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Showing posts from July, 2012

Don't Freak Out; It's Jesus!

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The text for today is Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.” Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You would think that the disciples would get it by now.  They’ve been with Jesus for some time.  They’ve seen Him preach with amazing authority, heal the sick with a touch, cast out demons with a word, raise the dead, calm a stormy sea, and feed thousands of people with only five loaves of bread and two fish.  Sent out by Jesus and acting on His authority, they’ve even personally participated in some of that powerful stuff.  You would think they would get it.  You would think they would begin to have an inkling of just who Jesus is and what He can do. But then we come to our text.  Jesus sends His disciples back out on the sea while He g…

Come to a Desolate Place and Rest

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The text for today is Mark 6:31:  “And [Jesus] said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest awhile.” Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our text begins with the apostles returning to Jesus and telling Him all that they had done and taught during their two-by-two mission tour upon which Jesus had sent them.  But something important happens during this brief “vicarage internship.”  We dare not pass over it or we’ll miss the full impact of this passage.  St. Mark records the death of John the Baptist.  John, the forerunner of Christ, has been executed thanks to birthday boy Herod and his hasty oath.  John’s head is served on a platter, a gruesome party favor for Herodias and her daughter the dancer.  John’s disciples come and take his body and lay it in a tomb.  The beheading of a prophet like John is big news.  Jesus hears about it.  He isn’t surprised.  That’s the way it goes with God’s prophets.  How much more …

Righteousness Exceeding Legalism and License

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Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The scribes and the Pharisees—for us Christians today those names conjure up negative images for they were the primary opponents of our Lord.  But it would not have been so in Jesus’ day.  The Pharisees were well-known and highly respected religious leaders who believed and taught that in order to live under God’s favor the Jews needed to separate themselves from the Gentiles and return to strict observance of Mosaic Law.  The scribes could trace their origin back to Ezra, the first priest called a scribe (7:11-12).  The title literally means a writer, a secretary who prepares and copies scrolls, but over the years, their role was greatly increased to being the chief interpreters and public teachers of the Law.  Both groups were established with good intentions.  Prior to the Babylonian captivity, God’s Word had been so neglected that 2 Kings reports the discovery of a scroll of the Law of Moses in…

Just Jesus?

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The text for this Sixth Sunday after Pentecost is Mark 6:1-13. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! As usual, St. Mark gets right to business.He tells us that right after healing the woman of a 12-year hemorrhage and raising a little girl from the dead in Capernaum, Jesus returns “to His hometown” (Nazareth) with His disciples. It is not a family visit or social call, a chance to renew old acquaintances and catch up with the homefolks.Jesus returns as a rabbi.And so that Sabbath, He can be found teaching in the synagogue.The worshipers all know Him well.He comes to share the Gospel with them.But the question is: Are they ready to receive the Gospel from Him?Or perhaps better stated: “Are they ready to receive Him as the one who embodies the Gospel in His person and ministry?” Unlike Luke’s account (4:16-30), St. Mark doesn’t give us any details about what Jesus preached.He focuses, rather, on the reaction of the townspeople.“Many who he…