Behold: The Savior Comes - True Grit

Behold: The Savior Comes   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:59
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Week two of looking at - “beholding” - Jesus.
And looking at the ways in which faith in Jesus Christ allows us to see and experiance the world in wonderful and unique ways.
Last week we looked at trust
Ahaz did not trust in God
Rather he trusted in himself and in fleshly wisdom
in the end this leads to the exile and Judah’s destruction
But we know that we can trust God and his promise, given to us in Jesus, of salvation and care.
This morning we are looking at something that sometimes grows out of that trust: determination.
One of my favorite movies is True Grit, esp the 1969 version.
You know the story: a man’s daughter, Mattie, is determined to hunt down and bring his killer to justice. To do so, she enlists the help of Deputy US Marshall Rooster Cogburn, played by none other than John Wayne. Upon their first meeting in the court house Mattie declares that she has heard that Cogburn, who’s just admitted under oath to having killed 24 men in 4 years as a Marshall, is a man of “true grit.”
As the movie goes, on however, we see that it is Mattie, not Rooster, that has the true grit. Her dogged determination to catch the man that murdered her father means that she won’t let Rooster and Texas Ranger LaBoef leaver her behind. She fights through all sorts of issues, including a broken arm, a kidnapping, and a rattlesnake bite.
Mattie’s grit drives her toward her goal, no matter the trials and travails that come up.
We can think, maybe, that determination, that grit, is something that is separate from grace and relationship with God.
Is grit just us trusting ourselves?
Is there any room in faith for grit?
In the gospel of Matthew this morning, chapter 9. And I’m actually reading this morning from the English Standard Version instead of the CSB that that I normally read from.
Matthew 9:1–8 ESV
And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.


This is a story that occurs on Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
The version here in in Matthew is the shortest - 126 words
Mark -196 Words
Luke - 212
Interesting to see what it is that Matthew leaves out
The lowering of the man through the roof!
Why leave out this incredible detail
It is so that Jesus can focus the reader on the interaction between Jesus and the Scribes.
Come back to that
But it is still people bringing the man to Jesus that creates the conflict with the scribes.
When is this happening?
Relatively early in Jesus’ ministry
Jesus is doing a lot of healing and casting out of demons.
Immediately prior to this in Matthew, Jesus has just cast demons out of two men and into pigs.
This has resulted in Jesus being, literally, run out of town.
(Matt 8:28-34)
Jesus is establishing his authority
Through signs and wonders.
Healings, casting out of demons
Crowds are gathering
Jesus is beginning to show that there is a cost to following him (Matt 8:18-22)
Jesus has shown that even the wind and the waves will obey him (8:23-27)
And here you have a capstone demonstration of Jesus’ authority: the forgiveness of sins.
The first thing that Jesus does is forgive the mans sins, not heal him
He shows that he has the power to forgive sins by carrying out the forgiveness.
This brings us to the conflict between Jesus and the scribes
They are offended that Jesus has forgiven this man’s sin.
Only God can forgive sin
They are right of course! Only God can do that.
Note, however, that Jesus doesn’t challenge the underlying assumption - that only God can forgive.
Rather, he is showing who he really is:
The Son of Man
Who has the authority to not only heal, but to forgive
He is God incarnate
By healing the man, Jesus “intended to confirm and seal [the authority to forgive] by a visible sign.”
We can and do learn a lot about Jesus and God here, but I want to come back to these men that brought their friend and what the passage says about humanity and what it calls us to.
Look at verse 2
Matthew 9:2
Matthew 9:2 ESV
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
There are two “beholds” here, even if we only see one in English.
There is the one that is addressed to us “And behold”
Matthew is telling us, the reader, that there is something important to see here.
There is a second, is is what Jesus does to their faith, he beholds it.
Just as Matthew is telling us there is something about this story that we need to pay attention to, there is something about these men’s faith that Jesus, and we, need to pay attention to.
Matthew wants us to pay attention to the interchange between Jesus and the Scribes, but he also wants us to pay attention to the faith of these men.
We know from Mark and Luke what they have done to get their friend in front of Jesus, they have come down through the ceiling.
They probably have heard stories about Jesus and the healing that he has done.
Maybe they have even seen some of it in action.
They believe, they have faith, that Jesus can help their friend, and no matter the obstacle, they are going to get him to Jesus.
They are showing True Grit, true determination, but it is a determination that is not rooted in a belief that they can do anything for their friend, but rather that Jesus can!


So what is this telling us about ourselves and our faith, our determination, our grit?
It should tell us, first, that we are still totally reliant on God.
There is nothing these men could have done for their friend in their own power to heal their friend.
They, he, needed Jesus.
Only Jesus, only God, could truly forgive, restore, and heal the man.
Second, It is telling us that our faith must be directed to the right thing: God.
If those men had all the faith in the world that someone could heal their buddy, and went to these extraordinary lengths to get him in front of that person, if it wasn’t Jesus, if it wasn’t God, then nothing would have happened.
We can have all of the faith in the world, but if it is in the wrong things, then it doesn’t matter.
This is part fo what we call idolatry.
Faith in ourselves.
Our money
Our smarts
Faith in someone else to make us happy.
Faith in somthing else to make us happy.
Faith in a poltical leader, guru, or preacher to save and guide us.
None of this counts for a hill of beans.
God, and only God, is worthy of our faith, and only in him will our faith bear fruit.
Finally, our faith should inform and inspire our grit.
Grit, without faith, means nothing, gets us nothing.
We can gut our way through all sorts of issues, but until we BEHOLD that Jesus is the son of GOd, the second person of the Godhead, GOd made flesh to dwell among us, it means nothing.
But it does seem fair to identify an irreducible tension between grit and grace, which Paul’s own life bears out.
(1 Corinthians 15:10).
1 Corinthians 15:10 CSB
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
On the one hand, Paul defends his stewardship of God’s grace by his grit.
And on the other, Paul acknowledges that even his grit has been empowered by grace.
In other words, grace can make us gritty. And grittiness is one of grace’s good gifts
This season, as we are coming to the close on a truly bad year, we need to look, to BEHOLD, our own faith and allow it to give us the grit we need to face
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