■■■■■† 화란한인교회에 오신 것을 환영합니다. 암스테르담, 암스텔담, 암스텔빈, 암스텔펜 한인교회 †■■■■■
English Sermon ('19.04.21) The Messenger of the Covenant
2019-04-23 10:32:00, view [
The Messenger of the Covenant
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.(Malachi 3:1-6)
When the church group visited Israel last time, we landed at Tel Aviv and explored our way through Joppa and to North along the Mediterranean Coast. From there again we travelled up North West arriving at the Lake of Galilee. Then along the lower Jordan River we came down south again. We passed the Judean Wilderness, then went up to Jerusalem 800m above the sea.
Even just by looking at our course of journey, it is evident how single-mindedly we were following the footsteps of Jesus. Not to mention we had various people who led us throughout the entire journey. The guide, driver, translator, etc. were all there waiting to offer us guidance. But first and foremost, the living God was waiting for us.
As you travel somewhere new you need someone who goes in front of you. In a battle you need an ‘advance guard’ too. This is also true in your life journey: you ought to have a forerunner. Jesus too, when He came onto earth, had one just like that. It was said in Malachi 3, ‘Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me’ (Mal 3:1), pointing at John the Baptist.
Nevertheless, immediately after that, Malachi says ‘The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple!’ (v.1b) Jesus has John the Baptist preparing the way before Him, but His coming is still going to be sudden. Pithom! How come is it going to be ‘sudden’ when He has someone that goes and prepares His way in advance?
In our translation of the Bible, it is missing; but in the Hebrew Bible, or in English, the exclamation, Look! Behold! or Lo! comes first. Before the announcement ‘the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight is coming!’ they shouted out ‘Ah! Look!’ It is the kind of exclamation you would make, if a bridegroom suddenly swung the door open and entered the hall even before someone shouted out ‘Now, the bridegroom…!’ This is how sudden Jesus’ coming is said to be.
In that sense, this single syllable of exclamation tells us, what it will be like for us when we see Jesus’ arrival. In other words, the encounter with Jesus is going to be so sudden and marvellous from our side. Even though we have one who comes and prepares the way before Him.
When we went to Jerusalem, we managed to go round Via Dolorosa. It is the way that leads from the court of Pilate to the Tomb of Jesus. It is the way of mourn, the way of the cross. As we trod the way one station after another, we knew we would soon be finally arriving at the last, the 14th station - the tomb of Jesus.
But when we actually arrived there, what was it like? All of us exclaimed ‘Ah!’ without exception. Why? Because we did not know? It was because that place was where our Messenger of the Covenant whom we sought had been present; that empty tomb where the sinner died on the cross had been placed. And He was my God.
Mark 15 describes the scene where Jesus is hung on the cross along with two other murderers. Then, people passing by shook their heads and insulted Jesus, saying, ‘So! Aha! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days! Save yourself, and come down from the cross!’ (Mark 15:29,30) Aha! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days! Aha!
Why did they shout out ‘Aha!’ Not written in detail, but obviously they already held in their head their own sign and image about the one who would build the temple in three days. Their mind pictured a different kind of Messenger of the Covenant. They did not expected it at all to appear before them in the way Jesus hung on the cross.
When we arrived in Jerusalem, the reverend who was guiding us took us to the top of Mt. Olives first. There were the Chapel of the Ascension and Dominus Flevit Church where Jesus is said to have wept looking over the temple. It was only after we had been to those places, we began to walk along Via Dolorosa.
But what did we meet there? It was an empty tomb. But why did we marvel at it? Because we had to wait so long at the end of a long queue? Because the ancient building that stood there for 1700 years? No. But it was because the tomb was empty. Were we somehow secretly imagining a mummy that would have lied there for 2000 years?
Come to think of it, Jesus was always outside the boundary of our expectation. In Nazareth where He grew up, at the Galilean coast where He taught the Beatitudes. Jesus was in a completely different way from what we had expected. What about the Church? What was the Church the world excepted and thought? Now even the marvel has died out.
In 1 Cor.1:18, Paul said “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing; but to us who are being saved the power of God” Those who are perishing may say that the message of the cross is foolish. Therefore the only thing they can say even as they see the suffering Jesus on the cross, ‘Come down, save yourself!’ Save yourself from suffering, poverty and all the things that oppress you!
However, to those who are being saved it is the almighty power of God. It is transcending wisdom and love of God who carries all sins of mankind at once and descends to hell in order to save us out of there. One way or another Jesus of the cross does indeed take us by surprise and so suddenly.
Look at Mal 3:2, “who can endure the day of His coming? Who can stand when he appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” Probably, this is the first reason why we marvel at His coming. Because of Jesus being like fire and soap, our own imagination and expectation about Messiah is completely shattered.
What was our expectation about the messenger of the covenant? Giving wealth? Brining success? Comfort? Peace? Healing? Or Truth? But His reality is fire that refines gold. Did you think He would come wearing soft clothing in the king’s houses? He comes as soap water at the launderer’s.
Look at v.3, ‘As a refiner and purifier of silver He will purify sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver.’ Jesus fulfilled this exactly. When He came up to Jerusalem Temple, the first thing He did was to drive out sellers and buyers and to overturn the bench of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.
As seen in the way how people who greeted and welcomed Jesus waving palm branches, they might have expected Jesus to come as their political king. But what Jesus did was to make a whip out of cords. And as if sparkles of fire flow over the water, did He not flick the whip all over temple and cleanse it?
If we remember His words well and put the meaning of His words in our hearts, then we’ll know that this is Jesus’ prophetic performance that shows what will happen to His body as the temple. Does this not but show how He will be whipped, overturned, driven out, and killed as He does to this temple right now?
What about the other imagery of Him? He is said to be a launderer’s soap. He will remove the dirt and whiten even the blot. This indicates that He is the one who washes and whitens the clothes with the blood of the lamb, His own blood; the one who cleanses the Temple.
The one who comes with these attributes is the Messenger of the Covenant. It is the Son God promised to send, the one who comes as the descendent of David, our Lord Jesus Christ. Is it not marvellous?
The glorious buildings, awesome decorations, great achievement, numerous followers we saw in Jerusalem… and the image of the Messiah drawn in our hearts through those things! They are the causes that make us marvel before Jesus who died on the cross. If you expected greatness or something spectacular from Jesus, be marvelled and marvelled! If you expected some kind of authority, wealth, morale or even eternal life through the church, despair and regret!
As it is written in Psalm 118:22-23, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes.” Jesus quoted these very verses and added, “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” (Matt. 21:43) Therefore! Because it is marvellous in our eyes!
That a rejected stone has become the cornerstone, is it not marvellous? - For the deeds of the cross that appear completely useless and unworthy to our eyes are in fact the cornerstone. For we believe that we who are filled with all good works deserve to be saved, but in reality it is to the sinners, tax collectors, and prostitutes salvation will be given.
Whoever can endure the day of His coming and whoever can stand when He comes!
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