Sermon – May 19, 2019
The gospel is meant to be “good-news”; it is meant to be a comfort to restless souls, water for the thirsty, and food for the hungry. But this does not mean that the gospel doesn’t come with difficulties. For many, the best way to deal with these trouble spots is to ignore them. But this is unthinkable for us, if for no other reason than Jesus refused to do so himself! The gospel proclaims good news, but it is only good to those who are willing at accept the bad news of reality. Today, we get to see how Jesus deals with the rejection of his own proclamation of good news, and through this we will hopefully find some help for our own evangelism.
1. The good news must be offensive
The disciples surrounding Jesus grumbled about the difficulty of his recent statements. The difficulty wasn’t his hard-to-understand language, but in the disgust they had for his message. A message that revolved around their full and unwavering need of him and him alone. They reject his authority in this matter – because it exposes their need of atonement from him, and focuses on their sin. Friends, we cannot minimize the impact of sins in the lives of people simply to win them. Sin is not an issue – it is the issue. If we refuse to offend people with God’s wrath against their sin, we refuse to give them the good news. The gospel must offend.
2. The good news must be God-affirmed
The fact that the gospel offends is the precise reason we must rely upon God. The gospel comes with bad news that must be overcome – but we cannot do it with flowery speech or fiery rhetoric. Seeing Jesus lifted up to heaven and hearing his words weren’t enough! What could we do? We must, therefore, rely on the life-giving Spirit and the Father to draw those who would believe. The gospel is not a matter of man’s choosing, but God’s affirming.
3. The good news must be confessed
Peter’s confession is what we all must confess to come to Jesus. Where else would we go? Indeed, once we realize that there is no where else to go, we are always set to go to Jesus. He is the Holy One of God – the one who was set apart for the great task set before him. Like Isaiah’s suffering servant, Jesus will bring justice through his suffering and crushing. Let us confess this gladly and with joy – Jesus was crushed for our salvation, and that salvation is found in no one else!
4. The good news must be achieved
We cannot just confess nice philosophy, helpful mental tricks, or good priorities for healthy living. We must confess something that was done in flesh and blood, something done in history. We are not saved by mere thought, but by the giving of a body over for crucifixion, the yielding up of a body to death. Jesus knew this as well. It wasn’t enough to speak of being bread broken, he needed to be broken in reality. So he has called even Judas into his circle of closest disciples. Christ always had planned on going to the cross, and was making sure of it. What a blessed friend! What a wonderful Savior!
Where can we go for the words of life? Where can we go for this great love? Where can we go for such a magnificent salvation? Only to Jesus, the Holy One of God!