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Showing posts from March, 2009

Sermon on Mark 10:35-45, for the 5th Sunday in Lent, “To Serve and Be a Ransom”

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today in our Gospel reading Jesus contrasts true greatness with the self-promotion of the world. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

James and John were fairly shameless in their request to be granted whatever they wanted…as if Jesus were a genie in a bottle to do their bidding. And what a request! To be the right-hand and left-hand men to Jesus, when He came in His glory. Of course, who was better qualified? They were the go-getters, bold and over-confident in their abilities. They were confident that whatever honor or greatness Jesus would rise to, that they were equal to that ascent. They were fit to share in that honor and glory. Apparently the other ten disciples had less confidence in James and John, than they had in themselves. The ten disciples became indignant or sorely angry when they found out about this request. Was it because they thou…

Sermon on Matthew 22:41-46 for Lent 5, "If then David calls Him Lord, how is He his son?”

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Our 5th part of the sermon series on “Questions about Jesus they don’t want answered” is where Jesus decisively turns the tables on the Pharisees and Jewish leaders, and puts an end to their questions. Instead of continuing to field their questions—ones for which they won’t accept His answers, He asks them one that silences them all. There’s a delicious bit of irony in this chapter of Matthew, because in the preceding sections, the Pharisees were excited that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, with whom they strongly disagreed. Then they tried to stump Jesus, and failed. And now with today’s questions Jesus silences them! Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Jesus doesn’t gloat over or humiliate the Pharisees, or even ask the questions directly concerning Himself, but humbly asks “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is He?” They’re given the …

Sermon on Numbers 21:4-9 & John 3:14-21, for the 4th Sunday in Lent. "So must the Son of Man be lifted up"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today the sermon will be based on both the Old Testament reading and the Gospel reading. In the same passage of John 3, where we find the famous verse “For God so loved the world…”, Jesus compares His death on the cross to this unusual OT story of the bronze serpent. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Forty years of wandering in the desert had been God’s punishment to the Israelites for their lack of trust in God to bring them into the Promised Land. Forty years of regrets and a generation of adults who were unable to enter the Promised Land because of their rebellion. Yet also forty years of provision for their needs—God’s heavenly gift of manna, the bread from heaven, and quail to feed them, His miraculous provision for their water and clothing—all by God’s grace, despite their quarrelling and rebellion. Yet here in the middle of it all, after lea…

Sermon on Matthew 21:23-27 for Lent 4, "By what authority...?"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The fourth question of our series on “Questions about Jesus they don’t want answered,” comes from Matthew chapter 21, the question of the chief priests and elders. They asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The chief priests and elders raise a question of authority, and Jesus answers a question with a question. Things were escalating to a confrontation as Jesus returned to teach in the Temple, after last week’s encounter, when the chief priests were angry that Jesus didn’t stop the children from praising Him with shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Turning over the tables of money-changers and chasing the animals and merchants out of the Temple with a whip was a pretty gutsy move, and they were demanding an explanation. By what authority do you do this? Wh…

Sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, "Foolishness, Wisdom, and the Cross"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The sermon text is the Epistle reading from 1 Corinthians 1. Here the apostle Paul speaks about the centrality of Christ crucified in Christian preaching. Thinking about this passage, I remember once when I was shocked and even a little offended when I saw a book my dad owned, titled, “The Foolishness of God.” What could that phrase mean? Isn’t it blasphemous? And then I found those very words come from the Bible, in this passage to the Corinthians. The book, it turns out, was not insulting God, but showing how God’s ways are far beyond human understanding and reason. Today we will look more closely at the foolishness of God and how the foolishness of God proves wiser than man’s wisdom. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

We preach Christ crucified. It’s the heart and center of our faith and life as Christians. It’s the indispensible message that hol…

Sermon on Matthew 21:14-17 for Lent 3. "Do you hear what these are saying?"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. This third part in the Lenten series on “Questions about Jesus they don’t want answered” is based on Matthew 21:14-17, and the question the Jews raise to Jesus is: “Do you hear what these are saying?” This exchange takes place in the Temple, shortly after Jesus has made His Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem. He’d been greeted by crowds waving palms and shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” That same cry of praise, “Hosanna to the Son of David” is criticized here. Only this isn’t in the streets of Jerusalem, but in the courts of the Temple, right after Jesus had just cleansed the Temple of moneychangers and merchants. Today we’ll consider how Jesus responded to this cry of praise. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

It must have been a chaotic day in Jerusalem, with all the buzz and stir that was h…

Sermon on Mark 8:27-38 for the Second Sunday in Lent. "Who do you say that I am?"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today’s sermon is from the Gospel reading, Mark 8:27-38. Jesus asks His disciples and us that all-important question: “Who do you say that I am?” It is my aim that you would be able to answer that question for yourself with certainty, or at least make it a front burner issue to decide what you think of Jesus. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Jesus’ first question to His disciples, was “Who do people say that I am?” What was Jesus after? Did He have an identity crisis? Was He looking for validation? No, He was looking for the disciples and others to take a position on who He was. The public opinion poll about Jesus came in from the disciples that some thought He was John the Baptist (the prophet and cousin of Jesus who had recently been executed, and who some feared was now back from the dead). Others thought He was Elijah, the great prophet of old,…

Sermon on Matthew 15:1-20 for Lent 2, "Why do your disciples...?"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Tonight we continue our sermon series on “Questions about Jesus that they don’t want answered.” The text is the reading you heard from Matthew 15:1-20, the Pharisees question about traditions. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Arguing with the Son of God is never a winning proposition. Whenever the Pharisees or others tried to catch Jesus in His words, or trip Him up, they ended up being snared in their own words. Jesus could quickly turn the tables on them, and expose the lie in their hearts. The Pharisees’ question today, was about why the disciples broke the tradition of the elders by eating with unwashed hands. This referred to certain ceremonial laws that the rabbis had recorded, but were not scriptural. Instead of answering their question, Jesus puts another one of their manmade traditions or laws to the test. Why? To show that they really we…

Sermon on Genesis 22:1-18, for the First Sunday in Lent "The Lord Will Provide"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The sermon text is the Old Testament reading, God’s testing of Abraham, Genesis 22:1-18. Today we will think and consider how God tests us as well, and how the Lord will Provide. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

I don’t know in what particular ways God is going to test you throughout life. The individual tests of faith that we face as Christians, may be as different from one another as the differences between our personalities, our personal strengths and weaknesses, our work circumstances and environment, our personal and family relationships, our age, etc. Young or old, married or single, wealthy or poor—our lives will be tested. But regardless of the wide differences that may face us in the types of trials and tests that we face, this is near certain to be in common—that they will challenge your trust in God’s Word and Promises. The circumstance…