Unguarded and Breaking Out- Mt. 28 11/26/17
Mt. 27:62-66; 28:1-4, 11-15 UnGuarded And Breaking Out! 11-26-17
Yesterday, in between football games I flipped the channel and saw some of the 2017 King Kong movie. What is so terrifying about King Kong? Why do they make all these movies over and over about him? It started in 1933, they had one this year and will have another in 2020- nine in all. Maybe it is the power of a gorilla. But something more- we are a bit nervous about a power we cannot keep out or keep in. Kong was incontrollable. What makes people nervous about God is He is incontrollable. Some people criticize God because He doesn’t help more- He is incontrollable because He is too distant. Other criticize God for wanting more of our time and lives- He is incontrollable because He is v too intimate. Truth is, God by very definition is not controllable by us. He is not a magic charm. He is not an idol. The first two commandments of the Ten have to do with not making an idol or having a false god before the true God. In our passage, Jesus scared the rulers. So they tried to control Jesus. The best and ultimate way to control people is to kill them. But you cannot kill God. You cannot snuff Him out with arguments and that He is not or has not behaved as you might think He should have.
In King Kong one group put up a fence against him and that didn’t work. Others tried to put him in super chains and a box and that didn’t work either. Of course, for this fictional character, we have a happy ending and Kong falls off the highest building in the world and is finally controlled. Despite our best efforts there is no valve to control God. When you try to shut Him out of your life something happens that elicits our call to Him for help. Matthew specifically brings out this idea that we humans tried our best to control Jesus but could not. We killed him but He would not die. I remember the Joker telling Batman- “Why don’t you just die?” Christ did, but death was not going to hold Him down either. Then there was this really feeble attempt at keeping the tomb secure.
So the Jewish leaders told the mighty Roman army that they needed to secure the tomb. They put a wax seal on it. They guarded it. It was like the Liliputins guarding the Giant Gulliver. It was like small filaments of spider threads on the opening of a door. Easily broken through. The guards ended up not throwing spears but cowering down. Keep Him dead- they cried. But they couldn’t do it. If He could conquer death, do you think a Roman wax seal and a few guards would keep Him away?
God wins in the end. This is the message of Easter. It is the message that helps you to persevere in the face of illness, sorrow, and even death.
Do not fight God. You cannot win. I want to tell you to fight illness, fight death, fight evil, fight for your family, fight for right…but do not fight God. You will end up crushed and hurt. Pharaoh the mighty king of Egypt tried to fight against God- thinking He was nothing. His land was destroyed with plagues and he was forced to let go the Israelite slaves who believed in God. Mighty King Ahab tried to kill all the prophets- but the dogs licked up his blood. Sennachaerib the mighty king of Assyria fought against God and lost 185,000 men and his own life too. There are long lists of people who tried to fight against the Lord but lost and there is no list of those who fought against God and won.
Instead, be open to listening to God. Find out His will and then seek to do it with all your might.
Saul was a persecutor of Christians. He was fighting against them and their way. But Jesus appeared to Him in a vision and said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads. The goads are what prodded the ox. Jesus was saying Paul is like an ox who kicked against its medal prods and just hurt itself more. Basically Jesus was saying, stop fighting me, come join me.
This is God’s call to you. Where are you fighting God? Where are you resisting Him? In what relationship are you angry with God- you might as well not be. Get rid of your bitterness about what happened, and face the way things are right now. Quit resisting the conviction of the Holy Spirit on your soul. He is calling you- and you know it. Quit making excuses and playing games, and turning away from the Lord who loves you with an everlasting love.
If the Romans could not fight God, you cannot either. Be on the Lord’s side.
In Acts (5:39) a great teacher, Gamaliel, said these words, “It this is from God you will not be able to stop these men! you will only find yourself fighting against God.”
There are things in this world that will try to hold you down. Maybe something happened to you in your past that is really hard to get over. Maybe you messed up. Maybe someone was terribly cruel and the hurt is so deep. There is a power that can break your chains. It is not the power of the government. It is not the power of politics, or entertainment or good football games. The power of the resurrection is what we all need. It is the power no guard, no evil, no chain can stop. We are all damaged goods and we all need God’s power to heal us and make us new.
In some ways hoarding is a way we fight against God. Hoarding shows a type of fear of losing things. Our youth, in the not too distant past, have gone into people’s houses who are poor but they have all this stuff- which almost smothers them and keeps them from living a healthy and productive life. TLC had a show called “Hoarding- Buried Alive.” In one show a lady named Mary filled two houses full of stuff. To go to sleep she would crawl into her bedroom window. She could not stand up in her house.
People hoard in different ways. Some hoard shoes. Some who lived through the Great Depression kept every piece of clothing because they remember a time when they could not buy any clothes and many- even adult went around with gaping holes in their shoes. More commonly, today many go into large amounts of debt that they cannot afford to get stuff they do not need to impress people they do not like. That is a type of hoarding. We do not need to bury ourselves with stuff this Christmas.
The Resurrection is not just some idealistic thing. It is a reminder we can let go. We can give. This life is not all there is. There is no need to hoard there is every reason to be generous and compassionate. In Christ there is less fear and more joy. God is incontrollable but He loves you. If you are not afraid of losing or dying you can do great things in life. Do not fight against God. Open your hand. Commit yourself to the Lord. It is when we lose our life that we find our life and also find God’s resurrection power.