Sermons 2006
"Unintended Consequences", Proper 19B, 17 September 2006, Mark 8:27-38

Home | "Light and Darkness", Christmas 2C, 31 December 2006, John 1:1-18 | Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2006 | "What then shall we do?", Advent 3C , 17 December 2006, Luke 3:7-18 | "Luke's Gospel", Advent 1C, 3 Dec 2006, Luke 21:25-31 | Which Jesus? Proper 29B 2006, 26 November 2006, John 18:33-37 | Apocalypticism and Fundamentalism, Proper 28B, 19 Nov 2006, Daniel12; Mark 13:14-23 | "The Widow's Mite: All and Everything", Proper 27B, 12 November 2006, Mark 12:38-44 | "The Commandments to love God, Neighbor, One Another" Proper 26B, 5 November 2006, Mark 12:28-34 | "Sight -- and Seeing" Proper 25B, 29 October 2006, Mark 10:46-52 | "Baptism: Overwhelming Washing", Proper 24B, 22 October 2006 Mark 10:35-45 | "God's Transforming Love", Proper 23B, 15 October 2006, Mark 10:17-31 | "Divorce", Proper 22B, 8 February 2006, Mark 10: 2-9 | "Hard Sayings and Sharp Words", Proper 21B, 1 October 2006, Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 | "First or Last?" Proper 20B, 24 September 2006, Mark 9:30-37 | "Unintended Consequences", Proper 19B, 17 September 2006, Mark 8:27-38 | "Ephphatha! Open up!" Proper 18B, 10 September 2006, Mark 7:31-37 | "Rituals", Proper 17B, 3 September 2006, Deuteronomy 4:1-9; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | "Choices." Proper 16B, 30 August 2006, Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-25; John 6:60-69 | "Come to the Table." Proper 15B, 20 August 2006, John 6:53-59 | "Do not be afraid." Proper 12B, 30 July 2006, Mark6:45-52 | "General Convention and Jesus' Compassion", Proper 11B, 23 July 2006, Mark 6: 30-44 | "Basics for the Journey", Proper 10B, 16 July 2006, Mark 6:7-13 | "Jesus and Rejection", Proper 9B, 9 July 2006, Mark 6:1-6 | "Trust, Faith, and Belief" Proper 8B, 2 July 2006, Mark 5:22-43 | "Storms, Fear, and Faith" Proper 7B, 25 June 2006, Mark 4:35-41 | Mighty things from Small, Proper 6B, 18 June 2006, Mark 4:26-34 | Trinity, Pentecost 1, 11 June 2006, Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16 | The King Jesus Fire-Baptized Holy Spirit Church, Pentecost , 4 June, Acts 2:1-11; Jn 20:19-23 | "That they may be one" General Convention 2006, Easter 7B 28 May 2006, John 5:9-15 | "Friends, friendship, and love" Easter 6B, 21 May 2006, John 15:9-17 | Mother's Day, two mothers' love!" Easter 5B, 14 April 2006, John 14:15-21 | "Interesting, this Good Shepherd!" Easter 4B, 7 May 2006, John 10:11-16 | "How do you prove you are alive?", Easter 3B, 30 April 2006, Luke 24:36b-48 | "Do you believe because...." Easter 2B, 23 April 2006, John 20:19-31 | "He goes before you to Galilee...." Easter B 2006, 16 April, Mark 16:1-8 | "Journey into darkness", Palm Sunday B, 9 April 2006. Mark 11:1-11, 14:32-15:47 | "Sir, we would see Jesus!" Lent 5B, 2 April 2006, John 12:20-33 | "Miracles and Faith, Ordinary and Not", Lent 4B 2006, 26 March 2006, John 6:4-15 | "Rage, Rampage, and Outrage", Lent 3B, 19 March 2006, John 2: 13-22 | "Images of the Cross", Lent 2B, 12 March 2006, Mark 8:31-38 | "Baptism, Temptation, Redemption," Lent 1B, 5 March 2005, Mark 1:9-13 | Ash Wednesday , 1 March 2006, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | ""Nanny McPhee' and transfiguration", Epiphany Last B, Mark 9:2-9 | "Jesus, leprosy, and the law of Moses", Epiphany 6B, 12 February 2006, Mark 1:40-45 | "Healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and love", Epiphany 5B, 5 February 2006, Mark 1:29-39 | "Haints, Unclean spirits, and demons" Epiphany 4B, 22 January 2006, Mark 1:21-28 | Epiphany 3B, 22 January 2006, "God's Call -- and Our Response", Mark 1:14-20 | Epiphany 2B, 15 January 2006, "Call and Response", John 1:43-51 | Epiphany 1B, 8 January 2006, "The Baptism of our Lord -- and Ours", Mark 1:7-11 | The Holy Name, 1 January 2006, Luke 2: 15-21

