Tagged: power

Ephesians 1:15-22

This text is used for the Lectionary Year B on December 3, 2017.

Two branches stem from this passage on the power of God.  The text illustrates the enormity of God as it relates to the individual and the church.  The preacher may speak to the individual in the congregation about their own path as it relates to the power of God.  However, the more fitting sermon may bend toward the church.  There is a strong emphasis here on the nature of the church as God’s power on earth.  Either way, you go, individual or communal, the power of God is at the heart of the message.

Verses 17 and 19 provide a starting point for discussing the unimaginable power of God.  God’s power is beyond us as humans.  God operates in ways that are inconceivable in scope and time to our minds.  This fact, however, does not limit the prayer of the text for us to know and receive that inconceivable power of God.  The preacher could note two things here.  One, the power of God surpasses all on this earth.  There is nothing here that will overwhelm our God.  You may list many hurdles that overwhelm us, recognizing that God can calm those fears with a single breath.  Two, Ephesians 1:20-22 puts all this divine power in Christ.  To deepen the Christology of the church, it may be fruitful to consider the supremacy of the name of Jesus Christ and that every knee will eventually bow to that name.  There is a whole sermon on the grandness of God here, but practically it is worth the preacher’s time to point from the power of God to the individual or the church.

To the individual, it would be worth parking in verses 17-18.  Here you find a prayer for wisdom, knowledge, calling, and inheritance.  The truth is that every Christian can be filled with these things through the Holy Spirit.  Most individuals in the pews are unaware of what that looks like in their life.  The preacher could fill in those gaps with stories of answered prayers in these areas.  Calling though may be the one that resonates with the congregation.  They need to hear that the calling of God is hopeful and generous.  God has surely placed a calling on each of their lives for a specific purpose in His Kingdom, and when the time is right, they will have full wisdom and authority to live out that call.  God does not abandon us without purpose but gives a call.  This calling into God’s work is far greater than anything we could come up with on our own.  We tend to chase after other things, like Jonah, but our lives will always flourish when we recognize what God has in store for us individually.  The preacher could list all the kinds of dreams that people have for themselves (e.g., sports, school, financial, recreational) and show how our dreams pale in comparison to God’s dream for our lives.

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Luke 22:14-23:56

This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on March 20, 2016.

Hermano Leon
Hermano Leon

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus used tables to announce the Kingdom of God.  Table fellowship, which was an important act of hospitality for all people in the Mediterranean world, was absolutely essential for Jesus’ ministry and an indicator of how he understood the nature of God’s Kingdom.  Jesus spends a great deal of time in this gospel teaching his disciples of table manners in the Kingdom.  Don’t take the seats of honor.  Don’t invite only those who can reciprocate.  Over and over again, the table of Jesus is illustrative of the ways of the Kingdom.  This Passover table in 22.14-23 – along with the one in Emmaus – should remind the reader of all the tables that have frequented the entire gospel.

It was at the table that Jesus announces Judas’ betrayal.  One of Jesus’ own disciples betrayed him.  One might expect betrayal from someone on the periphery, but for the betrayer to arise from Jesus’ inner circle intensifies the scandal.  The betrayal occurred amidst a larger debate amongst his followers as to who was the greatest.  In a gospel saturated with reversal stories, this argument over who is the greatest portrays the disciples as extremely dense.  On the other hand, Judas’ betrayal and the disciples’ ignorance are not limited to that particular table or to the first century.  To the degree that Jesus’ followers continue to have this argument, we continue to follow in Judas’ footsteps.

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