Proper 8 - June 26, 2022
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our crucified, risen, and ascended Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
I am not much of a sports fan, but I do have teams that I’ll pay a little attention to. The first is the San Francisco Giants, of whom I have been a fan since childhood. The other is the San Diego Padres.
Now, there are a couple types of fans. One is like me, who occasionally follows; actually, glance is a better descriptor. The other type follows regardless of the team's record. I think of my childhood friend Doug Marshall who goes to the Giants training camp every year in Arizona, and watches every game and knows the stats of every player. My pal Doug and I are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I half-hearted follow the Giants, whereas he is totally committed. Doug is all-in! I love the Giants, but don’t ask me the name of my favorite player, because I’m likely to answer Willie Mays.
Jesus wants followers who are all-in. But, we do not have it in us to produce that level of commitment. But Jesus' words have Jesus' power. In the gospel Jesus explains how He went all-in for our salvation. And through these words Christ Jesus creates with us the very commitment He seeks.
Jesus is All-In for You!
And He calls us to be “All-In” for Him.
Are You All-In?
Are You All-In?
Elisha was, as illustrated in our OT reading from 1 Kings 19.
God told Elijah to pick his successor, and Elisha was the man.
Elijah threw his cloak over him, showing that Elisha has been called to serve.
Elisha demonstrates he is “all-in” by slaughtering the oxen, burning the yokes and broiling the flesh of the slaughtered animals, then giving the broiled meat to his family.
Elisha was not turning back. He was all-in.
St. Paul was all-in too.
Paul endured much for the sake of the kingdom
He was beaten with rods and stoned. In constant danger from other people, and endured many hardships, all for the sake of the Gospel
St. Paul was not turning back. He was all-in.
Jesus calls us to be all-in
23 Jesus said to all of them, “If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
In our Gospel reading this morning Jesus was constantly calling individuals to follow Him.
He called one, who wish to be allowed to go bury his father
Another He called, but he wanted to say “good-bye” to his family.
Jesus is not calling us to be occasional Christians, but to be all-in
Let the dead bury their own dead
And, no one who starts to plow, then looks back, will be of any use to the kingdom of God.
These are difficult saying to hear, saying of which we must ask ourselves: “Am I all-in for Jesus?”
This question is important, because
Jesus Is All-in for You!
Jesus Is All-in for You!
Jesus set His face to go to Jerusalem.
He knew exactly what to expect.
At Jerusalem the cross awaited him.
The Samaritans learned of his determination, and were not interested in hosting him overnight. But that did not distract Jesus from His mission.
Jesus loves you so much that He had to be all-in, and make this journey to Jerusalem.
His love for you is what drove him.
Abraham’s love for God drove him to lay his son, Isaac, on an altar to be sacrificed.
Likewise, God did not withhold His only Son, but sacrificed Him for you.
So your sins could be forgiven.
So you can live forever.
When God calls us, this Word to “Take Up Your Cross Daily and Follow Me” has power that enables us to do what He is asking.
A husband/wife have children, and somehow are empowered to care for these children in their vocation of parent. Reason being, God’s Word to be fruitful and multiply, to train up a child, etc., these words all have power that enables us to do what he says.
God calls a man to serve as Pastor, and God’s Word of call enables him to take all his hopes and dreams for the future, and sacrifice them on an altar, much like Elisha did.
Whatever vocation God has called you to requires service. And the Word of Christ is what empowers us to do what has been asked of us.
Are you all-in? By ourselves we cannot do any of the things God is asking of us. But through the power of the Word of Christ, we can take up our cross daily and follow him.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.