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Summary: A sermon for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost Proper 7 We are valuable to God

5th Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 7

Matthew 10:24-39

Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows

24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master;

25 it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

26 "So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.

27 What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops.

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will.

30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven;

33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

34 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household.

37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

38 and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.RSV

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

During his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced many of the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin. Once, as he censured Stalin in a public meeting, Khrushchev was interrupted by a shout from a heckler in the audience. "You were one of Stalin’s colleagues. Why didn’t you stop him?" "Who said that?" roared Khrushchev. An agonizing silence followed as nobody in the room dared move a muscle. Then Khrushchev replied quietly, "Now you know why." The point was well taken. 1

Fear can be a very paralyzing emotion. Fear can make people not act or fear can make people act and do foolish things.

In our gospel lesson this morning, Jesus is urging the disciples not to be afraid of spreading the good news of the gospel.

Jesus really lays it on the line for the disciples. He tells them that they should not be afraid of those who would kill them. He tells them further that He has not come to bring peace to earth, but the sward. And I think he meant the sword of the cross which will bring salvation.

He goes on to say that Jesus has come to set man against father, daughter against her mother, etc.

He even says he who loves his father and mother more than me is not worthy of me.

And finally, Jesus says we are to take up the cross and follow him.

We are to lose our lives for Him.

That is all pretty harsh stuff to deal with in this gospel lesson. Jesus makes it sound like that the living the Christian live will not be easy, in fact it will be very difficult. As Christians, we are to be a sword in this world.

With all this doom and gloom about being a Christian, it is a wonder that the church every got off the ground. It is a wonder that the disciple found the courage to go and spread the good news about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But they did.

And they did because not only in these verse are things that make us hesitant of following Jesus, but Jesus assures us that we are very valuable to the Father and He will protect us.

Jesus says:

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will.

30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

And it is those words that I would like us to study this morning.

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