11th Sunday after Pentecost—Year A—Aug 24, 2014

11th Sunday after Pentecost—Year A—Aug 24, 2014

Preached at the Lutheran Church of Framingham

Let the words of mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Amen.

Who do you say that Jesus is?

He is a teacher.

Recently we have read about many of Jesus’ parables. He was known for gathering large crowds, and his disciples were always asking for extra lessons. He teaches the law, informs us what to do and what not to do.

But he is more than that, he is more than a reciter of rules, he enacts what he teaches.

Who do you say that Jesus is?

He is a worker of miracles.

This week at Vacation Bible School, Wednesday theme was “God’s Love is Caring,” and we read about Jesus healing the hemorrhaging woman and Jairus’ daughter. That is just one example. Throughout the Gospels there are many other accounts of Jesus’ miracles; he cured the sick, healed the lame, walked on water, exorcised demons, and calmed storms. But he is more than that…there were others healers and exorcists at the time, but Jesus was different…more. He could control creation; he could bring order from chaos and raised people from the dead…even did that one himself.

And still it doesn’t stop there.

Who do you say that Jesus is?

He is a prophet.

A messenger proclaiming the kingdom of God, complete with a forerunner of his own. He preached that a new world order was on the way. He told the disciples, the crowds, us what the kingdom of God would be like…is like. He even gave us glimpses of the justice, the equity, the peace.

He talked to the woman at the well even though she was a Samaritan, an unrelated woman, and an outcast.

He inspired Zaccheus to abandon his less than ethical business practices.

He taught how real leaders should act, not as power hungry hypocrites, but as servant leaders.

But he wasn’t just another Elijah or John…he was that servant leader…making the ultimate sacrifice for each and every one of us.

So, who do you say that Jesus is?

He is the messiah…the Son of God!

He was born of the Holy Spirit and Mary. He suffered, died, and was buried, and on the third day, he rose again! He conquered death so that it no longer has its sting for us. We will still die one day, but the anointed one made sure that it would not be the end of our story, just like it wasn’t the end of his.

He in-broke the kingdom of God, making it possible for each of us to glimpse that intended order God has in mind—peace, justice, love, caring, sharing. And not only glimpse, but also empowers us to enact the kingdom as well—to make room in the mustard plant for all, to spread the leaven around the world until all have heard and been set free, to make sure everyone knows that they are fearfully and wonderfully made children of God.

But it is really less about what we say with our words, but what we say with our actions. If we truly believe with our innermost parts that this fact, which we confess each Sunday, is true than we cannot help but be transformed. Since we know that Christ died and rose from the grave so that the world might be made new, we cannot help but participate in that new world order. We are not bound by this world. We have the ability to discern the will of God—what is good, acceptable, and perfect—and enact it…to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to comfort the mourning, to uplift the downcast, to include the outcast.

We are called as believers—as the body of Christ—to work together as such—to bear the good news to all the world.

There is no reason to despair for Jesus is the true messiah—forgiver of our sins, redeemer of the masses, in-breaker of the kingdom, savior of the world. Amen.

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