Daily Gospel Moments

October 23, 2022 | Jess Rainer

Passage: Matthew 20:20-34

If we’re not careful, I think we can make living as citizens of God’s kingdom seem less like an imminent reality.  We make up in our minds this grand idea of what it means to live each day as a follower of Christ.  We think that we must be preaching on the street corner and packing to go on an international mission trip each day in order to live for Jesus.  There are times we are called to that – and you should go.  But the reality is this: there are daily gospel moments that we can grab a hold of.  We don’t have to be the next Billy Graham.  But we can be a flash of gospel light to someone that needs hope.  The problem is that we are looking at the forest and we are missing the trees.  Let’s simplify Kingdom living.  We reach a passage that has some everyday moments in it.  And Jesus uses them to teach His disciples and us what it means live out the gospel daily.  Snatch daily gospel moments.  Our year long journey in Matthew is on the descent.  We have only 9 weeks left.  The three parts of today’s message aren’t going to be anything new.  I’m less concerned with the knowledge gained and more concerned about the application.  I’m less concerned with the opportunities in front of you and more concerned with you snatching whatever is in front of you.  Here’s where we start: Snatch the opportunity to serve.

1) Snatch the opportunity to serve. (vs. 20-27)  I’m sure most everyone is familiar with “Take your child to work day.”  It’s been a longstanding tradition in the work force so kids can see what their parents do each day.  You may not know this, but coming up very soon on November 4th is “Take your parents to work day.”  Most people think this day was established in 2013 because Millennials needed their mommies and daddies at work.  It wasn’t!  “Take your parents to work day” actually started in AD 33!  Don’t believe me?  Let’s look at verse 20 then…20 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor.   See! I told you so.  James and John brought their mom to Jesus.  Look at what she asks.  21 “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”   What in the world is going on with this scene?  James and John are thinking about the coming kingdom.  They are trying to get a leg up on the other disciples and take the two highest positions of honor in this new kingdom.  I don’t know many people who would bring in their mom to ask their boss for a promotion.  If anyone has done that, let me know. I want to know how it went…It didn’t go well for James and John.  James and John clearly put their mom up to this.  Jesus knows this too because in verse 22, Jesus responds directly to the brothers and not their mom.  22 But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”   Jesus tells these two brothers they still don’t understand the kingdom of God.  Right before this passage, Jesus had told the disciples that He was about to suffer and die, but then be raised from the dead.  And this was James and John’s response – to ask for a promotion!  They think they are ready, but they aren’t.  Jesus then tells them they will actually suffer down the road.  23 Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”   

Well, word started traveling quickly about the whole “bring your mom to work day.”  The other ten disciples weren’t happy.  24 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant.   I can imagine the other 10 disciples’ response:  Philip steps up and says, “You two already got the whole transfiguration with Peter and now you are trying to pull a fast one on us?!”  And I could imagine Peter looking at those two brothers like, “I see how this is going…"  Jesus pulls all the disciples together and sets the record straight. And it’s nothing like what they were expecting.  25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.   26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,  27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.   Jesus tells the disciples to leave everything they think about the coming kingdom at the door.  If the world tells you to seek power and flaunt it, then it’s the opposite in God’s kingdom.  Pride has no place in God’s kingdom.  Whatever the world tells you, it will be different among you.  James and John, if you want to be on either side of me, start by wiping the floor around the thrones.  Living in God’s kingdom is full of daily opportunities to serve.  The people in the Church should look for daily ways to out-serve one another.  One of the best questions to ask to a fellow brother and sister in Christ, “How can I help?”  Sometimes you don’t need to ask, you can just pick up the broom and start sweeping.  Let me give you a small example:  Each Sunday, all of the parking lot signs get put out.  I don’t ask, but they get done.  Each Sunday, after the second service, someone goes and grabs all the road signs and brings them.  I don’t ask anyone to do it, but it gets done.  Find ways to snatch little daily moments to serve.  Serve your spouse by cleaning the toilet.  What Jesus is telling the disciples is that they won’t be headlining the parade, they will be in the back sweeping up all the confetti.  Why? The parade is reserved for the One who became the Servant for all people for all time.  Jesus took the lowliest of the low for us.  And because of that we worship Him.  That’s the next daily gospel moment to snatch: Snatch the opportunity to worship.

