In all the gospel narratives the issue of fear is addressed by Jesus and heavenly messengers (angels). We hear things like “Fear not”, “Do not be afraid!”; “…and the doors were locked because they were afraid.” Fear has been with the human race since the garden of Eden. But what does Easter have to do with fear? In his sermon, Martin Rossol, wants us to recognize that Easter has a lot to do with the fear of being abandoned; the fear of judgement; and the fear of death.
Is Jesus trustworthy? Will he do what he claims? CAN he do what he says he can? St Matthew has given his readers convincing evidence that Jesus is, in fact, very trustworthy. In today’s sermon, Martin Rossol reviews the last and most convincing proof that Jesus is the all-powerful King of the coming Kingdom of God. Jesus raises a girl who has clearly died, back to life. And he does it as easily as you tapping someone who is asleep on the shoulder: “Psst, wake up!”
John’s disciples and the Pharisees were challenging the fact that Jesus’ disciples did not really “fit in” with the existing religious norms and paradigms. “Why don’t your disciples fast?” Well, Jesus was more than happy to address their question, as our elder Martin Rossol explained in today’s talk.
The Pharisees tried to “stay separate” from all that might ‘contaminate’ them. It was their religious activity that they felt would solve their sin problem. Jesus challenged that diagnosis and made it clear that outward religious activity is not what is pleasing to God. We please God when we have the right attitudes in our heart, and then express those in our actions.
St Matthew has been bring his story, his argument about Jesus as God’s appointed King ever more detailed in terms of Jesus power and authority. After demonstrating Jesus authority over sickness, disease, nature and demons, St Matthew now turn to address or expose the root cause of all these symptoms, and to show that King Jesus also has authority to solve this root problem.
St Matthew shares events where Jesus demonstrates his power over sickness, physical ailments, and even the environment; all to demonstrate (prove?) that He has the authority of the King of God’s Kingdom. In today’s talk, Martin Rossol continues in the series talking about the event (Matthew 8:28-34) where Jesus demonstrated his power over demons. This is another level; another category where Jesus is seen in total control. St Matthew wants his readers to thinks, what? Listen for the answer to that question!
In Sunday’ sermon St Matthew wants his readers to grasp that Jesus is the promised King; the king who would rule over God’s promised kingdom; and that as such he has authority over all of creation, including the environment. When mankind rebelled against God, not only was mankind affected by the consequences of that rebellion (sin) but all of physical creation was also subjected to negative effects. And the king is coming to make all that right. The account in Matthew 8 is a demonstration of the authority of the king.
Are we really ready to follow Jesus? Or are we simply enthused about the wonderful things he has done for us or our family? Jesus is really asking for total commitment: to follow where he goes; to go where he sends us; to put him before our families, our clan, or clubs, etc.