Sermons on Mark

Jesus and Legion

Mark is a notoriously pithy writer who gets straight to the point and doesn’t mince words. And yet he devotes twenty verses to this interesting encounter between Jesus and a violent, demon-possessed man that ends up with pigs diving into the sea. That makes us think that Mark thinks there’s something important for us to see here. And there is. It’s a story about demon possession, of course, but it’s more than that. It serves as an illustration of how evil…

Rest

A few weeks ago we started a short series on what it looks like to follow Jesus in the midst of busy lives, lives where we feel pressured by so many expectations and distractions. What does following Jesus look like day-to-day? How do we do what life demands while also finding time to cultivate a real-life relationship with Jesus? The answer is in actually following Jesus, not just in the abstract I’m-a-Christian-because-I’ve-been-baptized sense, but actually walking in his footsteps, doing what…

Who Do You Say that He is?

Mark begins his gospel by making it clear who the subject of his narrative is: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (1:1). Near the end he includes this confession–from the mouth of a calloused, pagan centurion: “And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” (15:39). And in all the chapters in between, he’s concerned about…

Daily Practices for Anxious Times: Serve

As I’ve previously mentioned, in December I’ve deviated from the One Word devotional reading topics and have done something different. 2020 has been a hard year for many people, including many in our congregation. Anxiety levels for some people are higher than ever. Professional counselors are suggesting that they’re receiving a record number of requests from people who are seeking help for various problems. For December I’m preaching a short series called, “Daily Practices for Anxious Times.” I sense there’s a need for us to revisit…

Some (Really) Good News

It’s an understatement to suggest that these are strange, chaotic, and difficult times. The pandemic alone interrupted “normal” lives in ways that we couldn’t have foreseen, and then racial tension boiled over in the last two weeks, of course. Tensions are high, and people are hurting and angry. Your Twitter feed has probably been filled with bad news for quite awhile, and other social media outlets are no better. Which leads us to this question: Where is the good news?…

Which Do You Want?

Two weeks ago we looked at Jesus’ predictions concerning his upcoming crucifixion, and last Sunday we studied his taking the Passover meal and reinterpreting it for the apostles (and for the church). Tomorrow we’re going to reflect on a part of one of his trials that began early on that fateful Friday morning. The religious leaders had brought him before Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea, whose primary goal was to keep the locals peaceful and relatively happy so that…

That Other Side of Jesus: He Overturns Tables

Two weeks ago I introduced a short sermon series about the importance of seeing Jesus as he is portrayed in the Bible, and not just in the way that makes us most comfortable. We all like to think about the Jesus who held babies and forgave sinners and ate dinner at tax collectors’ houses. We may not be as comfortable with “that other side of Jesus”: the one who turns over tables, talks about “weeping and gnashing of teeth” and…