Bible Passages & Sermon Notes — October 19, 2014
Jesus said, “Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 Then he said to them, “Whose image [Greek: eikon, or icon] is this, and whose title?” 21 They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
We are God’s coins! Everything we own is God’s. We are to give ourselves back to God.
No one else owns us, nor should anyone else have the right to lord over us. Yahweh [the Hebrew name for God] is our Lord, not the Roman emperor or king and their gods.
The Messiah (Christ) will come to be emperor and rule for Yahweh. Jesus is the Messiah and Yahweh becomes king through him.
But here’s the thing: God rules in a completely different way than human kings!
Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven chooses to suffer violence, and the violent take it by force.”
No violent, military overthrow. God’s reign comes through those who suffer.
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 26 It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
God’s rule doesn’t Lord it over people but comes through loving service.
So does our modern idea of “individual sovereignty” come from Gospel? George Washington (whose image is on our quarter) became our first president fully aware that he wasn’t a king with imperial sovereignty over us. This was a new moment in history. But what have we Americans done with the notion of “individual sovereignty? More on that in a couple weeks, on All Saints Sunday, two days before Election Day.
For Christians, our individual sovereignty are to issue forth in lives of loving service, going back to the where we began this Stewardship season, with:
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to desire and to work for God’s good pleasure.
We are called to a ministry of modeling God’s loving service in the world. When we have the mind of Christ, we are living as God’s coins, God’s image, in the world through lives of loving service.
Example: the Social Concerns Team (Claudia Lee, Chair) project this past week of feeding 1,000 people for Project Connect.
As God’s coins, what can your family pledge to support this ministry in 2015 of working God’s loving service in the world?
Transition to the Table:
Did you grow up with this Meal being all about forgiveness, like I did? I don’t mean to take that away. It certainly is about forgiveness. But I’ve come to also experience it even more as being fed for loving service.
How does John present the Last Supper? A footwashing, modeling a master who serves.
Luke takes the key passage we looked at today — the exact same words about Gentile rulers lording it over others versus followers of Jesus serving others — and moves it to the Last Supper.
‘My body broken for you. My blood shed for you.’ Jesus is here to feed us for lives of loving service.