Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Pastor Joan has finished her sermon for today. Here is part of it:
“One of the sad things in life is there are people who almost make the leap from unfaith to faith but something causes them to pull back.. They almost laid their sins on Jesus. They were almost set free.
It was so with the congregation at Nazareth they had heard Kjesus say he was the Messiah. They could almost see the Kingdom of God breaking in through Him. They were ready to make the leap. But ! Somebody said “ Isn’t this Joseph’s Son?” Now if He is Joseph’s son then he can’t be the Messiah. They watched Him grow up. Thus they lost this chance to step into faith. They lost the opportunity to make the journey to the cross with Jesus. They could have learned so much. They could have seen so many miracles.
The He is Joseph’s Son moments come in many forms in this age.
One hears something about the evangelist that shared Jesus with you. Perhaps, he cheats on his wife. But then you can’t trust his message. You back off.
Perhaps you went to a new church and the Pastor touched you in the sermon your ready to make the leap of faith but then you see sitting one row over a person you know to be corrupt . If he belongs then you can’t trust the message of this church. You back off.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Once you have seen Jesus set your eyes on Him and make the jump from unfaith to faith. Then forget how you got there. Forget the fallible clay vessels the message came in. Forget that He is Joseph’s son. Go with Him and experience the Kingdom of God breaking in.
This is the time to make the leap. Feel the joy. Know the freedom.
In the liturgical churches using the Common Lectionary today is celebrated as the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany. The Gospel is Lube 4:21-30.
21and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked.
23Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.' "
24"I tell you the truth," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27And there were many in Israel with leprosy[a] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian."
28All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. 30But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way
It is the last half of the story of Jesus at the Synagogue at Nazareth which we read last week. But last week things were going well. It even looked like they might believe Him. But then somebody points out that He is Joseph’s son.. He can’t be the Messiah but he owes them as his people some kind of miracle. Jesus explains using two Old Testament stories but this just enraged them. They wanted to throw Him off a cliff.
That still happens in the group that follow Jesus today. We often end up thinking God owes us because we believe and others don’t.
When I was a kid I prayed really hard that God wouldn’t let my brother Robert die but He did. I was so angry I threw God , not over a cliff but out of my life. I became an atheist for a time.
I heard somebody on TV the other day say that if God had a house here on earth she would go there are throw rocks through the windows.
But in truth God owes us nothing. In fact we owe God because day after day he4 fills our life with joy, grace, and peace.
W#e have to accept the fact that He will not always give us what we want.