Thursday, April 1, 2021
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Schuyler, NE
watch this service online (readings start around 6:07; sermon starts around 14:57)
One of the beautiful things about having four different gospel accounts of Jesus’ life is that it gives us glimpses from four different perspectives into who Jesus really was (and is). It would be impossible for any one piece of writing to truly capture the fullness of Jesus. But the gospel writers help us to see different sides of Jesus. For example, Matthew often emphasizes how Jesus is rooted in Hebrew scripture and Jewish traditions (like the Passover which is being celebrated this week!). Luke focuses on the political context of Jesus’ ministry and on his deep concern for justice for the poor. And Mark shows how urgently and intensely Jesus is focused on his mission for the kingdom.
Continue reading “Sermon: Jesus Christ Superhero”
Tonight, we encounter Jesus through John’s eyes. In John’s gospel, we see Jesus at his most divine and heavenly and all-knowing. Jesus is practically a superhero in John – his only weakness, his kryptonite, is that he loves so much – and even that, in the end, turns out to be his strength! In John, Jesus knows exactly what’s happening, he knows exactly what’s coming, and he knows exactly who the people he’s dying for truly are, warts and all. And Jesus chooses the way of the cross with both eyes wide open, never doubting for even a second that the outcome is in God’s hands.
John was actually Martin Luther’s favorite gospel, and I can kind of see why. I mean, who doesn’t love a Superman? I have to confess, though, that, personally, I sometimes find it hard to relate to Jesus in John’s gospel. John’s Jesus often speaks at length about mysterious, divine, heavenly realities far beyond the daily realities of life of this earth. His mind is always on the kingdom and glory of his Father, and he marches with confidence through his ministry, always completely certain of what he needs to do and of where this all is going.
It’s such a stark contrast with our gospel reading from Sunday, when we read Mark’s account of the Passion. In Mark, Jesus grieves and suffers; he begs God to take away the cup of suffering that has come to him; and even though he accepts what he has to do, we see him struggling with what this ministry is demanding of him. As an imperfect person who often struggles in ministry and in the path of discipleship, I find this side of Jesus a lot easier to relate to. Jesus is perfect, but he’s also fully human; he experiences temptation and he wrestles with doing the hard things that he has been called to do. I can definitely identify a lot with that struggle.