The lutheransermons’s Podcast
Preparing for Worship - December 5, 2021

Preparing for Worship - December 5, 2021

December 1, 2021

The Old Testament lesson for this Sunday, the Second Sunday of Advent, is Malachi 3:1-7b. The Lord says through the prophet Malachi that He will send a messenger to prepare the way, and then He, the Lord, will come to His people. This will be a time of cleansing and purifying, as people’s sins are exposed, and they are brought to repentance and return to the Lord.

In the Gospel lesson, Luke 3:1-14 (15-20), we hear that John the Baptist is that promised messenger. He calls people to “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” and to “bear fruits in keeping with repentance.” John also promises that people will then “see the salvation of God.”

Jesus is the One who came after John and brought salvation to the world. Paul rejoices in His saving work, in the Epistle lesson from Philippians 1:2-11. Paul is in prison for proclaiming the Good News of Jesus; yet he knows that he and all believers have the grace of God. He prays that all believers will continue in faith and love in Christ Jesus.

The Psalm, Psalm 66:1-12, is an Old Testament expression of joy in the Lord and His “awesome deeds” for His people. Though there are times of trial and testing, the psalmist says to the Lord, “You have not let our feet slip… and have brought us out to a place of abundance.” “Come and see what the Lord has done,” the psalmist says to all people.

Sermon for Midweek Advent 1 - December 1, 2021

Sermon for Midweek Advent 1 - December 1, 2021

November 30, 2021

Sermon for Midweek Advent 1 - "People of Hope: Finding Hope in Dark Days" 

Luke 1:5-25 - Zechariah and Elizabeth

 

Sermon originally delivered December 5, 2012

Bible Study - The Christmas Story Part 3 - Various Passages

Bible Study - The Christmas Story Part 3 - Various Passages

November 30, 2021

Last week, we looked especially at John 1:1-18, the prologue to John’s Gospel, and then other passages in his writings that refer to two key ideas that he presented, as God inspired him to write: 1) God the Son existed from all eternity as the second person of the one true Triune God, as God the Son, and was involved in the Creation and in other activity of the Triune God in the Old Testament; 2) according to God’s plan, God the Son eventually took on human flesh and became a real human male, in the miracle of Christmas - the incarnation - while still being God, in order to rescue us sinful human beings.

John gives us very little information on just how Christmas happened - how God the Son became man - and he does not explain a lot about why Christmas had to happen as it did. Today we will look at other Scriptures scattered through the Old and New Testament which help us understand more about the "why." Then we will get into the details of the real Christmas story itself as told us by God, through Matthew and Luke, in coming weeks. We will go through a lot of short Bible passages. Look up as many as you can, as we go along.

Look first at Romans 9:4-5. Paul speaks of his own fellow Israelites. “From their own (Jewish) race, according to the flesh, the Christ (the promised Messiah) who is God over all” would come, Paul says. He is thinking, for example, of the key Scripture, when God called Abram (later called Abraham) and promised, “In your seed (a particular offspring) all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” This is said in Genesis 12:3 and repeated in Genesis 22:18 and 28:14. A particular Jewish man would come from the line of Abraham, who would be a blessing to everyone in the world.

Paul also adds that this real man would also be “God over all," just as we heard John say last week. In Galatians 3:7-9,13-14, Paul quotes this Genesis prophecy and applies it directly to Jesus, who would bring these blessings to Gentiles (non-Jews), too, by being hung on the tree of the cross, as “a curse for us," in our place. Think about it. How could Jesus “redeem” the world in this way, unless He was a real Jewish man, who had a body that could be hung on the cross and die?

(We could spend weeks and weeks just looking at many prophecies of the coming Savior, but do not have time in this study to do that. We will focus on just a few this week, related to the New Testament Scriptures I’ll mention, and we will look at more that are specifically referred to when we get into Matthew and Luke.)

Go back then to Romans 5:12, where Paul reminds us of Genesis 3, where “sin came into the world through one man,” Adam, and his wife, Eve, “and death through sin," and then, as the Old Testament goes on, “death spread to all men because all sinned.” (See Genesis 6:5 and Psalm 14:1-3 and Romans 6:23, for example.) The first Adam was created perfect and yet failed miserably and brought sin and death into all the world. He is then called, in Romans 5:14, “a type of the One who was to come."

