Umm, I thought of something different at our church on Easter Sunday, and I wanted to link it to Easter so, John 4 can wait. This is going to be a long one folks! At our church, our pastor has been doing a series on people in the Bible that might have been saying, “But I don’t Wanna…” in their heads. For example, Gideon. He was told by God that he needed to wipe out the Midianites. When God tells him this, Gideon comes out saying, “But Lord , how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The whole story is right here. You don’t have to read the whole thing. I want you to read the parts that I highlight. That’s what I want you to focus on.
1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help. 7 When the Israelites cried to the LORD because of Midian, 8 he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 9 I snatched you from the power of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. I drove them from before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah (This isn’t in the Bible. Anyways, my pastor, Pastor Terry, told this Joke, “Oprah is in everything, isn’t she?!” As in reference to Oprah Winfery, not the Oprah in here. Anyways…) that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
13 “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”
14 The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
15 “But Lord , [a] ” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
16 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”
17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”
And the LORD said, “I will wait until you return.”
19 Gideon went in, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah [b] of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.
20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 21 With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, “Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!”
23 But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”
24 So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
25 That same night the LORD said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. [c] Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole [d] beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of [e] altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second [f] bull as a burnt offering.”
27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.
28 In the morning when the men of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!
29 They asked each other, “Who did this?”
When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”
30 The men of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”
31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” 32 So that day they called Gideon “Jerub-Baal, [g] ” saying, “Let Baal contend with him,” because he broke down Baal’s altar.
33 Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.
36 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised- 37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” 38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew.” 40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
- Judges 6:15 Or sir
- Judges 6:19 That is, probably about 3/5 bushel (about 22 liters)
- Judges 6:25 Or Take a full-grown, mature bull from your father’s herd
- Judges 6:25 That is, a symbol of the goddess Asherah; here and elsewhere in Judges
- Judges 6:26 Or build with layers of stone an
- Judges 6:26 Or full-grown ; also in verse 28
- Judges 6:32 Jerub-Baal means let Baal contend .
Well, It goes on in Chapter 7. Please, read the whole thing! It gets really interesting! Basically, Gideon uses a really wierd tactic that God told him to use to go into battle. God told him to use the wierd tactics so that everyone would know that it wasn’t their power that the Israelites won the battle, but by God’s power and his strength that they won the battle. But anyways, in the story above, Gideon is a little skiddish to lead the Israelites into battle. He was thinking, “I don’t wanna!!”
So, on Sunday Terry’s sermon was on the story of Easter. Jesus has been crusified and he has been placed in the tomb. Here is the story…
The Empty Tomb
1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
Now, in Terry’s sermon, He pointed out here that the disciples did not know were Jesus was. They thought the Romans had taken Him somewhere. He pointed out that the Pharisees knew Jesus would rise from the dead but the disciples didn’t. Because the Pharisees went to Pilot and asked for more protection at the tomb so that Jesus couldn’t get out. But the disciples run back home! They didn’t understand. All the preaching Jesus did saying, “After three days, I will rise up.” they didn’t believe it!
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
10Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
Pastor Terry here poited out that all Jesus said to Mary to get her to realize it was Him, was, “Mary.” That’s it! Anyways…
17Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
18Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Now that is as far as Pastor Terry, and me, went and are going to go in John 20. Terry pointed out here that Jesus actually told Mary to let go of Him! He tells her to go away! Why would Jesus tell Mary to let go of Him? Because He knew that they both had something better to do than hug each other. They had to spread the word that Jesus was alive and that all those predictions came true. That was two weeks ago. This week Terry showed different scenarios were Jesus told the people to do something that would be confusing at first. The first one is Mark 7:31-37…
The Healing of a Deaf and Mute Man
31Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man. 33After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!” ). 35At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
36Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Why did he want others to not tell of His works? Because he wanted the people not to learn about His great powers. He wanted them to learn about God and what He can do for them. Not what He can do to heal them of there sickness, but of their spiritual sickness. I can’t find the other passages that Terry used in his sermon. So, anyways. Then in the last chapter of Matthew, Matthew 28, Jesus tells the disciples to go and tell the world about God.
19″Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
And the funny thing is that we don’t tell many people about Jesus and God and the Holy Spirit! Jesus tells us to preach the word of God and we don’t but when Jesus tells us not to tell, we do. Except it was the people back then that told. Right now, Jesus is telling us to preach. So, we really need to start to preach the word and get involved with church activities no matter who we are or where we are. I hope you take this to heart and enjoyed it! This is basically my pastor’s sermon. So, don’t give me the credit for creating it. Thanks!