The weight must have been unbearable on Peter. He had denied Jesus three times. How could Jesus ever trust him again? Do we ever blow it in our relationship with God? Sometimes we feel we are unusable to Jesus and the Father. But God can use you.
Jesus was in agony. But he wasn't the only one. Near him was a thief. Jesus shows great compassion for the man by telling the man that he would be with Jesus in Paradise. Sometimes this passage is used to argue the non-necessity of baptism. But is this what this passage is about? Or, is there something deeper in this story about the compassion of Jesus?
The Samaritans are often portrayed as being a group of ethnically and religiously mixed people at the time Christ lived. While their origin is debated among scholars, history reveals they considered themselves "Keepers of the Torah." The animosity between first century Jews and Samaritans was greatly linked to the place of worship. When Jesus' kindness opens the door for a conversation with a seemingly out-casted Samaritan woman it leads to an apparent conversion of many in her village. But the event also provides an occasion for a shift in how Godly worship is perceived. Our worship is spiritually centered not physically oriented because Jesus transforms how worship is done.
The idea of zombies is a current fad in entertainment. But did Jesus ever encounter the walking dead? Mark tells the story of Jesus' encounter with a demon-possessed man. He lived a life in darkness living in a culture which did not know God while being possessed by demons. The community rejected the man, but not Jesus. Christians today can easily dismiss many in the World. But we need to be careful to practice Jesus' mercy.
Jesus served those who made others in the Jewish community uncomfortable. One example is the Canaanite woman whose daughter was demon-possessed. Even though His focused mission was proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven to Israel, Jesus was moved to act by this woman's faith. Christians today need to be willing to serve others even when they are outside our comfort zone.
In the midst of this royal city Jesus teaches His disciples about true leadership. He serves from compassion. As Christians today, we should have the same attitude in serving others.
This very special sermon was delivered during our inaugural worship assembly. We recall God's mission as the basis for our mission as a church with consideration of what this means for individual Christians. We want to understand what is our purpose in planting a congregation in Benbrook, Texas.