A second Adam had to come, a real man like Adam, but who would live perfectly and not sin, even when great temptations continually came to Him. See Romans 5:19. “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” That “one man," the new Adam, is clearly identified in v. 21 as Jesus, who brings people to eternal life through what He came to do.

Jesus clearly knew that a key part of his work was to live a perfect life in our place, for our benefit, since we all fail to do so. See the words of Jesus at His baptism in Matthew 3:14-15. He had no sin and did not need baptism for Himself. Yet it was fitting for Him to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness, to do everything the right way, for our sake.

Jesus also had to die in our place, to pay the penalty for our sins, by all that happened to Him in His suffering and death, for our sake. See Acts 2:23-24, where we hear: “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised Him up.” This was the plan of the Triune God for the rescue of sinful people in this world. The Father would send His Son. The Son would come willingly, as we will hear. He would give up His heavenly glory and come humbly, conceived and born of the Virgin Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and do His saving work. So, God the Son, Jesus, came.

See how this is put so simply in other places in the New Testament:

  • In Galatians 4:4-5: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
  • In Philippians 2:5-9: “Christ Jesus, who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him.”
  • In 1 Timothy 3:16: “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of Godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”
  • In Hebrews 2:9: “We see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor, because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone”
  • In Hebrews 2:14-18: (This is a very important passage for the “why” of the incarnation - the coming of God the Son as true man, a real human being.) “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that He helps, but He helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest, in the service of God, to make propitiation (a sacrificial offering of Himself) for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, (without sin - Hebrews 4:15) He is able to help those who are being tempted.”
  • In Hebrews 10:5,7,10: (This passage clearly tells us that God the Son totally agreed with the saving plan and knew what would finally happen.) “When Christ came into the world, He said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but a body have You prepared for Me’… Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God, as it is written of Me in the scroll of the book’…. And by that will we have been sanctified (set apart and counted as holy) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

As a summary of all this, you might look at Colossians 1:16-23, where the creation and preservation of all things by God the Son is described and that “in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” Yet for our sake, He came into this world, “making peace, by the blood of His cross.” And Paul tells us, “you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him, if you continue in the faith… “

One more question. Could not God have just created another perfect man, just like Adam, to do the saving work? Did he really have to send His Son, His Only Son, to become man for us and be our Savior? Read these words from Psalm 49:7-9: “Truly, no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit.” No human being alone can save himself and, especially, anyone else. That is why Psalm 49 goes on to say, “But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for He will receive me” (Psalm 49:15).

Only God’s Son could fit with the saving plan. He could and did become a real man who would do perfectly what Adam and each of us ought to do, but do not do. And though He often did not use His Godly power while on earth, Jesus was God and could make a sacrifice great enough to pay for the sins, not just of one more person, but of the whole world, including you and me. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 says that Jesus “gave Himself as a ransom for all.”

Next week we will talk a little more about Jesus as our “substitute” and then get into the Christmas story in Luke and Matthew. We will see the same ideas emphasized that we have already heard from other parts of the Bible.

Sermon for the 1st Sunday in Advent - November 28, 2021

Sermon for the 1st Sunday in Advent - November 28, 2021

November 30, 2021

Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent, based on:

Jeremiah 33:14-16

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 

Luke 21:25-36

Sermon originally delivered December 2, 2012

Preparing for Worship - November 28, 2021

Preparing for Worship - November 28, 2021

November 24, 2021

This Sunday is the First Sunday in Advent and the beginning of a whole new church year. The word “advent” comes from a Latin word meaning “coming to.” We spend four weeks thinking about various “comings” of Jesus: prophecies of His coming, His coming at Christmas, His coming to us personally as we are brought to trust in Him and are strengthened in our faith and belief, and His coming again on the last day to bring us eternal joy. Watch for readings that focus on these “comings” on Sunday and in the weeks ahead.

