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The Unbelief of Jesus’ Brothers

After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” (For not even his brothers believed in him.) Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee. (John 7:1-9, NRSV)

Jesus’ brothers wanted Him to go to the festival probably not for Him to do miracles there so the world could see Him as King, but so that the world would see His miracles and whom He was with and they would get glory from being with Him. Jesus did not do the signs He did for people to see Him for who He was, He did the signs to point to God and for the betterment of the world.

Why do we want Jesus to go with us?

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David Visits His Brothers

Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. The three eldest sons of Jesse had followed Saul to the battle; the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.David was the youngest; the three eldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening. Jesse said to his son David, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers; also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand. See how your brothers fare, and bring some token from them.” Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, took the provisions, and went as Jesse had commanded him. He came to the encampment as the army was going forth to the battle line, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army. David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage, ran to the ranks, and went and greeted his brothers. As he talked with them, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines, and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him. (1 Samuel 17:12-23, NRSV)

David went back and forth between the army of Saul where his oldest brothers were and the sheep he was tending for his father. And One day his father told him to take food to his brothers and the commander of the forces.

He did and when he found his brothers he heard the taunting of the man Goliath.

David didn’t like this taunting, but the army was scared of the image of the man Goliath because our problems always seem bigger than they really are.

 

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Go but know…

“and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NRSV)

Summer is finally upon us and the time for travel has come!

So go out into the world, but remember when you go you do not leave your church behind because you cannot leave the church behind. You are the church. And you have been commissioned by God to go into all of the world. Luke tells the people in the book of Acts in chapter 1:8 that they will be God’s witnesses in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria to the end of the earth. In our times and here at St. John’s that would be, “you will be witnesses of God in all of Green Bay, in all of Door County and the UP and to the ends of the earth!”

Remember when you go places beyond your home, you are taking the light of Christ with you and you are His witnesses wherever you may go and whatever you may do.

We are the church and we take His message with us through the actions we do and the words we speak.

So go out into the world and have fun this summer, but remember St. John’s is still here waiting for you to return safely, and that you are the body of Christ going into the world as His messengers.

O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

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doubted…

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20, NRSV)

This is the passage of text most of us know as the great commission. This is where Jesus sends the disciples into the world to make more disciples.

Jesus sends the 11 into the world to share what they have learned. And through the sending of the 11, He also sends us into the world.

And many of us doubt that we are called to go and be a part of God’s plan in the world. We would say we were part of the some who doubted here on the mountain with Jesus. But what if I told you that the part of the verse “but some doubted.” maybe a bad translation? The Greek here is οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν.

οἱ is a masculine plural article or they.

δὲ is a conjunction meaning but or and.

ἐδίστασαν is the third person plural aorist active indicative for to doubt.

So the part of the sentence all together is but they doubted. Of course, some say that the οἱ is redundant and unneeded because the they is implied in the form of the word for doubt and therefore should be translated some. But the other side of this is this is not done in any other part of the New Testament. This is the only time this particular construction is found. And we have to explain why the 11 disciples would have walked with Jesus and witnessed everything He did and when they finally see Him resurrected they doubt what they are seeing.

So how is it possible they worshiped and they doubted? Well, we have to get beyond that doubt is the opposite of faith. Doubt is the opposite of certainty. And wouldn’t you be uncertain about what was going on in front of you at that moment on the mountain? It doesn’t mean you don’t believe, it doesn’t mean you can’t worship, it just means you don’t get it and you have questions. Questions are not bad, they lead us to discover and to investigate.

So don’t fall away from doubting and questioning, lean into the call God has on your life, knowing you are in good company when you wonder about it and question it.

 

Here is a wonderful cartoon about this:

 

 

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Image

Go

Sign over the exits at St. John’s Lutheran Church Little Suamico. 

 

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cast out

He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” And a report about him began to reach every place in the region. After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them. As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. Demons also came out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah. At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.(Luke 4:31-44, NRSV)

Jesus freed the man of the unclean spirit by calling it out of him. Then he heals Peter mother-in-law. And He healed many of diseases and cast out demons.

And when He had done all of this, He cast Himself out. He went away to a deserted place to be with God. And then rather than stay there, He went on to other places to do what He had done there.

We are called to go and take the message with of, of people healed and demons cast out. God is moving in and through us, and He will use us to do even greater things than Jesus did!

 

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instructed

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.(Matthew 10:5-16, NRSV)

This passage is interesting. Jesus sends out the disciples only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Do not go to the Gentiles or to towns of Samaria, but only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.

But we have to understand the community to which Matthew was written. This was a very Jewish community, and there for they would see this as the mission of the Messiah. To go to the house of Israel.

And once the house of Israel is in order we can go out further, but first we get our house in order.

So go and declare my message to all of our house, and help them to see that God is with them…

And I am sending you out like sheep among wolves… For they should be ready for this, but probably will not be.

But always go and know that I go with you.

 

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