Summary: Sermon focusing on discipleship
ILLUSTRATION: PICCADILLY 1
Imagine if you will a place to eat where you can have almost anything under the sun and where you serve yourself. You walk in, grab a tray, and laid out before you are more options than you could eat at any one time. The point of this place is options options options. Each option costs as you fill up your tray. You can have ham and turkey. You can hold the gravy or get 2 kinds of gravy. You can get a salad or just sliced tomatoes. You can get the special of the day or make your own meal. You have a choice between red, blue, green jello which for some reason seems to be a specialty in almost all of these kinds of places. Not only that there seems to be 6 different kinds of pudding in little cups. Each item costs and so as you add each item to your tray the cost of your meal goes up. After going through the whole line, the items are added up and you pay for your meal. Once you sit down, there is no waiters or waitresses usually. You just eat and leave. This kind of place is called a cafeteria.
There were several famous chains of cafeterias in America. Morrison’s and Piccadilly were perhaps the most famous. Luby’s was also quite popular. They are not around so much anymore so it is likely that you have not been to a restaurant called a ‘cafeteria’ in some time. We will come back to cafeterias in a minute.
The teachings of Jesus are not for the faint of heart. Some of the points that Jesus makes are quite controversial. They are controversial because they shock us. They are controversial because they are at times opposite of what we want to do. They are controversial because they seem upside down to us in our expectations of God. Jesus presents ideas and makes statements that would have made those listening quite uncomfortable… and to be honest… make us quite uncomfortable as well.
For example, He said…
“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, 'is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:22)
“If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39)
“I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (John 6:53)
Many times we reflect on some of the teachings of Jesus and we question… “What!?” We also think, “that doesn’t make sense.” And most commonly and truthfully we say, “I don’t want to do that.” The seemingly upside down passage that we will look at today also gives us the same thoughts.
In Jesus’ day, many people wanted to follow Jesus, especially in the middle of His ministry. Jesus was gaining popularity and was doing miracles and news was spreading about Him and people wanted to be a disciple of Jesus. He was the “it” thing going on. Large crowds would follow Jesus from town to town to listen and see what He would do next. People were asking what it took to be a disciple of Jesus. People are still asking that same question! I hope you are asking that question! And to be honest, the answer is not one that we like. And to be even more honest, most of us are not willing to do what He says. The answer is as controversial and uncomfortable as turning the other cheek and loving people who hate us. What does He say?