Responding to Jesus – Gospel in Life

Responding to Jesus

Tim Keller |  April 27, 2003

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  • Sin
  • Atonement
  • Redemption
Luke 23:33-56
RS 158-1


Today’s sermon comes from a series on the life of Jesus in the gospel of Luke. Luke gives us a detailed portrait of Jesus, who he is and what he has done. Even though people saw Jesus in person, some of them didn’t get it — they didn’t understand. We have all of this information about Jesus, but how do make sense of it? How do you respond to him?

Everything you need to respond to Jesus in a life-transforming way is right here in Luke 23. We see all of the people rejecting him — both the leaders and the common people, the Jews and the Gentiles. This is everybody. We’re going to study four groups who rejected Jesus and then highlight three things: who gets Jesus, how they get Jesus, and how we can do the same.

Luke 23:33–56

When we look at Luke’s recount of Jesus’ crucifixion, it makes us think about our own reaction to this incredible event. Even though this was a huge turning point in history, many people don’t fully grasp its importance. This shows why it’s so important for us to understand and respond to Jesus. By looking at how different groups of people reacted to Jesus, we can learn who really gets Him and how we can do the same.

1. Who gets Jesus

In the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, there are four distinct groups: a morally flawed man who understands its meaning, a centurion who praises God, a group of loyal women, and Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man who surprisingly gets who Jesus is. These examples show us that being saved through Jesus is all about grace, not about who we are, where we come from, or how good we are. Interestingly, it’s often the overlooked and average people who understand the good news of Jesus better. This is because salvation comes from admitting our weaknesses and completely relying on God’s grace.

2. How we get Jesus

The story of the two thieves shows us how meeting Jesus can change our lives. It tells us that we need to go against what society considers normal, understand our own reasons for doing things, and deal with our inner struggles. The good news of Jesus, which is that we’re accepted by God through Him, challenges everyone, whether we’re religious or not. This is because it goes against what people think and what our culture tells us. The idea of following the “crowd” often leads us away from what’s true. This highlights the importance of finding our spiritual center and putting God first, as shown by the second thief who was saved, even though he had done wrong.

3. Why we can get Jesus

The darkness that happened when Jesus was crucified is a symbol of the judgement day that’s to come. It shows how Jesus took on our punishment to save us. It’s vital for us to realize that by believing in Jesus, we join Him in His death and resurrection, and God sees us as being in Jesus, free from the penalty of sin. Understanding this, along with realizing how much God loves and accepts us, can change our lives. It can help us let go of the need to be accepted by the world and motivate us to forgive and grow as individuals, as we strive to serve others like Jesus did.



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