“Jesus’ Word Possesses Authority” (Luke 4:31-44)

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
January 30, 2022

“Jesus’ Word Possesses Authority” (Luke 4:31-44)

In last week’s Gospel, from the first half of Luke chapter 4, we heard Jesus say what he was anointed and sent to do. He quoted these words from the book of the prophet Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Now in this week’s Gospel, from the second half of Luke chapter 4, we see Jesus do those things he said he was sent to do. He puts his words into action. If Jesus says he’s going to do something, he will do it. You can count on it. Jesus does what he says.

Jesus said he would proclaim good news to the poor. Today we see him doing that. Jesus said he would proclaim liberty to the captives. Today we see him doing that. Jesus said he would set at liberty those who are oppressed. Today we see him doing these things. He is faithful to his promises. Jesus’ words are trustworthy and true.

And his words are powerful and effective. They do what they say. His words are not mere empty syllables. No, Jesus’ word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. His word is powerful. It is effective. His word called creation into existence. He, the Son of God, upholds the universe by the word of his power. When Jesus speaks, things happen. His words bestow the very gifts he offers. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” And so our theme today: “Jesus’ Word Possesses Authority.”

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Published in: on January 28, 2022 at 2:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“What Jesus Has Been Anointed and Sent to Do” (Luke 4:16-30)

Third Sunday after the Epiphany
January 23, 2022

“What Jesus Has Been Anointed and Sent to Do” (Luke 4:16-30)

Here’s a question: What did Jesus come to do? Today Jesus himself tells us. He’s at church, and he stands up to read the Old Testament Reading–well, actually, they were all Old Testament readings at that point. He reads it, and then he says, “This is about me.” Boom! Mic drop. Jesus’ ministry, described in a few short lines. Oh, and you’re included in this text. So listen now, as we hear “What Jesus Has Been Anointed and Sent to Do.”

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Published in: on January 22, 2022 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Sign of the Water into Wine at the Wedding” (John 2:1-11)

Second Sunday after the Epiphany
January 16, 2022

“The Sign of the Water into Wine at the Wedding” (John 2:1-11)

“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory.” It was a sign. The thing about a sign is, you need to be able to read it and know what it means. A sign points to something beyond itself. So, what does this sign point to? What does it tell us? Let’s find out now, about “The Sign of the Water into Wine at the Wedding.”

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Published in: on January 15, 2022 at 9:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Epiphany, Baptism, and a Tale of Two Herods” (Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 3:15-22)

The Epiphany of Our Lord/ The Baptism of Our Lord
Sunday, January 9, 2022

“Epiphany, Baptism, and a Tale of Two Herods” (Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 3:15-22)

Every year, the Epiphany of Our Lord always falls on January 6, which was this past Thursday. The Gospel reading for Epiphany is the visit of the wise men, from Matthew 2. On the first Sunday after the Epiphany, which is today, we always observe the Baptism of Our Lord. And this year the Gospel reading is the account from Luke. This past Thursday, we had to cancel our Epiphany service. So now today, I decided to combine the readings for the two services, the Epiphany of Our Lord and the Baptism of Our Lord, into one message around a common theme: “Epiphany, Baptism, and a Tale of Two Herods.”

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Published in: on January 7, 2022 at 10:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The January 6 Epiphany Insurrection” (Matthew 2:1-12)

The Epiphany of Our Lord
Thursday, January 6, 2022

“The January 6 Epiphany Insurrection” (Matthew 2:1-12)

It’s January 6. A group of visitors travel to the nation’s capital. They are there to raise questions about who the nation’s real leader is. This does not sit well with some in positions of power. They consider people raising such questions in a bad light. They think of those who challenge their authority as “insurrectionists” who need to be put down.

No, I’m not talking about what happened on January 6 one year ago today. That was when a group of protestors went to Washington, D.C., to raise questions about who really won the election. And for the majority of people who were there, it truly was a peaceful protest. But a few malcontents did misbehave and got arrested, and since then, the people in power have used that occasion to put anyone who raises such questions in a bad light. They are eager to use the label, “The January 6 Insurrection.” “Insurrection” is a scarier word than “protest,” or even “riot,” and that’s why they use it.

