Sermons

Summary: Christianity is all about our relationship with Jesus and not DOING things for God

SMM 18-07-04

Story of Martha and Mary with Jesus

(Jelly baby)

Story: A famous actor was invited to a dinner party.

After the main course, the actor was asked if he would be willing to recite a piece of poetry for the guests.

The actor readily agreed and asked if someone at the dinner table would like to suggest what he should recite.

There was a deadly hush until an old clergyman raised his hand and said:

“May I ask you to recite the 23rd Psalm?”

The actor was rather taken back but agreed, saying: “I will recite Psalm 23 - if you will recite it once I am finished”.

The clergyman rather reluctantly agreed.

The actor then recited the 23rd Psalm with as much passion as he could arouse.

His voice was perfect. His intonation was flawless.

The audience was spellbound. When he finished, he was met with rapturous applause.

The old clergyman then stood up to speak and recited the Psalm.

But his voice was rough and broken from many years of preaching.

His diction was anything but polished.

But when he finished there was not a dry eye in the room.

Then the actor got up from his seat came over and put his arm around the clergyman and said:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I know the 23rd Psalm. This man however knows the Shepherd.”

Jesus is the Great Shepherd – and the actor hit the nail on the head

Christianity is all about relationships.

The two great commandments (in last week’s Gospel reading) are about relationships.

The first is about our relationship with God. The other is about our relationship with our neighbour.

Indeed that differentiates Christianity from all the other major religions.

And the story in our reading from Luke’s Gospel today of Martha and Mary illustrates this.

Let me ask a few questions:

Question: Who were the two women mentioned in the story:

Ans: Mary and Martha (give a jelly baby)

Question: A couple of questions for the adults:

Does anyone know who Mary and Martha’s brother was? (Hint: he was raised by Jesus from the dead in Jn 11:1-43)

Answer: Lazarus (Jelly baby!!)

Question: Where did Mary and Martha Live?

Answer: Bethany (see Jn 11:1) jelly baby

Question: Why did Jesus tell Mary off?

Ans. He didn’t - He told Martha off (Give a jelly baby)

Question: Why did Jesus tell Martha off?

Answer: She was worrying too much about the supper instead of spending time with Jesus (give a jelly baby).

You see Martha wanted to DO things for Jesus but Mary wanted to spend time with Jesus and develop her relationship with him.

Mary didn’t want to DO things for Him. She wanted to allow him to DO things for her.

In contrast to Christianity - the other great religions of the world – want to do things to get right with God.

The Muslim prays and does good deeds and hopes these outweigh his bad deeds to earn his salvation.

The Jew keeps the Law to justify himself before God.

The Jehovah’s Witness believe he earns his way to heaven by talking to enough people in the week about his religion

The Mormon earns his salvation, so he believes by evangelising his faith

But this isn’t God’s way. We will never be good enough to earn our way to heaven.

The Christian comes to God realising that he is not good enough for God.

He knows he can never be good enough for God.

We realises that Jesus DID it all for us on the Cross

What Jesus offers us is a relationship with God not a religion of hard works.

God loves us so much that Jesus died to bring us back into a right relationship with God.

St John put it like this:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Conclusion:

Our lesson today shows us that God is interested – not in what we can do for Him but that we spend time with him as a friend

Question: How do we spend time with our friends?

Answer# 1: Listening to them speaking us directly or on the mobile (=prayer)

Answer # 2: By reading the letters or text messages they send us. (and God’s text message to us can be found in the Bible).

Let’s resolve today to treat Jesus as a friend.

To spend time speaking to him and reading his letter to us.

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