Showing posts from June, 2016

Sermon on Luke 9:51-62, 6th Sunday after Pentecost, "He set His face"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Something new that I learned about the Gospel of Luke, in preparing for this sermon, was how much of Luke’s Gospel focuses on Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. For 9 chapters Luke describes Jesus’ birth, childhood, baptism, and early Galilean ministry. The next major chunk of the Gospel of Luke focuses on Jesus’ movement toward Jerusalem—a shift toward His ultimate goal and mission. And then, like all the Gospels, the last major section focuses on Jesus’ Passion, in Jerusalem. But today’s reading introduces that major “travel section” or the beginning of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. And the things that Jesus encounters in this reading today, become recurring themes along this journey building up to Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension. Themes of rejection, and instruction in the cost of discipleship. Warnings of the things that would hinder or prevent us from following Jesus or en

Sermon on Luke 8:26-39, for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost, "Tell how much Jesus has done for you"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Today in our Gospel reading, we find the longest and most descriptive passage of Jesus casting out a demon. It’s a startling glimpse into the spiritual world, and the powers that afflict humans under the devil’s influence—but also an amazing proof of how powerless they are against Jesus, the Son of God. The man who is suffering this demon affliction is the most tormented of any demon-possessed person described in the Bible. He is possessed by a multitude of demons, and he has been driven raving mad. Well known to the villagers of that region, he lives in complete isolation, away from human community, choosing instead to live among the graves of the dead. In their attempts to restrain him, they had chained him many times, but he possessed superhuman strength, and shackles could not hold him. It’s truly a despairing and frightening situation both for the man and the people who live

Sermon on Luke 7:36-50, for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost, "If you had eyes like me..."

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Jesus came to the house of Simon the Pharisee for a feast. It appears that Simon and the other guests wanted to search out and listen to this important new teacher, Jesus, and decide for themselves whether or not He was a true prophet from God. Last week crowds declared Jesus was a great prophet, when they saw Him raise the young boy from the dead. Now the religious authorities are inspecting Jesus’ teaching over a meal. Along with the invited guests reclining at the table, there appears to have been other strangers and bystanders who came in, including one woman standing behind Jesus. She is described as a “ woman of the city, who was a sinner .” Quite unexpectedly, she begins to perform an extravagant act of hospitality and love toward Jesus, to the shock and dismay of Simon, the host of the banquet. With great splashes of her tears falling on Jesus’ feet, she bows before Him with a jar of ointment, and w