Sermon from August 26th

Sermon from August 26th

I had some request for this sermon so I am putting it here for your enjoyment.  My disclaimer is that - as you know - what I write on the paper is not always what comes out in the sermon.  Also - what you hear Saturday is not always exactly what you will hear Sunday morning, just as what you hear Sunday morning may not be, exactly what you hear on Sunday at 10:15.  But here is the basis of the sermon - perhaps we should say the "seed" - misspellings, bad grammar - at al.  Take care and God Bless

 For the last month we have been walking through both the 6th chapter of the gospel of John. This chapter is known as the Bread of Life chapter – because this is where Jesus tells us – over and over again – that he is the bread of life and he is the bread that came down from heaven. What we have said several times over these past weeks (and we heard Pastor Chaks share it with us again last week) is that these Bread of Life passages are telling us that Jesus is our life. Jesus is our sustenance – Jesus is the one who gives us life not only in this world – but who brings us into his eternal life. To talk about what wet hear today I want to go through what has happened so far in the chapter.

Chapter 6 – you might remember – began with Jesus feeding the 5000 – and then walking on water. These are both demonstrations of Jesus being God among us. Because only God has the power over matter itself. Meaning that only God, the creator, can tell 5 fish and two loaves of bread to multiply until there are enough so that 5000 men can be fed. Only God has the power to tell the water to no do its regular thing and be liquid, but God in Christ Jesus tells the water to change its physical properties so that it supports our Lord Jesus as he walks across the water itself.

Now the thing that we may not get is that when people see Jesus doing these miraculous deeds of power – people go absolutely nuts. They are sure that a great prophet has come, perhaps even – dare they say it – the Messiah has come in Jesus Christ.

How can I tell you that. Because we hear that the people want to make Jesus a king – they want to take him by force – because of this Jesus slips away from them. People are excited, Jesus is like a Rock Star. People want to be close to him – want to be in his presence.

Because they think that God is about to rise up in that place, call together a great heavenly army, wipe out the Romans, and make Israel the rulers of the world. They are looking for a great general to wipe out all of their enemies and they think Jesus is it. So Jesus slips away and then he walks to the other side of the sea of Galilee.

But the thing is – people come looking for Jesus. Just because he walks on water to get away from them – that doesn’t slow them down. They get in boats and cross the Sea of Galilee, they follow him wherever he goes. Thousands of people. At least the 5000 who ate – and you know that by now others are starting to fall in – others want to get on board – because they think they know what Jesus is all about.

So Jesus starts to talk to them. He tells them that he is the Bread of Life. You know they have got to be thinking that this sounds a little weird – but okay if Jesus wants to call himself the Bread of Life all right – whatever. That doesn’t sound too weird.

Then this Jesus starts saying that he is the bread that came down from heaven. Okay, maybe that is a little strange. First he was bread – now he is saying he came down from heaven. Oh, what was that he just added that no one comes to the Father but through him.

At this point you can imagine one of the people standing there listening to Jesus. You have seen the feeding, maybe you even got a piece of bread. Now Jesus is saying all this weird stuff that he is bread, from heaven, and that he is the way to the Father. Now I would bet that this guy standing there may not understand all of that – but hey – this Jesus guy is a prophet – maybe even the Messiah – I am going to hang around here. Maybe I’ll get something out of all of this.
Then imagine this guy standing there when he hears Jesus say what he says today. “Unless you eat of my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you!”

“WHAT!” What did Jesus just say. Here is this poor guy who thought he had maybe stumbled onto a good thing. Thousands of them had gathered because they thought they were hooking their wagon to a star and were going to ride it all the way to victory. YEE-HAH But now he says we have to eat his body and drink his blood! What does that mean – that is crazy.

Listen everybody – you hear that and you know that Jesus is pointing to this table, to the gift he gives us of his body and his blood – and he is also talking about how life comes from living our lives in and following our Lord Jesus Christ.
But to these people – all of a sudden – Jesus wasn’t what they were expecting. All of a sudden Jesus wasn’t saying the things which they wanted him to. All of a sudden Jesus didn’t fit into the little box of their expectations – but was something all together different. Jesus wasn’t saying – lets go take over Rome. Jesus wasn’t saying that he was going to slay all of their enemies and make them powerful and wealthy.

Jesus was saying that Life was in him. That he was life. And life came by eating him.

AND LIFE CAN ONLY COME THROUGH HIS SACRIFICED BODY AND BLOOD – IT WAS ON AND THROUGH THE CROSS THAT THIS JESUS CHRIST MAKES HIS LIFE AVAILABLE TO US.

That wasn’t what they wanted to hear. That was too hard for them to accept. When Jesus revealed the truth to them – it was more than they could bear. And what do we hear. We hear that just about everyone of them – left.
Think about that. In the middle of the chapter you had thousands – maybe as many as ten thousand people clamoring – with a furor and a fever to get close to Jesus – to make him king. Thousands of people out of their minds for Jesus – until they found out what that meant.

