Summary: A sermon for the 4th Sunday after the epiphany
4th Sunday after the Epiphany
"The Gospel, A Two Edged Sword"
21 And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
22 And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, "Is not this Joseph’s son?"
23 And he said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ’Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here also in your own country.’"
24 And he said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country.
25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land;
26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."
28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.
29 And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.
30 But passing through the midst of them he went away.RSV
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
Many years ago at one of my congregations, we had a clown ministry team from Wartburg College come for a weekend and work with our young people. On Sunday morning, the clown team and the youth of the congregation did the worship service. It was an unique service.
The explanation of that service and its unique parts is a very good introduction to our gospel lesson this morning. As that unique service is explained, imagine that you are there experiencing all the unique parts.
The gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ is indeed a two-edged sword. One edge brings the salvation, the release, the good news that God loves us. It brings freedom and release into our lives. That was demonstrated very well in the service as we were bound and tied with strings around our wrists, which shows we are in bondage to sin. We are tied up, e are captive to our sin.
But then Christ comes. to free us, to release us, to cut the bonds of sin. That was demonstrated real well as we came forward to have our strings cut and received a hug. A hug was a demonstration of love. We were freed. We were released from our bondage to those strings and made to feel good as ere hugged and loved.
The other edge of the two-edged sword of the gospel, the edge which convicts us of sin. It challenges us to service. It ask us to die to self. This dying to self was demonstrated in several ways in the service. The first and foremost it was demonstrated in the white faces of the clowns and the white makes which our youth wore. These makes showed that with Christ, we died to self. The youth could not speak during the service which symbolized their will of allowing themselves to die to Christ. As I talked with the youth later, they said it was difficult not talking for those many hours, but at the same time, there was a sense of commitment, a sense of accomplishment, a dying to self so that Christ might be served. The gospel’s edge called them, challenged them to die to self, to discipline one’s self for active service with Christ.