Sermon preached at St Luke’s Liverpool on Sunday 8th of March, 2015.
Mark 4:35-5:43 – Jesus Demonstrates His Authority
Mark 1:1-20 – Jesus Proclaims the Kingdom is Near
When someone makes you a promise, there’s a sense of uncertainty that follows. When they use the word “promise”, are they guaranteeing that it will happen just as they said? Or are they just using the word “promise” to lull you into a false sense of security, with no intention of actually having to follow through?
I try to be a man who honours my promises. But with a memory like mine, it can difficult. If its not in my calendar or on my To Do list, the chances of me keeping my promise are reduced significantly. And some times I make promises that I have every intention of keeping, but afterwards it turns out situations outside of my control mean I can’t keep that promise.
However, when Jesus makes a promise, he always keeps it. Because he is without sin, he never makes a promise he can’t keep. And because he is fully God, he is able to use his power to make sure nothing gets in the way of him fulfilling his promises.
When Jesus promises that he’ll rise from the dead (Mark 8:31), he keeps it. When he promises that he’ll send the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), he keeps it. So when he promises a place in heaven for everyone who believes in him (John 14:2 – “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”), we know he’s going to keep that promise.
Jesus – the one who makes promises you can rely on.
In the years we’ve been together, I’ve been sharing my movie critic skills with my wife, Katherine. Using these skills, she’s been excited by (and sometimes disappointed) by her ability to know what’s going to happen in a movie or TV show before it happens, like a cinematic fortune-teller. One thing she recently pointed out that she’d learnt from me is that “they’re not dead unless you see the body.” If the bad guy gets shot and falls off a cliff and is presumed dead, they’re probably still alive. Unless they find the body and get a full autopsy, chances are the bad guy will pop up and cause some trouble when the hero least expects it. If you live in the movie world, don’t trust anyone that anyone is dead unless you see the body.
But I’m still in love with Judas, baby
Lady Gaga has a new song out called Judas. On first listen, it appears that there’s more than a passing connection between this song and Judas from the Bible, the guy who betrayed Jesus to the authorities. The film clip furthers these connections with images of Jesus and his crew riding around on motorcycles.
But is this song really about Judas from the Bible? Is Lady Gaga giving us her understanding of the message of the Gospels? Or is something else going on here?
The Onion is a website I keep an eye on every week. It has two form: a satirical newspaper full of parody articles, and the AV section which is choc full of interviews and articles on pop culture. Going through the archives, there are quite a few articles that deal with Christianity and Christian culture. Always from an outsider’s point of view and always satirical. A recent article on the satirical front page caught my eye: “I’m Not One Of Those ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ Christians”. I found it particularly cutting and worth having a look at.