Doubt and Uncertainty When The King Is Gone…

the king is gonePassage: Luke 19:11-28

When a choice becomes a “Choice”

•    Decisions are a funny thing

o    We make them all the time; most of them we don’t even thing about
o    Yet, there comes a time when a decision becomes a “Choice”

•    A choice becomes a “Choice” when it is made in spite of the situation surrounding it

o    Take a dating couple, the choice to get married is really not that big of a decision as it is made in the heat of passion

*    The real Choice to be married comes when the cards are down; when the pressures of life is pushing and pulling the couple apart

o    This is true for most any thing

*    When something is simply the next logical step on a journey, then it really isn’t a choice
*    It is when a decision is made against all odds, when nothing is known for sure, that is when a Choice is made.

•    The day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is a perfect example of this
•    Holy Saturday was a dark day during which the followers of Jesus knew nothing but despair, fear and pain.

o    Yes, they had the Prophets and Jesus’ own words predicting his resurrection…
o    But they weren’t sure if these words were just empty rhetoric thrown out to give false hope to their desires of a promised Messiah.

•    It was at this time – in the darkness of life – when the Disciples made their real Choice to follow Jesus…

King is Away

•    Luke 19:11-28 is a passage foreshadowing Holy Saturday.
•    In verse 11 we see that the people thought that Jesus was getting close to ushering in the Kingdom of God

o    After all He had just healed a blind man, converted a tax collector and was headed to Jerusalem…

While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. (Luke 19:11)

•     In response to this mindset, Jesus tells a story about a nobleman who goes on a journey to receive His royal authority

o    This is a story about both Holy Saturday when he was in the tomb and the time between his Ascension and Second Return
o    You see, we currently live during a paradoxical time – a time between the now and not yet, as it is commonly called
o    This is a time during which God’s reign and rule is here – but not in its fullness
o    Just like the during between the election of a president and their inauguration
o    This is a story about the time during which we live

•    When this nobleman leaves, he gives each of his followers some money

o    The amount of the funds is not really a concern
o    The important this is that each follower received the same amount
o    We each receive the Holy Spirit when we bow our knees to Jesus

*    We each have access to King of Kings
*    There is no one more specially or more holy than the other
*    It is simply a question about what one does with the gift of salvation given to us by Jesus

•    As I read this passage, I see three ways in which one could respond to the despair of Holy Saturday; the despair and work of every day

Choice #1: All In

•    Verses 16-17

The first came forward and said, “Master, your money has made ten times its value!”

“Well done, you splendid servant!” he said. “You’ve been trustworthy with something small; now you can take command of ten cities.”

•    This servant looked into the despair of life and decided to go all in
•    They didn’t hold back anything – they took a gamble and decided that if following was worth anything, it was worth everything!
•    It is worth noting that this Choice was not made in the certainty that everything was going to be ok – far from it!

o    The servant didn’t know when his master was going to come back
o    He didn’t know if his investments were going to work out
o    All he knew was that his master left him with a choice….

Choice #2: Play It Safe

•    The second response is seen in verses 18-19

The second came and said, “Master, your money has made five times its value!” “You too- you can take charge of five cities.”

•    This servant was one who decided to play it safe
•    They invested the funds, but in a conservative manner
•    The nobleman recognized this and rewarded him accordingly

Choice #3: Scared

•    Verses 20-24

The other came and said, “Master hear is your money. I kept it wrapped in his handkerchief. You see, I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man: you profit where you made no investment, and you harvest what you dint’ sow.”

“I’ll condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicket scoundrel of a servant!” he replied. “So: you knew that I was a hard man, profiting where I didn’t invest and harvesting where I didn’t sow? So why didn’t you put my money with the bankers? Then I’d have had the interest when I got back!”

“Take the money from him,” he said to the bystanders, “and give it to the man who’s got it ten times over!”

•    This servant wanted to walk forward…yet they let despair of Holy Saturday keep them for action
•    They allowed the pressures of this world keep them from taking advantage of the gifts given to them by Jesus

Doubt and Uncertainty

•    We don’t typically talk about doubt and uncertainty within the church
•    It is usually better to talk about victory and certainty
•    Yet, it is only the face of doubt and uncertainty that we really make a decision to follow Jesus
•    The church has been waiting 2,000 years for the return of Jesus

o    We have been waiting for Him to fulfill his promises
o    We are the servants waiting for the return of our King

•    Questions abound:

o    Will he ever return?
o    If so, when?
o    What will it look like?
o    What is going to happen to myself, my family, my friends…?

•    The Bible is full of people who had similar questions – people who, in the midst of troubles and pain, has asked God where He was

o    The Psalms record the pain of David as he feared for his life with Saul trying to kill him – and this after Samuel anointed him as king!
o    Jeremiah 20 tells about the doubts of the Prophet Jeremiah (verse 7 and 9)

O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived;
You have overcome me and prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all day long;
Everyone mocks me…

But if I say, “I will not remember Him
Or speak anymore in His name,”
Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
And I am weary of holding it in,
And I cannot endure it.

•    When a choice becomes a Choice…
•    Peter Rollins, a Northern Ireland author and church leader, put it this way:

A faith that can only exist in the light of victory and certainly is one which really affirms the self while pretending to affirm Christ, for it only follows Jesus in the belief that Jesus has conquered death. Yet a faith that can look at the horror of the cross and still say “yes” is one that says “no” to the self in saying “yes” to Christ.

If one loses one’s life only because one believes that this is the way to fine it, then one gives up nothing; to truly lose one’s life, one must lay down that life without regard to whether or not one finds it. Only a genuine faith can embrace doubt, for such a faith does not act because of a self-interested reason (such as fear of hell or desire for heaven) but acts simply because it must. A real follower of Jesus would commit to him before the crucifixion, between the crucifixion and the resurrection, and after the resurrection.

•    How are we going to respond?
•    How are we going to react to the doubt and pain of life?
•    How are we going to live during this time in which the King is both here and not here?
•    Are we going to go all in? play it safe? Or allow fear and doubt to keep us from investing the King’s money?
•    The choice is our…