The Old Testament lesson is from Jeremiah 33:14-16 and is a prophecy of the coming of Jesus, Who would be a “Righteous Branch” coming from the line of King David. We are sinners, but Jesus would be the Lord, coming to us to be “our Righteousness” and to bring us salvation and security for our future.

The Psalm is Psalm 25:1-10. King David admits that he has strayed from God’s way and path. He prays that the Lord would not remember his sins, but remember His own mercy and steadfast love for people, including him. David will humbly wait for the Lord to teach him and lead him in His truth.

The Epistle is from 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13. Paul gives thanksgiving to God for the believers in Thessalonica and prays that they will grow in love and be established in the “holiness” that is theirs through faith in Jesus and His Righteousness. They will then be ready for the coming again of Jesus on the last day. 

There are two choices for the Gospel reading. One is Luke 19:28-40, where Jesus humbly comes into Jerusalem, riding on a young donkey and heading to the cross, later that week. Religious leaders want people to be quiet, but many still say, “Blessed is the King Who comes in the name of the Lord.” That is who Jesus really is - our servant King and Savior.

The alternate Gospel reading is from Luke 21:25-36. Jesus speaks of His visible return to earth in glory on the last day. Believers who “stay awake” in faith in Him will raise their heads in joy, for their Redeemer is drawing near. Unbelievers will have fear and foreboding because they are unprepared and their day of judgment is coming near.

Bible Study - The Christmas Story Part 2 - John 1:1-18

Bible Study - The Christmas Story Part 2 - John 1:1-18

November 23, 2021

Last week, we talked about the tendency in our world to focus on so many other things than the true Christmas story in these weeks before Christmas. Entertaining music and heartwarming stories and gift-giving, etc., are not bad things, but we need to be sure to hear the Christmas story from the Scriptures, above all. There is our real hope and joy, in the coming of Christ.

We began with the Gospel of Mark, which tells us that the really Good News is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, but then takes us directly to the grown-up Jesus, beginning His public ministry, along with John the Baptist. Mark, as God inspired him, did give some insight into what is sometimes called the “holy family.” Jesus was without sin, but the other family members had trouble accepting what Jesus was doing and trusting in Him. Clearly, some did not believe in Him, but later on they are listed as His followers, after His resurrection. Mark likely did not include the stories of the birth and early years of Jesus, since the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were already written, and God did not lead him to repeat all these.

John’s Gospel was likely the last of the four Gospels to be written, and probably for the same reason as with Mark, God chose to have him start with the adult Jesus and John the Baptist. John does have a “prologue” of 18 verses, though, (John 1:1-18) in which he makes several very important points.

First, God the Son had already existed from all eternity. See John 1:1-4. He is called “the Word” and was God and was with God, even before the creation. He was with the Father and the Holy Spirit and was involved in the creation of all things “in the beginning," as Genesis describes. “In Him was life,” new and eternal life, too. John uses the word “life” 36 times in his Gospel. See John 5:24-26 and 10:27-30 and 14:6, for example. His life and His Word would bring “the light” to the people of this world, living in darkness. (See passages like Psalm 119:105 and 130; Psalm 36:9; John 8:12; and Proverbs 6:23. Notice how light and life and the Word go together, especially in Jesus. See also John 12:35-37.)

Sadly, the forces of darkness would not understand and would oppose Jesus, finally sending Him to the cross, but they would not overcome Him. John the Baptist would also come, sent by God as a “witness” for Jesus and His “Light,” but he too would be rejected. Jesus would make available “the true Light” for everyone, as he came into the world. Yet the sinful world “did not know Him” and “His own people did not receive Him,” including His own family at times, though He was their Creator (John 1:5-11).

Some would “receive” Jesus, though, and become “children of God,” “born” into a new life of faith and belief, not by their own power and choice and will but by the grace of God, in Christ Jesus. That would not happen, though, unless “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” in this world, as a real human being, along with being “the only Son from the Father.” He would be “full of grace and truth” as He dwelt (literally, “tented”) among us. As God showed His glory in the Old Testament tent, the Tabernacle (see Exodus 40:34-38), so Jesus would show the glory of God through His life and ministry and Word and even His suffering and death (John 1:12-14). (See John 12:27-33 and Paul’s words about living in our own “tent," our body, in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5.)

