Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Walk With Jesus

This is a sermon I thought I had posted on here but now see I haven't. I preached it on Sunday March 17, 2013 for the Lent 5.
 The reading I used was from John 12:1-8 which reads...

Jesus Anointed at Bethany 
12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

There is a stark contrast in this story – two hearts demonstrating two opposing reactions.
Imagine the scene, full of tension.
A dinner party with one woman – Martha, working hard, was serving the guests.
All would have seemed quite normal until another woman – Mary literally “let her hair down” (quite an inappropriate action for a woman of that day), and Judas’s reaction.
What he said was true, righteous, and hard to disagree with.
Can you imagine the atmosphere?

Now we have met Mary and Martha before.

Luke 10:38-42
At the Home of Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke describes Martha as busy while Mary sits listening to Jesus (Jesus describes this as “the better way” - Luke 10:42).
Their brother Lazarus was raised to life (John 11).

Mary walked with Jesus, and displayed remarkable faith, hope, and love. She is easy to admire. Of course we know Judas and his famous betrayal –

Matthew 26:14-16
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

... which John reminds us of in case we’re not sure, and goes on to expose Judas’s true motives.

John 12:5-6
“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Curious the reactions of each heart: one extravagant, humble, expressive, and loving. The other cold, selfish, and mean.
How did their hearts end up this way?
In his book Renovation of the Heart, Chapter 13 – “Spiritual Formation in the Local Congregation” Dallas Willard asks “Why are Christians so mean?” and concludes “Christians are routinely taught by example and word, that it is more important to be right than it is to be Christ-like”.
There is nothing wrong with being righteous, but when it takes you away from being loving or Christ like then it is mean.
Both Judas and Mary walked with Jesus.
They were being continually learning who Jesus was as a man and the Son of God.
He wanted them to believe in who he was and become like Him.
We walk with Jesus.
We learn what He is like by reading the bible, meditating on it and putting our trust in putting into action what we learn.
To step out in faith and be Christ-like.
Am I prepared to give all I have for the sake of Jesus?
He gave His life for me/us, and He is asking me to give my life to Him and so all I have and am.
But there are times when the cost seems too much.
I’ve been down the road of having to change the way I think or what I do to protect myself from things happening in my life that I don’t like. Self kicks in and my faith shrinks.
But stepping out in faith when it means letting go and letting God take control’s literally that ‘stepping out in faith'.

The Old Testament reading for today is from Isaiah 43:Verses 16a,18-19 
16 This is what the Lord says—
18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

I have had this scripture often given to me in times of hardship, and it has helped me to hold on and be carried through the hardship.
How is my heart?
Is it growing or shrinking?
At times like those it is strengthened and grows.
How do I react to others and treat them, or talk about them?
Where are we walking to?
Towards Friday. – Good Friday After Sunday when we rejoice in the resurrection, we continue to walk with him - may our hearts grow as we do.

Philippians 3:13b-14 
 ...But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Sermon Fiona Van Lent 17/3/13
 All scripture is taken from New International Version 1984    

No comments :

Post a Comment