Luke 15:11-32 (2)


God, can you love him, too?
Reading: Luke 15:11-32

First, I would like to give you a 30 second of silence.
Why don’t you think about the text and mediate on it?
And if you like to pray, why don’t you use this 30 second for your prayer.

Why did Jesus tell this story?
It is a very famous story.
It is to help us experience God who rejoices over us, when we return to God.
When we return to God, we discover the kindness of God.

In order to experience this truth, let me retell the story like this:
(1) “There was a Jewish man who had two sons.
The younger son said to his father:
“Father, can you give my inheritance now in advance?”

This boy didn’t know how to handle that great amount of money.
But the father gave what he asked.
Then the younger son left the father.
He went to a faraway country with that money.
Then he wasted some of them.
He lost some of them.
Then he spent everything he had.
It was easy to get rid of that amount of money.

Then, there was a severe famine in that country.
He was not prepared for this.
So he became a homeless.

(2) He wanted to work.
Then he found the lowest paying job in the country.
His job was feeding pigs.

But with his salary, he could hardly feed himself.
He was so hungry.
He wanted to eat some of what these pigs were eating.
But nobody gave him anything.

Have the father heard about his son?
But he didn’t go to rescue his younger son.

This younger son chose to live without the father.
This son wanted to live without his father.
So he had to want to be otherwise.

So the father decided to wait for him.
Did the father know how much his son was suffering?
But the father decided to wait.

The younger son realized something valuable in his suffering.
He thought:
“My father has many servants.
They were treated so well, much better than this.
They have plenty of food to eat.
Well, my father was very good to his servants.
I think I have to go to my father and say:
'Father, I have sinned against you and against God.
Now I am not asking you to accept me as your son.
Can you hire me as your servant?
Can you?'”

Now he wanted to live with his father.
He wanted to be a servant of his father.
This was his hope for his future.
So he decided to have a go.

But when the father saw his son returning, the father was filled with compassion.
Then he ran and threw his arms around him and kissed him.

The son said:
“Father, I have sinned against God and against you.
I am not asking you to accept me as your son.
Can you hire me as your servant?”

But before finishing his speech, the father said to his servants:
Bring the best robe and put it on him.
Put the family ring on his finger and shoes on his feet.
Let’s have a party.”

Then the father gave him a new life.
They began to celebrate.

What does this story explain spiritually?
When this son left home, he was spiritually dead.
When he didn’t want to be with God, he was already dead inside.
By returning to God's way of living, he came back to life.

When this son returns to God, God runs to him.
This young man sinned about God.
He wasted his life and God's finance.
But the father welcomes him and loves him.
The father helps him to be fully alive again.

This young man learns about his father.
He realizes who his father really is.
He learns how to live.
He learns from his father.

Then he could become like his father.
His character and personality would become like God's.
Then he can share this love with his children, too.

(6) But now this story didn’t end, here, right?
There was the older son who was working in the field.
He heard music and dancing.
Then his servant told him:
“Your brother came home!
So, your father threw a party for him!”

The older son was mad:
“A party for him??!!
Does he deserve that?
What did he have done anything good??”

He didn't have the heart of the father.
So he didn't want to welcome his brother.
He didn't want to welcome the one whom his father is welcoming.
So, he refused to join the party.

(4) So the father tried to persuade him.
But the older son wanted to have everything.
He was like:
“I was the obedient son.
I take care of everything in this house.
I have never disobeyed your orders.
But you never threw a party for me and my friends.
But when this son of yours wasted your money and came back, you threw a party for him??!!
This is not fair!”

Jesus may be talking about those who have never left the church like this older brother.
Jesus may be talking about those who always try to keel all rules.
Then even though they have not left God physically, they have left God spiritually.
Even though they are with God, they are full of self righteousness.

So the father tried with embrace him God's righteousness.
The father was like:
“My son, you are always with me.
You can do whatever you want to do.
you don’t need to be so hard on yourself.
You have money.
You can offer a party for yourself and for your friends.
But today, we got to celebrate because your brother has just found his life back."

