On a Mission from God

Sermon Text: Matthew 28:16-10

I love to drop in the odd pop culture reference in my messages and sermon titles. You may have noticed. So, a number of weeks ago when I looked at the lectionary scripture for today in preparation for the sermon, and I saw that it was Jesus’ final words to his disciples in Matthew’s Gospel, or as we call it, the Great Commission, I had to go with a Blues Brothers sermon title.  If you are not familiar with it, The Blues Brothers is one of the funniest, and perhaps irreverent, movies ever made. In the movie, we find Jake and Elwood Blues flying through the streets of Chicago in a beat-up old police car, trying to put their old rhythm and blues band back together to raise enough money to save the orphanage that they grew up in. While that is going on, they constantly get in trouble and are on the run from numerous police departments, the Illinois Nazis, a country and western band and a mysterious woman who is intent on blowing them up. In fact, it seems all of Chicago is after them. At one point, while being chased by the cops, riding in the Bluesmobile listening to his brother Jake complain about their predicament, Elwood delivers one of the most memorable lines from the movie, “They’re not going to catch us. We’re on a mission from God.” Okay, so that was maybe the Scottish Blues Brother. It becomes his catch phrase throughout the movie whenever one of the old band members does not want to join, or they seem to have a problem, “We’re on a mission from God.” Despite being a pair of crooks, they believe it and are faithful to the mission even in the face of many obstacles...Read full sermon here (PDF)

How Do We Know Christ was Raised from the Dead?

Sermon Text:  1 Peter 1:1-9 & John 20:19-31

How do we know Christ was raised from the dead? Why do we believe it? All four gospels mention doubters among Jesus’ followers at the news of his resurrection. Matthew 28:17 says that when Jesus appeared to this disciples in Galilee, “they worshipped him, but some doubted.” How about you? Do you struggle with doubt, like I often do?

Thomas also doubted. His story begins with Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples in Jerusalem the evening of the day of his resurrection. The disciples are gathered in a room with the doors locked because they were afraid of suffering the same fate as Jesus did at the hands of the religious leaders.

But suddenly Jesus “came and stood among them, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he showed them his hands and his side, which still bore the wounds of his crucifixion,” says John. Notice the doors are still closed. So there are two levels of meaning here. On the physical level, Jesus’ body is still a physical body but is now capable of passing through walls and locked doors, so he is already showing signs of his transition to eternal life. And on the spiritual level, his resurrection breaks through his disciples’ fears and gives them joy....Read full sermon here (PDF)