Sermons from February 2018
Without question Jesus was an enigma to most people of His day, and especially so to the religious types. He annoyed them, confused them, frustrated them, and angered them. He simply didn’t fit their boxes. And when He and His disciples seemed to have time to party and enjoy themselves, it was time for them to confront Him. In today’s passage Pastor Murray unpacks this encounter, showing that Jesus’ mission was not to revamp or patch up the laws of Moses, but to replace them with something totally new and better – salvation by grace – and all the freedom and joy that this would bring! This would be a whole new way of relating to God, and Jesus Himself is the key. Have you found this life in Jesus?
Paul responds to those who seek to undermine his apostleship by arguing that his authority comes from Jesus, that the weapons of his authority have divine power and that he is prepared to powerfully wield his authority in order to build up the church.
So often as Christians we can forget where we came from. We can start to think of ourselves as superior to those around us in the church and in the world. The author of the first gospel invites us in to his own story – where he came from – and here, as Christians today we are given a reminder of where we came from too. We are sinners who have been miraculously called by Jesus. The more we ponder this wonderful and God glorifying truth, the more our own foolish pride is stripped away and we are readied as a church to go to the same uncomfortable places that Jesus went in his mission to save humanity.
After 40 years the Israelites were nearly home. The long-awaited land of Canaan, promised 500 years earlier to Abraham, was just across the Jordan River. But first, there was a not-insignificant matter to be resolved concerning the land rights of women who had no brothers. Would they be able to share in the family inheritance? And if they did, what would happen to their land if they married a man from a different tribe? Clearly, sharing in God’s promised land was the ultimate priority for every Israelite. For Christians today our inheritance awaits, promised to us by God, not an earthly inheritance but one that is kept in heaven for us “that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4). Are we just as eager to lay hold of this inheritance as we look to the end of our life’s journey?
Jesus is presented with a paralysed man. He sees his faith, but instead of healing him, as we expect, his first move is to forgive his sins. To claim to have the authority to forgive sin is a massive claim – a claim to divine authority. Jesus finally and emphatically proves he has this authority by conquering sin on the cross. And this has massive implications for us. Each of us, and all of our sin, is forgivable through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. But do we live as though our greatest need is the forgiveness that Jesus offers? And do we witness as though other people’s greatest need is to be forgiven?