“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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“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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“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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“A Birth and a Benedictus” (Luke 1:57-80)

Midweek Advent Vespers
Wednesday, December 15, 2021

“A Birth and a Benedictus” (Luke 1:57-80)

In this Advent series, we’re looking at the events leading up to the birth of Christ, as they are recorded in the first chapter of Luke. Two weeks ago, we started with the angel Gabriel announcing to Zechariah that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son, that he’s to be named John, and that this son of theirs would go before the Lord to prepare his way. Then last week, Gabriel went to a virgin named Mary and announced that she would give birth to the Messiah, the Christ, and that he is to be named Jesus. Luke chapter 1 then continues with Mary going to visit Elizabeth, and we will get that reading this Sunday. But today we go to the last part of Luke 1, and we read about “A Birth and a Benedictus.” The birth is the birth of John; the Benedictus is the song of praise that Zechariah sings when he gives the child that name.

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Published in: on December 15, 2021 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“What Do You Expect?” (Luke 7:18-28)

Third Sunday in Advent
December 12, 2021

“What Do You Expect?” (Luke 7:18-28)

What you expect and when you expect it will make you either satisfied or disappointed. For example, suppose that for Christmas your true love has promised to give you twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a’leaping, all the way down to three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. But at the end of the day on December 25 all you’ve received is the partridge. You’re disappointed. You ask yourself, “Did my true love forget about the other stuff? Where are the geese and the maids and so on? Maybe my true love doesn’t love me, after all.”

But then, over December 26, 27, and 28, you start getting FedEx shipments of various calling and non-calling birds. By December 31 you’re up to seven swans a-swimming. Now you’re starting to catch on. Your true love’s word is good. Your true love does truly love you. The promise will be kept, in full. You remember that there are twelve days of Christmas, and you can expect that the rest of the stuff is on the way. It will arrive on time. Even though you have not yet seen any dancing ladies, you’re satisfied that you will. In this case, you really can count your chickens before they’re dispatched.

What you expect and when you expect it will determine whether you’re satisfied or disappointed. That’s true of Christmas presents, and it’s true of Christ himself. What do you expect of Christ? And when do you expect it? This is the question that comes to us, just as it came to John the Baptist: “What Do You Expect?”

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Published in: on December 11, 2021 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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“What Sort of Greeting This Might Be” (Luke 1:26-38)

Midweek Advent Vespers
Wednesday, December 8, 2021

“What Sort of Greeting This Might Be” (Luke 1:26-38)

During this Advent season, we’re looking at how Luke tells us of the events leading up to Christmas. Luke does this in chapter 1 of his gospel. Christmas will come in chapter 2. And in this infancy narrative, Luke goes back and forth between two storylines: the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of Jesus Christ. Last week we heard the angel Gabriel announce to Zechariah that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son in their old age. They are to name him John, and he will go before the Lord to make ready a people prepared.

Now it’s six months later, and today the angel Gabriel comes to a virgin named Mary. He’s got some special news for her, too. He starts by saying: “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” “But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.” Well, I suppose if an angel suddenly appears in your house and starts speaking to you, you too would wonder “What Sort of Greeting This Might Be.”

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Published in: on December 8, 2021 at 1:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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