Pastor David Palmquist's lenten sermon will focus on how Jesus was beaten, abused, tortured in many ways, from His arrest to His death, but Matthew also tells us He was “spat” upon. They degraded him even more. Our sins put Him in that position, too. But remember, He took our place on the cross so we wouldn’t be abused for our sins.

Pr. David Palmquist

God’s Promise in the Soldiers’ Spit

God’s Promise
Matthew 27:26-31
February 28, 2024
Pastor David Palmquist's lenten sermon will focus on how Jesus was beaten, abused, tortured in many ways, from His arrest to His death, but Matthew also tells us He was “spat” upon. They degraded him even more. Our sins put Him in that position, too. But remember, He took our place on the cross so we wouldn’t be abused for our sins.

Grace, love, and peace from God, our Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. The text for our meditation this evening is recorded for us in the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 27, verses 26 through 31. You can pull out your Bibles or follow along on the screen. Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the right praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him, and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.

They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. Hail, King of the Jews, they said. They spit on him and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. This is the Gospel of the Lord. Join me now in a word of prayer. Heavenly Father, we pray that you send your Holy Spirit to guide and to teach us according to this, your word, this evening. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen. My dear fellow Christians, I’m sure you probably all remember the Disney studio animation called, The Beauty and the Beast. Made in the early 1900s. It was made into a regular movie about six or seven years ago. According to this French fairy tale, a handsome prince was cursed and turned into an ugly, angry beast, roaring and defying people until the beauty showed up. A lovely lady, kind and compassionate, and in spite of logic, she cared.

Now, the story probably is familiar, but so much like so many movies these days, there’s really a spiritual message because it all takes place or talks about good and evil. But this one is memorable, but not because it’s a fairy tale, but because it really specifically reminds us of ourselves. There is a beast within each one of us. We happen to call it, as the Bible does, Our sinful nature. It all came about a long time ago when Adam and Eve committed the first sin in the Garden of Eden and disobeyed their creator. And that original sin was passed on to everybody. And we all then have committed our own actual sins from that time on. After we’ve come into the world, the beast is there within each of us. So let me tell you just one kind of brief. And then, the arrow turned green. And he inched out into the intersection until all of the oncoming traffic had dissipated and I was sure that now I was going to be able to make that left turn also, but he didn’t move. So I flashed my headlights at him some more. It didn’t help. He looked into the mirror and he waited.

He waited till the arrow turned yellow. I thought, okay, okay, let’s go, let’s go, I can still make this. But he waited just another second when that arrow turned red, and he slowly made his left turn onto that on ramp, leaving me all alone, unable to make a left turn. The best part. As he did that. He turned, he rolled down his window, he looked back at me and went, He got me. And yes, I laughed too. I had learned my lesson, my beast had acted up, but he got me back. Lesson learned, don’t mess with California drivers. And the good news, there is good news. I didn’t have a Christian symbol or a Lutheran bumper sticker on my car at the time.

I do have Victory Lutheran stickers now on all of my vehicles because, after 40 years, I need to be reminded so that my beast doesn’t arise. Always reminded of Paul’s letter to the Romans, when in chapter 7, he said, he’s speaking about himself here, I do not do what I want, but I do the things that I hate. Does that sound like you? Sounds like me. The Apostle Paul, then, really isn’t the only person in the Bible who wrestled with his sinful flesh, is he? It’s hard to find a page in scripture where the total depravity of the human being re doesn’t rear its ugly head. King Saul, for instance, chased David with a spear. Shechem raped Dinah, the only daughter of our, uh, one of the forefathers, Jacob. Dinah’s twelve brothers, the sons of Jacob, eventually come to be known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel. They went after Shechem and his friends and killed him. And of course, Abram’s nephew, Lot, he sold out to living in a very corrupt place in Sodom and Gomorrah.

But he got out of Sodom just in time at the last minute. King Herod, later on, slaughtered the innocent babies after Jesus birth in Bethlehem. And then the next king, Herod, came along and he beheaded Jesus cousin, John the Baptist. You know, we often call the Bible the good book, don’t we? The good book. But it’s not because of the people that are talked about there. Blood runs freely through the stories of the Old Testament and the New and very often we have to wonder why, what is God doing? It’s not his fault. It’s the evil of the sinful nature that has caused it all. And the evil of that sinful nature was never so raw or obvious. As it was on the day that Jesus died, the disciples fell asleep on Maundy Thursday in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Jews arrived to arrest Jesus and his disciples fled as fast as they could possibly run. He was taken to King Herod, and all Herod wanted was a show, a miracle, just some entertainment. And so Pontius Pilate was next, and he wanted nothing to do with him. He even let Barabbas go instead of Jesus. And those Roman soldiers? Blood. They wanted blood. They wanted pain. Any way that they could get it. And so they tied Jesus up and they scourged him. The goal of any whipping like that was to beat the accused within an inch of their life and then stopped.