But that’s not the January 6 insurrection I’m talking about. No, I’m talking about the Epiphany of Our Lord. Epiphany always falls on January 6 every year, right after the twelve days of Christmas. And it is sort of an insurrection, in a way. Epiphany does challenge the power of the rulers of this world. Epiphany does tell us who the real king is. And so our theme for this day, “The January 6 Epiphany Insurrection.”

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Published in: on January 5, 2022 at 11:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Mary and Joseph, Did You Know?” (Luke 2:40-52)

Second Sunday after Christmas
January 2, 2022

“Mary and Joseph, Did You Know?” (Luke 2:40-52)

Every year when the radio stations start playing Christmas music–like, when, around November 1? And then they stop playing Christmas music right on Christmas Day, when the Christmas season is just beginning, when there are eleven more days of Christmas still to go. But I digress. So, when the radio stations start playing Christmas music, there’s a song you will hear–oh, about 157 times–called “Mary, Did You Know?” And every time I hear it, I want to shout back at the radio, “Yes, of course she knew! The angel Gabriel told her!” Well, yes and no. Mary did know some things. But other things she probably did not know. So the question is, what exactly did she know and when did she know it?

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Published in: on December 31, 2021 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Firstborn Son Is Presented in the Temple” (Luke 2:22-40)

First Sunday after Christmas
December 26, 2021

“The Firstborn Son Is Presented in the Temple” (Luke 2:22-40)

Yesterday was Christmas, and now we’re into the days after Christmas. For us, these days mean eating leftovers, returning gifts that don’t fit, and taking down the decorations. But what about for Jesus? What did the days after his birth mean for him? Our text is one the few places we have an account of what happened during that time. It’s the story of what happened forty days after his birth, when “The Firstborn Son Is Presented in the Temple.”

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Published in: on December 25, 2021 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Making Known What the Lord Has Made Known to Us” (Luke 2:15-20)

The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Day
Saturday, December 25, 2021

“Making Known What the Lord Has Made Known to Us” (Luke 2:15-20)

Last night our message had to do with the “Good News of a Great Joy.” The news went out when Christ was born in Bethlehem. An angel appeared to some shepherds out in their field, telling them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” And then a multitude of the heavenly host began praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” So that was the good news of a great joy that came to the shepherds.

But what did those shepherds do in response to getting the good news? That’s what we’ll take up this morning. Our text is from the last portion of Luke’s Christmas account, reading again these verses: “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.”

Notice, the shepherds first say, “Let’s go see that which the Lord has made known to us.” And after they see it–they see the baby in the manger just as they were told–then what do they do? It says they made known what had been told them concerning this child. And so our theme this morning: “Making Known What the Lord Has Made Known to Us.”

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Published in: on December 24, 2021 at 10:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Good News of a Great Joy” (Luke 2:1-14)

The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Eve
Friday, December 24, 2021

“Good News of a Great Joy” (Luke 2:1-14)

For most of us, tonight or tomorrow everyone will be opening their Christmas presents. You’ll know which one is yours, because it will have your name on it and you’ll know where to find it: under the Christmas tree. Now suppose I got a Christmas present for you, but I didn’t tell you about it. I didn’t tell you that I had gotten a gift for you, and I didn’t tell you where you could find it. Well, it could be the greatest Christmas present in the world, but if you don’t know that it exists and you don’t know where to find it, it won’t do you much good. You need me to tell you about it.

Well, that’s the way it is with Christmas. God has given us the greatest Christmas present of all, but if it had stayed hidden, if we didn’t know about it or where to find it, it wouldn’t do us any good. But with this Christmas present, God not only gives the gift, he also tells us what it is and where to find it. And that’s what God is doing tonight. He’s bringing us “Good News of a Great Joy.”

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Published in: on December 24, 2021 at 9:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Miracle Moms and Their Baby Boys” (Luke 1:39-45)

Fourth Sunday in Advent
December 19, 2021

“The Miracle Moms and Their Baby Boys” (Luke 1:39-45)

Two expectant mothers–two miracle mothers, moms who shouldn’t have been–the two mothers meet, and they rejoice in their good fortune. They praise God for the wonderful work he is doing for them and through them. The Holy Spirit has given them faith to believe what God has spoken and what God is doing. And what God is doing will be done by the two babies they are carrying in their womb. Those two boys are going to change the world! They will change your world and turn it right-side up! And so our theme this morning: “The Miracle Moms and Their Baby Boys.”

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Published in: on December 17, 2021 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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