SERMON OF THE WEEK
- SERMON OF THE WEEK
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Next Sunday is the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. Gospel reading for Sunday is from Luke 10:1-11.
Topic: "Jesus sends out his followers to do missionary work."
Gospel Reading: (Luke 10:1-11)
"1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. 5"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. 8"When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' 10But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near."
During our younger ages, we usually spend years in schools and colleges for our education, develop social skills and talents. Later we use that knowledge for internships or on the job training to gain work experience. This training helps us to secure a job for livelihood and professional achievements
Today's gospel describes a similar situation of internships for the followers of Jesus. The time has come that they need to spread the message that Jesus had taught them and the miracles Jesus had performed.
Jesus commissions his followers to go out ahead of him and prepare the way for him by doing the same things he had undertaken.
Jesus sends the followers ahead of him with specific instructions:
First, they are to go in pairs. Christian service is a collective enterprise. The forces of evil and selfishness may destroy us if we do God's work alone and without the company of others. Together we can overcome those obstacles and transform the world. We must collectively hold ourselves accountable before God. It is important for us to work collectively.
Second, Christians should enter each household like a lamb walking in to the midst of wolves. They shall enter the house only with God in their hearts. Then only they are safe from the wolves. They should hold firmly to themselves in the love of God. They should always walk in faith.
Third, always travel light. Jesus asks them to focus on God instead of those who receive them as hosts. Jesus tells his followers to bring peace to their households, heal the sick, and proclaim that the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Jesus tells them that there is much work to do but not enough people to do the work. "The harvest is great but not enough laborers."
Jesus' ministry included both physical and spiritual healing. The concerns of the people were demons and sickness. People believed that layers of satanic or evil powers existed between God and humanity.
Today the situation is not different. The demons of alcohol, and drug abuse are amongst us today. We see in Oprah and Dr. Phil's shows the parade of the demons of domestic violence and abuse. In the Jerry Springer show we see the demons of drug addictions and oppression. Some of the demons have names and others don't. We all have our own demons we struggle with daily. The demons today are just as influential as they were in Jesus' time. There are so many of us who are spiritually sick today as they were back then.
We are left with a question. How to deal with the problems many of us experience? It is for sure that positive change will occur in us when we come to know God and share his plans for us. We need to overcome the evil in this world. For that God must live in our hearts. There is a world full of hurt people who are out there looking for some hope to get out of the troubles they face each day. God's grace can change them from the satanic influence. Jesus sent his followers to make a difference in the lives of many people. What really counts in the long run is, with the help of Jesus, we can get up again when we fall, and when we seem in despair, we can expect Jesus to help our problem.
The center of Jesus' teachings is that God is a God of love, so loved the world that he gave his only son to suffer and die for us so that we might have a new life.
Like Jesus'disciples, we can carry out the same ministry of Jesus Christ by sharing God's love with those people who are a part of our everyday lives. Such love will definitely change the world and the people around us.
Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil