Sermon Title: The Necessity and Reality of the Divinity of Jesus
Audio available here.
This past summer (July, 2008) Matthew Reis almost died. Reis is a 22 year old Iowa Park native who was deep sea fishing with some friends in the Gulf of Mexico, near Galveston, when his power boat capsized, killing one of his friends. When the boat flipped, Matthew was able to secure some life jackets for his friends before he was swept away. He was at sea for over 27 hours…drifting nearly 20 miles away from the accident scene without a life jacket. Just imagine what that would be like for a moment…Drifting at sea, without a lifejacket…experiencing extreme fatigue, but knowing that to rest means to die…not to mention the threat of sharks! By the grace of God, Matthew Reis found an unmanned oil platform and managed to climb onto it…that is where he was rescued by a coast guard helicopter. Can you imagine the joy of seeing that helicopter? He was scratched up, dehydrated and barely able to talk after the ordeal but he was able to make a full recovery.
This is true story, but let me tell you another one…that is fiction. Once I heard an illustration given by an evangelist who was truly seeking to illustrate the urgency and need for conversion. He was trying to communicate the need for people to reach out and take hold of Christ, which should resonate with anyone who’s heart is broken for this lost. He painted the picture of someone who had been stranded at sea for days. This unfortunate castaway was tired, sunburned and on the verge of drowning. Suddenly, out of the thick fog, a ship appears. The captain of the ship throws out a life preserver and shouts to the victim, “just grab hold!” “That is God’s message to you my friends,” he said. “Just take hold of Christ.” “The sharks are circling and you don’t have much strength left.” “You are in bad shape and you won’t make it much longer.”
So what do Matthew Reis and this fictional character have in common with you and I? They both are in desperate need of rescue…they are in serious danger…And for the past two weeks, we have been studying the Incarnation, the doctrine that teaches that God himself became flesh (man) to rescue sinners from sin…But my question is this: “Why did our hero, rescuer have to be God?” What if Jesus was not fully divine…does that change things that much? And how does the Bible picture our state before God’s rescue? Are humans really in grave danger, or worse? After all, Jesus indicated that it would be “difficult” for the rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19:23). (We would all agree that we are “rich” in comparison to other countries…) What did he mean “difficult?” Does that mean with great effort? That we have to stretch ourselves to the limits, like Matthew Reis, spending 27 hours at sea, fighting off sharks ands exhaustion…but we can finally find the oil rig and helicopter? Jesus defined difficult in the next verse when he said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. In case you are wondering, that is impossible…the disciples agree with you!
That picture brings us to our title this morning: “Immanuel: The Necessity and Reality of Jesus’ Divinity…”
Website for Matthew Reis Story: http://texomashomepage.com/content/fulltext/?cid=11231