so. It says "On the night He was betrayed, He took bread and He said, 'This is My body, which is broken for you. As often as you eat this bread, do this in remembrance of Me'". So, I want to just pray over it before we take this.
Lord, we want to tell You that we thank You for the stripes that You took upon Your physical body so that we could be physically healed. Lord, for the piercings that You took on Your physical body, so that our bodies could walk in wholeness on this earth. Lord, we thank You that You became a human and walked as a man on this earth. And Lord, you understand; You're a sympathetic priest. You understand how difficult it is to walk on this earth, and yet, Lord, You did it and You fulfilled the law for us, and we thank You for that. And now, Lord, as we take this bread, we remember the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering. We remember how You suffered for us, Lord, how You were separated from Your Father so we would never have to be separated, and we tell you thank You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Let's take the bread. Then He took the cup and He said, "This is the blood of My new covenant. This is the blood that was shed for you. As often as you take this, do it in remembrance of Me".
Lord, we remember that we don't have to shed a lamb, the blood of a lamb every morning for whatever sin we might have committed at night, and we don't have to shed blood in the evening for whatever sin we committed during the day. Lord, we remember that according to Your Word, Your blood was shed once for all, and we receive that. And we thank You, Lord, that all of our sins, all of our missing the mark, all of our shortcomings, have been covered by the blood of Jesus. Lord, we are so grateful for that blood. And so, Lord, we today receive this with thanksgiving. And Lord, we acknowledge that Your presence is here with us, and that Your name is Emmanuel, God with us, and we thank You for that. In Jesus' name, Amen.
There's something about The Garden Tomb that I want you to notice and that is that it's empty. Jesus is not there; he rose from the grave, he died for our sins, but he also rose so we could walk a new life in here. And I just want to let you know for sure, you can walk a new life. Not only can you be forgiven of your sins but you can walk a new life you can be raised to walk a new life in Jesus Christ. Just give your life to Jesus right now. Say, "Lord I give you control of my life today," and let him take over.