Summary: A sermon for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost Proper 8 A sermon about Jesus caring for us
6th Sun after Pentecost A
"A Life of Burdens"
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.
40* "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me.
41* He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42* And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward."RSV
Grace and peace to you from our Lord, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
I am combining two verses from last week’s text with the verses from this week’s text for my sermon this week!
In this section, Jesus is speaking about the "life of burdens" that a Christian lives.
He is talking about suffering and hardship.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote to his sister saying:
" It is good to learn early enough that suffering and God are not a contradiction but rather a unity, for the idea that God himself is suffering is one that has always been one of the most convincing teachings of Christianity. I think God is nearer to suffering than to happiness, and to find God in this way gives peace and rest and a strong and courageous heart."1
We live a life which is filled with the reality of living in a sinful and less than perfect world. Jesus is speaking about what has come to be called, " a theology of the cross"!! This theology says that through the brokenness of this world, through "crosses" life will be redeemed and renewed. Jesus is reminding the disciples and us that life is not easy. Living on this earth is very difficult. You and I will have "crosses" to bear. Life will not be easy. Living as a Christian, as a believer, in this world with the power of Satan to harness, to tempt, to drive one away from Christ means of life that is difficult, a "A Life of Burdens".
Sometimes, I think, Satan works extra hard to drive those away who are the most faithful to Christ. It seems that Satan is alive and well especially in the church. Jesus knew that. He knew life would be difficult for His followers especially after He ascended into heaven. Jesus speaks about this difficult life over and over again in the gospels.
In this text, in Matthew 16:24-28 He says, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Again in Mark 8: 34 Jesus says, "And he called to him the multitude with his disciples and said to them, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." And in Luke 9:23-27 and again in Luke 14:25-27, he says the same thing. This theme of a "rough road" is repeated again and again in the gospels.
Not only does this theme of cross bearing appear again and again, but the idea of division, of a sword appears all over the gospels, as in this text for today and in Matt. 10: 21 it says,"Brother will deliver up brother to death,and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death;" and again in Mark 13:12, it says,"And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child and children will rise against parents and have them put to death;" and we find similar text in Luke as well as John. Also in the Old Testament we find such texts as in Micah 7:1-7 and we could go on and on.
Do you see, do you get the point!!! Jesus is saying life will not be easy as you follow me. Don’t look for a life of roses, don’t look for the easy way, but the narrow road. Carry your cross, be ready to speak against even your father, your children, your parents and also be ready for them, your father, your children, your parents to speak up against you because of your faith, your belief in Me.
Not only did Jesus tell His disciples about the kind of life they would live for Him, but on Good Friday, He demonstrated that life by dying on a cross, by experiencing death, by facing pain, by being humiliated as He died a death of a criminal. This was not an easy life, this was a life of burdens for Jesus.