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Sunday, March 8, 2015

03082015 - Oculi - Third Sunday in Lent - "Woman, this is your son."

Sermon Audio

March 8, 2015
Jesus gives responsibility away…
Gracious Lord, it is clear we are responsible for many things in our lives, first our relationship with You and secondly our family.  It is clear You thought, not of Yourself while hanging on the Cross, but of Your Mother.  Enable each of us to understand our responsibility is not dictated by our desire, but what gives You the greatest glory.  For our responsibility is not to earthly things, but to heavenly things, especially You and the spread of Your Love and the Gospel of our Salvation.  AMEN.

Each of us gathered here today have been in situations that are stressful.  Whether it is worrying about the sprinkler that is down that will change our weight of corn during the peak growing season.  Sitting on the combine ready to go out in the field to pick the winter wheat and waiting and watching a Summer thunderstorm bearing down on you with large hail being shown on the radar.  Or even sitting in the FSA office discussing how through the drought you are going to continue to make the farm work.  These are the stress filled lives that we live on a yearly basis.  We feel the responsibility of the world on our shoulders and in some cases feel like we have to act and act now in order to prevent our going over the edge or doing something that may be catastrophic to our current way of life.

This morning in our Series of the Words from the Cross, Jesus Christ is in an extremely stressful situation.  Hanging on the Cross having endured the torture of the soldiers, the excruciating pain of being scourged, carrying His Cross to Golgotha outside the city walls of Jerusalem and being nailed to the beam, Jesus feels the weight of the world on His shoulders.  It is a weight that we can only imagine, but one that Jesus came into the world to carry.  Yet, Jesus is not trying to avoid or distance Himself from His present circumstances.  Jesus is looking out not for Himself, but for the future of a woman standing at the foot of the Cross He is nailed to.  The future Jesus is looking out for is that His mother  that she will have to endure.  A future without Him.  Hence, “Jesus said to His mother: “Woman, this is your son.”  Then He said to the disciple:  “This is your mother.” (John 19:26-27)

Mary, Jesus mother, who had been promised Jesus conception and birth by the Angel, experienced the shepherds coming and worshiping in a small stable in Bethlehem, because there was no room in the inn.  Received the gifts of the Magi on the day we celebrate Epiphany.  Cuddled Jesus in her arms as a newborn baby when He was small.  Searched for Jesus when He went missing on the big trip into Jerusalem.  Watched Him perform miracles of Water into Wine, healing countless people and teaching about His Father in heaven.  Now stood at the foot of the Cross of Calvary and had watched Him be nailed to the Cross, struggle to breath and heard these words.  They were not just words, but had a deep concern and compassion from Jesus for His mother Mary.

Jesus knew what the future would be of His death very shortly.  And Jesus knew He would not be able to care for His Mother.  So, Jesus took the responsibility He had of the care of His mother and gave it away.  Jesus gave that responsibility to John.  The responsibility John undertook at this moment isn’t just in name, but John according to Jewish custom was not only adopting Mary, but being adopted by her.  Their lives would be connected and intertwined from that moment on.  The responsibility that Jesus had for Mary was given away because Jesus wanted to insure Mary was cared for in the way she needed and deserved and as was the custom of a good Jewish son.

Today we have responsibilities as well, not only to God, but our families and even our calling, whether farmer, teacher, husband, wife or child.  Jesus here clearly demonstrates and models for us the need to take responsibility seriously, give it away when necessary and give it to the right person for the job.  When “Jesus said to His mother: “Woman, this is your son.”  Then He said to the disciple:  “This is your mother.”  Scripture captures for us the importance of taking responsibility and our daily need to do this as Christians.

But why, for what reason or what is the ‘end game’ of Jesus statement for us today that we hear from the Cross of Calvary?  Of what consequence is responsibility for us today as Christians?  Simply responsibility has eternal consequences.  And Jesus is not just the God of the here and now, Jesus is the Son of God for all eternity.  We have the opportunity to have an eternal impact when we rightfully take our responsibility seriously, give it away when necessary and find the right person for the job.  Jesus knew John, the disciple He loved would take care of His mother and knew she would be safe in his care.  So Jesus gave the responsibility to John.  So to the church understands responsibility clearly because we get to share the love of God for each and every one of us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ here at Emmanuel.  We can share that love in word, deed and action with everyone we meet.

That message of what Jesus Christ did on the Cross of Calvary we can give away to all that we meet.  When we give that message of salvation away, we share not only the love of God, but our love for one another.  I have the opportunity from the pulpit to preach, proclaim and purposefully declare my love for you the people of God, but also and more so the love of Jesus Christ for each and every one of us.  I am not perfect, but God is and His love is perfect and He has given us the responsibility to give this gift of love away.  And this is exactly what Jesus modeled on the Cross of Calvary when “Jesus said to His mother: “Woman, this is your son.”  Then He said to the disciple:  “This is your mother.”


May we give away the Gospel message of salvation to all mankind, knowing God will insure it does not return without accomplishing its mission.  And may we understand that Gospel message of God’s love is not for a select few, but it is our opportunity and responsibility to give it away and believe it is for all of mankind, including all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

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