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Insiders and Outsiders

You must live for Christ—but it'll mean your death.
This sermon is part of the sermon series "If Jesus Came to Your Town ...". See series.


It was all going well. The worshippers at these special services rated them as the best ever. Suddenly, a motorcycle gang drove up with a threatening roar, gleaming bikes, and bandanas flying. Some bikers had beards, studs in their jackets (and probably elsewhere), and tattoos. Driving up close and parking in the no-parking spaces, they dismounted, throttled to silence, stepped up, and said: Sir, we would like to see Jesus.

That's a little like the first shock in John 12. Of course it's not just special services; it's the Feast of Passover. But it is going spectacularly well because of this Jesus, who apparently has raised someone from the dead, and who rides into the city on a donkey while the crowds explode with excitement: "Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel!"

I know it's a stretch to liken the Greeks coming to a bunch of motorcyclists. And if you drive a Harley-Davidson and are proud of your tattoos, I apologize. But I wanted to show them as rank outsiders. Sure, they are sympathetic, but they are so different in every way.

They ask Philip, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus," and he doesn't seem sure what to do. He asks Andrew, and Andrew knows enough of Jesus to know that he welcomes genuine interruptions. A woman touches his cloak, children rush to his knee, a blind beggar shouts out, a little man climbs a tree, a thief speaks on the cross. And every time, these unscheduled interruptions from outsiders usher us into deep places where Jesus heals and teaches. And that's what happens here. Because of these outsiders, Jesus gives us the second shock—a heavyweight shock. Several times, he uses the D word.

There's a cartoon in Leadership Journal this month that shows an advertisement for a seeker-sensitive ...

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Michael Quicke is professor of preaching at Northern Baptist Seminary in Lombard, Illinois, and author of 360-Degree Preaching (Baker).

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Sermon Outline:


I. A word to insiders: Live a cross-shaped life.

II. A word to outsiders: Jesus is the real thing.