Sermon delivered on Trinity 5B, Sunday, July 4, 2021 at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Westerville, OH.
Lectionary texts: 2 Samuel 5.1-5, 9-10; Psalm 48; 2 Corinthians 12.2-10; St. Mark 6.1-13.
Prayer: Lord Jesus we pray that this world may see you with spiritual eye to recognize you as the son of God
HAPPY AND BLESSED INDEPENDENCE DAY
Independence Day, the Fourth (4th) of July is a public holiday in the United States of America that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, which declared the original colonies to be free from British rule.
Freedom is an inalienable gift of God to His children. All the fundamental rights would make the person for what they are. The Bill of Rights protects freedom of life
- Right to self-determination. Right to liberty. Right to due process of law. Right to freedom of movement. Right to privacy. Right to freedom of thought. Right to freedom of religion. Right to freedom of expression.
- The freedom of will and conscience helps us to have the liberty and justice to life the godly life with kingdom virtues and values.
- We thank God the almighty that we are able to enjoy these fundamental freedoms in the United Nations. We all know there are many even today in many countries have no fundamental freedoms. They are still treated as slaves in many ways.
Let us reflect the gospel passage: Mark 6:1-13
Jesus was rejected by His own people from his own town – Nazareth. Because they see him with human eyes rather than eye of faith
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Isaiah 61:1-2
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He said to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:14-21) The promise and prophecy are being fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is very profound statement. Jesus returns to the town where he grew up and starts a public ministry. One Saturday, he goes to the front of the synagogue – the Jewish house of worship where he spent many Saturdays as a kid — and reads a famous Messianic passage from the Prophet Isaiah. He finishes the prophecy – one that Jewish people had read for nearly 700 years – by identifying himself as the one spoken of by Isaiah.
Jesus rejected in his hometown of Nazareth – The Result
Jesus goes off and gets baptized by John at the river, runs off to the mountains for 40 days, and comes back revealing himself as the long-awaited Messiah to his hometown congregation.
Needless to say, the people were a bit skeptical. Then, Jesus calls them out and challenges their doubt. He points to past Hebrew generations that also doubted the scriptures and the prophets. Ultimately, the townspeople get angry and even try to kill Jesus by throwing him off a local hillside.
WHAT A TRAGIDY! Rejecting Jesus the true messiah
Who all those rejected Jesus?
His relatives and friends and his own town members rejecting Jesus- the anointed messiah.
The Jews, Pharisees, Scribes and teachers of the Law.
Today Hindus, Muslims, Sikh, Jainism, Buddhism and Gnostics and so on.
Can anyone have a being and have a hope of redemption without Jesus of Nazareth?
No one can be saved without the grace of Jesus Christ.
Have you been rejected by your own family, friends, relatives and community? If yes. Then know this even Jesus is rejected and suffered the pain of rejection. Jesus understands our pain and loss of love from our own community. Many of the prophets were rejected by their own people. St Paul was rejected and his message was rejected. He was in physical pain till his death. But he kept on going to place to place with the gospel of grace and power of Christ Jesus.
St. Paul in today’s 2 Cor 12: 7-9 speaking about a thorn in the flesh. We all suffer physically, mentally and emotionally for various reasons, especially for being a missionary for the kingdom of God. This is the promise of the Lord “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.
Sending Out the Twelve:
The vision of Jesus Christ – Mission of Jesus Christ in sending the twelve disciples
What should be the character of a disciple of the Lord Jesus?
FRIENDSHIP GROWS OUT OF DISCIPLESHIP Disciples have to go through training, but once we graduate from discipleship, we become friends of the Lord. The Lord said to His disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” (Jn 15:12-15) More than just friends, we are called to be the relatives of our Lord, for He said, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mt 12:49f) When we are friends of God, there is nothing we will not do for the Lord, and there is nothing the Lord will not do for us! Faith in God depends on how intimate we are with Him.
“He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”
Work of God Jesus is the saving grace to the believers.
“He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” When Jesus was looking for workers in his harvest field, whom did he choose? Certainly not from the religious class! No learned Pharisees and stoic Sadducees, and no expert Scripture scribes! Rather he chose them from among his ordinary disciples. And there’s a good reason Jesus did that. They had a certain quality that he couldn’t find among the religious people. His disciples had a deep desire and willingness to learn from him. A “disciple” basically means a “follower” and a“learner”.
