Tag Archives: unbelief

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 9

Track 1: City of David, City of God

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
Psalm 48
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

Dynasties seem to come and go. Today, things seem to be falling apart at the seams. But let us look at a case study of King David for understanding. Reading from 2 Samuel:

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Look, we are your bone and flesh. For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The Lord said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.   (2 Samuel 5:1-5)

Unlike King Saul, David was obedient to God. As long as he kept the commandments of God, David was blessed by God. He celebrated his reign by building the city which he named after himself:

David occupied the stronghold, and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inwards. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.   (2 Samuel 5:9-10)

The psalmist this city, but from a much broader perspective:

Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised;
in the city of our God is his holy hill.

Beautiful and lofty, the joy of all the earth, is the hill of Zion,
the very center of the world and the city of the great King.   (Psalm 48:1-2)

The city of David was to be called the city of God. We might say that David laid the foundation of the city, but we would be missing the true foundation. David’s kingdom did not remain. Jerusalem was ultimately captured and the temple was destroyed. Israel had once more turned against God and worshipped foreign gods. What lay in ruins, however, did not remain so.

God has laid a foundation for the city long before David. God made a covent promise to Abraham that he would never abandon. He showed Abraham his future city in a vision. Through Abraham never actually saw Jerusalem he looked forward to it. Reading from Hebrews:

For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.   (Hebrews 11:10)

Though we may not see it with our eyes right now, God is building his city in the midst of a world in decay. But a new day is coming soon.

The Apostle John was given a vision of this city:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”   (Revelation 21:1-4)

His glorious kingdom is coming. He is preparing the new Jerusalem even now. Do we see it? We will be given an early taste of his glory when we join him, by faith, He has a place for each of us in his millennial reign. The best is yet to come.

 

Track 2: Suggestions

Ezekiel 2:1-5
Psalm 123
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

The Old Testament reading from Ezekiel is about the calling and commissioning of the prophet. The Gospel reading has to do with calling and commissioning of the disciples. Taken together, we get of how God Equips his servants for ministry. In both cases God warns his people of the opposition they will face. But with his anointing they will prevail. Today, we have that same calling. We need that same anoiting.

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Third Sunday of Easter

By Faith in His Name

Peter and John had performed a great miracle. At the gate of the Temple they healed a man who was lame from birth. Many people observed what they did, though it was not what they did. Reading from Acts:

Peter addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.   (Acts 3:12-16)

.The risen Lord was real to Peter and John. They knew he was still with them, even though he had ascended to the Father. This was not the case at first. Jesus had to reprimand them for their unbelief. Reading from Luke:

Jesus himself stood among the disciples and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.   (Luke 24:36-43)

The disciples saw Jesus first as a ghost and were frightened. Jesus had to prove to them that he had a body and was truly alive. He then opened their minds to understand what his death and resurrection meant:

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.   ()

The disciples were taught directly by Jesus for three years but they did not fully grasp what his ministry was about. Now they understood who he was and is. Jesus had become more real to them than ever before. He was the same person they knew before, but now he was also the Lord of all. His name was above every name. His purpose was instilled in them. They learned the power and authority that they had in his name. When they did they could carry on his work on the earth with great confidence that they were standing in for him until he returned in glory.

:Peter could now boldly preach the Gospel of Christ: Again, reading from Acts:

“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.”   ()

Jesus became real in the disciples, now apostles. They remembered that Jesus promised:

I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.   (John 14:13)

Of course, there will always be opposition from the enemy. The bolder we become, the more he will try to stop us. The Jewish authorities forbid that the apostles speak about the name of Jesus anymore. Under threat of persecution, the apostles had a prayer meeting. They prayed, in part:

And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants[k] to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant[l] Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.   (Acts 3:29-31)

The age of the apostles is not over.. We, too, have been given power and authority in the name of Jesus. We were not there to see Jesus resurrected from the dead. We did not hear his great commission to preach the Gospel to all the world. But we have the testimony of men and women who gave their all because Jesus was so real to them. Is the risen Lord real to us? Has he become our cornerstone? Is he our foundation? Is he the head of our church. If so, leet us step out in boldness. The risen Lord is with us. He needs us to carry on the ministry in his name.

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Second Sunday of Easter

My Lord and My God

The discipleThomas is remembered as “Doubting Thomas.” That may be a little unfair to him. To be sure, he was a skeptic concerning the resurrection of Jesus:

Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with the other disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”   (John 20:24-25)

No one had ever been raised from the dead before. Thomas was confused about the mission of Jesus. On the other hand, Thomas was a faithful disciple. He was willing to sacrifice for what he believed was the cause of Christ. As Jesus was speaking about going to Jerusalem, which proved to be his last trip there, Thomas was aware of the danger involved:

Then Thomas said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”   (John 11:16)

Following Jesus is not easy. Thomas faltered, but Thomas quickly recovered. Reading from John:

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”   (John 20:26-29)

The ministry of the Apostle Thomas proved that he could go the distance with God’s help.

Thomas was not the only one who touched to risen Lord. Reading from 1 John:

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life– this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us– we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.   (1 John 1:1-4)

The risen Lord was not a ghost. He was real. He was and is so real that the faith of the Early Church could not be shaken. Even though we did not see the resurrected Lord, we know by faith that disciples and many others did see him and interacted with him. because of their strong faith we believe. Jesus spoke of us:

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

The testimony of others helps establish the faith in new believers. What about our testimony? One definition of the word “testimony” is: firsthand authentication of a fact: EVIDENCE. Do our words and actions authenticate Jesus? Jesus has touched us. Have we touched Jesus? Are we in fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ?

Thomas touched Jesus and said: My Lord and my God. what do we say about him each day? Thomas went forward with a powerful testimony. God is counting on us to do the same. Many people are waiting to believe our strong report.

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