Sir, We Would See Jesus: In the Presence of Evil

III. “In the Presence of Evil” March 3, 2013

“Sir, We Would See Jesus”

AUDIO: Sir, We Would See Jesus – In The Presence of Evil

Luke 7:36-50 & John 2:13-16

We have said that Christian Character is not obsolete. What more stringent test is there of a person’s character than to put them face to face with evil.

We have said that we may be helped toward Christian Character by seeing Jesus Christ’s reaction to life.

We have seen Jesus in the presence of fear; we have seen Jesus in the presence of temptation; today, let us try to see Jesus in the presence of evil.

In many respects, the world of Jesus’ day was an evil world. It was a dirty, unsanitary world. Water was scarce. Sanitary conveniences we take for granted did not exist. Woman going to a pool to get drinking water stepped right into the pool with dusty feet before filling their jars.

It was a diseased world; no hospitals, no asylums, no quarantine for diseases. The mentally sick roamed, screaming and babbling about the streets.

It was a starkly, poor world. A world of few comforts and less conveniences; of few pictures and fewer books; few clothes and too little food.

It was a cruel world.

Some pilgrims had made their way to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices in the Temple. The Roman Governor heard that there might be revolutionaries amongst the group, and so even as the pilgrims offered sacrifices before the alter, there was a sudden tramp of soldiers…a flash of swords…a horror of screams…and the blood of the worshipers mingled with the blood of the sacrifices.

Jesus lived in a very real world. A world of poverty, disease, brutality, oppression and slavery. Our world may be more sanitary. We have conquered some of the more terrible diseases; we take better care of our sick, but there is still much evil in the world.

Poverty…hunger…cruelty…murder……sickness and death.

The fundamentals of human existence have not changed very much since the day when Jesus walked the country roads and city streets, in the province of Galilee.

We cannot see Jesus in the presence of all the evil, but can see Him at least in the presence of physical evil and moral evil.

A leper comes down a narrow street in Jerusalem. His cry is at once a warning and a lament. “Unclean! Unclean!”

It strikes terror into the hearts of those who hear him.

To avoid contact with this leper, people desert the streets; rush into their homes, close and bar the doors. They are in mortal fear of this dread disease that leaves the skin scaly and white; that slowly eats off the hands and feet. The leper moves slowly up the street. Bitterness is in his soul….How alone he is….for him…there is no sympathy…no helping hand…no understanding heart.

In the middle of the street stands a MAN. The leper thinks, “Has he not heard?” Again, he raises his voice in the cry, “UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!”

The MAN still stands in the center of the street. The leper approaches near enough to look into the eyes of this MAN, and then to fall at His feet.

At the feet of Christ…the leper finds sympathy….understanding….and comfort.

But, beyond that, he finds cure for the physical disease of his body, and healing for the anguish and bitterness of his soul.

Jesus speaks to him: “Your disease is cured. Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.”

As you read the gospels…you find this event in different form repeated again and again and again.

He made the lame walk; the blind see, the deaf hear.

As Peter said: “Jesus went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed. For God was with Him.”

The whole story of Jesus’ life in the presence of vast amounts of physical evil can be summed up in this: Wherever this evil existed, there was Jesus….compassionate, loving, caring, and healing.

But what of Jesus in the presence of moral evil? What is moral evil?

It is people choosing to walk in darkness rather than light. It is people choosing to do wrong, rather than right. It is people, choosing cruelly rather than wisely.

It is people choosing to walk in their own way, rather than the way of God.

We are so delighted with the wonderful stories of Jesus’ forgiveness and love and compassion, that oftentimes, we forget that He was a man of judgment.

We do not like to think about hell, but Jesus thought about it, and warned that there were many on the road going in that direction.

We do not like to think about Divine condemnation on our faults and failures, our sins and evil deeds. But He condemned such unsparingly.

Two whole chapters of the gospel according to Matthew are filled with phrases like these:

 

“Woe to you scribes and Pharisees. Hypocrites!” One parable after another ends “While these went out into eternal light, the others go out into eternal darkness.”

