Sermon Preached Sunday April 21, erectile
As I read through the passages for today asking God for what he desires to minister to us this morning, it struck me that curiosity is synonymous with the human race. From infancy to adulthood we seem to be obsessed by the knowledge of things around us. For that reason, a child of 1 month old stares at objects and I sometimes wonder what is going on in their little minds. They stare, stretch their hands, grab and most times put the object they have grabbed in their mouth. As little children begin to grow, their mouth and or heart are filled with questions, wanting answers to those things that you and I have no answers. They get to a certain point where they reduce the frequency of their questions because they do not find the answers they want from us and want to find answers on their own. The human heart is filled with questions. Some of the questions have been remained unanswered and some have been answered. Yet, most of the answered questions seem unanswered due to our denials, presuppositions and assumptions. Most often we have been blinded and deafened to the answers because we have lost touch with the divine.
In our gospel reading, we find the Jews inquiring about the person of Jesus. They were not just concerned about many of their questions concerning Jesus, but they are literally disturbed about the person of Jesus. They had in the past wanted to know who he was and had received one consistent answer. Prior to Jesus giving them his own answer, John the Baptist had answered their questions. In John’s message he said to them “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his path straight, let every valley be made high and every mountain be made low.” He called them to repentance for God’s kingdom was near. At the baptism of Jesus, the message was clear. “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” Matt 3:17.
Similarly, Jesus did not deviate from the same answer his forerunner John had given. He told them to repent and change their ways. Jesus told them plainly that their claim in Abraham as their father was meaningless if they do not bear fruits worthy of their repentance. He called Andrew and others to follow him. At the very beginning Jesus made it clear to them “18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted , to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised , 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord…” Luke 4:18-19.
Considering the consistent question of the Jews about the person of Jesus, it is evident that the Jews were more interested in knowledge. However, they did not believe in what John had taught about Jesus or Jesus had taught about himself because the answers they got were not what they had expected. Also they did not live by the teachings of Jesus or abide by laws and ordinances of God and for that reason could not understand the things of God. Neither could they hear God speaking.
Undoubtedly they had their own unrealistic answers or expectations which they thought were right and wanted to coerce Jesus into them. No doubt, they were blinded by their own thoughts. Nevertheless, their own thought did not change the reality. It is like any one of us calling him/herself a millionaire when in reality he/she is not. It does not matter what you think of yourself you are still who you are in spite of your unrealistic claims. In the words of my Aunt “It does not matter the type of colon worn or sprayed by a he goat, he is still a he goat and will always smell like a he goat.” You cannot change the reality.
The Jews continued to ask Jesus about who he is. But they refused to accept the answer of Jesus about who he is, what he said about himself and what his works say of him. Rather, they held on to their preconceived notions about the messiah, what he must look like, what he must do, where he must come from and their idealistic concepts about Jesus. Their ideals were quite irrelevant because whatever they had thought of Jesus did not change the truth and could not change the reality. Jesus was and remains the son of God, the savior of humankind and the one who has come to reconcile the world to God. It seems like these Jews wanted a mere knowledge of Jesus but not a personal relationship with Jesus. Jesus on the other hand is more interested in people who desire to enter into a relationship with him. It is to such ones that Jesus will enter into a personal relationship with. It is such that Jesus calls his lamb. Jesus knows them and they know Jesus. Jesus knows them and they hear Jesus. Jesus enters into a relationship with people who are willing to accept the truth, cast their doubts at the feet of Jesus, people who are ready to forgo their human convictions/positions. Jesus seeks people who are willing to forgo empirical knowledge of God for the wisdom and simplicity of our God. Jesus is willing to enter into a relationship with people who have given up the vanity of the world, its deceit, emptiness and misleading notions to the strange and unique way of our God. Jesus seeks for such people who have humbled themselves and entered into God’s mysteries where they can see the way of God and understand God when God is speaking.
The language that our world understands is the pump and vanity, notoriety, firm, fashion, popularity, wealth, luxury, invention, mansions, gold, diamond, conglomerates, success, fantastic health and everything classy. Conversely, the foregoing is not the way of our God. For that reason most Christians even some among us this morning believe God is far from them because one of the foregoing has not happened their life or on their way. At one time Elijah was frustrated that he was the only soul that had not bowed to Baal in Israel. He felt abandoned, isolated and desired that God would take him away from the face of the earth. Elijah went into a cave for hiding and was talking to God. God chose to reveal himself to Elijah’ 1 Kings 19 “ 11 And he said , Go forth , and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
Most of the time, the voice of the Lord is small and still for that reason many do not hear him. It is only those who are walking with the Lord, those filled by the power of God’s spirit, those who follow Jesus and have entered into a personal relationship with him that can hear God in his still small voice. It is those who have surrendered their curiosity to the feet of Jesus that can hear him. It is those who against all odds have laid aside their thoughts, learning and conviction for the good news of Jesus that can hear God. It is those who are content and nourished by the wisdom of God that can hear him. Our God is found in those little things that we have often ignored, (in serving the poor as Dorcas did in our first reading, in finding more time for the things of God, in meditation, in praying, studying the word of God, seeking first the kingdom of God). God is found in those places that we deem ignoble, in the company of those we consider worthless, and in the mouths of the infants whom we believe do not have any wisdom. The very high places we have placed our minds and our thoughts are most misleading, vain, confusing, empty, useless, worldly and ungodly. In those places we can never find God or understand God when he is speaking.
Our curiosities and concerns are met in Jesus. The answers to most of our life long questions may have been given to us but we are either denial, unaccepting of the answers or are blindfolded by our ignorance and assumptions. For that reason we do not know, understand, hear and even when we hear refuse to accept and embrace the truth. We want different answers but the Lord has an answer for us that is best for us. Yes they are different from what we desire or expect and may be tough and difficult to bear. If we truly belong to the Lord, we will hear the Lord and will accept what the Lord chooses for us. Make no mistake, in this life we will surely tear up at some point. But the Lord promises to wipe away all tears at the end as we read this morning. Be assured of the ever abiding presence of God, surrender to his will, obey God’s command and seek God in the service of others. Jesus is the way the truth and life. No one comes to the father but by him.
In your faith journey, if you have not come to the point where you hear God speaking it means you have more work to do. The promise of Jesus is plain and simple “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.” Amen.