John 4:24 tells us that God is a Spirit. Yet for God the Son to do His saving work for us, He had to became a real man and take on flesh and blood, as well as being true God. The Latin word for “flesh” is “carnis." One who eats meat is called a carnivore. So, the “incarnation” is the event of God the Son taking on human flesh, as He was conceived and born as a real baby boy, born of the Virgin Mary, by the power and miracle of the Holy Spirit. That is what actually happened in the true Christmas Story, as we shall see in weeks ahead. We will learn more about why it had to happen, too.

In John 1:15-18, we hear that John the Baptist witnessed about Jesus that Jesus existed before him, though John was actually born first. God the Son was God, at the Father’s side, and had existed with the Father and the Holy Spirit as the one true God, from all eternity, before becoming a man, Who could make God known and bring us “grace upon grace” in His “grace and truth” for us, that would save us. He had always existed, but now He came also in the flesh, for our good. Notice how many other passage in John’s Gospel make these same points. Though we cannot explain it, God the Son became man in Jesus Christ and was sent from the Father to do just this. See John 3:16-17, 5:23-25, 8:23-24, 8:49-58, 17:4-5, and 18:33-37, for example. In the last passage, Jesus tells Pontius Pilate, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world - to beat witness to the truth.”

Finally, see 1 John 4:9, where John says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.”

John also summarizes the main purpose for writing his Gospel, as God inspired him to do, “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). That is why John uses the words “witness” and “testify” many times in his Gospel, and uses the verb “believe” 98 times! The Lord really wants us and all others to come to faith, above all.

We will hear more about all this and the purpose of the incarnation of Jesus next week.

Sermon for the Last Sunday of the Church Year - November 21, 2021

Sermon for the Last Sunday of the Church Year - November 21, 2021

November 23, 2021

Sermon for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, based on:

Isaiah 51:4-6

Jude 20-25

Mark 13:24-37

Sermon originally delivered November 25, 2012

Preparing for Worship - November 21, 2021

Preparing for Worship - November 21, 2021

November 16, 2021

This is the Last Sunday of the Church Year. There are two possible choices for almost all of the readings. I will write about the most likely readings to be chosen, but will also list the alternatives at the end.

The Old Testament lesson is from Isaiah 51:4-6. God calls His people to pay attention and listen to Him; for He says, I will provide “My law, My justice as a light, My righteousness, My salvation, and My arms” to bring hope for you who “wait for Me." Though the heavens and the earth pass away, God’s salvation will be forever for His people.

The psalm is Psalm 93. It, too, emphasizes the everlasting nature of God. Though floods and seas and storms may threaten, the Lord is “mighty” and “trustworthy,” as He reigns over His people forever.

The Epistle is Jude 20-25. As God’s “beloved” people, we are called to continue in the “most holy faith,” trusting in God’s love and “waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” We are also called to share that mercy of Christ with others, especially those who are struggling in faith. The Lord, who has been working for our good “before all time and now and forever,” is able to is “keep us from stumbling.”

The Gospel lesson is from Mark 13:24-37, as Jesus assures His disciples and us that He, “the Son of Man,” will return one day in “power and glory” and gather all believers to Himself for eternal life. No one but the Father knows when that Day will come, so we are all called to be spiritually awake and ready by continuing faith in Jesus. The heavens and earth will pass away, but God’s Word and His promises will not pass away.

Alternative readings, which might be used in some churches, are:

  • Old Testament: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
  • Epistle: Revelation 1:4b-8
  • Gospel: John 18:33-37

All of these readings emphasize the eternal nature of God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” His “kingdom is not of this world,” but we are part of it through faith in Jesus, “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His Blood” and is “coming again with the clouds for us, and every eye will see Him.” There is eternal joy for those who have the gift of faith, but eternal sorrow for those who have rejected Christ and lived without Him.

Bible Study - The Christmas Story Part 1

Bible Study - The Christmas Story Part 1

November 15, 2021

As we approach the Christmas season, it is good to take some time to look at what the Bible actually says about Christmas. We will hear much about Christmas in the weeks ahead; but how much will be about the real and true story of Christmas, as God has revealed it to us in Scripture?

