Sexagesima Sunday 07 February A.D. 2021 Holy Communion

Sexagesima Sunday            07 February A.D. 2021                           Holy Communion

  The Epistle.  2 Corinthians 11: 19-31            The Gospel. Luke 8: 4-15

                               O Lord god, who seest that we put not our trust in
                                anything that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy
                                power we may be defended against all adversity; through
                                Jesus Christ our Lord.                         Amen. 

Jesus used several modes, methods, and tools to deliver his message to those around him during his 3 ½ year ministry on earth.  1. Signs and wonders: miracles, 2.healing, 3. revealing that he knows the past and the future (Nathaniel, the woman at the well, etc.), and 4.parables.  The interesting aspect of these ministry methods or tools would be how his disciples would continue some of them into at least the first century of the early church. The exception being the parable.  Histories and biographies would replace the parables in the early church.  The book of Hebrews was all about history, the history of the Hebrews (Jews). Philemon could be considered a biographic letter, Romans could be considered a history and biography of the early church.

I would like to examine four verses from our Gospel reading of Luke 8.

A. 10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. 
This verse seems a bit odd. In verses 8 and 9 we see what seems to be a lack of understanding.......And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.       Jesus speaks out and says that he who has ears, let them hear. The very next verse the disciples ask what does the parable mean. 9And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?  As a reader of the Word we get to know what is happening and can go back to see what was said. The disciples were there in real time and they didn’t have the luxury of a written script.  Now mind you, there were times that Jesus would tell a parable and not a single disciple picked up on the meaning. I think of a modern teacher trying to explain a straight-forward concept and after explaining, giving examples, and maybe even modeling the example, gets blank stares from the students in class. 
Remember, Jesus is dealing with people like us. We can act superior, because we have the script (the Bible), but in reality we’d probably be just as clueless after hearing Jesus explain a concept by parable. Quoting an old movie line.. “seems like we have a failure to communicate..”. 
We really do not have an excuse as to not knowing Jesus truth, unless we are not in the family of God.

B. 14And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
 This verse is so prescient to the chaos of every day life. Notice that Jesus not only examines the care (worry, stress) of this world but also the riches and pleasures of this world {life}. We are so blessed with creature comforts, with “toys”, with almost every physical distraction available on Amazon/Walmart/Overstock/ get the idea, that we are overwhelmed with stuff.
And the result of this, even after hearing the Word of God and understanding the importance of His Word, we still get choked out by the “noise” of the chaotic world. The fruit brought to perfection. No one else benefits from hearing the Gospel from those who were so quickly distracted by the cares, riches, and pleasures of this World {life}.
C. 15But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
The best part of this parable is left to the end. Jesus points to those of honest and good hearts, and after having heard the Word, would keep it (in their hearts, minds, and souls) and with patience bring forth fruit. With a back reference to verse 8 we see what results happen from this patience. We can read biographies of missionaries, pastors, lay people who have spent years praying about folks, sharing the Gospel with them, ministering to them over the years, with what seems like no results or fruit. But we do not know what influence our ministry has had on some, they may only have known us for a brief time, and then they go on to other places and share. Their sharing becomes fruitful, many come to the Lord because of the faithful preaching of the Word. “ plants the seed, the next waters the seed, God gives the increase....”   Our job is to do what we are supposed to do, God will do the harvesting.  Again all of this unknown ministry can be summed up with the 8th verse:
D. 8And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold....

Beloved, we just must be about the Lord’s work.  We need to share the Good News, we need to live the Gospel message, not forsake the gathering together of believers, come together to worship and praise God. 

Go in Peace.

Let us pray:

O LORD Jesus Christ, who didst say to thine Apostles, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; Regard not our sins, but the faith of thy Church, and grant it that peace and unity which is agreeable to thy will; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.        Amen.

O GOD, the Father of all mankind, we beseech thee to inspire us with such love, truth, and equity, that in all our dealings one with another we may shew forth our brotherhood in thee; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

UNTO God's gracious mercy and protection we commit you. The Lord bless you, and keep you: the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace, both now and for evermore.       Amen.