7-4-21 Sermon

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, you have come among us in the person of your Son, Jesus the Christ, your living Word, incarnate in human flesh. Through the power of you HOLY SPIRIT, open our hearts and minds to receive Jesus as your means by which you pour out your redeeming grace, and enable us to call upon you for our salvation. This we ask, through his holy name. Amen.

Traveling about the towns and villages of Galilee, Jesus went home to Nazareth and as usual, He went to Church on the Sabbath, and was given the opportunity to teach. Those who heard Him were astonished. No one ever said the things He said. No one ever taught the way He did. But rather quickly, their astonishment turned into indignation.

So, what did He say? Were the words He used disrespectful? Was He politically, incorrect?

 

His teaching that day was the same as many other times in other synagogues. He applied the Old Testament passage that was read to Himself, teaching that the Scriptures were fulfilled in Him—which initially astonished them, but then the murmuring began: Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary? We know Him. He’s no one special. He’s no different than any of us!

 

I guess in a way, they were right. The Son of God had not come down from heaven to put Himself over them. He came down from heaven - to fulfill the Scriptures - to serve them; to lift them up; to help them; to lay down His life for them. By rejecting Him, the people of Jesus’ hometown robbed themselves - of all the good He came to bring. Mark tells us that He could do no mighty work there…Only a few believed. Jesus was astonished at their unbelief.

Unbelief is not new. Ezekiel and many of the prophets before him, were rejected too. God sent Ezekiel to the rebellious people of srael-- whose descendants were impudent and stubborn—who just happened to be the same descendants in Nazareth-- the same descendants that still are around today. Jesus is a cause of resentment, and rejection.

So really, the amazing thing is that God is still trying to have his word preached. He is still giving His gifts, still caring and providing for people - even those who do not believe in Him. f it were any of us . . . our patience and forgiveness would have run out long ago. But God continues to love.

So just what is it today that causes some to be offended at the God who only wants to come and bless us with His gifts? There are probably many reasons, but perhaps one reason is our belief in equality - that everyone should be treated equally and perhaps at some times and in some ways that is important and true. But not always. Because love doesn’t treat everyone the same. Love takes into account who a person is and what a person needs and acts accordingly. Parents know this. You don’t treat your children all the same because they’re not all the same. They have different needs, have different personalities, respond in different ways. and since you love them, you act accordingly.

Now, the children may not understand that! That’s not fair! is the cry every parent has heard. and that’s right. t’s not fair. t’s love.

Take, for example, in the Epistle for today. One man, Paul tells us, was given a glimpse of paradise. But what did Paul get? A thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, Paul says. Not fair! But it was good. t was love. It’s what Paul needed. So what has God given or not given to you?

Are you put out, angry or hurt?

Could good come out of a bad situation of which we are not even aware? As a child of God, have the promises of God been broken? Our understanding or reasoning are not on the same level as that of almighty God. A reason in itself to give thanks to God for His love.

The Son of God came down to us. To serve us. To help us. To lift us up. No other God died for you. No other God rose from the dead for you. Only Jesus. and for this we should marvel and give thanks for such love . . . for the God who comes to us, gives and gives and gives.

As I read through the Old Testament reading for today, I couldn’t help but wonder if Ezekiel would be able to tell us apart from the people he was sent to way back then?

Every week, everyday our Lord provides for all our needs. n love, He calls us to repentance, which is not ever pleasant. Not to offend us, but so we will joyfully receive His gifts in faith. For if He didn’t give them, we wouldn’t have them. He alone is the source of our complete well being. and we should marvel - and rejoice! - at our God, for us.

That’s what Jesus wanted for the folks in His hometown and perhaps they, like Jesus’ family, later believed. And so we pray for all people, and for ourselves. That our Lord would bring all to faith in Him our gracious, loving, giving God. He might not be fair but He is always loving. So when Jesus calls us home, either through death or when He comes again, He who was not welcomed in His hometown will welcome us to His. Amen

 

 

 
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