Of Towers, Fig Trees and Repentance–A Sermon on Luke 13:1-9

Of Towers, Fig Trees and Repentance–A Sermon on Luke 13:1-9

Jesus says, No, the death of the innocents had nothing to do with their sin. However, what he says next is absolutely shocking. “They didn’t sin” Jesus says, “but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.” And lest we missed it, he repeats it a second time, “unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” To be honest Jesus sounds like a fire and brimstone preacher: “Repent or perish! Turn or burn!”

So what does Jesus mean by repentance Continue reading Of Towers, Fig Trees and Repentance–A Sermon on Luke 13:1-9

A Study in Contrasts: The Centurion and the Widow of Nain–Luke 7:1-17

A Study in Contrasts: The Centurion and the Widow of Nain–Luke 7:1-17

The first story, set in Capernaum, deals with people enjoying power and status both from the Roman realm and the Jewish hierarchy.

The scene in Nain is decidedly more rustic and lower class. There is a “large crowd,” but there are no dignitaries, no intermediaries, no prepared speeches.

Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t bother with such distinctions. Continue reading A Study in Contrasts: The Centurion and the Widow of Nain–Luke 7:1-17

Moving Beyond Entitlement to Repentance: Two Reactions to Jesus’ Inaugural Sermon (Luke 4: 14-30)

Moving Beyond Entitlement to Repentance: Two Reactions to Jesus’ Inaugural Sermon (Luke 4: 14-30)

When Jesus preached his first sermon in his hometown, he initially received a very warm welcome.

But Jesus knew better than to fall into the trap of being a people pleaser. Jesus recognizes that their approval is only skin deep and they don’t fully comprehend his message. They’ve heard what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. His message is only for those who know that they are poor and wretched, those who know that they are sinners. His message requires not enthusiasm but repentance.

And so Jesus provokes them.

And when Jesus refuses to cater to their sense of entitlement, their approval quickly turns to murderous hostility Continue reading Moving Beyond Entitlement to Repentance: Two Reactions to Jesus’ Inaugural Sermon (Luke 4: 14-30)