Telling this story, Jesus may be asking us:
Can you understand this kind of God?
Do you rejoice when someone returns to God?
Are you welcoming people with God?
Do you rejoice when God rejoices?
Do you live thinking like God?

Let's summarize:
(3) Talking about the younger son, Jesus explains God welcomes those who come back to God again.
God rejoices!
God loves to see God’s children come alive.

(4) Talking about the older son, Jesus says that we can be lost in the church, when we are confused about whose righteousness we stand with.
If we think that we are doing wonderful things for God, instead of thinking that God works through us, we may become like this older son.
Then, we try to stop God from loving others, accusing them that they left God.
We may judge them saying they are not like us, righteous ones.

We need to be careful so that we may not become like this older son.
Otherwise we may come to church every Sunday but may not think like God.
We may be at the church but not love God and his way of doing things.

I pray that we feel what God the Father feels.
I pray that we welcome the ones who God is welcoming.
I pray that we welcome children.
I pray that we welcome people coming back to God as God is welcoming them back to life.

Now let’s finish this sermon by praying for those who are like this younger brother.
And pray for those who are like this older brother.

Let’s pray that they all may get to know God.
They may be our friends, family, and teachers.
Let’s pray that they may experience God in their life, too.
They may be us.
Let’s pray that we may understand this God.

I am going to give you anther 30 seconds of silence.
You may offer this silent prayer to God.
Here is your 30 seconds of silence.

(Let’s pray)
God, we pray for our family, teachers and friends so that they may know how much you love them.
May you help them to live with you.
May you help them to be fully alive in you.
And help us to live with you and have the same heart like you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.


John 2:13-25 (1)


The body of Jesus = the Temple?
Reading: John 2:13-25
Prop: Matzo
Blanks: Passover, temple, temple, raise, knew

(1) Do you know what Passover is?
It is one of Jewish holidays.
In Hebrew it is called, Pesach.

Do you remember how the Passover came about?
It happened in Egypt about 5300 years ago.
God asked the Jewish people to apply the blood of lamb on the doorpost and then eat that lamb that night.
When the blood of lamb was on their doorpost, they were saved, because the angel of death would pass over them.

According to the book of Exodus, this was the last sign.
After this, the King of Egypt freed let the Jewish people go.
Then the Jewish people were freed from slavery.
Since then, they celebrated the Passover every year.

Why did God ask them to use the blood of the lamb?
It was because God was thinking about Jesus.
Like the lamb, Jesus was to shed his blood to save all people from their sins at the end of his public ministry.
Jesus was to shed his blood to protect them from their death.

(3) During the Passover, God also asked them to eat Matzo.
It is not soft. (show)
But during the Passover, God asked them to use only this bread.
Again God was thinking about the suffering of Jesus.
God knew Jesus would be beaten badly in order to save them from their sins.
This Matzo reminded God about the scratched body of Jesus.

(1) Anyway, about 1500 years later, in the time of Jesus, many Jewish people still celebrated the Passover.
Many went to Jerusalem and offer a sacrifice to God in the Temple.

Jesus also went to Jerusalem and entered into the temple court.
This temple court was originally the place of prayer.
The foreigners were supposed to pray here.
But it’s very difficult to pray during the Passover, because at that time, people sold cattle, sheep and doves here.
The temple authority asked them to buy these animals to make an offering to God.
But the price was very high.

Also in order to buy these animals, people needed to have the temple money that was used only in the temple.
The temple had its own coins that had no engraved images on them:

So, people exchanged their money to buy the animals.
Then they offered it to God.

But the money changers were increasing their service charge.
So, it was getting expensive to offer a sacrifice to God.

(1) All these money making activities agitated Jesus.
Then Jesus decided to drive all the sheep and cattle out of the temple court.
He scattered the coins of the money changers.
He overturned their tables.

To those who sold doves he said:
“Get out of here!
Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

(1) Then the people responded:
“What sign can you show us to prove that you have the authority to do this?”

