In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
We are watching the weather and at this time the Car Show is still on as scheduled for the public, open from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. We will keep you updated as conditions change.
During Lent, we are using short videos to share a daily idea (linked to the gospel of Luke) on how to grow spiritually. Watch today’s video. Click here or on the image below:
Note: We are reading the entire gospel of Luke in the GPS. Some day’s readings are longer than usual. We hope you’ll have an extra cup of coffee, or use your lunch break, and read Luke’s entire story of Jesus.
37 The next day, when Jesus, Peter, John, and James had come down from the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus. 38 A man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to take a look at my son, my only child. 39 Look, a spirit seizes him and, without any warning, he screams. It shakes him and causes him to foam at the mouth. It tortures him and rarely leaves him alone. 40 I begged your disciples to throw it out, but they couldn’t.”
41 Jesus answered, “You faithless and crooked generation, how long will I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” 42 While he was coming, the demon threw him down and shook him violently. Jesus spoke harshly to the unclean spirit, healed the child, and gave him back to his father. 43 Everyone was overwhelmed by God’s greatness.
While everyone was marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, 44 “Take these words to heart: the Human One [or Son of Man] is about to be delivered into human hands.” 45 They didn’t understand this statement. Its meaning was hidden from them so they couldn’t grasp it. And they were afraid to ask him about it.
46 An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. 47 Aware of their deepest thoughts, Jesus took a little child and had the child stand beside him. 48 Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me. Whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever is least among you all is the greatest.”
49 John replied, “Master, we saw someone throwing demons out in your name, and we tried to stop him because he isn’t in our group of followers.”
50 But Jesus replied, “Don’t stop him, because whoever isn’t against you is for you.”
51 As the time approached when Jesus was to be taken up into heaven, he determined to go to Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers on ahead of him. Along the way, they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival, 53 but the Samaritan villagers refused to welcome him because he was determined to go to Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to consume them?” 55 But Jesus turned and spoke sternly to them, 56 and they went on to another village.
57 As Jesus and his disciples traveled along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Human One [or Son of Man] has no place to lay his head.”
59 Then Jesus said to someone else, “Follow me.”
He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and spread the news of God’s kingdom.”
61 Someone else said to Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say good-bye to those in my house.”
62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for God’s kingdom.
From Luke 9:51 on, Jesus was purposefully going to Jerusalem. (He arrived in Luke 19:28-30, on what we call Palm Sunday.) For Luke, this framed every event to follow: Jesus was going to Jerusalem and the cross. But that didn’t alter his basic mission: he continued to help, to heal, to humbly show mercy while calling for serious commitment.
Click here to incorporate music and worship from the COR Worship Collective into your daily practice and devotion.
Lord Jesus, you knew where you were going, and you knew why. Give me an inner compass that discerns the course you are calling me to follow with my life. Amen.
Reading passages like today’s was always interesting to me. As Jesus knew he was nearing the end of his life, and as his popularity and movement were gaining followers, rather than lower the bar to attract more people, he raised the bar to make sure he wasn’t attracting half-hearted followers who wanted to be a part of a movement, but not necessarily the movement. It has interested me because it defies traditional wisdom, even wisdom that we often hear in churches. How does this speak to our church vision of being a church where the non- and nominally religious are coming to God?
I’m actually reminded of one of my heroes of the faith, Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher and theologian. Kierkegaard lived in Denmark in a time when Christianity seemed to be in its prime. Not only the citizens, but the government was deeply Christian, and they officially declared Denmark to be a Christian nation—you would be Christian simply by the virtue of being born there. That right there—or, rather, his reaction to it—became the basis of a lot of Kierkegaard’s writing.
Kierkegaard argued that personal choice was foundational in Christianity, perhaps even the most foundational part. In a nation where everyone seemed to be pushing to make it easier to be a Christian, Kierkegaard argued that it should instead be harder. What weight does a person’s faith have when it costs nothing? Without knowing the cost and choosing it anyway, Christianity loses a lot of its meaning.
Jesus’ actions in today’s passage, and at other times near the end of his life, do not contradict his message of inclusivity and accessibility in faith. Rather, they speak to a different demographic. The people typically excluded from faith have always known there was a cost to it, and they were frequently reminded that they could not pay for it. Pharisees liked to remind others that they were not as holy as the pharisees, but we see similar behavior in today’s passage when John asked Jesus if they should stop others from doing good because they weren’t a part of God’s inner circle, as they saw themselves.
So rather than talk to the people who were told they couldn’t afford to be in God’s inner circle, Jesus instead spoke to people who never questioned being a part of it. The power of privilege in religion is never having to ask the cost of it. Much like Denmark told its citizens that they were automatically Christian just from being born there, a lot of us rarely have to grapple with the cost of Christianity. There’s a reason so many people in crisis experience life-changing encounters with God: they’re aware of the cost of that choice in a way that some of us will never experience.
Now, this is absolutely not supposed to turn into a contest of who gave up the most for God. That’s just another way of excluding others from God’s inner circle. But the duality of Jesus talking about the inclusivity of his message and the cost of true faith in God is that there needs to be a balance in everyone’s life. Passages like this one in Luke remind us that, despite how much we may consider ourselves to be a part of God’s inner circle, we also have to be aware of the costs. Everyone who wants to be a part of God’s kingdom can be, absolutely, but Jesus suggests here that, if you’re doing it right, there is a choice to make, and that can mean choosing your faith over other things, including family responsibilities, money, work, or a number of other things we hold tightly. So what is your faith costing you? If the answer is nothing, ask why. There are times for certainty, and there are times for sacrifice; make sure you have some of both in your faith.
* Wright, N. T. Luke for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone) (p. 98). SPCK. Kindle Edition.