Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A New Year’s Revolution (Sermon Introduction)

Happy New Years folks...

The text for yesterday’s sermon was Luke 2:40-52. Please read the text first. Any comments welcome:

The Gospel of Luke, more than any other Gospel, is a travel narrative. It is Jesus’ travel log to Jerusalem in order to dangerously usher in the Kingdom of God. The Gospel is organized by Luke to have a geographic order in it.

So Luke records that Jesus started his adult ministry in Galilee (in the north) from Luke 4:14-9:50. In 9:51, the Gospel records that Jesus resolutely set his face like flint on Jerusalem. Resolutely. Like flint. Why? Because he has to go to Jerusalem to die. He must die. He must suffer. And he knows it. And he knows that he will die on a cross.

So in Luke 13:33, Jesus sends a message to King Herod in Jerusalem:
"Go tell that fox ... I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for
surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem."

So in Chapters 9:51-19:41, he takes a road south up to Jerusalem.In Luke 19, he enters Jerusalem on a donkey. And he stays there for the rest of the Gospel. And, of course, the whole thing spirals like a whirlwind within days to his execution.

Why do I say all that?

Because the risen Messiah Jesus requires something of you in all this travel. He requires you to daily take up your cross and then to follow him. (Luke 9:23)

That’s not a New Year’s Resolution. It’s a New Year’s Revolution.

That’s what Jesus requires of you: To drop all your baggage that holds you back, and pick up the only thing you need:

A cross.

And then follow him.

So the obvious question is: How do I do follow him to the cross outside Jerusalem? Especially since I live nowhere near Jerusalem, and last I checked, the Romans don’t use crosses anymore.

All of Luke in some way or another helps us answer this question. How do I journey life near -- and one step behind -- my Lord Jesus?

And our text, Luke 2:40-52, helps to answer this question. It is the stunningly unique story of Jesus as a Boy. This text is a mini travel narrative in itself: from Galilee up to Jerusalem for the Passover. In some ways it foreshadows the rest of the Gospel.

So how do I follow this King Jesus?

Here is the structure of my sermon: The Boy Jesus takes us in this text to at least three places:

1. Jesus takes us from the Pious to the Personal.
2. Jesus takes us from mere Information to true Insight.
3. Jesus takes us from the Passover to the Passion.

To be continued...


Craig Tubman said...

arrrrr I'm just in the middle of trying to come up with and write a 'one off' sermon for this Sunday.
Then I read your blog and think...is it ok for one man to rip another man's sermon?
And then I feel guilty and confused.
Loved the thoughts J.

Benjamin Ady said...

Craig--do you mean "rip off"? or do you say "rip" in australia to mean "steal"? or do you mean something else?

Justin: why "like flint"? this is an interesting expression. According to wiki, "Flint (or flintstone) is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline silicate form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chalcedony. Flint is usually dark-grey, blue, black, or deep brown in colour, and often has a glassy appearance. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones.". Hmmmmmm.

I don't get the whole "Jesus requires *you* to pick up your cross and follow him". Like a cross is an execution device. It's ... horrific. We don't really get that now, do we? Now it's just a nice Christian symbol. What we have now is, I suppose, the electric chair. they did Saddam with a rope, from what I understand. Execution is nasty business. I think most of us aren't really in touch with that. Being required to pick up and carry the execution device which is meant to be used for us is a really R rated deal. and the cross has its own especially horrific flavor, cause it's not a nice, clean, performed in a nice choreographed, practiced manner according to state and federal law, no videotapes please, make sure the victim doesn't look or feel too nasty type thing. The cross was used by a big, nasty, powerful government to publicly and strenuously make sure everyone understood that they were a big powerful nasty government, who put to *torture* and death those who got too far out of line. You know what I mean? I just don't get it, I guess.

seapea said...

loved the sermon yesterday, because i never really read into why they left him, why he said such things to parents, why mary kept those things to her heart, etc. i can't even imagine what kind of a child he would be if he were a child in today's society...probably locked up as a "menace" to the society!!

Justin said...

Benjamin -- Sorry to not get back to you.

Flint? I think that Luke 9:51 is a deliberate link to Isaiah 50:6-7, HERE, which says that The Servant will set his "face like Flint", when he refuses to "turn the other cheek". One has to be resolute to embrace the judgement of God on the Cross.

And re your description of the cross as an horrific execution devise.


So what don't you get? Ironically, you appear to be the only one who understands! (Or one of a few!) :)

Justin said...

THanks Craig-ers and SeaPea.

Rip away, Craig. You have my written permission right here. All you have to do to receive this permission is press "Print".


I shall keep your sermon prep in my prayers, mate.

Benjamin Ady said...

what don't I get? ... that's a reasonable question. Your response takes my not getting it away, somehow. I guess what I don't get is why/how so many people are seemingly so blithely christian

byron said...

I don't get that either.

Justin said...

Bryon -- which don't you get? christians taking the command blithely? Or the command itself?