Luke 7: 11-17

Luke 7:11-17

11Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town.13When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” 15The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favourably on his people!” 17This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country. Continue reading

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John 10:22-30

John 10:22-30

22At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”25Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30The Father and I are one.”

 Today’s reading isn’t the easiest to get your head round to understand. The Jews standing round Jesus want a direct answer “are you the messiah” Jesus doesn’t say ‘yes ….. and he doesn’t say No!’

What he says is ‘I’ve already told you’” and you still seem to be having a problem with that. Last Wednesday morning I went to a meeting with a group called Linked4Growth, it’s open to businesses to get together and give support and exchange ideas, so why do I go, because I’m nosey, and people there are stunned to find a vicar interested in what they’re doing. Continue reading

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John 21 v 1-19

The disciples had been on an emotional rollercoaster with the events of Good Friday and Easter, and I’m sure they were at the point of mental and emotional exhaustion so doing what humans do, they returned to what they knew best- in their case it was fishing.

The Sea of Galilee represented a safe harbour for several of the disciples. For the ones who were fishermen, it was what they knew. It was what they had done for years before Jesus came and called them to follow him.

The disciples had had three years of following a man that had shown them great things. They had been witnesses to miracles as the lame walked, the blind saw, the deaf heard, and the hungry were fed. They had the scriptures opened to them through the teachings of Jesus. And, they had seen Jesus come back from the grave.

Jesus had given Peter a great new vision when he called him the rock on which he was going to build the church. But Peter had demonstrated he was human and anything but a rock when he denied Jesus three times. But here in today’s Gospel reading in John 21, Peter is being given the gift of another chance to fulfil the vision Jesus had set before him. It is not enough for Peter to declare his love for Jesus; he was told to feed the lambs of Jesus. He was given a second chance to do that. Continue reading

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Sunday 28th Febuary Luke 13. 1 – 9

13 There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem?  I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?’And he answered him, ‘Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

Well what do you make of today’s Gospel Reading?

A few questions to be answered I Think?

What was it about Galileans that Pilate found so offensive?

What is it that the idea of mixing animal and human Blood is beyond all ideas of human decency?

Was this a punishment for Sin?

What is this tower of Siloam?

Then of course there is the Fig Tree!.

How long have we got to discuss these things? Perhaps we should come back tomorrow and listen to the next episode.

The Romans who had occupied Jerusalem and had taken over the place where very much despised, they had a reputation for being ruthless. Pilate who had been given the job of Governor was no exception, he had to keep an eye out for any  sign of insurrections – so it would appear likely that a gathering of people from another area would have sent alarm bells ringing in Pilates’ /the governor’s  office. His answer was to get rid of the problem go and kill them. It did not matter to a Roman that they might have been in a Holy Place, or that they were offering sacrifices to God, Romans did not believe in any of that, they had an illegal gathering and it had to be dealt with.  Pilate of course was to feature very much in the Good Friday story but is sometimes portrayed as being on the side of Jesus here – apparently we now see that Pilate looked after Pilate and Pilate’s position – he cared only for that and his position relating to his Roman Master the Emperor of Rome. Who of course was equally ruthless.  Continue reading

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Sunday January 31st Luke 4:21-30

21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”23He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” 24And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. 25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

Last week we looked at the gospel reading where Jesus stood and read from the text of Isaiah and when he sat down told everyone basically that the predicted messiah was here. It was him. Today’s reading tells us what happened next.

He read:- “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of the sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

Those who heard him were amazed and ‘’on his side’’ right up to when he says, basically, I am that messiah. Well, as I always say “we’re only human” , and the men who heard Jesus were certainly that! Continue reading

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Sunday 24th Jan 2016: Luke 4:14-21

Luke 4:14-21

14Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. 16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read,17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

Ladies and gentlemen I have a problem. I don’t know if you can help me.

I think I might be owed money from PPI but I don’t know where to find anyone who will help me find out.

What? you mean there is someone, wow, where would I find them? What they advertise on the telly? Gosh right under my nose and I never knew.

Of course we all know about PPI, is there anyone left in the whole world who hasn’t had letters from law firms promising to get them for a fee, what they’re owed.

What its been there right under my nose, all the time?

So as I read this gospel passage this week it occurred to me, that the parallels are very similar. For centuries Isaiah had been ‘advertising’ the coming of the messiah. Everyone was expecting him and everyone knew he was coming. And Jesus simply reads the scripture in the synagogue and all the men there would nod their heads sagely and Jesus says simply, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

What? Jesus the messiah was right under their noses and the people in the synagogue never knew.

You would have thought that perhaps everyone was expecting the announcement of the arrival of the messiah to have been a profoundly earth shattering moment. At least an army of angels singing praises and bright lights from the sky. Perhaps Jesus announcement was too simple? But that didn’t make it any less true.

 

To me it’s important to note that when Jesus was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, he opened it to the place where it says, “…he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.

He was proclaiming God’s intent that God’s servant will pay particular attention to people who are afflicted and bound and blind. God’s love is for everyone.

He told them, you’ve been waiting centuries for the messiah, well folks, here I am. Now let’s get on with the work of loving all people. Jesus was right there under their noses. He is still right under our noses, and once we acknowledge that, then my friends the world is our oyster. And when we acknowledge Christ we have to share Him with others. That’s when it gets tough, but don’t worry like Saint Francis of Assisi said:  “Preach the gospel at all times,” he said, “and when necessary use words.”   So, just be there under the noses of the people around you. God will do the rest

Simple’s , job done.

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