Tag Archives: unforgivable sin

Recognizing God and Family

By the Rev. Darren Miner

Gospel Reading

Last Sunday, we began that long season commonly called “Ordinary Time.” This season is marked by green vestments, and during Year B of the lectionary, we hear Gospel readings from the Gospel according to Mark. Despite the name “Ordinary Time,” some of the readings during this season are anything but ordinary. Today’s reading from chapter 3 of Mark’s Gospel is a case in point.

Jesus has started his ministry of teaching and healing and proclaiming God’s love. The crowds are so large that he can’t tend to them all. So he appoints twelve apostles to assist him. That same evening, exhausted and hungry, Jesus returns home to Capernaum longing for a meal and some rest. But the desperate crowds follow him home and won’t give him the time or the space to eat that meal.

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That is where today’s Gospel reading begins. Then, we are told, back in Nazareth, some 25 miles away, Jesus’ family hears a rumor that Jesus is out of his mind, and they decide to intervene, to put a stop to his ministry. Perhaps they are afraid for Jesus’ safety. Perhaps they are concerned that Jesus might really be mentally ill. Or perhaps they are just embarrassed by the all the gossip. We don’t know their motivations.

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Satan, Sin, and Sanctification

By the Rev. Darren Miner

Gospel Reading

Today we begin that long season commonly called “Ordinary Time.” This season is marked by green vestments and paraments, and during Year B of the lectionary, we hear Gospel readings from the Gospel according to Mark. Despite the appellation “Ordinary Time,” some of the readings during this season are rather extraordinary. Today’s reading from chapter 3 of Mark’s Gospel is a case in point.

Jesus has started his ministry of teaching and healing and proclaiming God’s love. The crowds are so large that he can’t tend to them all. So he appoints twelve apostles to assist him. That evening, exhausted and hungry, Jesus returns home longing for a meal and some rest. But the desperate crowds follow him home and won’t give him the time or the space to eat that meal.

That is where today’s Gospel reading begins. Even before the advent of Facebook and Twitter, word traveled fast. And Jesus’ family had heard that he was claiming to be on a mission from God and was drawing unwanted attention to himself. Neighborhood gossips spread the rumor that Jesus was out of his mind, and his family decided that they needed to intervene. So they headed out to put a stop to all this nonsense. We don’t know their motivations. Were they afraid for Jesus’ safety? Were they concerned that Jesus might be mentally ill? Or were they merely ashamed of the unwanted attention that Jesus was attracting? (After all, shame was a powerful factor in the culture of first-century Palestine.)

Evidently, rumors of Jesus’ miraculous healings had spread all the way to the astarothdictionaireinferalcollindeplancycapital of Jerusalem. And religious officials were sent to check out the situation. In reaction to Jesus’ miracles, these officials accuse Jesus of being in league with Beelzebul, another name for Satan. They claim that he casts out demons by the power granted him by Satan himself. Jesus responds by demonstrating the faulty logic of their reasoning. For “if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come.” Jesus proceeds to tell a short parable that I would like to call the home-invasion“Parable of the Home Invasion.” In this parable, a robber invades the home of a strong man, binds him, and then robs his house. Surprisingly, Jesus is the robber in this parable! And Satan is the victimized homeowner. One can infer that the robber’s plunder represents the people whom Satan has tormented in body, mind, and spirit and whom Jesus has set free. Satan may be a strong man, but Jesus is the stronger man, it would seem.

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