The 6th Sunday of Easter
Teach Us, Lord, Full Obedience
Text: John 14:23-29
This last week a boat was found off the coast of Bermuda by a Norwegian vessel ship. Quickly it was identified as the boat of Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, the two 14-year-olds who left on a fishing trip from Jupiter, FL 10 months ago and who have been missing ever since. The two boys are still missing and now some are wondering if foul play was involved.
Speaking of investigations, there are plenty of others going on. The FBI recently paid almost $1 million to unlock (semi-legally) an iPhone connected to the San Bernadino mass shooting. Investigations are also continuing 10 days after the music industry lost legendary musician Prince, as to what exactly was his cause of death. Then there was the tragic death of the two-year-old who drowned in her grandparents’ swimming pool in Port Orange Thursday night.
Also making the headlines this week was another baseball player, this one from the Miami Marlins, who was banned 80 games for steroids and the controversial football player drafted Thursday night by the Miami Dolphins who has found himself in a social media firestorm for past poor decisions. (Not a good week for Miami sports.) Oh, and who could leave out the headlines of the 20 arrested during the mini-riot at the Donald Trump rally on Thursday night? Read the rest of this entry
The 5th Sunday of Easter
Love and Glory
Text: John 13:31-35
I think that my life would be at peace and I would still manage somehow to die a happy man if I never heard or saw a Kardashian again. It’s unbelievable. Those Kardashians are everywhere! TV shows, commercials, magazines. That means they have infiltrated our homes, our grocery stores, our doctor and dentist waiting rooms. But if that’s not enough, you can even get a little more Kardashian in your life as Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, and Kylie all have their own official apps you can download on your phone or tablet.
As ridiculous (or annoying?) as the Kardashian craze may be, you have to hand it to their publicists. They are certainly good at what they do. They put that unique family out there for the whole world to see.
Now you have to ask, “Why would someone want to do that? Why harness the powers of all these media channels? Why put yourself out there in front of the world?” The Kardashians have an entire staff of PR specialists because they understand a fundamental concept innate to every single human being: If you gain glory, you gain love. This is how our entire world—and especially our American culture—is set up. If you have glory, you will have love. Read the rest of this entry
Midweek Lent 5
The Body of Christ in His Passion: Face Slapped in Mockery
Text: John 18:19-24
There was nothing legal, right, or moral about this at all. Nothing. After Jesus had been betrayed by Judas and arrested by a mob of likely several hundred men, he was led off to the high priest Annas. First of all, it was illegal for the Jews to hold a trial at night. Second of all, it was illegal to put a man on trial the same day that he was arrested. This was doubly wrong to begin with.
Next, the high priest mentioned here wasn’t actually the high priest. This pre-trial of sorts was taking place in the court of a man named Annas. Annas had been the Jewish high priest but the Romans had deposed him around 15 A.D., about 15 years earlier. The high priest at the time was actually Caiphas, the son-in-law of Annas.
This entire chunk of six verses tonight then presents one big charade. It was a doubly illegal trial. It was a pre-trial held before a man who was not the actual, authoritative high priest. And the purpose was to probe for possible guilt with Jesus and buy time while Caiaphas was quickly assembling the Jewish council for the real trial (which would still be illegal). Read the rest of this entry
Midweek Lent 4
The Body of Christ in His Passion: Wrists Bound in Willingness
Text: John 18:2-13
How many chances did they get? How many signs could they miss? How many opportunities to change their ways and repent did they pass on with hardened hearts?
The exchange that takes place over a matter of minutes in the Garden of Gethsemane is truly an extraordinary one. This was the last time there would be miraculous power from Jesus on display until the moment he died, and the signs surely came fast and furious in the Garden.
We saw Jesus in the Garden last week with his hands folded in prayer, encouraging the disciples to join in praying. As we left him last week he was rising to meet his betrayer. Now we see Judas arrive. Read the rest of this entry
New Year’s Eve
Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled
Text: John 14:1-4
Things were not right and they knew it. Everything was screaming trouble to them. Clearly enemy opposition was at an all time high. It may have almost seemed dangerous to be around others. Then there was all this talk about suffering and death. Now there was talk about leaving and going away. What was going on here? What was going to happen?
On a quiet Thursday night long ago the disciples had heavy hearts that felt like a shaken champagne bottle. Everything was all mixed up, shaken, bubbling to the top, and about to explode. They certainly could see and sense the seething hatred of Jesus’ enemies boiling over. Jesus had been talking more and more about suffering and dying. Now minutes before he had just said that he wasn’t going to be with them any longer. Here they had this quiet little Last Supper together in an Upper Room but it certainly had the feel of Jesus’ last will and testament. Talk of betrayal and death. Judas had run out of the room for whatever reason. Talk of leaving. What was going on here? What was going to happen?
Almost two millennia later and here you are on a quiet Thursday evening and you feel exactly the same. Things are not right and you know it. Everything is screaming trouble to you. Read the rest of this entry