Sermon for Pentecost 7 – 7.7.24

+ 7th Sunday after Pentecost – July 7th, 2024 +

Series B: Ezekiel 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Mark 6:1-13

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“A Scandalous Savior”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Think of a time when you were rejected. Maybe it was a neighbor who snubbed your family BBQ invite. Perhaps it was something deeper, more personal, though. An atheist friend who shuts down your attempts to invite them to church or share the gospel; or maybe it’s a child, grandchild, or friend who, from all you can tell, has walked away from the faith.

 

What do you do when you’ve been rejected? If you’re like me, you probably experience a whole whirlwind of thoughts and feelings: Usually it goes in one of two directions: we feel sorry for ourselves. we despair. we give up. Or we go the nuclear route: anger, spite, grudges.

 

In the face of rejection, what does Jesus do? He digs in deeper on grace. He doubles down on his grace to rescue sinners. He sent out his disciples with his teaching and preaching, that the good and gracious rule and reign of God had come at last in Jesus.

 

In the face of rejection, Jesus didn’t pack it in and call it quits in Nazareth. He went on from his rejection in Nazareth to the greater rejection on the cross so that by his rejection you are redeemed and reconciled.

 

Jesus’ journey to the cross is already pictured in his rejection at Nazareth.

 

The locals had heard the stories: people healed, demons cast out, miracles, signs, and wonders. You’d think they’d be impressed. But no. Jesus wasn’t given the hero’s homecoming. There was no sign on the road into town that read: Nazareth, “proud home of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” Instead, Jesus is greeted by the Nazareth Inquisition.

 

“Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 

 

We’ve heard Mark’s gospel these past weeks and we know the answers to those questions. Where did Jesus get the power to do these miracles? He’s had that from all eternity. What is his wisdom? It’s the wisdom that he is and embodies and gives throughout the Scripture. How are such works done by his mighty hands? How can an ordinary carpenter do such incredible things? Because Jesus is more than a carpenter. He’s the Son of God in human flesh.

 

We confess this in the Creed. Jesus is God of God. Light of Light. Very God of Very God. Begotten, not made. He is one substance with the Father. And yet he is also bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. The Virgin’s Son. God incarnate. God in the flesh.

 

And there’s the rub. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

The word there is… scandalized.

 

The incarnation of God offends the sensibilities of sinful, fallen man. It scandalizes. It causes people to stumble over their own expectation of how God is supposed to work. If God comes down to us in the flesh, we hardly expect Him to be a carpenter in a no-place town called Nazareth, in the outskirts of Galilee, born of a Virgin betrothed to Joseph. Scandalous? You bet! This offends our sensibilities and religious sensitivities. We want God to be Godlike. Not some woodworker with splinters under his fingernails, calluses on his hands, and sawdust all over his tunic.

 

We want God on our own terms. A tame god. But whenever we do that – look for a god of our own making, thinking, or feeling, we end up doing the very same thing the folks in Nazareth did: rejecting the one who came to redeem and reconcile.

 

We join the crowds in rejecting Jesus and serving ourselves whenever we fail to love and serve our neighbor as Christ loves and serves us. Or when we think our possessions and time, or anything is our reward or what ‘s due rather than a gift to be received and used for God’s glory and the good of others.

 

We join the crowds in rejecting Jesus whenever we place our trust in earthly princes and rulers. When in fact, Christ is King. And his kingdom alone endures.

 

We join the crowds in rejecting Jesus whenever we look to something or someone else for our help and salvation.

 

How did Jesus respond to rejection? True, he speaks a rebuke, a warning. “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown.” Familiarity breeds contempt, goes the old saying.

 

But Jesus’ doesn’t stop there. He presses on. He digs in deeper. He doubles down on his grace.

The very thing that the Nazareth crowds were scandalized by – the ordinariness and humanity and humility of God in the flesh – that’s who he is and how he saves you.

 

They tripped over the ordinariness of God because they expected him to be extraordinary. Above it all. Like a lifeguard that looks great sitting in the chair on the beach but doesn’t want to bother getting wet. But when we’re drowning in the riptide of sin and death, we don’t need a pretty boy on the beach. You need someone to come down to you. To run to you. Grab you and pull you out of the water.

 

That’s what the Nazareth crowds missed. That’s what we miss when our old Adam gets the best of us thinking we know best what God’s will and ways are. Of course, God is higher than the highest heavens and his wisdom is deeper than the depths of the sea. He’s not a tame God. But he’s also the God who comes down to us in the ordinary.

 

The Nazareth synagogue scandal is the sacramental scandal. They were offended at ordinary Jesus, the kid from around the corner. We’re offended at ordinary water and words and bread and wine. Same scandal. They’re too everyday, too ordinary to be something God uses. How can water or bread or wine do such great things?

 

But God’s Word tells us. “This is my body, this is my blood.” This water is a washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Baptism now saves you. He who hears you, hears me. Scandalously ordinary, sacramentally powerful. Jesus for you in that water, those words, that bread and wine. How can that be? Take Jesus at his word. He’s the one who promises you that these ordinary things are full of his extraordinary grace.

 

In the face of rejection, what does Jesus do? He digs in deeper and doubles down on his grace. He performs a few miracles. But He leaves Nazareth. He sends out his disciples to preach and teach that the kingdom of God had come at last in Jesus. And he journeyed on to Jerusalem.

 

The scandal of Nazareth became the scandal of his cross. Jesus who was rejected in Nazareth is rejected in Jerusalem. First by the Pharisees and crowds. But ultimately by the Father as he hung on the cross dying for rejecting, rebellious sinners like us.

 

And there, the one whom the Nazareth crowds found so offensive, died for all our offenses.

 

The One who was rejected died for those who rejected him so that we would never be rejected.

 

The One who was not welcomed into his hometown with honor, died with all our guilt and shame so that he would crown you with glory and honor and give you an eternal home with him in the resurrection where you have a seat of honor at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

 

The next time someone rejects you, especially when it’s because of your faith in Christ, remember that Jesus was rejected for you. And because Jesus was rejected you are redeemed and reconciled with grace upon grace.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977