Christians are often troubled when they see God help others, but not them. Why some are miraculously healed and others are not is difficult to understand.
Luke records a time when John the Baptist sent two disciples to ask, “Are you the one who is to come or shall we expect another.” They had heard what Jesus was doing, but what he wasn’t doing concerned them and they were struggling. Jesus answered gently and with great respect for John, referring to what the prophet Isaiah had foretold and saying in effect, “trust me.”
In this sermon on Mark 9:38-50, Pastor Hinkle provides an overview of the lesson, but focuses on the most difficult part where Jesus says it would be better to cut off our hands and feet than to continue in sin and better to have a millstone fastened around our neck and be cast into the sea than to lead a child into sin. Pastor Hinkle explains that we need to take sin very seriously and avoid it, but that it is God who does the surgery when he buries us with Christ and raises us to new life through baptism.
God took Ezekiel out to a valley where dry, human bones littered the ground and asked him, “Can these bones live?” Jeremiah had foreseen the destruction that took place there. Jesus used the valley as a metaphor for hell. Yet, the message God gave Ezekiel was a message of hope grounded in the power of God’s Word and Spirit.
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The later part of John’s Gospel recounts two times that Jesus came to his disciple and showed them that he lived and had risen from the dead. As Thomas and the others believed, they received eternal life from their God and Lord. These things were written down and preached throughout the world so that you would also believe that Jesus is the living Christ, the Savior of the world, and receive eternal life by faith in him.
There are many different ways that people summarize what Jesus taught. Unfortunately, the more popular summaries of his teaching leave a lot to be desired. The Mark’s Gospel summarizes it this way, “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repent and believe the good news.”