A centurion monitored the prisoner’s status. No doubt Jesus was near death. After being beaten, crowned with thorns, scourged, he was probably close to death when his hands were finally untied and he slumped to the ground. Max Mukato, in his excellent book, He Chose the Nails, has quite an interesting description of this whole process. He says the brutal punishment and whipping was the first deed of the soldiers. The crucifixion, of course, was the last deed when they marched him out to Golgotha and executed him. But what happened in between is what is so hard to understand. Matthew described it for us in our text, and it’s like he’s describing the suffering in hell itself, which is exactly what Jesus went through for all of our sins, too. He suffered the pangs of hell. The soldier’s assignment, it was simple. Take this Jesus to the hill and kill him. But they had another idea.

They wanted to have some fun. The scourging was commanded, the crucifixion was ordered, but who could draw pleasure From spitting on a half dead man. It isn’t intended to hurt, because it can’t. But spitting is intended to degrade. To humiliate. To make a person feel even lower than they already do. And the soldiers, they were elevating themselves. At the expense of another. They felt big. By making Jesus look so small. Well, maybe, maybe I’ve never spit in anybody’s face. But sometimes, even when I told the truth about somebody, it hurt them, and so that, too, even as gossip. I slandered. I’ve raised my hand in anger. I’ve rolled my eyes in arrogance. I flashed my lights at someone’s rear view mirror. Because why? I was important. I was in a hurry. I was more important than that person ahead of me.

I’d hoped that they would feel bad so I could feel good. Now, I don’t like to admit this sort of thing. And that’s probably the last time I’m gonna ever tell you that story. But I must face the fact that my beast My dark side, my sinful nature, makes me do things that even surprise me. I reflect on these over all these past years and I was always wondering, whatever got into you? The Bible has a three letter answer. For that question. S I N. Sin. There’s something bad in me. Ephesians 2. We are by nature children of wrath. It’s not that we can’t do good, we can. But the very center of our being is selfish. It’s perverse. King David said in Psalm 51, I was born a sinner from the very moment my mother conceived me. None of us can say anything else. We are born with a sinful condition, as scripture clearly tells us.

Isaiah 53, all we like sheep have gone astray. Jeremiah, the heart is deceitful above all things. And Romans 3, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Some people, and maybe many for all I know, may disagree with such strong language. It’s offensive. It’s negative. Are these hateful words a free speech that we should not be allowed to utter? Or are they true? Compared to so many of those other people, these doubters will tell you, I’m a pretty good person. I keep trying. I do more good than do bad. But my deeds, I have to admit, are ugly. My actions are harsh. I don’t do what I want to do. I can’t seem to change. Romans 8 says the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it cannot. Don’t agree? Think about this yourself. Are you going to have a problem with your beast? In the next few hours, after you have a nice soup supper here and you go home, what’s going to happen? Can you keep it together till then? Alright, let’s do it quicker than that.

How about five minutes? The next five minutes. Can you control your beast? You’re gonna be worry free, right? No anger? No selfish thoughts, hate nobody, love everyone in five minutes. Can you do that for five minutes? I can’t. I can’t do it. Then I have a problem. I’m a sinner and the wages of sin is death. I have a problem. I’m not holy. Hebrews 2 says anyone whose life is not holy will never see the Lord. I have a problem. I’m evil and Proverbs 10 says evil people are paid with punishment.

It’s depressing. Let’s all get out. What am I going to do? What are you going to do? Max Lucado again comes forth with the answer. He says, Allow the spit of the soldiers to be my sin, and watch Jesus carry it to the cross. Through 700 years earlier, he’s writing as if he’s quoting the Savior. And the Savior says, I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Mingled with his blood and sweat was the essence of our sin. Jesus was offered vinegar wine on a hyssop plant for his throat, but not a towel for his face. Simon of Cyrene carried the cross up the hill a little ways, but He didn’t mop off Jesus face either. Angels were just a prayer away. They could have taken that spittle, but Jesus never told them to.

For some reason, the one who chose the nails also chose the saliva. Along with the spear and the sponge, he bore the spit. And why Max Mukato once again says, because he loved you. It’s real simple. He chose to take horrible suffering, a painful, innocent death, for you, to pay for your every evil, to drive down your beast inside of you and inside of every other person. He changed places with you, in fact. He took our place, suffered our death, and so now we stand before him. Listen, listen to this. We stand before him holy, sinless, blameless, as a fully accepted child of God. You want to believe me or you want to believe scripture? Look at Galatians chapter 3. Listen to what Paul says. The law says the person who does evil Jesus lives by them, but he redeemed us in order that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Jesus came. He cared. He loved creation from the very beginning. Even after our beast showed up, he still loved you. The sinless one was spit in the face. And he took on that face of a sinner so that your face would be clean, your face would be spotless, wipe dry, so that now when God looks at you, he sees the face of a saint. God loves you. He sees you as his. Remember, my dear friends, these promises that Jesus gives you. He said, God sent me for you. Not other people, not better people, but for you. I won’t drive you away. I won’t lose you. Doesn’t matter your background or your baggage. Jesus says, come to me. I won’t say you’re not good enough. I will accept the worst sinner and once I have you, I’m not gonna lose you.