Jesus answered: (slowly)
“Destroy this temple.
I will raise it again in three days.”

They replied:
It took forty-six years to build this temple.
And you are going to raise it in three days?”

(3) What was Jesus saying when he said, “Destroy this temple”?
Jesus was saying:
“Destroy my body.
I will raise it again in three days.”

But why did Jesus suddenly talk about his body when they were talking about the temple?
What was Jesus saying?

Well, Jesus understood that God gave this temple to explain the ministry of Jesus.
In the Bible, through this temple, God was explaining what Jesus would do for them, when he came so that when Jesus came, they understand Jesus better.

(1) In order to understand, let’s think about why this temple was needed in the first place.
The temple was needed because people need to pray and think about God.
In the temple, people prayed.
In the temple, people offered a sacrifice to God.
In the temple, people received the assurance of forgiveness of their sins.

Now all these can be done through Jesus Christ.
We can pray in Jesus’ name.
We can come to God in the name of Jesus.
Jesus was offered to God, as the sacrifice, for the forgiveness of our sins, once for all.
We receive the perfect forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
And we say that Jesus is better than the temple.

(2) Now let’s look at the inner sanctuary of the Temple.
There was supposed to be the Ark of the Covenant.
(3) In the Ark of Covenant, there were Aaron's rod, a jar of manna and Ten Commandments.

These were there to explain Jesus, as well.
(3) For example, what is manna?
(3) Manna is the miraculous food that God provided in the wilderness when they were moving from Egypt to the land of Israel.
God gave manna so that they could eat and live in the desert.

God asked them to put this manna into the temple, because it could explain about Jesus.
(1) Jesus is the true and spiritual food that we need to eat for our soul.
Then when we understand Jesus, we live forever.
That is what Jesus does for us.

(1) Now you can see why Jesus spoke as if his body were the temple.
But he asked them to destroy his temple. his body so that Jesus could raise it back again from the dead.
Jesus wanted to show them the original idea behind this temple.
Then through Jesus the Christ, they could worship God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

God gave the Passover, the temple, manna and everything to explain about Jesus.
God wrote the Bible to explain Jesus.
God created the world to explain Jesus.
As for God Jesus is everything.
Jesus is always in the mind of God.

But God gave Jesus to us, because God loves us.
God sent Jesus to explain about God.

Through Jesus, God was trying to answer these questions:
What is God like?
Is God really good?
Will God love us forever?
How to live a life that God really likes?
What makes God really happy?
How to live a good life for God?
How can we live with God forever?

Jesus came to help people understand God so that they worship God.
So Jesus came to this temple.
Then he explained what this temple is for.

God is spirit.
God's words are spiritual.
God’s images are spiritual.
God’s creatures are spiritual.
So those who think spiritually understand God’s intention.

Let’s pray:
God, thank you for giving us Jesus.
Forgive us if we have ever used our church like a market.
Help us to understand Jesus and live with him forever.
In Jesus name, amen.


Mark 13:1-8 (1)


Eternal temples of God
Reading: Mark 13:1-8
Additional reading: Daniel 12:1-3
Blanks: great, Olives, deceive, kingdom

If you go to Israel today, you will see no Jewish temple in Jerusalem.
A long time ago, there were different Jewish temples on Mount Jerusalem.
But anymore.
Both of those Jewish temples were destroyed.

Now let’s learn a little bit more about those temples.

About 4000 years ago, God freed Jewish people from Egypt, from the hands of Pharaoh.
God freed them and guided them to live a different life.
Then God asked them to build the tabernacle of God at Mount Sinai

God asked them to build this temple to explain who Jesus is and why Jesus would die for them later.
Before sending Jesus, God wanted people to be ready for Jesus.

Anyway, in the desert, the Jewish people carried this tabernacle wherever they went.
This tabernacle was a sign that God was with them.
This tabernacle was also the center of everything.
It was the center of their religious life.
It was the center of their community life.