Proper 19B 2006 Mark 8:27-38

If you are like me, when you hear the Gospel stories about a lot of things Jesus does do you wonder about the aftermath? Or the unintended consequences of the miracles? What was it like for the people involved after Jesus did some of his miracles? What do these stories tell us?
What happened after Lazarus was raised from the dead? What about when the crowds left and Lazarus and Mary and Martha were sitting around in the house in Bethany with Lazarus, just the three of them. How did they feel about each other then. Better yet, how did Lazarus feel, hurled from the quiet of his tomb back into an unkind and uncertain world? The film, “The Last Temptation of Christ” suggests that he was not. But the Gospels are silent. Lazarus exits stage left, no longer part of the Gospel story once raised from the dead. We have no idea how he felt. Or what he did with himself.

How about the crippled man at the pool of Bethsaida near the Temple? "Rise, take up your pallet and walk," Jesus said, and he was healed after thirty-eight years of disability. The story of the crippled man ends there. Again a stage left exit. I wonder what he did the next morning? Did he run and jump and laugh and cry with joy? Did he ever visit the pool again and perhaps help somebody else into the water.

And then Peter and his crew caught all those fish. Jesus told them to cast their nets again on the other side of the boat and they hit the jackpot! Two boats full, so full they almost sank. And the next day what happened to those fish? Peter "left everything and followed him." So he didn’t carry any of those fish home to his wife and mother in law. He became a disciple with all the cost and joy that brought him. But what happened to the crews he left behind. Did they follow, too? In the gospels, they, too, exit stage left

Now these miracle stories are "signs of the kingdom," "mighty works" that signal the in breaking of God's power. They point to Jesus' messiahship but also to what kind of messiah. They point to his divine power.

Last Sunday we heard about a deaf and dumb man who is dramatically healed. When the man was brought to Jesus he couldn't hear Jesus speaking. He couldn't cry out like the blind man, "Have mercy on me, Son of David." Jesus takes him away from the others where Jesus opens his ears to hear and his mouth to speak. Does he now live happily ever after? Could it be that he heard so many sounds and voices he was confused – that he heard things he didn't understand, was overwhelmed, and grew unhappy and withdrawn? He, too, exits stage left, having served his purpose in the story of the good news of the mighty acts of Jesus Christ. (1)

Or does he? Does the healing, by implication, point to something beyond? What then, is it?

One of the consequences of Jesus life and actions was this business of taking up one’s Cross and following him. Here is an excerpt from a letter of one Cyprian who learned all about the consequences of following Jesus. He wrote to his friend Donatus:

“This is a cheerful world as I see it from my garden under the shadows of my vines. But If I were to ascend some high mountain and look over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see: brigands on the highways, pirates on the sea, armies fighting, cities burning; in the amphitheaters men murdered to please the applauding crowds; selfishness and cruelty and misery and despair under all roofs. It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are the Christians--and I am one of them. (2)

This was Saint Cyprian of Carthage, writing to his friend in the first half of the 3d Century A.D. When a plague broke out in Carthage in 252 AD, the Roman authorities and pagan public opinion blamed the disaster on the “impious Christians”. Unlike many Christians, Cyprian, now a bishop, refused to leave the city. He was consequently arrested and exiled, but later tried and executed in 258. We note the day of commemoration of Saint Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr, on September 13th in our own Calendar of Saints. (3)

The great Christian apologist of the Twentieth Century, C. S. Lewis answered the other question these gospel stories, particularly the one for today, this way in an answer that Saint Peter might have liked. In his book , “Mere Christianity,” Lewis wrote:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." (4)

What do you say? Whom do you say that he is? Whom do you tell who he is?


1. Adapted from Robert S. Busey, The Day After The Miracle, SermonMall for 17 September 2006)
2. as quoted in eSermons Illustrations for 17 September 2006.
3. “Saints Galore”, 3d. ed., Forward Movement, 1886
4. C.S. Lewis, ”Mere Christianity”, as quoted in eSermons Illustrations for 17 September 2006.

Wicomico Parish Church
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Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579