I won’t let death take you from me. I won’t let cancer, I won’t let job loss or divorce or depression, I won’t even let your own sin, I won’t lose you. Instead, I will raise you up on that last day and give you heaven. You will have Eternal life, not eternal death. You will live forever. You will live because of me. I’ve chosen you, he said. He’s saying I was spit upon while I took everything that was wrong and I nailed it to that cross. Here is what I’m offering you. Eternity. With me. Forever. I did all this for you. He did it for you. Join me in a word of prayer. Heavenly Father, I pray that you would do in the hearts of your people what only you can do, and that is give us the kind of faith that can see ahead into the eternal future that you promised us in heaven through your grace in Jesus your son. And Lord Jesus, you are always worth so much to us, and so we pray right now that you would give us all a strong faith to trust you, to know that our sins are forgiven, and thereby rejoice in your love. In your grace, it’s because of you that we can pray all these things. Amen.

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Whether you are new in faith or are seeking to deepen your walk with Jesus, we are eager to connect with you.

Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.

GriefShare

The GriefShare Program is a 13-week series of videos that we watch each week of the meeting. Each weekly GriefShare group begins with a 30-minute video featuring respected experts on grief-related topics and helpful stories from people who have experienced loss. Their insights will help you manage your emotions, gain clarity, and find answers to your questions as you walk through the grief process. We welcome everyone who has a loss; whether it be a child or a parent or spouse.

The videos are followed by discussion. Talking with other people who understand what you’re experiencing brings great comfort, normalizes the grief experience, and offers a supportive environment to work through your grief.

Each session stands alone, so you can join anytime. Consider a single session to learn about the program.

We meet every Monday from 12:30-2:30pm here at Victory.
Check out the schedule.

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Do you have more questions? 
Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.
Learn more about GriefShare at their webpage: www.griefshare.org.

WOMEN’S MINISTRY

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study.

Summer Schedule (May-Sept): 2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am

Winter Schedule (Oct-April): 2nd Tuesday of the month

Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am

Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)


Women’s Ministry

PURPOSE STATEMENT

As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Women’s Ministry

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    FAMILY PROMISE

    Four times a year we host families experiencing homelessness at Victory for a week at a time. Volunteers needed to set up rooms, preparing a meal, serve/clean-up dinner or stay as an overnight host.

    Upcoming Host Weeks: April 16-23, 2023 & November 112-19, 2023

    STEPHEN MINISTRY

    Stephen Ministers are lay congregation members trained to provide one-to-one care to those experiencing a difficult time in life. 

    GRIEFSHARE

    A grief recovery support group where you can find help and healing for the hurt of losing a loved one.

    13-week Program: Mondays, 12:30-2:30pm, February 13-May 8, 2023
    (No meeting April 10th)
    GriefShare.org

    LSS-SW

    Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (LSS-SW)

    I-HELP PROGRAM: We provide a safe and secure place for women who are currently experiencing homelessness the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month.

    FOOD PANTRY: Food boxes distributed Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30am.
    Utility & rental assistance by appointment only 480-654-4539.

    Victory Quilters

    We meet the 3rd Tuesday and Wednesday of the month at 8:30am. Come when you can, stay as long as you can; everyone can cut, sew, pin and tie knots. You do not need to be a church or circle member to attend. Bring a friend! The quilts are donated to Navajo Lutheran Mission, Orchard: Africa and Lutheran Social Ministries. We typically break for the summer. Please check schedule.

    MUSIC MINISTRY

    Ensembles at Victory practice weekly during the high season to prepare for weekly worship and special events. In addition, many people share their talents individually. Click here for our concert line-up!

    NAVAJO LUTHERAN MISSION

    Serving the Navajo community of Rock Point, AZ, a remote, isolated village near the Four Corners. The Mission campus includes a K-2 private Christian school, clinic, cultural center, water project and food bank.  (nelm.org)

    FAIR TRADE

    Victory Women support Lutheran World Relief (lwr.org) by selling Fair Trade hand-made crafts, jewelry, coffee and tea that generates income for small-scale businesses in third world countries. 

    OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

    A “shoebox ministry” of Samaritan’s Purse, delivering gift-filled shoeboxes to boys and girls around the world.

    ORCHARD: AFRICA

    To equip the church to respond to poverty & injustice, thereby caring for the vulnerable using four programs: Food & Agriculture, Care, Education and Ministry.  (orchardafrica.org)

    Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    WOMEN’S MINISTRY

    Welcome to the vibrant women’s ministry at Victory Lutheran Church! As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are committed to growing in faith, affirming our gifts, and supporting one another in our callings. Our purpose is to engage in ministry and action, promoting healing and wholeness in the church, society, and the world. At Victory Lutheran Church, our women’s ministry provides a nurturing and empowering space for women of all ages to connect, grow, and serve together. Through uplifting worship, inspiring Bible studies, enriching events, and impactful service opportunities, we equip women to live out their God-given purpose and embrace their unique gifts. Join us as we journey together, fostering fellowship, spiritual growth, and making a lasting impact within our church, our families, and our wider community.

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ,  and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

    • 2nd Tuesday of the month
    • Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am
    • Naomi Bible Study – 2:00pm
    • Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)