A lot has happened since we last gathered for worship. There has been nonstop breaking news from Iran to Buckingham Palace. My beloved 49ers hosted, and won, their first playoff game in their new stadium. And, we’ve went through 30 years of Biblical history.
That last part is an interesting detail about how each of the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ life are put together. Two of the gospels – Matthew and Luke – give some details about Jesus’ birth and early life, while the other two – Mark and John – do not discuss his birth and go right into the descriptions of Jesus’ life. Since we celebrated Epiphany Sunday, and gave a little attention to the Magi of Matthew 2, we’ve traversed the majority of Jesus’ life. In fact, only Luke gives us any details about what took place after Jesus was, roughly, the age of 2.
Why is that? The gospels are written in a historical biographical form that was prevalent in the 1st Century AD. That form of writing focused on only including substantial details from the main subject’s life that would give an understanding of who this person was. This often included a focus on the person’s death and final moments. We see that in each of the gospels, which place most of its emphasis on Jesus’ final week before his death and resurrection. Counter this to our focus, today, which would be to include every aspect of an individual’s life from birth through death based upon a common theme.
One aspect of Jesus’ life that all four gospels mention or allude to is his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. It is one of the most significant moments of his early ministry and launches Jesus’ into the public portion of his earthly ministry. You cannot understand Jesus’ ministry without taking a deep look at why he was baptized. Continue reading “Sermon: You are Beloved”
It was still dark that Sunday morning. An appropriate way for John to begin his account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. One of the things to appreciate about the Gospel of John it is that word choice means everything. A word like “dark” or “darkness” carries with it a meaning that is deeper than what it may seem.
On one hand, it was literally dark in Jerusalem and at the tomb where Joseph of Arimathea and Niccodemus laid Jesus following his death on the cross three days earlier. The morning sun had not broken through the darkness of the night as a new week began. Darkness filled the skies much like the darkness that greeted us, this morning, as we gathered for this sunrise worship. Continue reading “Easter Sunrise Message: It’s No Longer Dark”
During the first two weeks of our Lent sermon series looking at the final words of Jesus from the cross, we have encountered some of the participants who were at Golgotha on that fateful Friday afternoon. They are as much a part of the story of understanding Jesus’ final words as Jesus is himself.
The first week allowed us to look at some of the activity that took place during a crucifixion and how the Roman soldiers would cast lots for the criminal’s possessions. Last week, we looked at the interaction between Jesus and the two criminals who were placed on crosses with him, especially the one who repented of his actions. This week, we turn our attention to Jesus’ who have come to this horrifying place to watch Jesus die. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: Here is Your Mother/Here is Your Son”
One of most important things about life is having a group of friends that you can depend upon. That is because no one can go through life alone. We need the support of a group of people, friends, who will love us unconditionally, be there with us no matter the situation, and will always find a way to make us laugh or to see the brighter side of life.
All of us need a group of friends who are there for us. That includes Jesus. Now, that might seem like an odd suggestion to make. Why would the Son of the Living God, the Messiah, the Savior, need people to support him? No one can do life alone or in a vacuum, and that includes Jesus who experienced all life has to offer including its challenges, difficulties, and obstacles. Jesus was very well aware that he could not do what was asked of him alone. He needed people to walk with him. He needed people who would support him. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: What Will God Show You?”
In the dawn of Sunday morning, the day after the Jewish Sabbath following an eventful Passover celebration, Mary Magdalene and some others decided to go to the tomb. Not just any tomb, but the tomb where Joseph of Armiathea had placed Jesus following his death on the cross Friday afternoon. The Sabbath prevented Mary and her friends from journeying to the tomb, but once the sun was up on Sunday morning they proceeded to go to where Jesus was buried.
Scripture gives us conflicting reports as to why Mary visited the tomb. Some say she was there to finish the burial, while John perhaps focuses on her devotion to Jesus by indicating no other desire other than just to be there. The conflicting reports are simply different perspectives of the same story that focuses on what Mary and her group experienced.
However, once they arrived at the tomb that saw something they did not expect. They noticed that the stone used to seal the tomb was rolled away. This was a troubling sight and the group was fearful that something bad had happened. Back then it was common for grave robbers to come and steal items from graves. Mary’s first inclination is that this is what happened. She doesn’t go near the tomb, but the fact the tomb was unsealed leaves this possibility open to her. Continue reading “An Easter Devotion”