Archive for June 13th, 2018

Meme of the Day

Proverb gossip meme

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Resurrection icon Meme

Text:  The Gospel Text, St. Mark 3:20-35

Jesus’ family thinks He is crazy. The scribes think Jesus is possessed by Satan. What were they doing?  Yes, not telling the truth of and about Jesus but in these days, it might be said of the Scribes and Jesus’ family they were “putting a spin” on Him.  Putting a spin on someone means to twist a report or story to one’s advantage; to interpret an event to make it seem favorable or beneficial to oneself or one’s cause. Jesus’ family were trying to get a handle on him and the scribes would eventually want to their hands on Him, and they would. 

The Lord’s family thought things had gotten out of hand.  Their judgment that He was crazy came from the fact that there were so many people, “that they could not even eat. (lit. “not able to eat bread)”.   Jesus is not even eating bread!  He’s got to have something to eat!  Only someone who’s not eating, is not right in his head! Jesus told his accusers when he and the disciples were eating grain on the Sabbath about the narrative of David eating the Bread of the Presence in the Temple itself when they were hungry.  When 5,000 men, and women and children, were listening Him preaching, He would give them bread overflowing in bounty. And they were in the desolate places when the Lord fed them, nevertheless, we are told, “Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass.” When the Lord is, there is life and salvation.  And on His last evening, the sacred evening, He would take the Passover bread and give thanks, break it and state, This is My Body.  The Lord gives Himself to us the Bread of the Presence. Why was Jesus not able to find time to eat?  Jesus was so engaged in feeding His people the Bread of Life, every Word proceeding from the mouth of God, He fasted for His people.

Jesus’ own family thought he was out of his mind! We are told in  John 7:  For not even his (Jesus’) brothers believed in him.  Maybe some of our own family members may not think we are exactly crazy, but a little dotty, eccentric. How can they believe that stuff?  Yet the Lord will have a family as we see in this lesson.  And His own brothers, his family, would come around.  When the 11 apostles were gathered in Jerusalem, after the Lord’s Ascension, and Luke lists them each by name, Acts 1,  he reports: “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”  In fact, one of Jesus’s brothers, James would be leader in the Church in Jerusalem. He was a witness of the Resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15: 7.  The point being is the Lord’s family came around. Jesus was not the one who was crazy.   The Lord prays for our family members as we do, and in the Lord, they can come around and come back. 

The more serious spin was from the scribes:  Jesus is possessed by the master of the demons, Satan.  So when the Lord asks the question How can Satan cast out Satan, He is referring to an impossibility on the devil’s part, rebutting the Scribe’s accusation.  Jesus brilliantly argues this cannot be, in three parallel conditional statements from general truth to specific truth. 

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 

If a kingdom, nation is divided against itself, it won’t stand.  Satan would not do that to himself by casting out himself!

25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 

From a whole nation to one house, a house divided would not stand, Satan would not do that to himself.  He’s too smart in his own conceits to do that!  Men, not so much, as Abraham Lincoln correctly observed citing this Scripture in his 1858, A House Divided speech,  before the Civil War.       

26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 

            Kingdom to house to the one who thinks he runs the show: if Satan has risen up against himself, he cannot stand but the end is at hand. He possesses but does not love those whom he stole But Satan’s end, his utter curtailment won’t be done by himself, he won’t commit suicide. No, Satan’s binding,  happens from the outside  in, actually a break-in:

27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.”

Who is the strong man?  Satan.  Who has entered into the strong man’s house, nation, kingdom and rule which is in the world and of the world?  Jesus is He, Sabaoth Lord!  He is not full of the unclean spirit, but the Holy Spirit, Mark 1 in His Baptism. The meme above illustrates this verse:  risen from the dead, bearing the marks of the Cross, the Lord rescues His own from the depths of sin, death and the power of the devil, “trampling down death by death, and bestowing life on those in the tombs”(Orthodox Paschal hymn).  The Lord recovers what was under Satan’s control, His goods.  He casts out the demonic.  His disciples were authorized by the Lord to do the same.  He has come to reclaim his goods, recover them all, redeem and reconcile, we are the Lord’s goods. He has redeemed us by His blood poured out, received by faith by His grace.   Rejecting the Lord and His mercy for us all, saying He has an unclean spirit is the sin against the Holy Spirit as the Lord does not lie but speaks truth. Such in in danger of eternal damnation.   

