Summary: This message looks at the fact that the Bible says we are victors and gives some examples of what that means.
He had lived through the war and the war had shaped who he was. It had also shaped how he saw others. In particular, it shaped his view of the Japanese.
Between Pearl Harbour and the war that followed he had very little time or use for those who called Japan their home.
But in 1953 that changed, that was when Theodor Geisel visited Japan to research an article for Life Magazine. You know Geisel by his Nom de plume, Dr. Seuss.
The result of Seuss’ visit to Japan was a book, not a book of philosophy or political science, instead, it was a children's book, and in the book was a memorable line, “ a person is a person no matter how small.”
For the vast majority of his readers, Dr. Seuss was speaking of the residents of Whoville, but Seuss himself knew that it reflected a change of heart that he had experienced toward the people of Japan and he used this book as an allegory for the American post-war occupation of that country. He dedicated the book to a Japanese friend he had made on his visit.
Later in an interview Seuss would state, “Japan was just emerging, the people were voting for the first time, running their own lives—and the theme was obvious: ‘A person’s a person, no matter how small,’ though I don’t know how I ended up using elephants.”
And that brings us to our current series, Whoville, and if you are still scratching your heads, we are looking at Who God Says we are. Because often our self-identity, how we see ourselves is shaped by our experiences and our expectations, by what others say about us and by what we say about ourselves.
But if we are following Christ, our identities, who we are, should be shaped by God.
So, in the first week, I looked at the fact that we are called disciples of Christ and all that entails and then last week Pastor Deborah spoke about the fact that God calls us His Children. And how God protects his children, corrects his children and directs his children.
This morning I want to focus on the last verse of the scripture that was read for us earlier if you have your Bibles turn with me to Romans 8:37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
You might be familiar with other translations where we are told that we more than conquerors. But the meaning is the same, we aren’t just conquerors, we are more than conquerors. We don’t just have a victory, we have an overwhelming victory. We don’t just squeak by we ace it.
So, who does God say I am? God says that I am a victor, that I am more than a conqueror.
But what does that mean? And more than simply what does it mean, what does it mean for our lives today?
So, for a little bit this morning I want to take a look at the Jesus story and how some Jesus followers discovered that they were victors.
Let’s start with Luke 9:51-54 As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?”
Really? Probably a little bit of an overreaction here. We don’t know if the guys’ anger was just because the village didn’t welcome Jesus or if it was because a Samaritan village didn’t welcome Jesus. Maybe there was a little racism mixed in.
But their reaction was over the top. What Jesus had told them is spelled out in Luke 9:5 “And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”
That seems fair. Jesus was simply honouring the request of those folks to not have a relationship with him. One of the questions I hear from people is, how can a loving God send people to hell? Actually, God doesn't send anyone to hell, as a matter of fact, he sent his Son so people wouldn't have to go to hell. But if people choose to not have a relationship with God then God honours that decision, not just for the here and now but for eternity.
That was free.
So, Jesus has told his disciples that if a group of people chose to not welcome him that was fine, to symbolically shake the dust from their feet and move on.