Public Reading: Luke 8:19-39
• Jesus’ family
o Brothers and sisters came to find him
* The scriptures suggest that these are Mary and Joseph’s kids (Jesus’ half-siblings)
* The concept that they were Jesus’ cousins or just Joseph’s kids from a prior marriage came about in the 200 AD when folks where inventing things about Jesus
o Emphasis on ‘doing’ rather than simply ‘believing’
“My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”-Jesus, Lk 8:21
• Storm at sea
o Skipping this passage until next week when we are at Pinehurst
• Demon possessed man
o Jesus cross over into Gentile country
* This kind of goes against the story that Jesus didn’t care about the Gentiles
• Especially since he healed the Roman army officer’s servant earlier
* Yes, the Scriptures do way that Jesus came first to the Jewish people – but this doesn’t mean that he hated or forgot about the Gentiles (praise the Lord!!)
o Demons are real
* They are not all powerful
* They are not everywhere
* Jesus is bigger and more powerful then they are
* We don’t have to be afraid
• We don’t hunt them
• When they show up, we tell them to go
• This doesn’t mean that I take them lightly…for they do have strength
• It is just that I know who my King is!!!!
• Fear of Jesus
o The towns folks were scared of Jesus and asked him to leave
“Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.” –Lk 8:37
o This may sound strange as we are used to trying to find Jesus and wanting to be in his presence
* This reminds me of praying at the food pantry a few months ago
• I was praying for a gentleman’s shoulder
• He felt a warmth flowing through his arm
• It scared him and he left right after that
o But think back – to meet Jesus is to come face to face with your faults, sins, troubles, etc… things that we don’t want to face
o Even if you have been following Jesus for a while, this is still scary.
* What if Jesus tells you to move to another city? Would you go?
* What if He told you to forgive the person who harmed you? Who abused you? Who did you wrong?
* What if He told you to give away your bonus paycheck?
* What if He told you to confess that one little sin you have been holding on too… you know the one, the one that you think is unforgivable… the one that you think will make everyone in the community hate you…yeah that one….
o Change is scary
* It is a fear of the unknown
• When you study abuse situations or addictions, you find that people are willing to stay in a bad situations because it is all they known
• The fear of the unknown is greater than the fear of pain, abuse or addictions
* The same is true for all of us
• Sin is an addiction
o It may not be chemical addictions…
o But it is something that control you… it is something that guides your life and makes decisions for you
• Jesus came to break this sin addiction – this addiction to be in control of everything
o This is why St. Paul talks about the old man dying
o It means an end to the past and a new beginning
* All too often we don’t want to ‘die’ to our old self
* We want to use CPR and bring him/her back
o Jesus is in our corner!!!
* Jesus is fighting for us
• Do you know that?
• Do you really, really, really believe that?
• I’m not talking about just knowing about it – I’m talking about knowing it without a doubt!
* Today is Emily and mine 12th wedding anniversary
• One of the lessons I have had to learn over these 12 years is that Emily is on my side
• All too often I fall back to my old ways of doing things – I begin to think that everything is up to me.
o That it is me against the world
• Yet, at times like that, Emily stops me and reminds me that she is fighting for me.
o She wants what’s good for me
o She is not trying to hurt me or do me harm
• It has taken 12 years of being reminded…but I’m getting the message!
* Life in Jesus is similar
• We must constant remind ourselves that Jesus wants what is good for us
• He is on our side!
• We are God’s kids! Princes and Princess in the Kingdom of God
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. –Galatians 3:26-29
6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. –Galatians 4:6-7
• The sad thing is that some of us had poor relationships with our parents
o Or more specially with our fathers
o We read these verses and cringe
* Our human fathers were not on our side
* They were just looking after themselves
o God is not like your human father
* He is a father who gave everything up to be with you
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10
o St. John goes on and says
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.-1 John 4:18
* Perfect Love
• God IS love has St. John said in verse 16
• We don’t have to be afraid of God or about what is he doing in our lives
10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” –Jeremiah 29:10-14
• Here’s the hard part
o What is good for us and what we think is good can be two different things!!!
o Let’s let return to Luke 8 verse 38-39
38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
o Jesus tells the man to stay and tell others
* Some may see this and think that Jesus was being mean
* But that doesn’t fit with Jesus’ personality
• Jesus wanted to change this man’s live
• Jesus didn’t heal the man just so that he would look good or because he was being mean to the him
* Jesus knew that this man needed to go back home and tell others about Him
• God had a plan for this man
• A plan to prosper him and give him a future
o Yes it was hard!
o I would have told Jesus ‘no, I’m coming with you regardless of what you say.’
• Yet he obeyed!!!!!
o Will we?
o Will we trust Jesus?
As you come to him, the living Stone —rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
and, “A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:4-10)