26 June 2016
Christ’s Messengers Proclaim His Kingdom
Lord of all power and might, Author and Giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your name and nourish us with all goodness that we may love and serve our neighbor; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
In Luke 9:51, the whole tenor and tone of Luke’s gospel changes. Jesus sets His face. To go to Jerusalem. Meaning unwavering determination. Now the focus is on the cross. Where He will redeem humankind. From the clutches of Satan. From bondage to the Law. From everlasting death.
Our eyes, too, must ever be focused on the cross of Christ. It is there alone that we are able to find true freedom. If we are going to faithful to the Lord, as was Elijah, they must always proclaim Christ - Crucified as a sacrifice on your behalf. He has “set his face” toward THE CROSS.
The words of Christ in today’s Gospel are difficult. And deliberate. These words of Jesus are not rainbows and butterflies. He speaks of the demands of discipleship. Following Christ requires discipline. Many would not mind being a Christ follower if it did not cost anything in the way of personal hardship and sacrifice. The Savior confronts us. With the truth of the high cost of being one of His followers. He turns away several who want the honor and the prestige of following Christ without fulfilling its demands. This morning we consider what Christ requires of His followers.
1. There is no money in it! As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. [Luke 9:57-58] You won’t get rich by becoming a follower of Christ. A Christian does not make money the goal of his life. If he has money, his love for Christ will cause him to share it.
This raises a question. It’s easy to talk about modern sects who get amazing amounts of money to buy hotels, banks, and estates. It’s easy to single out radio and television evangelists living in luxury. But what about you? Look at the ledger of your checkbook. It shows the priorities in your life.
It’s a window to your soul. It shows what drives you. Where is your first love?
2. There is urgency about it! He said to another man, "Follow me." [Luke 9:59] Being a Christ follower. Being a disciple. Demands an immediate response. διάγγελλε, Keep proclaiming. On every side. The Kingdom of God. That. Is your only business. Everything else. Must be sacrificed. Seek first the kingdom.
Not even something as important as arranging and attending a family funeral should keep you from responding. Let someone else attend the funeral. The Kingdom cannot wait until you fulfill lesser responsibilities. And that is Jesus’ point. Were it up to us to achieve our place in the Kingdom we would never make it. Thankfully, Jesus invites us by grace. He makes it possible for us to become members of His eternal communion.
3. There is a singleness of purpose. Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." [Luke 9:61-62] No one who plays looks back. The eye is on the goal ahead. You cannot go back to say “goodbye” to your family.
A disciple is likened to St. Paul who said “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind…” A follower of Christ has a one- track mind. One purpose in life. One task. One devotion: Jesus Christ.
4. For what are you living? Some today lack a purpose in life. They are committed to no one, nor to anything. This results in double-mindedness, shiftlessness, drifting here and there, inconstancy. They have not made up their minds what they are to do with their lives. A genuine Christian is not one of these. He follows the example of Christ. He knows who he is for he knows whose he is. He knows where he is going, what he is to do, and why he is doing it. Here we see Jesus’ total commitment to the Father’s call to be the Messiah. This requires His total interest, effort, and sacrifice. What Jesus does in terms of commitment He expects of his own. There are many forces at work calling for our attention. Yet our chief focus needs to be totally committed to Christ.
In many respects, this may be called commitment Sunday. As Elijah is committed to the tasks God gave him.
Elisha is committed to the call to serve as Elijah’s successor. Paul is committed to a life lived by the Spirit of God. The Savior is committed to go to Jerusalem to fulfill His destiny as the Messiah.
Thus, He calls you to total commitment of anyone who desires to follow Him. Remain committed to Christ as He is committed to you.
Passive Sentences –4
Reading Level –4.7