“This Is a Hard Saying” (John 6:60-69)

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
August 22, 2021

“This Is a Hard Saying” (John 6:60-69)

For the last couple of weeks, the Holy Gospel has been Jesus’ famous “Bread of Life” discourse from John chapter 6.  And last week I preached on the appointed text, under the theme, “Eat This Bread and Live Forever.”  But last week I only got through the first half of that text.  What I didn’t get to was the reaction to what Jesus said.  And that’s what I want to take up this morning.  And so our sermon text today is what is printed in your bulletin, namely, John 6, verses 60 through 69, as follows:

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”  But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?  Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail.  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  But there are some of you who do not believe.”  (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)  And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.  So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

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Published in: on August 21, 2021 at 7:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Eat This Bread and Live Forever” (John 6:51-69)

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
August 15, 2021

“Eat This Bread and Live Forever” (John 6:51-69)

The world’s oldest living person is a woman in Japan by the name of Kane Tanaka. She is 118 years old. She has held the title of oldest living person for over three years, which is unusually long for someone to be the world’s oldest living person. Usually, they relinquish the title before that long. What is Miss Tanaka’s secret? “Eating delicious food and studying,” she says. Her nurses say, “She has a strong appetite and likes eating chocolate and drinking Coke.” Well, I have a strong appetite, I like eating delicious food, including chocolate, and I do a lot of studying. But maybe I should take up drinking Coke.

Then there’s the world’s oldest male, Emilio Flores Márquez of Puerto Rico. He just turned 113 one week ago. Señor Márquez says of his life: “My father raised me with love and taught me to love everyone. He always told me and my brothers and sisters to do good, to share everything with others. Besides, Christ lives in me.”

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Published in: on August 14, 2021 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“A Christmas Carol” (John 6:51-58)

Funeral Service
Saturday, August 14, 2021

“A Christmas Carol” (John 6:51-58)

One of the first things you notice about Carol’s obituary is the date of her birth: December 25, 1940. Carol was born on Christmas Day! It was like God was sending us a nice Christmas present that we all could enjoy for the next 80+ years. She was a true “Christmas Carol,” and the music was sweet indeed!

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Published in: on August 14, 2021 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Born of Water and the Spirit” (John 3:1-17)

The Holy Trinity
Sunday, May 30, 2021

“Born of Water and the Spirit” (John 3:1-17)

On this Trinity Sunday, our Gospel reading, from John chapter 3, tells us of the work of the Holy Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–in bringing us to a new birth and the new life that flows from it. And this is where Jesus goes in his conversation with Nicodemus. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he needs to be “Born of Water and the Spirit.”

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Published in: on May 29, 2021 at 8:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Love Commanded, Love Connected” (John 15:9-17)

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 9, 2021

“Love Commanded, Love Connected” (John 15:9-17)

“This is my commandment, that you love one another.” So says the Lord Jesus today in the reading from John 15. “But, but, Jesus, how come you’re giving us a commandment? Like we’re supposed to obey this? But I thought you were not about commanding people, just forgiving them. This sounds like Law to me, and I thought you were only Gospel!”

Yeah, how can you command us to do this, Jesus, to “love one another”? That’s too hard. I mean, there are some people I like to love. I love my children; I love my spouse. Well, most of the time, at least. When they’re being nice to me and sweet. It’s a little harder, though, when they’re being ornery or getting on my nerves.

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Published in: on May 8, 2021 at 7:57 pm  Comments (1)  
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“Branches, Abiding in the Vine, Bearing Fruit” (John 15:1-8)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 2, 2021

“Branches, Abiding in the Vine, Bearing Fruit” (John 15:1-8)

In the Holy Gospel for today, in John 15:5, our Lord Jesus says to us: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” And so our theme this morning: “Branches, Abiding in the Vine, Bearing Fruit.”

And those will be the three parts of our message today. First, branches: How do we become branches? Second, abiding in the vine: How does that happen? And third, bearing fruit: What does that look like? So let’s go.

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Published in: on May 1, 2021 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Good Shepherd Lays Down His Life for the Sheep” (John 10:11-18)

Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 25, 2021

“The Good Shepherd Lays Down His Life for the Sheep” (John 10:11-18)

Are you feeling a little sheepish today? Well, if you are, that’s good! Because it’s good to be a sheep when Jesus is your shepherd. Today the message is that Jesus is our good shepherd, and “The Good Shepherd Lays Down His Life for the Sheep.”

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Published in: on April 24, 2021 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Believing Is Better Than Seeing” (John 20:19-31)

Second Sunday of Easter
April 11, 2021

“Believing Is Better Than Seeing” (John 20:19-31)

The doors were locked. The disciples had locked themselves in, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, who had just had Jesus killed a couple of days earlier. And since they were Jesus’ disciples, if it became known where they were, the authorities might come after them, too. So the disciples were afraid and were staying behind closed doors.

But if a sealed tomb couldn’t keep Jesus in, a locked door couldn’t keep Jesus out. He passes right through and stands in their midst. “Shalom aleichem,” he says, “Peace be with you,” a standard Hebraic greeting. But when Jesus says it, it’s a little more than standard! Jesus really does convey peace when he speaks it! This is a blood-bought peace, peace purchased by the blood that God’s Son shed on the cross. Peace between heaven and earth. Peace between a righteous God and sinful man. Jesus made that peace for us on the cross, where he died for the sins of the world. Jesus packs real peace into his words, when he greets us with “Peace be with you.”

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Published in: on April 10, 2021 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Light Shines in the Darkness” (John 1:1-5, 9-14)

Good Friday
April 2, 2021

“The Light Shines in the Darkness” (John 1:1-5, 9-14)

Tonight we’re doing a traditional Good Friday evening service called “Tenebrae.” The Latin word, “tenebrae,” means “shadows” or “darkness.” This is the Service of the Shadows, the Service of Darkness–moving to complete darkness at the end of the service. This reminds us of the darkness that came over the land when Christ was hanging on the cross, the great darkness that occurred when the author of life was put to death. And then his lifeless body was placed in the tomb, and night fell, and all was darkness and shadows. The loud noise that will come at the end of this service, called the “strepitus”–that will remind us either of the earthquake at the time of Christ’s death or of the shutting of the tomb, when the heavy stone is rolled into place. In either case, the sound will signify the finality of death. Boom! Death wins.

This is the time of darkness and shadows. It seems that darkness has covered the earth. The one who had done only good, a righteous man–murdered. The one who had brought healing and had shown God’s mercy to so many–dead. The one in whom men had put their hope, now has been killed, and hope died with him. Jesus of Nazareth–crucified, dead, and buried. Now what?

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Published in: on April 2, 2021 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Washed Clean with Jesus’ Love” (John 13:1-17, 31b-35)

Holy Thursday
April 1, 2021

“Washed Clean with Jesus’ Love” (John 13:1-17, 31b-35)

One thing we’ve been reminded of a thousand times over the past year is to wash your hands frequently. Washing your hands, we are told, is an important way to keep you from getting the virus or spreading it to others. And so we wash our hands. Frequently.

But you can wash your hands fifteen times a day, eight days a week, and still, eventually, something is going to get you. We’re all going to die of something. But there is one type of washing that will keep you from dying eternally. And that is, when you have been “Washed Clean with Jesus’ Love.”

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Published in: on April 1, 2021 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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