"BEAUTY FOR ASHES"
I. JESUS IS TRYING TO PREPARE HIS DISCIPLES FOR THE BITTER SHOCK AND DISAPPOINTMENT THEY WILL HAVE WHEN THEY SEE HIM DYING ON THE CROSS.
A. From the first acknowledgement of their belief that He was the Messiah He was trying to let them know that things were not going to be as they were expecting.
1. They were expecting the Messiah to set up the Kingdom of God immediately, and were even in arguments as to who would receive the greater position when He set up His kingdom.
2. Jesus was trying to let them know that He had come to present Himself as the Messiah, but He would be rejected, turned over to the Gentiles and be crucified, but that He would rise again on the third day.
3. Somehow they just could not comprehend this concept of the Messiah. In fact Peter rebuked Jesus for even suggesting that He would be put to death.
4. Matthew records in his gospel the many times Jesus spoke to them of His death and resurrection.
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify [him]: and the third day he shall rise again.
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Ye know that after two days is [the feast of] the passover, and the Son of man will be betrayed and be crucified.
B. Now we have come to the eve of the crucifixion, and once again Jesus seeks to prepare them for the sorrow they will soon experience.
1. He said,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
And you now will have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man can take from you.
II. IN THE PROPHECY OF ISAIAH AS HE SPOKE OF JESUS, HE SAID:
The spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [those that are] bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
C. This is the passage that Jesus read when He first began His public ministry in the synagogue in Nazareth. Upon reading the first portion of this passage He rolled up the scroll and proclaimed, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled before your eyes." Declaring that He was the Messiah.
D. The things that the Messiah would do:
1. Bind the brokenhearted.
a. There are so many people in the world today whose hearts are broken.
b. The heart break of a broken relationship.
c. The broken heart over the death or serious illness of a loved one.
d. Jesus can bind up your broken heart.
2. To comfort all who mourn.
a. He came to comfort you who mourn.
3. To give beauty for ashes.
a. Some have burned out their lives at a very early age.
b. I see the pitiful sights of young people who by their very appearance you know that their lives are already ashes.
c. The filthy clothes, the matted hair, the blank stare in their eyes as they push the shopping cart with all of their possessions down the street.
d. You know that the drugs or alcohol has already taken its toll and they are burned out.
e. Jesus can give beauty for ashes. I think of the thousands and thousands of people who today are living worthwhile wonderful productive lives who the Lord picked up out of the ashes and brought beauty into their lives.
4. The oil of Joy for mourning.
a. He can turn your mourning into joy.
5. The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
E. In John 16
Jesus is telling His disciples you are going to be weeping and lamenting while the world around you is rejoicing.
1. When they see Him hanging on the cross, and they realize that when He talked about His being crucified, He was not speaking allegorically but of an actual experience they are going to weep and lament.
2. Their hopes will be dashed, they will lose their will to live.
3. Don't you know that on that Sabbath they sat around weeping and and lamenting. They were feeling total despair.
4. That was probably one of the most miserable days of their lives.
5. Hopes and plans for the future shattered. Where do you go back to try to pick up the broken pieces of your life to start over again?
6. Oh what a difference a day can make.
F. Jesus said, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.
1. Just a day but what a difference when Sunday comes and they find that the tomb is empty.
2. It is interesting that the angels sort of rebuked those who came to the empty tomb they said, "Why are you seeking the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen just as He said."
3. Jesus said to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus when they spoke of their hope in Jesus in the past tense. Oh foolish and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have said concerning the Messiah.
4. What a contrast of emotions from the deepest sorrow, to the highest joy.
G. What was it that brought them such great sorrow?
1. Their failure to believe His word.
2. Their unbelief.
3. Unbelief will have you weeping when you should be rejoicing.
4. Not believing God's word can cause great anxiety and sorrow.
H. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
1. Today He can give you beauty for ashes.
2. The oil of joy for your mourning.
3. And the garment of praise for your heaviness.
I. The resurrection is what did it.
1. Resurrection Sunday was more than just the resurrection of Jesus.
2. It was a resurrection of their joy.
3. It was a resurrection of their hope.
J. To some people Jesus is still in the grave. They have no hope for the future, no hope of life after death. They have put their whole life in this world, but now this world is falling apart, and men's hearts are beginning to fail them because of the things that are coming to pass in this world.
1. Millions of Muslims are dedicated to the destruction of America.
2. They are called terrorists because of the terror they can inspire in the hearts of people by their indiscriminate killing of innocent people.
3. We don't know who they are or where and how them might strike next.
4. What a sad day for those whose hope is in this world only. Their world is falling apart at the seams.
5. What exciting days for those who know and believe the word of Jesus, for we know that a new, better world is just around the corner.