We Must Go to Others
† In Jesus Name †
May the gifts of the love, the mercy and peace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ so accompany you in your life that you are aware of those who lack it, and may that lack inspire you to reach out to them with your greatest treasure!
As I tried to come up with a sermon title this week, knowing I was preaching on the gospel I tried to come up with something special, something that would inspire and catch on, a phrase you can’t get out of your mind, encouraging you to walk with Jesus, just as the apostles did,
I couldn’t come up with something, so I figured a great title is found in Jesus’s words,
“We must go on to other towns” or in these days, we can make it simple, “we must go to others.”
The problem using that as the title is that it sounds different than it really means. It sounds like work and obligation that is demanded of us by God. To use Lutheran-speak, it sounds like the law, and therefore it points out where we fall short, where we fail God and deserve to be punished.
But that isn’t at all what Jesus is telling the apostles when he says “We must go to others, and I will preach to them too, for that is why we came.”
We need to hear Jesus, and more than that, we need to understand Him. This isn’t about us being good children of God or good members of the church.
It’s about finding out for ourselves what Paul told the people in Athens, Repeat them with me.
‘In him we live and move and have our being,” Acts 17:28 (NAB)
What did “they” do?
Let’s go back a few verses, as Jesus and the apostles go to Simon Peter’s house. There, Jesus finds Peter’s mum sick, so sick that with a very important guest at her house, she is lying down, burning up with a fever. I mean, think about it, how sick would our ladies here be, if they didn’t get up and be hospitable?
So Jesus heals her, helps her up, and the word spreads.
Next thing you know, there is a crowd at the door and it looks busier that St Jude’s Hospital ER during flu season. People with every kind of illness and disease, people even possessed by demons, all being brought to Jesus.
Mark’s gospel tells you that the entire town turned out to watch these miracles….
But how did they know all this was happening?
Someone, more excited than someone winning the Superbowl had to have told them.
That’s what happens when we begin to realize the depth of God’s grace, the depth of His mercy. When we find out in Him we can live, really live. When we see our souls begin to be healed, we see others who need it, and then rejoicing even more that there is no limit. When the demons that torment us lose their grip. And we are freed from them and the guilt and shame that they try to plague us with disappears.
As we get used to that freedom, we never want to leave His side… so how will people know God’s love? How will they have the blessing of God’s love, the blessing of His mercy and forgiveness revealed to them?
Remember those words
In him we live and move and have our being!
Jesus doesn’t say, “I must” or “you must”
For that is why he came, to give us the knowledge that in Him is everything we are, our life, our breath, what we do, everything we are.
That is what the cross is all about, and all those church words, redemption, justification, reconciliation, renewal, revitalization, all those words picture that in Christ we have died to sin and all that isn’t of God, and our lives, our very being is found in Him. It is why he was born of a virgin, suffered and died, rose from the ascended and sent the Holy Spirit.
So that He could transform us so that He could give us life.
You see that as He doesn’t just say, “I must go to others,” and He doesn’t say “you must go to others.” What does He say, “we must go to others”
We must, Jesus and all those who are with Him must go to others. All those whom He has joined to Himself. We Must Go, We being Jesus and you all and me.
And then He is the one who reveals Himself to them, as He draws them here. And we don’t have to go all that far.
Why He Came
Maybe some of us are called to go to the next country, to go with Bernie to the Sudan, or with Christina to Turkey, but when Jesus says “we must go to others” it could be to our neighbor, who could be from the Sudan, or Guyana or Indonesia or France, or Germany or Switzerland or even someplace really strange – like Boston or Wisconsin.
We live in a transient age when people from every country on the planet save one or two have come to our neighborhoods! We must go, with Jesus, to them, so that He can show them His love. They even come to us sometimes, as they did yesterday. As I pulled up, 16 people were in the parking lot, playing a game called Pokemon go, a few hours later, I went to the bathroom and there were another dozen people. Both times, as we waited for the game to set, they asked me how I heard about the game being live on our campus. I said… uhm, I am the pastor here… and they asked questions about the church and about the school. People as young as a five-year-old, as old as all of us. came here to play a game on their phones,
At least that is why they think they came…
We, you, me and Jesus need to go to them and let Jesus reveal Himself, and the news of His love.
We, you and me and Jesus, need to go to others and let them know about the love and mercy and healing of their hearts and souls. Whether that means going across the parking lot, or across the street, state, country or world. We, Jesus, you and I must go..
Because this is why He came…
And as He goes to others, we simply go with Him, for in Him we live and move and have our being!