Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Outline and Approximate Notes for the Sunday Message; 6 April 2014

Scriptures for the Sunday are: Mark 1:16-20; Mark 3: 13 –19

You can read these Scriptures here: NIV

This is a seventh sermon in the series. Here are links to preceding sermons:

Sermon #1

Sermon #2

Sermon #3

Sermon # 4

Sermon # 5

Sermon # 6

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In the last few weeks we looked at the Exodus and the traditions surrounding the Observance of Passover, and what it meant to the Jews living in first century Judea and Galilee.

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The Exodus and the birth of Jesus are separated by approximately 1,300 years. By taking into consideration the life expectancy in the ancient world, I estimate the length of time of a generation to be approx. 18-20 years. That means that in the 1,300 years since Exodus, there would have been approximately 65-70 generations of men, women and children observing the Passover. During these celebrations, every Jew remembered how their ancestors were oppressed in Egypt. During these celebrations every Jewish family remembered how Moses was transformed by his relationship with God, and how that transformation in turn brought liberation and freedom to all the Jews during Exodus.

Our brains have a way of making traumatic experiences seem like distant dreams to those who survive them (Sheppard). Jews living in first century Judea were descendants of those who survived the bitter fighting and civil wars of the Exodus. Not only were they descendants of those who survived this ordeal, they were 65 generations removed from the Exodus. That is a lot of history. That is a lot of tradition.

{Illustration: Passover observance as a transmission/preservation/renewal/regeneration of tradition}

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In these 65 generations, Moses and Joshua had become national heroes, much like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin are today. They came to symbolize everything that was great with the nation. They came to symbolize the grit, the will to live, the drive to survive, and everything that was right, true and beautiful with their world in first century Judea. The bitter infighting and genocide that happened among the Hebrews in the desert was swept under the rug, overshadowed by more immediate suffering that had happened in the last 1300 years, and was still happening at the time. We see evidence of it in the Scripture reading that we heard last week. In John 9:28-29 we hear the Pharisees and Scribes say, “We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow [Jesus], we don’t even know where he comes from.” Our guest preacher last week, Pastor Tonya delivered an awesome message based on John 9.

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And today we heard that Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, probably around the village of Bethsaida (25 miles from Nazareth, see John 1:44), and he called Peter and Andrew to join him. We heard a “cliff notes” version of the events and encounters that ignited the Disciples’ imagination and inspired them to take off from everything that they knew and loved for something unknown and entirely different.

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It can be hard for us to relate to the invitation that Jesus offered to his first followers because the Bible was written from the point of view of the oppressed.

Hebrews in Egypt were oppressed and the events of Exodus were the answer to that oppression. Most of the Hebrew Scriptures were written in the face of imminent danger and national peril. God inspired the prophets to bring the message calling people to change their ways, to repent, and unite around God. Eventually those messages were written down and they became part of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Jesus came just as the Jewish nation faced imminent danger and peril. There was a real possibility of the nation being taken apart and destroyed by the Romans. The Gospels and the Early Christian Writings were inspired by God, and written down to show us how God brought renewal and regeneration at this time of national crisis. The Gospels and the Early Christian Writings were written down as a message of hope that was big enough not only for the Jews but also for the rest of the world.

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It is hard for us to relate to the invitation that Jesus offered to his first followers because the Bible was written from the point of view of the oppressed. We are blessed to live at a time when we are not really oppressed. Surely we face our share of injustice; surely there are pockets of oppression directed to certain segments of our society. All and all we live in pretty calm times, not spending much time being oppressed and discriminated against. In “Bible speak,” we are Egyptians living comfortably, not spending much time thinking about plight of our neighbors. In “Bible speak,” we are Romans living in our comfortable villas not spending much time thinking about what our society is doing to the rest of the world.

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Jesus came to those oppressed. Jesus came teaching that we are not defined by our circumstances. Jesus came teaching that oppression takes many forms. Jesus taught the woman caught in the adultery, “Go forth and sin no more…” (John 8:11). Jesus challenged Zachaeus to stop extorting extra taxes (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus came teaching that it is not the healthy but those who are sick that need the doctor (Matthew 9:11-13).

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It is not an accident that Jesus spent so much time in Galilee, far away from Jerusalem, away from the influence of the Temple. Jesus came seeking those to whom God was real, and those who were willing to look past the established routines of religion.

It is hard for us to relate to Jesus’ invitation to follow him, which we heard today, because we are rooted in our established routines and habits of life and religion. That is one reason we have the season of Lent.

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The season of Lent is not about thinking how unworthy we are and how we deserve to burn in hell. The Season of Lent is about figuring out what we need to do, how we need to change ourselves, how we need to adapt and to adjust, so that the voice of God calling us becomes more real than all the other noise thrown at us by work, by family, by TV and by all the other pressures we face in our daily lives. Lent is about us finding our way back to God.

After the Exodus from Egypt, the Hebrews had to wander in the desert for forty years. Jesus went to the desert prior to starting his ministry. After Jesus was crucified, the Disciples scattered and went back to their old lives until they had a chance to think and come back together again. Lent is about us going into the “desert” to hear the voice of God.

One of the ways we remind ourselves of the invitation that Jesus offers to us is through the celebration of the Holy Communion. {TRANSITION to the Holy Communion}

Works Cited

Sheppard, Ferrari. “I Traveled to Palestine-Israel And Discovered There is no ‘Palestinian-Israeli Conflict’.” 24 01 2014. Stop Being Famous. 24 01 2014. <http://stopbeingfamous.com/2014/01/24/there-is-no-palestinian-israeli-conflict/_3308199.html&gt;.

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2 responses to “Outline and Approximate Notes for the Sunday Message; 6 April 2014

  1. Pingback: Outline and Approximate Notes for the Sunday Message; 13 April 2014; Palm Sunday | Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

  2. Pingback: Outline and Approximate Notes for the Sunday Message; 13 April 2014; Palm Sunday | Christ United Methodist Church in Chestertown, MD

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