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Summary: A sermon for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost

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Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 6

Lectionary 11

Romans 5:1-8,

Matthew 9:35-10:8

"The Compassionate Christ"

35* And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity.

36* When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

37* Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;

38* pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

10:1* ¶ And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.

2* The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

3* Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

4* Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5* These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,

6* but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

7* And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

8* Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.

Romans 5:1* ¶ Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2* Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

3* More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,

4* and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

5* and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

6* While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

7* Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man--though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die.

8* But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

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

There are two verses in our texts for today that I would like to call to your attention. The first is in our lesson from Romans which says: "But God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." and the other verse is found in our gospel lesson saying:" When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, He had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." These two verses, I feel, sum up for us the meaning of the gospel message, the Good News of Jesus Christ. God shows His love for us while we were still sinners, or enemies of God and Jesus had compassion for the people. But what does that mean?? God loves us and Jesus had compassion? These two words oft times have a vague and mysterious meaning. What does it mean to love?? What does it mean to have compassion??

In Roget’s Thesaurus, which is a book of synonyms and antonyms, he lists many words which describe or expand on the meaning of love and compassion. These words are, sympathy, charity, mercy, generosity, pity, and we could go on and on. And each of these words can be described with many others. The list is endless. But that still doesn’t get us to the meaning, to the heart of the matter, what does it mean that God loves us, what does it mean that Jesus had compassion? Maybe scripture might help, how about John 3:16, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who so ever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. "Yes, that verse speaks about God’s love for us, but does it describe it? Can we see love in that verse? Yes and no. Yes we can see love because God’s love is visible only through Christ. No, we cannot see love, because we do not see the actions of Christ. The only true way to see God’s love, to describe God’s love is to see Christ. Christ is God’s love incarnate, or God’s love made real in this world. So, as we look through the New Testament, as we look for descriptions of what does it mean that God loves us, we need to look at the actions of Christ.

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