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.
1 Jesus left that place and came to his hometown. His disciples followed him. 2 On the Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue. Many who heard him were surprised. “Where did this man get all this? What’s this wisdom he’s been given? What about the powerful acts accomplished through him? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t he Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were repulsed by him and fell into sin.
4 Jesus said to them, “Prophets are honored everywhere except in their own hometowns, among their relatives, and in their own households.” 5 He was unable to do any miracles there, except that he placed his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 He was appalled by their disbelief.
1 There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born anew [Or from above], it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.”
4 Nicodemus asked, “How is it possible for an adult to be born? It’s impossible to enter the mother’s womb for a second time and be born, isn’t it?”
5 Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. 6 Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ 8 God’s Spirit [or wind] blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said, “How are these things possible?”
10 “Jesus answered, “You are a teacher of Israel and you don’t know these things?
We sometimes see Jesus as a rather “vanilla” figure, nice and innocuous. In fact, he often astonished people. In his hometown synagogue, his teaching (for a longer account of his surprising words, cf. Luke 4:14-30) upset and infuriated those who heard him. In John 3, Jesus met with Nicodemus, a Pharisee whose authority came from religious status attained through strict outward piety. Jesus’ invitation to inner spiritual rebirth left the seminary-trained religious leader puzzled and amazed.
Lord Jesus, you were (and are) so much more than just “the carpenter.” Give me more of your willingness to connect even with people like Nicodemus who might at first seem like “enemies.” Amen.
In a previous career, I managed an adult day care program at a senior center. A good portion of the participants in the program had some form of dementia. If you know of someone with dementia, you know what a cruel disease it can be. It robs you of your memories and plays havoc with your relationships. In the midst of the darkness and dreadfulness, there are bits of light. Someone with dementia is able to experience joyful moments over and over again, as if experiencing them for the first time. I remember one Halloween; I came to work dressed as a jester. As each participant arrived, their face lit up with amusement. “Oh, my goodness! Look at you! Aren’t you something?!” they’d say, grinning ear to ear. Later that morning, I left to go to a meeting. Upon my return, I walked into a room that erupted full of laughter. “Oh, my goodness! Look at you! Aren’t you something?!” The moment was new to them, and they were loving every second of it.
Every once in a while, I crave that same ability to experience joy and surprise over and over again. Familiarity is wonderful, but it comes at the price of losing that first moment of elation, of being taken aback in astonishment. I think about this when it comes to my understanding of who Jesus is. I grew up in church, and so I was introduced to Jesus very early on. Stories of his teachings and miracles were shared through puppets and felt boards. I grew up singing the songs and reading the Bible. I love that I was able to know Jesus and his love for me even as a child.
But with that familiarity comes the loss of being astonished by who he truly is. He walked on water, he healed the sick, he calmed the storms, and he even rose from the dead! Any one of those individually is astonishing! But because I’ve heard them over and over, they have lost a bit of their “wow” factor. If I’m not intentional, I become apathetic to the power of Christ and take it for granted. I hate to admit this, but my guess is that in sharing it, it helps some of you relate. My hope and prayer is that we can step back from the familiar from time to time, that we’ll be able to experience Jesus afresh–to be struck by his power, to feel his compassion, and to be overwhelmed by his uncompromising grace.
* Wright, N. T., Mark for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone) (p. 65). SPCK. Kindle Edition.