Sermons from October 2021
Facing increasing rejection and opposition from the religious leaders of the day, Jesus begins “hiding” his teachings in parables, so that only those who really desire to follow and learn from Jesus are able to know his meaning. This week we will focus on the parable of the sower – or, better, the parable of the soils. The parable asks us to examine our attitude toward Jesus – are we believing? connected? rejecting worldly pleasure? holding fast to his word? This parable warns us, corrects us, and shows us the way to a fruitful life of faith.
In a remarkable story in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus powerfully contrasts a self-righteous Pharisee with a sinful woman. The man looks with disdain on her, while she reveals a deep love for Jesus that springs out of the forgiveness he has granted. What can we learn from her? She models to us humility and faith that discovers the riches of God’s grace and results in a deeper love for Jesus.
While in prison, John the Baptist hears reports of Jesus’s ministry. Many things line up with his expectation of the Messiah, but many things do not. He sends his followers to ask Jesus directly “are you indeed the Messiah, or are we waiting for someone else?” Jesus’s unusual response inspires trust in God for those who believe and repent, but for those who are righteous in their own mind, no response he could give would be sufficient.
In our passage this week, we will see Jesus in action once again, this time in two remarkable stories, one of healing a dying man, and the other raising a dead man to life. We must ask, who is this Jesus? Who else speaks and acts with such authority that is combined with tender compassion? The answer: there is no one like him, no one else who is worthy of our trust and admiration.