2) Snatch the opportunity to worship. (vs. 28)  I want us to look at one verse, verse 28:  28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  If there was ever a reason to serve others, look at how Jesus served.  Quote: “It is in serving that greatness is displayed. Honor is found in giving, not in getting. The way to up is the way down. And the true measure of this is embodied in Jesus himself.” – Alistair Begg.  That word “ransom” is powerful.  In biblical times, that word would have been associated with the payment to free a slave.  The slave, powerless, is freed because someone paid his debt for him.  Someone stepped in and paid what he couldn’t pay and because of it, he became free.  The other powerful word in that is “for”.  In the Greek, it means “instead of”.  Jesus was the ultimate Servant because He gave up His life so we didn’t have to.  James and John are clamoring for position, while Jesus is giving up His position.  Because Jesus served us in the most magnificent way, we worship Him in the most magnificent way.  Take daily moments to worship Jesus.  Look to creation.  See the sunrise and sunsets and worship.  Think about where Jesus right now and worship.  Think about where Jesus will be when He returns and worship.  Don’t let a day go back where you don’t snatch an opportunity to worship Him.  

Jesus is done teaching the disciples and they start to leave Jericho.  The whole concept of serving and worshiping is fresh on their minds.  But Jesus wants it to sink into their hearts.  He wants His disciples and us to be prepared for kingdom work.  He wants us to serve. He wants us to worship. He also wants us to shout.  Snatch the opportunity to shout.  Let’s find out what I mean by that.  

3) Snatch the opportunity to shout. (vs. 29-34)  As Jesus and the disciples leave – remember that Jesus is heading towards Jerusalem for the final week of His earthly ministry – a large crowd is following.  29 As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind.   What takes place next is really heartbreaking in a lot of ways.  Word is spreading that Jesus is on the move.  There are two blind men sitting beside the road.  They can tell there is something happening.  More and more feet are moving beside the road.  The conversation is getting louder.  And then one of the men says to the other man, “Did you hear that? They were talking about Jesus?”  “Yeah, I think Jesus is coming by this way.”  One of men ask out loud, “Hey! Is Jesus coming this way? Someone? Is Jesus coming?”  Someone answers him, “He is.”  Look at their response:  30 Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”  What are they doing?  They are shouting for Jesus!  “Jesus, Jesus! We’re right here! We need your help. Please come see us. Have mercy on us!  But what did the crowd that surrounded Jesus do?  They yelled back at the two blind men.  31 “Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them.  These two men were crying out to Jesus and all the crowd wanted to do was to shut them up.  Those closest to Jesus were so focused on themselves they failed to see those around them that needed Jesus.  The crowd was more blind than the two men on the street.   As a church, we must not miss the daily gospel moments of those crying for help around us.  We can’t let the busyness of our lives – even the good things of life – cause us to miss the shouting of those around us.  The crowds weren’t going to stop these blind men.  But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”  The Blind Men: “We won’t stop shouting until Jesus comes!” 

Jesus did hear them and looked what happened.  32 When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?”  33 “Lord,” they said, “we want to see!”   34 Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.  Let’s be a church that snatches small moments every day where we shout Jesus.  And I’m not talking literally.  Please don’t yell “Jesus loves you!” at the grocery cashier.  There are little gospel moments each day that will create reverberating effects in other people’s lives.  Let someone in during rush hour.  Buy someone’s coffee who is behind you in line.  Call up and friend ask them how they are doing.  Write someone a handwritten prayer.  We can shout Jesus in the little ways in people’s lives.  You never know when that moment will spiritually open their eyes and they may see Jesus for the first time.  You never know when a kind word will turn into the opportunity to share the hope of Jesus.  

The challenge is simple this week:   How can you snatch a moment where you can share the hope of Jesus to someone this week?  Don’t overcomplicate it.  If you open your eyes to a moment this week, the Holy Spirit will let you know when it happens.  You’ll feel that internal pressure that you know you are supposed to do.  You can write off as inconvenient like the crowds did.  Or you can find a way to shout Jesus this week in the smallest way.  You never know what Jesus is using you for.  Snatch a gospel moment this week.  Be a part of what God is doing.  Let God use you to share the hope of Jesus.  

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Series Information

This sermon series will a year long journey through the book of Matthew in 2022.  These messages will examine the broader themes in Matthew like God’s character, Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s promises for a Messiah,  and the importance of internal integrity over external behavior. It lays out practical application points like the need for salvation, baptism, and repentance.  It also provides answers to the question “Who is Jesus?”.  It invites you to recognize Jesus as God’s Son and to receive him as Lord of your lives.  This sermon series provides the groundwork for a clear explanation of the Gospel.  

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