Posts Tagged ‘Foreigner [band]’

Sermon 10-21-18: “Whoever Would Be Great Among You”

November 1, 2018

I preached this sermon on October 21, 2018, at Cannon United Methodist Church in Snellville, Georgia. My first sermon in a while! (I will preach again on November 25.) The video comes directly from an iPad, so the quality isn’t as good as it will be as soon as we get some multimedia equipment replaced at our church. We had some recent flooding… it’s a long story. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

Sermon Text: Mark 10:35-45

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As we read the gospels we often like to identify the “good guys” and the “bad guys,” the heroes and the villains. And we identify with the good guys. And in the gospels that’s usually Jesus, right? We are like Jesus, and we are not like those bad old Pharisees. Or we’re like the Good Samaritan, and we are not like the bad old priest or Levite. Or we’re like the sheep, and we’re not like the bad old goats. And when we read today’s scripture, chances are we say to ourselves, “We are not like those obstinate, slow-witted, egocentric disciples—especially James and John! We are not like James and John!”

And I agree. We are not like James and John.

Consider one of the most difficult teachings in the New Testament, which comes from the lips of Jesus himself: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26.

Jesus is using hyperbole—that is, he’s exaggerating on purpose to make an important point. But the point is clear: that his disciples’ love for and have allegiance to Jesus is so great that all other loves and allegiances look like hatred in comparison. If you’re forced to choose between your love for and allegiance to Jesus and your love for and allegiance to everyone and everything else in the world—including the people who mean the most to you—the choice is clear: we disciples choose Jesus every time!

And we may read these words and think, “It’s so difficult. I’m not sure if push came to shove, I could make that choice” But guess what? Back in Mark chapter 1, that’s exactly what James and John do! They are literally mending their fishing nets on their father’s boat, working as part of their father’s business. And when Jesus calls them to follow him, they literally leave their father behind. Could I do that? Thank God I’m saved by grace because what Jesus is asking is so hard! Read the rest of this entry »