Mother Vivian Shelby – The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, July 9, 2023

In the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

I’m having flashbacks of Easter. Okay. Thunder is distracting. 

So, Jesus is talking to a crowd and this is a mixed crowd. So, it’s not just the disciples and people who believe in him or who are curious about him. This also includes the Pharisees and the Scribes. Those who adamantly do not believe in what he is teaching. So, what to make of this mishmash of the gospel? We skip a section from 20 to 24. I don’t like it when they do that. But here we go. 

So, at first, he’s talking about separating the generations, right? He says, the generation, this generation, he’s talking about specifically, the Scribes and the Pharisees in that time. And what is that like? What am I going to do with them? And then he talks about this children’s game. So, there are children playing in the town square and it says, hey, the children are saying, “Hey, we played a flute and you wouldn’t dance. And then we wailed. We are pretending to have a funeral and you wouldn’t mourn with us.” So the children are us. The believers in Jesus as the Messiah. And they’re saying, “Come on. There’s so much joy in Jesus. The Messiah is here. Come on! Come join us.” And this generation is saying, “Nope. Don’t believe it. I’m not going to play. Don’t want to.” And they’re like, “Come on. It’s awesome.” But they refused. And they’ve been refusing for all of Jesus’ ministry. 

So then he mentions John and how at one point the scribes and Pharisees said, “He was a drunkard and a glutton because he ate with tax collectors and drank with tax collectors.” But then John, who fasted all the time, did not eat, did not drink, and they said, “Oh, he’s got a demon.” So, it didn’t matter if they saw a prophet who was eating or a prophet who wasn’t, a prophet who was drinking or a prophet who wasn’t. They were judging. And saying, “Nope, that doesn’t fit our wisdom of who God is supposed to be and who the Messiah is going to be. No.” 

So, then, he starts talking about the wise and the intelligent. “Thank you, God, for hiding these things from the wise and the intelligent and revealing them to infants.” So again, just like we were the children, the people who believed in Christ were the children. Now, we’re the infants. The people who believed in Jesus as the Messiah are the infants, not the wise and the intelligent. But infants. So, they’re speaking of people who have professional wisdom, professional intelligence. Knew all the rules of the religion. All the things you could do. All the things you couldn’t do. All the things you could eat. All the things you couldn’t eat. All the things you could wear. All the things you couldn’t wear. And for all of that knowledge and all of that piety, they still couldn’t recognize the Messiah. The Son of God. 

So, what good is it to have professional wisdom if you miss the Savior of the world? That’s what he’s saying. And he prays to God and thanks God, praises him. And then he starts talking about what he can do for us. “Come to me all you that carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke. I’m humble and gentle. Let me yoke you so I can lead you. And your burdens will be made lighter.” It’s a beautiful thing. But the deal is, if you focus on the professional intelligence of the world and the way it works, instead of spiritual wisdom, you cannot follow the path of Jesus with the yoke that’s going one direction and have culture pulling you somewhere else. It doesn’t work. If you’re yoked to Jesus, we have to follow him. 

So, one of the things that brought me consolation and comfort in studying this gospel this week, is if Jesus, if the gospels say it was a problem, then it was a problem. Two thousand plus years ago it was a problem. They had lots of people who were confused about whether Jesus was the Messiah. Plenty of people who believed he was the Son of God. And plenty of people who were adamant that he was not the Son of God. 

Well, what does that have to do with us today? We still have the same issue, right? We all believe that Jesus is the Messiah. There are plenty of people who kind of waffle and aren’t sure. And there are people who adamantly say “No.” So, mankind has not miraculously found some way of giving this message to the world that has converted everyone to Christianity, right? But I find comfort in that, because it means we haven’t failed. We haven’t failed at being Christians. Because everybody, you know, it’s not all unicorns and roses, and everybody gets along and there’s no war and no violence. No. It means that humanity was broken then and humanity is still broken now. And after I’m dead and long gone, humanity will still be broken and sinful. 

So, our job, our ministry, our call is to share our truth of who Jesus is with anybody that will listen And even some people who probably won’t listen. It’s what Jesus did. He sat with tax collectors, sinners. Anybody that would listen. Anybody that would listen. 

So, this week. think about that difference between your spiritual wisdom, your spiritual depth, and your cultural depth. Those are the struggles that we have. Having one foot in each, right? We live in a culture. We’re human beings. We live in a culture where you have to have a job and you have to have money and you have to have a roof over your head. I mean, all of it, right? But where is our focus? We can live in this culture but have our depth in Jesus Christ, our depth. And for the rest of our lives we can deepen our relationship with Jesus and with God. There’s no point where you close the Bible and say, “Well, I learned all that” 

So this week, where’s your gauge? Where’s your depth in spirituality with Jesus? And where’s your depth in culture and the things that we’re attached to in culture? And how are we doing on those competing things? One way to deepen your spiritual depth with Jesus is to pray. To spend time with your brothers and sisters in Christ in church, and worship God. To serve others who are in need. And dive into the word. Dive into scripture to see what it has to teach you. We have so many options here. I’ll talk about those at announcements. To learn and to continue to learn and study and question and just hang out with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus will show us the way. Just let him yoke you and follow. Amen.

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