This is not a new problem. Irenaeus, a Christian church leader in the 100’s AD, wrote a book about false teachers and spoke of “an indescribable number of secret and illegitimate writing which they themselves have forged, to bewilder the minds of foolish people who are ignorant of the true Scriptures.”

Do you remember The DaVinci Code and other books from the early 2000’s which were based on these and other false writings, written long after the time of Christ; and yet the claim was made that these were telling the truth — even though these writings were all rejected as false by the early church? These false books have had a very negative influence on too many people.

Come now to 2021. How many of our Christmas songs and stories will have to do with Santa and reindeer and presents, white Christmas, and on and on. There is nothing wrong with these things, as such - but they miss the real point of Christmas and can lead people astray, away from the real and true message of Jesus as Savior.

Too often, too, things are added to the simple Christmas story and bring more confusion to people. Someone once jokingly asked me where one could find the story of the little drummer boy in the Bible. It is a nice song, imagining a little boy honoring the baby Jesus with the music he plays - as we can still honor Jesus with our songs and music; however, this story is not in the Bible, and it can confuse people, in sorting out what is true and what is not. There is a popular show in the US that can be streamed called The Chosen. I have not seen any of it, but some say it is well done and presents stories about Jesus pretty well. The problem is that other stories and characters, not in the Bible, are also mixed in for greater impact and entertainment. Again, I wonder how many people can tell or bother to check what is Biblical and what is not.

There are also two Hallmark TV channels in the US. Since October 22, they have been running their own two-hour Christmas movies, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as a “Countdown to Christmas,” on both channels. The shows tend to be better than many one could watch. They are primarily the stories of people falling in love and tend to (but not always) emphasize more traditional values, like commitment in marriage and the importance of family and children, and helping other people in love and care at times like Christmas. There are a number of Christmas hymns sung and once in a while you actually hear the name of Jesus, in passing, or people are pictured in a church. All this is better than what one sees in most TV shows and movies; however, there is never a clear message of Jesus and Who He is and why He was born into this world at Christmas. There is much more about “angels” and what they do to help people - though it is far different from what angels so often do in the Bible, as messengers for God’s plan of salvation in Christ. The angels in these movies have a very human view of things and emphasize your free will and following your heart and your feelings, not God and His will, in Christ, which alone can free us from the bondage of sin and bring us to freedom only in Christ. There is also the usual mix of gay couples and
non-Christian beliefs and supernatural events, with no indication of what might or might not be so good.

All this introduction is a very long-winded way of saying that we really need to get back to the Scriptures this Christmas and make sure we know what they actually say and present about Christ and Christmas. That is what we will try to do in this study.

God in His wisdom chose to give us four Gospels, not just one, to tell us the story of the life of Jesus.  Each writer wrote, as inspired by God Himself, and included just what God wanted. Only two of the Gospels, Matthew and Luke,  include the story of the birth of Jesus, with those details God wanted us to have. John takes us through the whole story of the coming of Jesus in a summary way, in 18 verses. Mark tells us nothing about the birth of Christ and His early life, but starts in with the work of John the Baptist and then the baptism of Jesus, when he was about 30 years old.

We start the Bible study part of the podcast with a quick look at what Mark wrote and why he may have emphasized what he did. Christian tradition says that Mark worked closely with Peter and was in Rome with him at the time of his death. Mark wrote his Gospel for the Roman Christians, most of them Gentiles (non-Jews), as a summary of the life of Christ, with special insights from Peter. This would likely mean that Mark wrote his Gospel in 68 AD or a little later, after the Gospels of Matthew and Luke had already been written. There was no reason, then, that Mark needed to repeat in his Gospel what was already told by Matthew and Luke about the birth and infancy and early years of Jesus.

Look at Mark 1:1-4. Mark starts his Gospel when Jesus is already about 30 years old, just before his baptism and the beginning of his public ministry. John the Baptist had already begun his ministry, calling people to “a baptism of repentance, for the forgiveness of sins” (v.3). This was needed, so that people would be repentant and ready for the coming of the Lord Himself to His people (v.2-3). Jesus Christ is that “Lord,” and Mark writes of the Gospel, the Good News coming to the world, in and through Him, as “the Son of God” (v.1). (We will see much more about these terms in the Christmas story itself in the other Gospels. If you want to review more about the Gospel of Mark, you can scroll back on the podcast site until you reach our earlier study of the entire Gospel of Mark, also.)

