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Showing posts from October 21, 2018

If It's All Grace...

These are some thoughts on this Sunday's gospel that werensent out electronically to the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church.

Gospel: John 8:31-36

31Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
34Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
We are used to propositional phrases like if this, then that. As Lutheran Christians, accustomed to God’s unbounded grace that comes to us without our own efforts, we may find ourselves startled by the first two verses of this Sunday’s gospel. God’s grace does indeed secure our salvati…

Upended Paradigms

This is what I preached last Sunday, Oct. 21, at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The gospel text was Mark 10:35-45


We need to go back a few verses to get the full impact of James’ and John’s request. Jesus said to the disciples, ”… the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; 34they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again” (vv. 33-34). This is Jesus’ third announcement of his approaching crucifixion, which ends at v. 34. Then we get to this Sunday’s gospel, beginning with verse 35 and the sons of Zebedee’s desire.
We could call the first scene in today’s gospel “Be careful what you wish for.” James and John are among the inner circle of the disciples, along with Peter. They have had experiences with Jesus that the other 9 have not. James and John witnessed the glory of Jesus’ transfiguration, revealing glimpses of Jesu…