The sermon for September 10th 2017 is now available on the New Life web-site.
In this sermon, which is based on Luke 15, Susan talks about God’s Love For All People.
They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures?”
It is Easter afternoon and two disciples are walking the road to a village called Emmaus.
They are discussing the events of the weekend when a stranger comes near. It is Jesus, although they don’t recognise Him. They tell Him about Jesus, His crucifixion and the reports of His resurrection.
Jesus then starts to tell them about how it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer then enter into glory.
At he village, the disciples invite Jesus to stay the night. When they are eating, Jesus takes the bread, blesses and breaks it. Their eyes are opened to recognise Him, then He vanishes. Excited, they rush back to Jerusalem with the news that they have seen the Lord.
An encounter with Jesus will burn our hearts within us. Drawing close to Jesus, communing with him, listening to Him- this is what warms the heart of the true follower of Jesus.
There are three things happening here.
1. Two disciples sharing together about Jesus are joined by Him unexpectedly. Where two or three are gathered in His name He is there. I love cell groups and one-on-one conversations because, as we share about Jesus, He comes and joins the conversation.
2. Jesus talked to them. We need to learn to listen to the still small voice of God. He tells us, ”My sheep know my voice.” The greatest source of life for christians is the voice of the Living Word that comes to us as we listen in prayer.
3. He opened the scriptures to them. All scripture points to Jesus. It can be so easy to come to God’s word as a religious chore that we tick off our daily “to do” list. Here is the word of eternal life. It deserves our attention. We need to learn to hear the voice of Jesus opening the scriptures to us, opening our understanding and our eyes to see how it applies to us today.
Lord Jesus, when I come into your presence, my heart truly does burn within me. I confess that I sometimes let the busy-ness of life prevent me from seeking you. Let my heart burn with passion for your presence. Amen.
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
Jesus is nailed to the cross, between two criminals. He calls out “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
The crowd watches; the leaders mock. The leaders say that if Jesus is the Messiah He should save Himself. The Romans scoff at His claim to be King of the Jews. Even one of the crucified criminals mocks Jesus.
But there is faith in the picture. The other crucified man calls out to Jesus, “Remember me,” and Jesus replies, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
So many mockers and scoffers! Next Sunday many churches around the world will read this passage to celebrate “Christ the King.”
What a declaration this makes. Christ rejected by many of his own people, deserted by His closest friends, and now mocked by all except one wretched man nailed to a cross; this is the King!
What sort of Kingdom is this? What King is this?
Jesus is lifted high for the world to see, on a cross not a throne. God declares “This is my beloved Son! This is your King!”
And the whole world mocks Him.
Just one man has the eyes of faith to see reality.
Where am I In this story?
Am I a “disciple” huddling fearfully in a house somewhere?
Am I the religious leader looking for personal power and prestige, rejecting God in the process?
Am I part of the ruling elite, so focussed on maintaining the status quo that I could crucify the Son of God?
Am I the mocking criminal?
Or am I that other man, the one man of faith?
Jesus is the King rejected by every layer of society. He is the King who comes to power by laying everything down- even His own life.
This is our God.
“Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
Lord please open my eyes to see the reality rather than illusion; to see the world as you see it; to see myself as you see me.
Today I identify with the man of no repute, a condemned and dying criminal, worshipping a King who made Himself a man of no repute. But I see through the veil to see the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, laying down His life for the world and for me.
Thank you for the promise, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Amen