Summary: The 10th Sunday after Pentecost Jesus bringing division into the world
"The Cutting Edge"
by Rev Tim Zingale
I would like to tell you this morning about a family, a typical family, a family similar to many of the families we have in the church. A family with a father, mother and several children. They could be your family, they could the my family. This family sat around the dinner table one evening and a discussion was started. Ruth, in high school, began the conversation by telling of a friend at school. Her friend had told her that Jesus was the son of God and that salvation was free to all who would trust in Him. Ruth quoted her friend as saying, " Jesus is the way the truth and the life".
Immediately an argument started. Tom, an older bother said, "I don’t want any of that church stuff at supper." The father agreed. There was a fellow at work who was always trying to "corner someone on religion." He did not want any of that nonsense in the house.
Mother raised her voice saying,"A little religion would do all of them a lot of good. The least they could do would be to get a Bible and check it out." She had a Bible that had been given to her as a child. She would help Ruth look it up after supper.
Little Bill, the baby of the family, suggested that they ought to go to church and ask the preacher. He would know. After supper Mother, Ruth and little Bill gathered around the kitchen table with the Bible to look for some answers. After reading for a while, they decided they would go to church the following Sunday and talk with the Pastor. The father and the older son left the supper table in a "huff’ to watch the football game.
The three did attend church the following Sunday. They did talk with the Pastor and in time they came to experience the love of Christ in their lives. They did find that Jesus was the way the truth and the life for them. These three became regular attenders in church. The other two?--Still watching TV."
Jesus says in our gospel lesson this morning, "Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be 5 divided , 3 against 2 and 2 against 3."
There is a cutting edge for a person who has experienced the love of Christ in their r lives. That cutting edge may mean that indeed families can be divided as in our story. That cutting edge may mean that you might he ridiculed for your faith, that cutting edge may mean that you might stand apart and alone for the convictions you hold, that cutting edge may dictate how you will live your life, how you will treat others and how they will treat you.
Jesus is telling us this morning that he demands a loyalty, a commitment that produces a cutting edge in ones life.
Jesus is telling us he demands a commitment that just might cut across families ties, that just might cut across at how others see us, a commitment that says as a Christian you are different in this world. Jesus senses in his disciples as he is now headed for Jerusalem and the cross that altitude that they were not taking his claims seriously in their lives.
Their problem was like the chosen one in the Chayefsky’s play, "Gideon the angel of the Lord recognizes that his chosen one has rejected him. Gideon has vacillated between love and enchantment. He desires to serve and yet wants to be served. He turns away. Then the angel, speaking for the Lord, says; "I meant you to love me but you are merely curious’. "
Jesus senses the attitude of curiosity among his followers, he wanted love, loyalty, obedience, a sense of commitment, but they were merely being curious, seeing what this poor country preacher was saying and doing.
So Jesus tells them about the obedience, the commitment, the loyalty, he demands from his followers. A commitment that could and does even cut across families lines.
And that same commitment is demanded today in the 21st century by those who would follow Jesus. But many have asked, does he really mean that pastor?? Does Jesus really, want that kind of commitment from me? Won’t Jesus sell better to society by watering down his demands, by making him cheaper? Does it have to be that radical and decisive.??
Yes, it does, Christ over the last 20000 years has not watered down his demands upon our lives. He has not watered down his demands nor has he given any sales, or easy bargains for those who would want to find an easier and cheaper way. There are no red hot deal, no easy sales, no close out bargains, no end of the month clearances with Jesus, the cost to follow him is still and will always s be full surrender of one’s live. The cost is a high price, my life, but the prize is life--abundant and free. Live in and through Him who bought and paid for my life with the surrender of his life on the tree at Calvary.