Monday, July 20, 2015

Sermon for July 19, 2015: Why do you need Jesus?

 This sermon was preached by Rev. Mark Peterson at Christ the King Lutheran church on Sunday, July 19, 2015. We celebrated the baptism of Luke David, and welcomed him into the Body of Christ. 

Gospel: Mark 6:30–34, 53–56

30The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.  31He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.  32And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.  33Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them.  34As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.  53When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat.  54When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him,  55and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.  56And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ,
You've heard me say it, for a few weeks now, we are a people, "Chosen to Proclaim". 
We are Chosen to Proclaim, God's love. 
We are Chosen to Proclaim, the God who created everything and gave us abundant life. 
We are Chosen to Proclaim, Jesus Christ, the Word of God, who has taken on our own human flesh and out of great compassion, has come to us, and loved us, and given us life, God's life.
We are Chosen to Proclaim, Jesus Christ, who is our Shepherd. 
Our shepherd, Matt Yoder.

We read in our Gospel text for today the story of all these people who were running around, following Jesus and his disciples, and that Jesus had compassion for these people, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. 

It is good to have a shepherd. I had a great shepherd once, when I went to Slovakia, way back, when I was fresh out of college, in 2001. My roommate, Matt, was a really good shepherd, because he'd been in Slovakia for a couple of years already, teaching, just as we were. He knew the places to go, and how to get there. He knew the language pretty well, and he had a Slovak girlfriend, which is probably why he'd been there a couple of years already.  Matt was a great shepherd to me, and a great friend as well, and, I wasn't the only one that he was a shepherd to, in fact, we have another one of Matt's flock, as Carrie here, along with her roommate Jill, followed Matt's guidance as well. We, four, were the young people over there, and so we naturally hung out a lot, and Matt was our shepherd. 
Thankfully, Matt was a good guy, and we could trust what he said, really without question. No matter what, wherever Matt would point us to, there we would go.

Jill, Carrie, and me.
They didn't trust my travel skills.
I, on the other hand, was not the shepherd of Carrie and Jill. I remember one afternoon, when we were out on an errand or something, and I knew the way to go. Carrie and Jill though, didn't believe me, and they challenged my knowledge, (and I still get challenged on where I'm going...a lot). They challenged me, and it was a little frustrating, and so I got home, and I said to Matt, I bet they would believe whatever you said, just because it's you that's saying it. 

The Duh-Blighner!
So, we came up with this experiment. The next time we were hanging out with the girls, we statred talking about this Irish Pub that we went to sometimes, called The Dubliner. At that point, Matt, our shepherd, who they would believe, know matter what, said "you know, it's pronounced, The Duh-blighner. We know that this experiment worked, because Carrie and Jill kept referring to this place as the Duh-blighner, never questioning that maybe a fast-one was being pulled on them. This ruse aside, overall, Matt was a very good shepherd to us, and helped us to be in a foreign place, that we didn't know our way around. It was great to have a shepherd, and a compassionate one at that.

We are a people, Chosen to Proclaim, and this morning, God is choosing another servant, Luke David. Through the waters of baptism, God will choose Luke to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Though, to help Luke make that proclamation, God has also chosen us, to proclaim to him, about this shepherd, who we have been given, this very good shepherd, named Jesus. God has chosen us, to be a part of proclaiming Jesus' love and truth and hospitality, so that Luke can grow and learn about his Savior; so that Luke can learn to trust in the One who has given us his life;, so that Luke can learn to follow and obey, where this Godly shepherd leads him. We have been Chosen to Proclaim this to Luke so that he can be like one of those people in our Gospel story, who runs after Jesus, seeking him as a source of healing, compassion, and life. 

This baptism is our proclamation to Luke, and it's our proclamation to the world, as Luke is being chosen not because he's accomplished anything great yet, except for being born, and yet he's chosen out of God's grace. He's chosen so that the world may see that all are chosen and loved by God. And so, we proclaim this compassionate and loving Shepherd to Luke, we proclaim Jesus' compassion and love for him. 

Yet, as we proclaim, and continue to proclaim our shepherd to Luke, it seems to me that we may forget about Jesus' compassion for US, as well. When it comes to Jesus, what are our needs? What things cause us to go and chase after Jesus, just as those people did thousands of years ago. You see, it's pretty easy for us, relatively speaking anyway, to speak of our God who loves us and gives his life for us, but it can be a lot harder to actually realize what that means and to realize the depths to which Jesus is with us in our own lives. To realize the ways in which Jesus shepherds us, the ways in which Jesus has compassion for us. 

Still, that is a part of our proclamation, in fact that is our proclamation. Not that Jesus came just for other people, but that Jesus came for us. These people didn't chase after Jesus, because they needed in autograph, and otherwise had their lives all put together. They ran after this person because they were in NEED of a shepherd, they were in NEED of Jesus' compassion. They were the sick in need of healing, and we are the same. 

Therefore, as we baptize Luke today, I'd like you to ponder in our moments of meditation, I'd like you to think, not only about how you'd share Jesus with Luke, but how you'd share with Luke, about how Jesus is compassionate with you in your life today. How you'd proclaim about how Jesus is with us, like someone who's shoulder you may cry upon, and be comforted. How you'd share about Jesus as a trusted friend, who takes the time to show you what they know, and spend time with you. How you'd share about a trusted savior, who would give his life, broken and shed for each of us. How you'd share about a trusted God, who comes to us, in the waters of baptism, so that we may proclaim that our Shepherd lives, and so that we may follow this shepherd, wherever he may go. 

So please, take a few moments and meditate on what our your needs, and how you want Jesus to show compassion to you in your life. Reflect on the proclamation of Jesus' compassion for us, and the grace by which God has made us a people, Chosen to Proclaim, this compassion. 
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

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