Summary: A sermon about the radical nature of Christ.
“The Uncomfortable Jesus”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
People want to see persons who are living Christianity in the world.
They are hungry to see the Body of Christ at work and involved.
Study after study and survey after survey brings us to the same results: The people of the world have a strong passion, perhaps more now than ever, to be involved in something important!!!...
…something bigger than themselves!
Perhaps that is one reason we see so many people becoming so passionate about global warming or universal healthcare.
Perhaps that is why, during the 1960’s there was a powerful anti-establishment movement, rallied by young people—hippies—as they came to be called.
People want to be passionately involved in something that makes a difference.
They know this world is broken.
They know things aren’t quite right.
So what to do?
Where to turn with all this energy?
Certainly, as we see in our Gospel Lesson for this evening, Jesus was passionate—BIG TIME!!!
His mission was huge!!!
And when He told the “powers that be” that there were many widows who had not been taken care of, and that “there were many in Israel with leprosy” yet none of them was cleansed…
…and that it was basically the fault of the “establishment”…
…well, that made the people mad…
…really, really mad!!!
And what else could they do?
As we just read, “All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.”
But this didn’t stop Jesus.
“he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.”
He wasn’t going to allow these persons to ruin or stop His mission—the Most Important Mission in the world!!!
I remember my mom telling me about a young preacher—fresh out of seminary—who had become convicted of some injustice, and decided to take it upon himself to do what he felt God was calling him to do.
He went around knocking on doors, trying to engage the people about whatever atrocity he was trying to get persons to rally around.
One day, he knocked on my mother’s door, and she was impressed!
When my mother mentioned this to her Senior Pastor, he simply said with a sigh and a waving of the hand, “He’s young; he’ll learn.”
And pretty soon, I guess he did.
Before long, he had fallen in line and given up on the radical Christianity Christ was calling him too.
Jesus’ mission was not easy.
Jesus was the most radical revolutionary to ever walk this earth.
The things He said and did…got people mad, really, really mad.
But thanks be to God, Jesus had very thick skin!!!
And as disciples of Christ, we too are called to a radical life.
We are called, as well, to “preach good news to the poor. To proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And this might sound wonderful on paper, as it did to those who listened to Jesus at first “speaking well of him…amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.”
But when it comes to putting Jesus’ words into practice, well, that’s another story all together!!!
But isn’t that what it means to be the Body of Christ living out our faith in this world?
It’s messy business.
I have a dear friend who lives in Newport News, Virginia.
He is the pastor of First United Methodist Church, Newport News.
We became friends through a weekly prayer and theology group which met at his church each week.
And very early on, probably about 9 years ago, we started to email our sermons to each other for review and insight.
We still do this today, even though we live about 10 hours apart.
It is part of my weekly regiment, as well as his.
As soon as we finish the rough draft of our sermons we send them to one another, and make comments.
We both do this every week, without fail.
This week John sent me a sermon, of which I would like to share a part.
It spoke to me a bit, and I think many of us might be able to relate and get something out of what he wrote.
Now keep in mind that John is a good 20 or so years older than I…
John began his sermon like this, “I never saw Jesus in my growing up years going to Sunday school the way I see Him today in my life.
I guess that wasn’t in the lesson plans.