Sunday, June 27, 2010
Reasons not to follow Jesus examined @ Tinney Chapel
Click on any image to view it in larger format or click on the arrow below to view the video of Pastor Sue Gross' sermon, titled "You Can't Make Me."
You Can't Make Me: Reasons Not To Follow Jesus Examined
Two Scripture readings served as ammunition for Pastor Sue Gross' sermon today, tantalizingly titled, You Can't Make Me, which was eventually exposed as a both a serious and slightly humorous examination of the reasons that many of us present, to ourselves and to the world, for not following Jesus, at least not just now!
The first Scripture was read by Lay Reader David Stanton (see photo above): 1 Kings 19:19-21 and 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14. These Old Testament Scriptures dealt with Elisha following Elijah.
But most of the Pastor's examples came from the second reading, entirely about following Jesus, which she delivered immediately ahead of her sermon. The two primary examples were:
Wait until I bury my father!
Wait until I say goodbye to my family!
Those were two reasons, stemming from the New Testament Gospel of Luke, Chapter 9:51-62, in which Jesus and His disciples seek vainly for hospitality in Samaria, prompting two of the Lord's most inner-circle disciples to suggest calling down fire to consume the inhospitable unbelievers. Meanwhile, a more patient Jesus counsels moderation to James and John, the Sons of Thunder.
In making His decision to travel through Samaria on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus encounters upfront rudeness from the inhabitants from whom His disciples request hospitality. "Not in my village," quipped Pastor Sue, in a humorous paraphrase of the reception to Jesus' advance party. "This, despite the custom, even the law, of that day which virtually mandated hospitality to travelers. But, perhaps this can be explained, to some extent, by the longtime animosity between the Samaritans and the Jews."
However, the Pastor emphasized, the Samaritans could not have known the magnitude of their missed opportunity: The potential life-changing experience of interacting with Jesus, the Son of Man. In fact, it is in this Scripture passage that Jesus emphasizes how birds have nests and foxes have holes, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.
Jesus and His traveling companions moved on to another village, the exact location unspecified, encountering would-be-followers along the way. Neither of their reasons for delay, mentioned above, appear acceptable to Jesus. Pastor Sue interpreted this event as a potential First Century example of the well-known attitude of You-can't-make-me!
Perhaps not all that different from those of us in the modern world who say we intend to follow Jesus when the time is right for us: Just not right this minute.
"There has to be a real need for Jesus, a commitment to Him," declared Pastor Sue. "We put obstacles in our own way of following Jesus. Meanwhile, the responsibility for a relationship with God lives within our own souls.
"The wonder of it all is that when we are ready, Jesus is still there, waiting for us to follow Him," added Pastor Sue. "If we knock on the door, Jesus will answer it immediately, not just if He happens to feel like it. Jesus is always ready to search for the lost sheep among us.
"Showing just how much Jesus loves us.!