The scripture lesson today is taken from the Gospel of Luke, the fourth chapter beginning at the first verse. It is known as the temptation of Jesus.
The story of the temptation of Jesus is one of my favorites. And one of the reasons, is that, in so many times when I'm reading the gospel I think to myself "well that's Jesus. I can't pattern myself like that. He doesn't know what my life is like, Jesus is God working it out in the flesh. But here, Jesus is going through a very human experience, that is temptation.
This it no complex theology, no insiders outsiders; good bad; it's just 'love one another.' That's the mission statement of all of Christianity and that is our challenge in our lives.
My Recording St. Luke, Chapter 7, verses 11 through 17: So the story of the Widow of Nain is pretty dramatic. It raises some interesting questions for me that I'd like to talk with you all about. Jesus has just, if you remember, healed the slave for the Roman officer and we've shifted from the Gospel of St. John to the Gospel of Luke in our readings these last couple weeks. And one thing you'll notice in the difference between the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John; they're both the story of Jesus, is that John is the more mystical, more spiritual Gospel. A lot of people would say the more Swedenborgian Gospel, and Luke is known historically to be a physician and it's a healing gospel and it's full of miracles whereas John doesn't have as many. So that's an interesting difference. So we're hearing a lot of healing and this is our second healing and this is a resurrection from the dead
The gospel is taken from the gospel of St. Luke, the ninth chapter, beginning at the 28th verse. So you know that when I am looking at a gospel story for preaching I always say Dzwhat can I be curious aboutdz and I encourage us to read scripture with that. Because we've read so many of thestories, so often that sometimes we can't even hear the message. So I thought "What am I curious about in this story and what I was curious about is what did Moses and Elijah and Jesus talk about? It's a pretty dramatic scene.
STANDING FIRM WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGES The gospel story today from Luke is not a feel good, happy story. In the story, Jesus tells the disciples that are admiring this beautiful temple, looking around at the beautiful glass, the beautiful gold; everything is great and Jesus is, in modern words, a sort of Debbie Downer. He says "This is all going to collapse. Everything you see will fall and..." "Wow, we were just admiring the building Jesus and then you have to tell us that all this is going to collapse?" And if that's not bad enough, Jesus goes even further and says "And you will be tried and some of you will face death and a period of destruction and change is coming in your lives unlike anything you can imagine." So quite a dramatic story, not the sort of uplifting, happy story that we kind of like to watch at the movies but a story of great change. He ends the story by saying but do not worry for God is with you in all of this and I will be with you in all of this.
The scripture lesson today is taken from the gospel of Luke, the fourth chapter beginning at the fourteenth verse. So the story of Jesus giving what I would say is His inaugural Sermon. I like to think of it as Jesus' manifesto, the first time He's preached. He's been travelling around the countryside, He's been doing miracles which is referenced in the story and He's kind of gotten a name for Himself. So people are excited that He's come back and He comes back and He says a couple things that really piss off people. First He walks in and He says "You've heard this prophecy that this person is going to help the poor, free the captive but you're seeing it in me" It's a really dramatic moment.
The gospel story of the ten lepers is one that's pretty familiar and it seems pretty straightforward, not complicated. We could finish the sermon pretty quickly. Most sermons about this say "It's really important to say thank you," and you could say that the gospel of Luke today is sort of miss-manners, teaching us the importance of being grateful and thankful and that's it. And if it were just that it wouldn't be that much more than good manners that we learned growing up.