As word spread about Jesus, there were different beliefs about him
It’s easy to tell from these several verses that there were various beliefs about the afterlife in Jesus’ time, including the possibility of resurrection from death, reincarnation, and returning from heaven; as would be the case if Jesus were John the Baptist, Elijah or another prophet returning. And, some believed Jesus to be a mighty prophet, as those of long ago.
This passage brings to my mind the question that Jesus posed to his close disciples later in his ministry, recorded in Matthew’s account of the gospel (Matthew 16:13-16):
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus called Peter blessed by this revelation, not from other people, but from God. And, although Peter didn’t fully know or understand all about Jesus or how his mission would unfold, he trusted and followed him.
Our passage talks about John the Baptist, who considered himself the forerunner of the Messiah or Christ. And, when he had baptized Jesus, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)
What have you heard people say about Jesus? Who is Jesus to you?
Our own thoughts, emotions, desires and goals influence our understanding of Jesus.
The verses after this go into more detail about what led up to the beheading of John the Baptist by King Herod previous to this time. Herod had imprisoned John, because John had spoken against Herod in truth. The gospel says that Herod respected John, considering him righteous and holy, and enjoyed listening to him; yet, John’s words greatly confused him. He ended up beheading John to make good on a thoughtless promise he made in front of important people. He wanted and needed to be known as an important, powerful and respected ruler.
Most of us can probably remember a time when we made a promise we shouldn’t have; maybe it was to a family member, a friend, a co-worker or someone else.
Or, maybe we let our own thoughts, emotions, desires and goals influence us to make bad judgements and decisions. We wouldn’t be the first. Hopefully, we can learn and grow from such experiences. Peter, who got that name from Jesus, meaning “the rock”, was a good example of this.
I know I could share a witness or two myself. And, I give God thanks often for the Holy Spirit revealing to me who Jesus is and helping and guiding me to make good decisions. I thank God for the higher ideal in Jesus Christ, setting higher goals for this life and the next.
One of those goals is sharing that good news with others.
When we come to know who Jesus really is, and accept God’s love and forgiveness through him, we want to share it with others.
We can do that in a variety of ways. We can begin at home, share it with friends, and neighbors. We can share God’s love at school, at work, in a store or on the street. We don’t have to sound like we’re preaching to share the good news of God’s love, care, mercy and forgiveness. We can show love and kindness in a multitude of ways, including good hospitality, to the many ministries and missions we are involved in through church.
And, I’m glad to say that I know many of you have found the same to be true. So, let me offer that gift of God’s love and grace again and encourage you to continue.
As we move forward in faith as a congregation, Jesus calls us to further explore, discover and share who WE are in Christ together, and let others know as well. One of the ways we’ll be doing that this coming Saturday is by hosting a free breakfast for neighbors and visitors, as well as members and friends, to join us in a casual time together, meeting and having some conversation with me if desired, and spending some time touring or exploring our sanctuary here at Trinity UMC.
In the weeks to come, from the last Sunday in July through the month of August, we will also be getting to know one another better through combined worship and fellowship at our Town Point location. This will also be a good opportunity to invite family, friends and neighbors.
I hope and pray that each of you will know who Jesus is, and that you will share that with someone this week! May his love rain down upon you today and always! Amen.
Questions for Reflection:
Who is Jesus to you?
How do your thoughts, emotions, desires and goals influence our understanding of Jesus?
If you are a follower of Jesus, how do make him known to others?
Sermon: “Become Known”
Scripture: Mark 6:13-16
8th Sunday after Pentecost
Sermon Series: Healing Hands
Theme: As followers of Jesus we seek to know who he is and be like him, as we invite others to know him, grow in him, and show his love to even more.
Mark 6:13-16 (NIV)
13 They (the disciples who Jesus sent) drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. 14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 Others said, “He is Elijah.” And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.” 16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
|450 Third Street|
|Chesapeake City, MD 21915||Pastor Neil Gutmaker|