28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man

It is easy to gloss over these words but what good news! We are the children of man, of Adam and Eve who bought the lie they could be God on their own,

and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Then one cuts himself from the Lord’s forgiveness, His Word.  Yet even one who so blasphemes can be reached:  see St. Paul.

This verse stands in stark contrast with the second scene and it concentrates on one word which is not directly translated:  kuklos, circle. Here in Christ is life and the life is the light of men.  Pentecost’s color is green for growing in faith and love.  

Many are gathered around Jesus in a kuklos. Now it is sad that God’s Word can be so perverted by the children of man:  see the serpent, and the Adam and Eve. Even a word like “kuklos”has been perverted. Someone, or by time, separated the “ku” from the “Klos” which became “Ku Klux”  and added another ‘K’: clan. The Ku Klux Klan: the clan of the circle.   What’s in the center of that circle? Racism is perversion even using Scripture to support it. Remember the devil quotes the Bible too.  Like many circles of false teaching and their false teachers, the color is green but painted green, or help us painted it green by your money:  a cheat which will leads to eternal damnation by their perversions.

Here the crowd is gathered around Jesus, encircling Him, the Lord of life,  not to stone Him but listen to His Word and learn.  A disciple is literally a listener and a learner. As the folks sat around Jesus, He said of them, “For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” Just what were the folks DOING? Nothing but listening to Jesus teach. When many were leaving Jesus, He asked the 12, Will you go as well?  Peter faithfully confessed:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

In Luke’s Gospel, when Jesus visited Mary and Martha:

And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

They were all had an ear as one being taught (see Isaiah 50:4). 

In today’s Gospel, the crowd was sitting about the Lord in a circle.  His own family and the scribes were outside the circle. The Lord is the Hub of this circle, this wheel and He encircles us with His love and we are His spokes.  When the spokes cracked or broken, He forgives and heals and strengthens us in our weakness. I am the vine you are the branches without Me you can do nothing.  He encircles us with His commandments and mercy, His Word to protect us.  Adam and Eve bought the lie that they were the hub. He calls us to be more than spokes:  His brother and mother and sister! Here Jesus puts women in His Church, not to Holy Ministry, but even better, equal to all.  The old Adam is centrifugal, fleeing the center.  With Christ, we are centripetal, seeking Him and His rule day by day, moving or tending to move toward the center

The first time I flew to the West Coast to visit a fellow pastor and old friend in San Francisco, I was amazed looking at the desert below and all of a sudden in the middle of the desert there were perfect circles of Irrigation Circlesgreen for a large section of the desert.  This is done by irrigation and specifically “pivot irrigation”. At the center is where the water is piped into an arm pivoting around, green grass, vegetation.  Life in death. Every circle of a congregation with the Lord in the center is alike those green circles and the arm coming from the center is the Lord’s arm of His Word and Sacraments by which the Lord feeds and gives us to drink of Himself.   

The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4. 

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.  John 6.  

We are glad to so avail ourselves of the Word He gives this morning, a soul renewing flood,  and so avail yourself of His Word day by day in prayer and thanksgiving. Man says blood is thicker than water, that is our family, but in the Lord, water is thicker than blood in our Baptism into His family.

Cast afar this world’s vain pleasure
And boldly strive for heavenly treasure.
Be steadfast in the Savior’s might.
Trust the Lord, who stands beside you,
For Jesus from all harm will hide you.
By faith you conquer in the fight.
Take courage, weary soul! 
Look forward to the goal! Joy awaits you.
The race well run, Your long war won,
Your crown shines splendid as the sun.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.




*From Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis:

 “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to…”

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