Sermons on Luke
Matthew 5:8, Luke 2:22-40 This Sunday is our last Sunday of Advent, the last Sunday before Christmas! Advent is a time of waiting, of longing, of hoping. What do you find yourself longing for this week before Christmas? Perhaps it is gifts? Perhaps it is a vaccine? Perhaps it is a return to the ordinary? Whatever it is, we all know that waiting is difficult. Especially in a culture expecting instant gratification, waiting is not fun. In our text this week, we meet Simeon and Anna who are waiting, waiting for God to bring salvation and redemption. But, more importantly, these two characters, who demonstrate a purity of heart, show us how to wait well. Are you waiting well this Advent season?
Luke 2:8-20, Matthew 2: 1-12 During the Christmas season, I look forward to singing Christmas carols, giving and receiving gifts, and lots of food in a large family gathering! This year, however, Christmas will look very different for many of us. Perhaps this will cause us to re-examine what we really hunger for during this season. Christmas is, after all, a celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ, and what better time than now to focus on Him, encountering Jesus in a special way in our prayers, devotions, and activities? This Sunday, we are going to meet two groups of people that truly encountered Christ on Christmas. These people sought for Jesus purposefully and with excitement because they were hungry and thirsty for the right thing – a genuine relationship with God. They were transformed by the encounter and were filled with great joy. This Sunday, we’ll visit the story of the shepherds and the Magi on their journey of faith to meet Jesus. See you then!
Luke 1:26-55; Matthew 2 This Sunday we will continue our advent series focusing on four pairs of people in the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke. While our world continues to fixate our attention on the rich and powerful, the focus of God’s kingdom is upon the poor and the marginalized, who through their suffering have become humble and hopeful, waiting for the kingdom of God. Last week Bernard spoke on Zechariah and Elizabeth, who received the news from the angel Gabriel that they would bear a son even in their old age. This week Gabriel is sent to Mary and Joseph with even more remarkable news, but it comes with a price few would be willing to pay. Will they hesitate, waver, or ask for sign like Zechariah? Though you already know the answer, their obedience is designed to galvanize our faith and draw us into the wonder of Christ being formed in us.
Luke 15 This Sunday we will bring our summer series on the Parables to a close with the familiar story of two sons and their father. Jesus adds unexpected twists to the story of this usual Jewish home, leaving those of us with eyes to see and ears to hear quite unsettled. Join us this Sunday as we explore the extravagant love of a father for both of his sons: one, a wayward sinner, the other, a self-declared hard-working… slave. Pray that the Spirit will use this well-known story to open your eyes and ears in unexpected ways to the extravagance of God’s love for you… and for those around you!!
Luke 18:9-14 “Two men walked into a church…” This is the case in this week’s parable. One man will look at the other and see a joke of a man. The other, looking in the mirror, would agree. He had nothing to bring into the house of God that would be of any value. So, that’s what he brings…nothing! And the joke ends up being on the first guy! He gets rejected and the joke of a man is accepted! The lenses God uses to read the applications and resumes of humans for entry into His Kingdom is vastly different than the lenses used on us as we apply for schools and jobs. Come this Sunday as we will celebrate that the resume God receives and stamps-“righteous”- is the one from the person who recognizes his or her own sinfulness!
Luke 18:1-8 “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Our parable this week ends with this question. The first part is a guarantee: Jesus will return. The second, “will he find faith on earth,” is not a guarantee. This is intended to make Jesus’ first hearers, and us today, Luke’s readers, feel a bit unsettled. This Sunday we will follow Jesus in the telling of a usual story of a widow and a judge, through the unexpected twist and turns between the two, ultimately being left with the unsettling question: “will he find faith on earth.” What is potentially more unsettling? Jesus is wondering if he will find those whose faith is characterized by persistent prayer. Be praying now that the Lord will give you eyes to see and ears to hear how the Lord wants to draw you nearer to him in your faith as one who prays!
Luke 2:1-20 On this fourth Sunday of Advent, Christmas Day, we hear the voice of the angel announcing to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10-11). At critical times in Israel’s history when their world grew oppressive and morally dark, God intervened to subvert the existing order announcing “good news” of a new beginning, a fresh start, often through a deliverer who would be born to a barren woman. Yet, despite God’s faithfulness, giving Israel a fresh start again and again, it never lasted. There was always an ominous crack in the foundation of the new order, a fatal character flaw in the human instruments. Why should we expect this “good news” to be any different? How can we be sure it will last? What clues does Luke give us that this will be history’s last new beginning upon which everything else will be built, a beginning that evokes everlasting praise from every creature and all of creation? Join us Christmas Day to receive God’s gift and when you open it, “heaven and nature sing!”
Luke 2:25-35 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.” These are the words spoken by Simeon upon holding a 40-day old baby Jesus. He didn’t know how the Lord would bring an end to the waiting, but as soon as he beheld the Baby, he knew his waiting was over! We have become accustomed to waiting as well. We wait for many things. We wait for Christmas morning and the giving and receiving of gifts. We wait for a spouse. We wait for a house. We wait for promotions or new job opportunities. But do we wait for the Messiah like Simeon? We are reminded in this season that the greatest gift ever given came on a Christmas over 2000 years ago. He came then. He will come again! Most of the gifts we give and receive this Christmas will be out of our lives within 5 years… or even 1 year. But the gift of Grace that came in the Baby, that gift will never be rendered obsolete! What are you waiting for this Christmas? Join us this Sunday as we will all gather together as His family (from kindergartners on up) and continue to prepare for the coming of the King!
Luke 1:57-79 “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel.” When John is born and Zechariah suddenly regains his speech, these are the first words out of his mouth. Why does Zechariah bless God? Why should we bless God? Advent is a “speed bump” during the year that allows us the opportunity to remember the blessing of the incarnation and to bless and praise God in return. During these weeks of Advent, we are focusing on the songs of Mary, Zechariah, Simeon, and the angels which we find in the opening chapters of Luke’s gospel. This week we turn to the Benedictus, named for the first word of the song in Latin, “blessed.” Many people do not feel blessed during the Christmas holidays, but Luke’s gospel comes to the rescue. As we gather this Sunday we will look to Zechariah’s song to set our hearts on God and remember the blessings of the Christmas season.
Luke 1:48-55 While the world rushes from Black Friday and Cyber Monday into the hectic frenzy of Christmas, with its seasonal liturgy of music and art, much of the church observes Advent, when we remember God’s promises to come to his people, and anticipate the second advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. How would you have responded had you been there when God fulfilled those promises through the birth of Jesus? According to Luke’s account, those who were there responded in song. Rather, they responded in psalm-like poetry, which the church quickly set to music and has sung ever since, often every day. We know these Lukan canticles (songs) by their opening words in Latin: the Magnificat of Mary, the Benedictus of Zechariah, and the Nunc Dimittis of Simeon. In the three remaining Sundays of Advent we will look at these three songs in turn. On Christmas Day itself we’ll consider the Gloria, sung by the angels announcing to the shepherds the birth of Jesus.