Move ahead now to Mark 3:20-21 and 31-35, and Mark 6:1-4. While Mark does not tell us anything about the birth of Jesus, he does tell us some things about what is often called “the holy family.” Joseph, the husband of Mary, is not even mentioned, as he had likely died by this time. Jesus is called “the carpenter, the son of Mary,” by the people of Nazareth, likely because He, as the oldest son, had to take over His father’s job and help support the family by his carpentry work, until his public ministry began (6:3). Four brothers and some sisters of Jesus are also mentioned (6:3). These are most likely the children of Mary and Joseph, born the normal way after the birth of Jesus when Mary was still a virgin.

What Mark makes clear is that this family (other than Jesus) was not a perfect family. They were holy, eventually, simply by the grace and forgiveness of Jesus in His saving work for them. When “his family” heard about His ministry in Capernaum and what was happening to Him, so that He did not even have time to eat, properly, they came to “seize” Him and take Him back home to Nazareth, saying that “He is out of His mind”
(literally, “He is beside Himself”) (3:20-21). They did not believe in His ministry and that He was doing the right things He should have been doing.

In Mark 3:31-35, we hear that Jesus’ mother and brothers were standing outside the place where he was and “calling to Him,” seeking Him. Jesus ignored them and said to the people listening to Him, as they should be, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” The will of God is to listen to and trust Jesus and His Word. At this point, though, the brothers and seemingly Mary herself were not trusting Jesus and accepting Him, as they should. See also John 7:1-5, where His brothers were again questioning what He was doing; and John says, very clearly, “For not even His brothers believed in Him” at this time.

Finally, in Mark 6:1-4, Jesus went to Nazareth, his hometown, where he had grown up; and there He received a very cynical, questioning reception. They were “offended” at Him and what He said. Jesus responded that He was “without honor” there and “even among His relatives and in His own household.” And we hear in v.6 that “He marveled because of their unbelief.” That unbelief still seemed to include many, if not all, of His immediate family.

The Good News, of course, is that other Scriptures tell us that Jesus’ family did finally come to faith and trust in Him, by God’s grace, by the time of His death and resurrection. See Acts 1:14, for example. Maybe the Lord guided Mark to tell these stories, so that people would not think too highly of Jesus’ family, in an improper way. Later on in the history of the church, some elevated Mary and Joseph to sainthood, above everyone else, through their own merits. Mary is even eventually called sinless, like Jesus, and even called the “Co-Redeemer” with Jesus, by some. All such thinking was wrong, as Mark indicates, and as we shall see in other Scriptures. too.

Finally, turn to the Gospel of John, 1:1-18. This is the way John described the coming of Jesus to this world. We did not get far into this passage in the study, but it is clear that the Word referred to in v.1 is God the Son, Who existed from eternity, from the beginning, and was God, and was very involved in the Creation, and then, in verse 14, “became flesh,” became a human being, the man Jesus, as well as being God.

We will continue with this passage next week, for it has much more to say to us. Do note, though, that John immediately went on, after v.18, to John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus and His ministry, just as Mark had done. As far as we know, John’s Gospel was the last of the four to be written, and God led John not to repeat what was already said in Matthew and Luke, as He had done with Mark, but only to re-emphasize a few things he, John, already spoken of in Chapter 1.

Do keep your focus on what these Scriptures say and avoid speculation about what they do not say. God has given us just what we need, and that is enough. Keep your eyes on Jesus, above all. Who He is and why He came is at the center of the real Christmas story.

Sermon for the 25th Sunday after Pentecost - November 14, 2021

Sermon for the 25th Sunday after Pentecost - November 14, 2021

November 14, 2021

Sermon for the 25th Sunday after Pentecost, based on:

Daniel 12:1-3

Hebrews 10:11-25

Mark 13:1-13

Sermon originally delivered November 18, 2012

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