Summary: A sermon I did for homecoming based on Luke 4:14-30. Jesus came for the least, the last and the lost.
Sermon for 9/19/2010
Jesus’ Homecoming- Luke 4:14-30
A Call to Honor, historical fiction about World War 2 author Gilbert Morris. The main character is a teenager named Ben Logan. The time was the late 30’s and the times were hard. Ben has to help his father, an often drunk pulpwood cutter. He also has to go to school and being the eldest in the family, has to help around the house. Ben’s father is hard on him and has nothing good to say about him even though Ben helps him when he is unable to work because he is drunk. Ben dreams of the day when he could leave the family and make a name for himself. Ben wants to travel and see the world. He is not very respected at school because he is nothing but “poor white trash.” In his class there is a girl, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen, and one day she invites him to a party. Ben goes and they have a good time. She is the daughter of the richest man in town. At the end of this date, this girl gives him a kiss on his cheek. Ben thinks that this is the beginning of something special. However, the next day, this girl pays no attention to him. Ben is haunted by this because he sees his chance for a new life but unable to get to it because of whom he is. Ben starts to become bitter about the situation because no matter what he does, nothing is ever going to change. In the midst of all of this, another girl from his class befriends him. She lives down the street from Ben and they have known each other for years. She comes from a preacher’s family. Often she invites Ben to church and Ben comes when it suites him.
Time goes on and Ben is a senior in high school. Ben begins to sow his wild oats. He begins drinking and hanging out with the wrong crowd. Ben and the young wife of the local judge secretly begin seeing each other when the judge isn’t around. On a drinking binge, Ben gets in trouble with the law. Ben is brought before this local judge and he throws the book at him. However, the judge makes a deal with him, join the navy or go to prison. Ben decides to join the navy. Ben leaves town and his family for basic training humiliated, embarrassed and defeated.
Ben goes to basic training and he enjoys the navy life. He can finally get away from home and see far off places and make a name for himself. He is glad to be away from his hometown. The only one who writes to him from home is the preacher’s daughter. He doesn’t write back but appreciates the news from home.
December 7, 1941 Ben was stationed on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. On that fateful morning when the Japanese bombed Ben was on the deck. He was near one of the big guns and he and one of his buddies were able to load it and shot down a few Japs. He wasn’t quite sure what happened but he blacked out and the next thing he knew he was in a hospital recovering from his wounds. A chaplain often came around and talked with Ben. The chaplain spent time with him and brought him to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. When the War Department was looking for a hero to promote the war effort, they went to Pearl Harbor. At Pearl Harbor they ran into that chaplain and the chaplain introduced them to Ben. After hearing of his heroics during the battle, Ben was made a hero. They made him famous. He was in the papers back home and all over. The War Department promoted him to a position in public relations where he would go around the country encouraging people to get involved in the war effort. After he recovered from his wounds, the navy allowed him to go home on leave before accepting his new position.
When he came off of the train at his hometown, there awaiting him was a homecoming. “Hail the conquering hero.” Those people that had paid him no mind or treated him poorly suddenly were on the podium giving speeches about him. He heard the mayor and many dignitaries singing his praises. His father and mother were there and they treated them like royalty as well. The richest man in town invited him after the homecoming to his house. There he was treated to a feast and reintroduced to his beautiful daughter. He was told to stay in the rich man’s house and he was given his own room. In the next several days, this daughter wanted to spend a lot of time with Ben. She apologized for her behavior in high school. She wanted Ben to date her. Everything had changed for Ben and his dreams were coming true but he wasn’t happy. His faith in Christ had changed his dreams. He saw this beautiful rich girl as shallow and unattractive. He was uncomfortable in the spotlight. He wanted to go home so he did. He spent some time with his father and mother and family. He then wanted to go and see the girl who had written him so many letters. His mother told him that the preacher had died and the family was having a hard time making it. The preacher’s daughter had to go to work at a factory to make ends meet. One day, not long before he had to back to the navy, he went to the preacher’s house. The widow told Ben that her daughter had gone to the woods. Ben went down into the woods and found her praying at a small stream. He said that her many prayers for him had worked.