Trinity News and Sermons

02/01/15 Sermon Bullets

4th Sunday after Epiphany

  • Our gospel lesson states that those who heard Jesus teaching at the synagogue were “astounded” at the way he taught. Scholars believe this is because he did not teach in the same way as other rabbis of his day – giving references to previous teachers (kind of like footnotes in a thesis) but rather he talks about what God says/requires. He doesn’t talk about other scholars, but about God. THIS WAS NEW!
  • One is reminded of the teaching from Luke 4, where he reads from the prophet Isaiah about what the Spirit of the Living God is doing: bring good news to the poor, release to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, etc. – then Jesus amazingly states that this is coming true in their hearing, for the Spirit of the Living God is realizing this mission and ministry in the person and life of Jesus himself!
  • As the hearers are perhaps scratching their heads in amazement about this new way of speaking about God, a man with an unclean spirit cries out, knowing full well who Jesus is: “I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
  • Jesus “teaching” and revealing of his authority continues as he drives the unclean spirit out of the man.
  • The crowd is even more amazed. NO KIDDING!
  • Jesus has authority, like no other. He teaches us – even today – in a new and different way about who God is, and what God has done for us and calls us to be. And he brings healing to our unclean spirits.
  • The unclean spirit asks if Jesus has come to destroy “us.” We might ask the same question today.
  • We don’t want our sin taken away from us. It is comfortable and a familiar way of life for us. What will be put in its place?
  • David Bartless states: We are caught up in addiction, passions and compulsions that are destroying us. We know what is better for us – but we don’t want to give up that which is robbing our very souls of life.
  • As Pastor Delmar Chilton says: “Like the man with the unclean spirit, we often wish the holy would leave us alone to live lives of selfishness, materialism and devotion to the pleasures of the flesh.”
  • Jesus, with his compassionate authority, calling us to acknowledge the very reign of God in our midst, will not leave us in our sinful, self-destructive state. Out of great love, he will not let our spiritual and emotional death have the final word. He comes with authority and power to bring healing. He says to us and that part that eats away at us, sapping us of energy and life: Be silent and come out!
  • Notice in the story that it is not a peaceful exorcism. The spirit convulses the man and cries with a loud voice. So it often is with us; that painful, destructive part of us convulses us and cries out, before the peace and wholeness come to us.
  • And we are not left empty, after the sin leaves us. Pastor Chilton continues: “The Word comes to wipe out the diseases of the soul that keep us from knowing God’s love and from loving one another. Yes, the Living Word which is the Christ comes to destroy, but he destroys in order to rebuild, reconstruct, recreate, remake us in the image of Christ.”
  • In response to this love and authority, we can boldly sing: Sing praise to God, the highest good, the author of creation! O God of love, your understood our need for your salvation. With healing balm our souls you fill; all our lament with peace you still. TO GOD ALL PRAISE AND GLORY!