It was a whole new teaching and radical teaching the Lord Jesus
And God gives these the strength to withstand the world and its temptations as they continue to live with Jesus and learn from him how to honor and glorify God. So Jesus equipped them with what was necessary in doing the work of God. How then did he equip them, and with what? Read verse 1 “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. Spiritual authority! The world is sick with the plague of sin which brings about diseased hearts and minds, and unholy possessions from evil spirits. Human technologies cannot cure the hearts and souls of people. Only God can heal them. It takes God’s authority to do the job!
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Those who are called for kingdom work need to believe this otherwise their labor is in vain.
What’s an apostle? He is “one who is sent out”. Jesus at this point began to recognize his disciples as apostles! In other words, those who are sent out— men with a mission from God. Christ’s ambassadors to all people
Now let’s consider the principles of gospel work which Jesus gave his apostles when he sent them out into the harvest field.
First, be a witness to others. (5-6) look at verses 5b and 6. “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.” Jesus taught his disciples something very precious— who to witness to first. They need to first witness to the closest people. In other words, evangelism should first start where you are.
Second, declare the message of the kingdom of God. (7) Read verse 7. “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’” That’s what was on Jesus’ heart! The kingdom of God! Jesus told them to declare the message of the kingdom of heaven. It was and still is the message of prime importance. It’s the message of hope.
Third, “Heal the sick.” (8) Read verse 8. “Heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.Freely you have received, freely give.” This is the character of Jesus’ ministry! It’s a ministry of preaching and of healing. It’s a ministry of compassion and sacrifice.
Fourth, depend only on God, and nothing else. (9-10) Read verse 9. “Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts.” A servant of the kingdom should always depend on God and on nothing else.
Fifth, establish one person. (11-15) Read verse 11. “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.” Jesus told his disciples to look for one worthy person and stay with them. Who’s a worthy person? A worthy person is any person genuinely searching for the truth of God.
Sixth, expect persecution. (16-31) everywhere there is a work of God going on, there is also always Satan there doing his own work. So Jesus prepared his apostles to expect persecutions— under God’s sovereignty.
Needed the good-committed missionaries. One missionary can make a difference in the lives of many thousands. Example of a missionary in North India namely Israel baptized about 30 thousand Hindus as they got converted to the Lord and preached to millions of people with his simple and humble life of Christ. An ordinary professor of the college became missionary with his family lived poor life- with minimum expense about $150 per month even today.
Seventh, acknowledge the name of Jesus. (32-42) Read verse 32. “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” Jesus wants his disciples to acknowledge him before the whole world. That’s the same as a confession of faith in Jesus. Therefore, to acknowledge his name is not a private matter.
In verses 34-42 Jesus tells all of us something very true about the Christian life! It’s a spiritual battle that requires loyalty to Jesus and to the gospel. Christian life is costly. And we need to bear that cost— willingly. You should first accept the authority he gives you serve his kingdom.
I would like to share a story:
Once a group of blind people went to beautiful park and asked the photographer to take their photos individually and in group in different areas of park. People in the park wondering why these blind people are taking their photos when they cannot see themselves.
What do you think? Then one in the park asked them why you want your pictures taken? Then one of them said I go to the person who can see and ask him about my continence, color of my dress and about the garden and so on. And I get to know everything. In the same way we need to go to the Lord Jesus to know about the heaven and paradise that St. Paul speaking in his letter about the paradise.
Jesus says John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
Revelation 2:7 to the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
- Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven ( 2 Kings 2:11)
- Ezekiel saw the heaven opened and had seen the vision of God. ( Ezekiel 1:1)
Therefore dear brothers and sisters in Christ we are all assured of resurrection in Christ Jesus. Let us believe it even when we face the real struggles of sickness and death of our beloved ones.
Prayer: Lord Jesus may we receive your grace and power in our weaknesses, sicknesses and struggles of life. Spirit of God bless us to be willing to go where ever your Spirit leads us to do the evangelization and to be good harvesters, in Jesus name we pray. Amen.