And what do we hear? That they all left. They left by the thousands. And even those who had been following Jesus before the feeding of the 5000, they left too. The only people left at the end of the chapter were Jesus – and the 12. From thousands to 12 – and one of those 12 was Judas who we know would betray Jesus and lead to his death on the cross.

These thousands of people – when they heard that Jesus might not be what they expected. When they heard that Jesus would set the agenda for who he was and what he would be. When Jesus wasn’t what they thought they wanted – they left. Instead of listening to the one who is life – who is the word of eternal life- they left because Jesus Christ didn’t fit their expectations.

Now I hope I don’t have to tell you that Jesus Christ does not do things like we in the world might hope he would. Wouldn’t it be great if by following Jesus, it meant that you got all the money you ever wanted, and a big house, and in following Jesus Christ all your problems went away. Think about that wouldn’t it be just great if you could just pray all the time, and go to church, and that would put a protective bubble around you where nothing bad would ever happen in your life. That would be awesome – I would love that. But the truth is that following Jesus Christ doesn’t make you rich, or give you the things of the world, or protect you from all evil. You might get such things from Santa Clause but not from God or Jesus Christ.

Jesus doesn’t promise us the things of this world – he promises us life. He promises us that we are not alone in this world. He promises us that as we struggle, as we wrestle with this life, as we are put upon by living – that Jesus walks with us. The promise is that this one who is life never abandons us. Jesus is the promise that nothing is more powerful than his love for us. lifeAnd that love that Jesus has for us began in this life, and will continue through eternity.
What do we get from Jesus? We get the promise that the way that God does things is breaking into this world. That God’s justice and righteousness is real and alive – and is coming to life in and through us. And we get to know that no matter what – we who cling to and put our hope and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ will have Salvation unto ETERNAL LIFE. We will live forever – because of this Jesus Christ.

Here is the thing everybody. That life with Jesus is going on now. The thing is we don’t always see it – better said – we always see it we just don’t always pay attention. Want some examples. I can make one very broad example that will hit just about everybody here. In my time here I have heard about many of your struggles. Some of them have happened while I was here – most of them were what happened to you earlier in life. I am of the opinion that being human, means to suffer. We go through tough – let me say that TOUGH times in our lives. Don’t live under the illusion that everybody else has an Ozzie and Harriet, Brady Bunch life. WE ALL STUGGLE. That is what life is about.

Many of you have shared me some of the ways that life has tried to kick you down. How you have been just about run over by life at one time. How this world tried to take you out, or pull you under. If you are thinking about some ordeal in your life and wondering (did I tell him about that) you might have – you might have not – we all struggle. Life is hard and we all have those moments were life circumstance, relationships, health, work situations, financial struggles – you name it – we all face those days where we wonder if we are going to make it.

Let me point out something – you made it. You made it through. The world didn’t pull you under. It was hard – but you made it. Thank you Jesus. Remember this is the one who hung upon the cross to save us from death. In doing that our Savior us showing us that God knows it won’t always be easy – but even in the worst of times he will stand there – or maybe we should say quite literally the crucified Lord will hang in there with you. Jesus will never leave you in even the worst of times – and when those dark days come he stands with us helping us get through to the other side.

Let me also point out to you two things that we have experienced in this parish. The first is we saw Jim have a massive stroke a year and a half ago. We didn’t know if Jim would make it. But he did. Though we didn’t know if he would get there – Jim can talk now. He can speak and share a conversation with you. He is still dealing with things – but I thank Jesus that Jim is still with us. That is a miracle that is Christ at work.

You also know that Jocelyn faced a lot of surgery. The first week of July – at three months old she had three holes in her heart fixed, and had on of the arteries of her heart repaired. Step back and think about how serious that is – even with our modern medicine. Do you realize that Christ is with her. Christ is hearing your prayers. The fact that she is recovering, on the mend, and we pray she will keep clear of medical problems. That is a miracle. That is Christ at work.

What am I trying to tell you? That Jesus is alive and at work and with you. We can see it when we look for it. Understand that the God who made heaven and earth IS our life. He is working and moving in and through us. That doesn’t mean that everything is going to be sunshine and lollipops. It is foolish to think that our struggles are signs that Jesus isn’t with us.

The fact that we survive and get through the tough times is proof that God is with us. It means that Christ walks with us in the challenges. He holds us in our struggles and helps us to find the way through.

It may not be what we expect. It may not be what we want - I’d love it if Jesus just made all my problems go away. But it is the fact that no matter what struggles may come at us – Jesus is with us. That is what we need. The assurance and reassurance that God is with us. No matter what.
Amen

 

 

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