Sermon Notes - June 25
Introduction: Jesus continues his instructions as he prepares the disciples to be sent out to the Israelites. He has told them to go taking little with them and trusting in the hospitality of those who they seek out to share the good news of their teacher. He now warns them of the cost of discipleship encouraging them with a new understanding of how their lives are to be measured, no longer using earthly standards. I am reminded of a wonderful advertisement from the Episcopal Foundation where the heading is “You think it is hard to be a Christian now” and showing ancient Christian martyrs in Roman times being stoned.
I) Jesus begins by warning the disciples that their own teacher has been maligned by being compared to Beelzebul or the ‘evil one’ or ‘Satan’. If their angst is such that they are willing to show such utter disregard for him they cannot expect to be treated any differently.
II) Nonetheless they are to trust that God will protect them and thus need not fear anything but God Himself. So instead of speaking softly they are to go out and speak boldly even shouting from housetops what Jesus has shared with them quietly.
III) Finally, he tells them that those who endure to the end they will find in Jesus an advocate who will stand with them at the last. On the other hand should they deny Jesus, he too will deny them before his heavenly Father. The conclusion is that those who find their live will lose it and those who lose their life will find it. In this strange idea lies the key to Christian completion. We are not completed by the praise of others, by having lots of stuff, or even by having power. What makes us complete is the realization that there is something more important than our own physical life. We are given a mandate by Jesus to exemplify what it means to have live in such a way that points to the importance of having a relationship with God that is so important that our physical life becomes secondary.