Summary: A call for evangelism.
“You’ve Got To See This”
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport
A couple of weeks ago Jeanne, Ben and I went to see the movie, “A Beauetiful Mind”,
and ever since I have found myself telling others about this fascinating movie based on a true
I tell people, “You’ve gotta see this movie.”
This is a common thing for people to do when they have seen a movie which is worth
This past week, while Jeanne was out of town, I decided that I would rent a couple
movies for Ben and I to watch.
I found out that Ben had never seen Airplane or Cadyshack--two of the funniest movies I
remember from my youth.
So I rented them in order for Ben to enjoy them.
I wanted him to laugh at the same things I had laughed at. I wanted him to experience
what I had experienced.
But those are only movies.
In our Gospel lesson for today we see that John the Baptist was eager to tell others about
something much more important than any movie that he could have seen: “Look,” John
declared “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Down through the centuries “the Lamb of God” has been one of the most cherished
symbols of Jesus Christ held by believers.
But we are living in a world which is filled with people who know nothing about this
Lamb of God.
Increasingly, people are refusing to accept responsibility for their actions.
It’s more convenient and less painful, it seems, to blame somebody else---like that other
racial group, women, men, parents, and the like--than to take responsibility onto ourselves.
The Jews placed their sins symbolically on a scapegoat and drove him out into the
wilderness. This may have helped them cope with guilt, but it didn’t get to the crux of the
problem of sin.
But God did get to the crux of the problem in the person of His Son!
Jesus took our sins to the cross where he crucified them, and through accepting this fact
through faith--God enables us not only to evade the guilt of our sins for a time, but He frees
us from their power so that we can live victorious lives.
Those of us who are white cannot fathom the pain of racial prejudice that African
Americans and other minorities face in our country.
I’m sure many of you remember the riot that followed the first Rodney King trial in Los
In that riot a white truck driver was pulled out of his truck and brutally beaten by some
young black men.
One of them took a brick and threw it with force at the head of the hapless driver whose
name is John Denny.
Some time later, the man who threw the brick and Denny were both invited to appear on
a talk show.
Denny is a Christian and does not blame or hate those who attacked him.
He even seems to excuse their actions on account of the conditions they live in.
To forgive them is wonderful, but should he also release them from the responsibility for
The man who threw the brick, Mr. Washington, says he’s sorry for the harm he has
caused Denny but he also stated that he does not entirely regret participating in the riot.
The audience in the studio was quite agitated with Washington because they felt that he
wasn’t really sorry for what he had done, that he was not really ready to confess that what
he had done was wrong.
I think that the audience intuitively understood that Mr. Washington could not rise
above his past sins until he owned them and confessed them.
This is not a racial issue; it is a spiritual matter.
What it boils down to is this: We don’t need a scapegoat; we need to lay our sins on the
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
And when we do this, we find a peace and a joy which passes all understanding.
Have you noticed that people don’t sin anymore?
We make mistakes.
We slip up.
We become temporarily insane or ill, but we don’t sin.
And when we can’t figure out who to blame we throw up our arms and say, “It just
I didn’t intend to cheat on my wife; it just happened.
I don’t know how or why I shot him; it just happened.
Who knows, maybe aliens from outer space are taking possession of our bodies when
things just happen.
When John pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God, two of John’s disciples followed Jesus.
And when Jesus saw them, he asked, “What do you want?”