Then a thousand years later, King David moved this tabernacle to Jerusalem.
There he had his palace.
But he realized that God was living in this tent, tabernacle.
He thought that was not fair.
So, he wanted to build a temple for God.

But God said: not David, but his son Solomon should build a temple.
So David prepared all the materials that needed to build the temple.
Then his son, King Solomon built the first temple for God.

Now as for God, this temple explained the ministry of Jesus, who would come to earth later.

In the meantime, people worshiped God and prayed to God here at the Temple.
Many Jewish people came here to worship God and be forgiven of their sins.

But not many years after that, Solomon started to disobey God.
He didn’t obey what God said.
He was not following God’s way.
He didn’t listen to God.
He didn't love God.
Then he made many wrong choices for his nation.
Then about 400 years later, the Babylonian empire occupied their land and and destroyed this temple: 586 BC.

But God still loved Jewish people.
God wanted them to understand Jesus when he came.
So about 70 years later, God allowed Jewish people to rebuild the Second Temple of God: (516 BC - 70 AD)
It was much smaller than the first one.
So about 20 BC, King Herod expanded and renovated this temple to look better.

When Jesus started his public ministry, Jesus came to this second temple.
Jesus confronted Jewish religious leaders for misusing the Temple.
Jesus said that they didn't obey God’s will for this temple.

So Jesus tried to help them understand God.
Jesus understood that God gave this temple to prepare them for his coming.
Jesus is the true temple of God that has come.

But they were not interested in understanding this.
Their minds and thoughts were far away from this.
The just wanted to use this temple to continually make money.
They wanted to use this temple like before.
They didn’t understand how to serve God.
Then the more Jesus challenged them, the more they wanted to get rid of Jesus.

Then a few days before his death, Jesus visited this temple again.
Jesus tried to help people obey God and listen to God.
Jesus knew this second temple would be destroyed.

But that day, when he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to Jesus:
“Teacher, look how huge those stones are!
What beautiful buildings!”

Jesus was like:
“Do you see all these great buildings?
Every stone will be thrown down to the ground.
Not one stone will be left on another.”

The students of Jesus was shocked and could not speak.
Then they just walked with Jesus and ended up on the Mount of Olives.
In the Mount Olives, they could see always the whole temple.

Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Jesus privately:
“Tell us, when will these things happen?
What will be the sign that they are about to happen?”

Jesus was like:
“Be careful!
Many people will come and use my name.
They will say, ‘I am the Messiah.’
Then they will fool many people.

"Nation will fight nation.
Ruler will fight ruler.
Earthquakes will happen.
There will be famines.
But don’t be afraid.
These things must happen.
These things are only the beginning of troubles, before the end time.”

Long story short, the temple was destroyed in AD 70, about 40 years after this conversation.
Since then, there was no Jewish temple in Jerusalem until today.

Now you know that Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to his students.
Then the Bible is saying that they are the temple of God:
Because the Holy Spirit dwells within them. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
So each one of them is a temple of God.

Likewise, the Spirit of Jesus dwells in you.
So you are the temple of the living God: 2 Corinthians 6:16-17.
God walks with you.
God is your God.
You are his people.
You are holy and set apart.
That is what you are: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.

Now being the temple of God, what do we need to do?
We allow God to use this temple for his purpose.
Jesus became our sacrifice once for all.
When Jesus died on the cross, Jesus became our sacrifice.
Our job is to repent and return to God.

Since we are the temple of God, we worship God.
We know God is with us.
So we listen and obey.
We follow God’s good will by the help of the Holy Spirit.
We want to do God’s will.
We want to show who God is in the power of the Holy Spirit.

May the Holy Spirit continually work through us.
May the Holy Spirit do good works through us.
May we continually allow God to use us. (John 10: 27)
May we help many people get to know Jesus.
May God use us forever.

Let's pray:
Jesus, thank you for loving us so much.
Thank you for making us as God’s temple.
Thank you for dwelling in us.
Thank you for speaking through us.
Thank you for loving us.
Help us to listen, discern, and understand and live your holy life.
In Jesus name, we pray.