The picture of a loving and forgiving God can never be overdrawn, for that is what our world needs. But it is a picture that is overdone, if we lose sight of the Jesus who scathingly denounces and condemns moral and spiritual evil in any and every form.

But remember the story told in the gospel according to John of the woman taken in adultery. According to the law of Moses, she was to be stoned. She had been caught in the very act.

The scene is portrayed very vividly in the movie “King of Kings.” Jesus is standing with the multitudes gathered around. They bring the woman into the midst. They tell Him “this woman was taken in the very act of adultery. according to the law of Moses, she must be stoned. What do you say?” Jesus looks at these people, cynical, proud, and worldly-wise in their own conceits. He then turns from them and looks at the woman whom they have dragged in the open court. He says not a word, but picks up a stick, and writes in the sand. One from the mob is curious, and he looks over Jesus’ shoulder to see what Jesus has written, and the word stares up at him….THEIF!”

The man’s face grows pale. He realizes Jesus knows the innermost secrets of his heart. He is convicted within himself. He turns…and slinks away into the mob. Jesus stoops and writes again. Another man comes up and looks. Upon the sand appears the word…“MURDERER!” and a second man, standing condemned…moves away. Finally, Jesus stoops and writes again. This time the word “Adulterer” appears.

A man standing nearby, sees this word in the sand, and knowing his guilt…goes out of the temple. At the edge of the mob, 2 or 3 or 4, have picked up heavy stones and small rocks to throw at the woman.

Finally, Jesus looks up and speaks, “LET HIM WHO IS WITHOUT SIN THROW THE FIRST STONE.” Rocks fall from hands, and the mob dwindles, until every person is gone, and there is none left, save Jesus and the woman.

He looks at her. She looks at Him. He says: “Woman, where are your accusers?” She looks around, seeing no one, she says, “There are none, Lord.” “Neither do I condemn you”, says Jesus. “Go, and sin no more.”

In the presence of physical evil, Jesus was compassionate and healing. In the presence of moral evil, Jesus stood as judge.

 

But wherever He found repentance, remorse and sorrow for sin, He was a forgiving God, saying….”Now that you have repented, I do not condemn you. I forgive. Go and sin no more.”

It is this Jesus whom we proclaim today….in the midst of an evil world….in the midst of our own evil deeds….a Jesus who loves….a Jesus who condemns…. a Jesus who forgives…in the presence of evil, He came not to be ministered unto…but to minister. He came not to serve the healthy…but the sick. He came to bring healing, both to individuals and to society; this was His purpose in living, and His purpose for dying.

Jesus believed that there was a glorious goal toward which the whole of creation is moving. He was always working for the coming of the Kingdom of God. He directed His apostles to pray for it. He believed in it and taught it and lived it. He said that when the Kingdom of God had come, then would the righteous shine forth as the sun….in the Kingdom of their Father.

So, may we in the presence of the darkness and evil of our own lives, and the darkness and evil of the world, look with hope and confidence, to that time when the Kingdoms of the world, shall become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever, and forever.

Let us look with confidence to that time, when evil shall be done away with, for those who believe in Christ, all shall be good.

In the presence of evil, let us heed the call of Jesus to repentance. Let us obtain His forgiveness, both for ourselves and for society. Let us live for that time, when “the darkness shall be turned into dawning, and the dawning to noonday bright, and God’s great Kingdom shall come on earth, the Kingdom of love and light.”

Let’s pray together;

O loving God and Father of us all, you do desire that we should return our thanks unto you for life’s blessings, and this we do.

You do want us to cast our cares upon you for you do care for us, and this we also will do. We pray that this day and this night that you would preserve us, O God, from fear and anxiety.

May no clouds of this mortal life hide us from you. Help us to live in your light, and with the knowledge of your presence and with your power sustaining and guiding and directing us.

 

All our prayer is asked in the name of, and for the sake of Jesus Christ,

You’re Son and our redeemer.

Amen.

 

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply