You miss Jesus when you want His forgiveness and grace but refuse to give that to same forgiveness and grace to those who hurt you.

Have you ever thought to yourself, why was Jesus executed?  How did the people in Jesus’ day miss Him?  How is that even possible?  It seems so obvious to us that Jesus was the Son of God.  The reality is that we can miss Jesus too.  That’s what this series is about.

There are several things about Jesus that the people of His day didn’t understand.  The problem was, they were looking for a Messiah, a warrior king, who would fight the Romans.  But Jesus came as the Messiah who would heal people’s hearts.  They missed Jesus.

First, they didn’t understand the love God had for people and how far He would go to love people.  They knew about rules and religion, they didn’t understand what it meant to be in a relationship with God to experience His love and grace.  Today, when we can miss God too.  We can go to church, we can try to live moral lives, but if we aren’t in a relationship with Jesus experiencing His grace, we can miss Him.

A King normally comes in power to rule, not Jesus.  Jesus came to heal people’s hearts.  If we want Jesus to change our circumstances and fail to allow Him to redeem our hearts, we miss Him.

A King normally comes in power to be served, not Jesus.  Jesus came to serve us.  If we don’t allow Him to serve us, we miss Him.

A King normally comes in power to be served and praised, not Jesus.  Jesus comes as a humble King.  Jesus didn’t meet their expectations, they turned on Him and killed Him.  That’s what we talk about today.

Luke 19:28-38  28 Jesus headed straight up to Jerusalem. 29 When he got near Bethphage and Bethany at the mountain called Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: 30 “Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you’ll find a colt tethered, one that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it. 31 If anyone says anything, asks, ‘What are you doing?’ say, ‘His Master needs him.'”  32 The two left and found it just as he said. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said, “What are you doing untying the colt?”  34 They said, “His Master needs him.”  35 They brought the colt to Jesus. Then, throwing their coats on its back, they helped Jesus get on. 36 As he rode, the people gave him a grand welcome, throwing their coats on the street.  37 Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed: 38 Blessed is he who comes, the king in God’s name!  All’s well in heaven!  Glory in the high places!  MSG Luke 19:28-39

Jesus enters Jerusalem and they celebrate Him.  One week later, the same crowd is chanting for his death.  What happened?  As everyone is making their way to Jerusalem for Passover, crowds are forming.  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and word of that spread everywhere.  They are celebrating Him because He is a man with power.  They are celebrating Him because He appears to be the Messiah , the warrior king, who will come and overthrow the Romans.

Here is the problem.  He’s humble.  He doesn’t ride in on a warrior horse, He rides in on a colt.  As the week unfolds, He is arrested, beaten, whipped and He just takes it.  He goes all the way to the cross and just takes it.  If He was the Messiah who would overthrow Rome, why doesn’t He do something?  The problem with Jesus is, He’s humble.  He doesn’t fit their expectations.

What Jesus did and taught was radical for His day.  38 “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ 39 Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. 40 If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. 41 And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. 42 No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.   

43 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ 44 I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, 45 for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best- the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. 46 If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. 47 If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.  MSG Matthew 5:38-48

This message is offensive to the Jewish leaders who hated the Romans.  Jesus was saying, “Don’t hit back, love your enemy” to the people who wanted revenge and retaliation.  I want you to see this.  They celebrated Jesus for what He could do for them, but all along, they hated the Romans and wanted revenge.  They missed Jesus.

We can miss Jesus too.  How?  When we want what Jesus can do for us.  We want His forgiveness and grace, but all along we refuse to give forgiveness and grace to those who hurt us.  That’s why Jesus taught, “14 In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. 15 If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”  MSG Matthew 6:14-15

How we respond to those who hurt us will show if we have missed Jesus or not.  You can’t say, I follow Jesus and walk in unforgiveness.  Let me ask you a couple questions.

1.)    When you are hurt, do you keep score?   Most common cause of hurt: spouse.

2.)    When you are hurt, do you become the victim and make excuses as to why you’re mean to others?

3.)    When you are hurt, do you become the judge and convince yourself you need revenge?

4.)    When your brother, sister or parents hurt your feelings, how do you respond?

5.)    When your Ex does, says or posts something hurtful, what do you do?

6.)    When someone in your community [church, school, sports] is unfair, how do you respond?

I want to be clear, you may have missed Jesus.  I would challenge you to think, am I truly a disciple of Jesus.  Chances are, maybe, you want what God has for you but you refuse to give that to others and you are missing Jesus.  When you experience God’s forgiveness and grace and when you give that to those who hurt you, that’s when you get Jesus.

Is it hard?  Yep.  Is it fair? No, being a follower of Christ isn’t about fairness or your rights.

That’s why Easter is so amazing.  Jesus does the hard thing.  Jesus absorbs our sin and the pain that comes with it, to give you forgiveness and grace.   So doesn’t it make sense that a follower of Christ would act like Christ?   Remember, Jesus said,   When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.  Then you know that you are identified as a disciple of Jesus?