Sermon Christ Church Brent Tor 9.45am Sunday 6 June 2021 Year B Trinity 1
Gen 3v8-15 Psalm 130 2 Cor 4v13-5v1 Mark 3v20-35
Holy Spirit, our teacher, as we dive into the scriptures this morning, would You awaken our hearts, expand our minds and continue to shape our identities today.
Have you noticed how the scriptures can be interpreted in many different ways depending on how we approach them? The short account, at the end of this morning’s gospel reading, is one such example.
Jesus had moved back ‘home’ after being with the crowds and his disciples teaching the crowds by the side of the lake somewhere along the shores of the sea of Galilee, and then he appointed his twelve apostles.
We can assume that home was somewhere in Capernaum which had become the base for his ministry, but just which home remains a mystery. Was it the house of Simon Peter, or maybe that of his disciple Matthew, the former tax collector, or somewhere else, we really do not know.
Where ever it was there was such a large crowd sitting around Jesus and listening to his teaching that they did not even have time out to eat. The crowd must all have been so captivated by his authoritative words, and especially in the way that he had of engaging with the scribes and Pharisees. They had once again come down to the Galilee from Jerusalem specifically to find fault with his teaching and practices.
No wonder Jesus mother and family were worried about him, he seemed to be so taken up with teaching about the Kingdom of God, and how it had now come so near to the people with his presence as the Messiah, that he was not even eating.
If only today our friends and neighbours would become so interested in hearing the ‘good news’ of God’s soon to be dawning new creation.
We then have Jesus family sending a message to him that they were outside and asking for him. Some see Jesus response ‘Who are my mother and brothers’, as being a disparaging and almost dismissive response, but could there have been something much more positive in what Jesus meant?
What do you think?
My feeling is that Jesus was not being dismissive at all but distinctively inclusive, ‘Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother’.
Was Jesus saying about those around him, and I believe also about you and me, that if we do the will of God, we become as intimate to him as his own family members? I think so. What an amazing privilege, and such a demonstration of the grace and love of God, that we should be included in the inner circle of Jesus family. That should spur us all on to follow our Lord, and to serve him in what ever way he calls us.
Somewhat later in Jesus ministry it was some Pharisees and Herodians (Mtt22v15-22) who Matthew tells us came to Jesus, and they tried to ‘entangle him in his talk’, and asked him about paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus was aware of their malice and, not having any money himself, asked them to show him a coin of the realm, a denarius. Then Jesus gave to them a very significant answer, an answer that is often missed in translation, but once more shows just how significant we are to God our Father.
The coin would have born the imprint of the emperor, so Jesus asks them ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this’, they of course replied Caesars, to which Jesus replied, as I believe he said, “Render to Caesar the likeness that is Caesar’s, and to God the likeness that is God’s”.
Have you grasped the significance in Jesus reply?
What is the likeness that is God’s? What do we read in Genesis (Gen1v26), ‘Then God said, “Let us make man in our own image”’.
Yes, the likeness that is God’s which we are to render to him is ourselves.
We were created in the image of God, for the service of God and for fellowship with God. We are truly indeed, part of God’s intimate family.
As Paul said in our reading from Corinthians (2Cor4v14), ‘the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us also with Jesus, and will bring you into his presence’.
I trust that hope is one we all look for, and will encourage us to live out our daily lives as Jesus disciples, giving light and hope to our needy world.
Let us pray: The shorter Collect for this first Sunday after Trinity
God of truth, help us to keep your law of love and to walk in ways of wisdom, that we may find true life in Jesus Christ your Son, our Saviour. Amen