Summary: Once Jesus’ ministry is rolling in the Gospel according to Mark, conflict emerges and dividing lines are drawn. Mark has a way with surprises; Jesus’ own family and religious authorities misunderstand who he is and what he is up to. But crowds of unnamed people remain with him, often doing little more than showing up and following. Jesus appears to welcome their presence, as seen in this scene when he describes a crowd as his true kin and commends them for doing “the will of God.” It appears Jesus is not calling for heroism or perfection. Rather, he seeks recognition. Down the road in Mark he will remind us that discipleship calls for our whole selves. But at this point in the story, being present and sticking around is what he’s looking for. This is good news for all of us, reminding us that faith is not so much about subscribing to doctrine and more about attaching oneself to Jesus and his efforts to bring the reign of God to fruition.
I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on Mark 3:20-35. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.
What Are You Waiting For? (John 18:33-37)
Summary: The conclusion of the church year, Reign of Christ (or Christ the King) Sunday presents preachers with an opportunity to reflect on the future, especially to examine what assumptions about the future influence their own theologies and sermons. The scene in John’s Gospel when Pontius Pilate interrogates Jesus manifests the failure of Pilate’s imagination. He cannot understand Jesus’ identity as a king in a manner other than what he is used to; it must be about power and domination. Pilate’s categories are inflexible. This resembles too much Christian preaching and teaching about the future and about the nature of the gospel. A kingdom or reign that is “not from this world” is one that is unfamiliar to this world and our norms. One piece of a preacher’s job description is to break open our closed minds so that we might imagine and live into a future that is indeed different.
I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on John 18:33-37. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.
Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary
christ the king covid-19 eschatology future imagination kingdom of god pontius pilate preaching reign of christ stewardship