Category Archives: Sermons/Epiphany

Sixth Sunday of Epiphany: Mark 1:40-45

People of God, we come to the end of Mark 1. We continue where we left off last week. Mark is an action-packed gospel filled with movement. Jesus is moving from wilderness, synagogue, city, and the world. This is a constant pattern we see not only in Mark, but in the other gospels, and that we ultimately see in the entire Bible. God begins with a little garden in Genesis, and he moves to create a bigger garden throughout history.

God is active in his work of restoring the world to the way it should be. In C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, there is a scene at the end of the book—where after Aslan has been raised from the dead—he goes into the Witch’s home. The Witch has turned all her opponents into stone. When they arrive at the Witch’s home Lucy declares: “What an extraordinary place! All those stone animals—and people too! It’s—like a museum.” To which Susan filled with the vigor and joy of Aslan’s resurrection utters: “Hush, Lucy. Aslan is doing something.”[1] In our narrative Jesus is doing something wonderful. Though he is not turning statutes into humans or animals again, he is turning sickness into health; turning despair into joy. Susan’s attitude is something we should keep in mind as we consider this narrative. Sometimes we need to just hush and ponder and enjoy the sheer movement of Jesus’ healing ministry. Continue reading Sixth Sunday of Epiphany: Mark 1:40-45

Fifth Sunday of Epiphany, Mark 1:29-39

People of God, we come to another narrative in Mark’s gospel. The gospel of Mark is a royal and kingly gospel. It begins in verse one by declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we have seen, gospel means more than good news about personal salvation; gospel also means that a new king is risen to the throne.[1] This gospel is deeply interested in presenting Jesus as King. Jesus will de-throne the kings and rulers of the age. There is a reason Mark writes his gospel through the lens of Jesus’ kingship, and it is because Mark sees Jesus as a New David. In fact, there are several comparisons between Jesus and David in Mark. For instance, in the days of David there is a demon-possessed man as king—Saul. Now, in Jesus’ day, the elders, scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees are in many ways demonic in their lives and teaching. You may remember how David was anointed by Samuel, and now in Mark’s gospel, Jesus is anointed as king of kings as he is baptized. David was filled with the spirit. Now Jesus is filled with the Spirit in baptism. David defended his sheep against the wild beasts. In Mark, Jesus is driven to the wilderness, and Mark 1:13 says that he was with “the wild beasts.” In the days of Samuel, the ark is in exile. In Jesus’ time he makes his first appearance in the far side of the Jordan. He is outside in the wilderness like the ark was outside in Philistine camps. David’s first task was to defeat Goliath. Jesus defeats Satan with his resistance of temptation, and by speaking the Word of God. Continue reading Fifth Sunday of Epiphany, Mark 1:29-39

Fourth Sunday of Epiphany: Mark 1:21-28; Exorcism and Discipleship, part II

Here is my audio of my sermon on Mark 1:21-28.

People of God, the action-centered gospel of St. Mark continues to bring out the unsavory manifestations of demons. The gospel of Mark introduces us to the forces of evil incarnated in Satan himself. As I alluded to last week, Jesus is going to confront a man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue. The demonic forces are coming out to meet the Holy One of Israel. The presence of Jesus draws these demons out. They realize that their territory is being threatened by his presence. They realize that they are going to be crushed. The coming of Jesus is a dramatic blow to Satan’s plans. Throughout the gospels there will be many encounters with evil. In the wilderness testing, we saw the first of the many battles Jesus will have with the evil one. These battles symbolize the promise of a cosmic battle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, as told in Genesis 3:15. Good vs. Evil; Purity vs. Impurity; Blameless vs. Demonic.[1]

Last week we read and heard that Jesus began his assembling of a new race of proclaimers. From verses 14-20, Jesus is gathering his army. He does not call soldiers or trained Jewish leaders, rather he calls fishermen. He called Simon, Andrew, James and John. These men were effectually called to serve this new leader. But discipleship is not cheap. These first disciples abandoned everything that they had and followed after Christ. It is not that their tasks were unimportant in the kingdom, but rather that they were called to a greater job in the kingdom; that of establishing the foundation of the kingdom of Christ. They would be fishers of men. These were unimportant men in the community, but their role is to signal a transition in redemptive history. These are men of the sea. Their livelihood comes from the sea, but now they are going to preach the message of the kingdom of God in the land. They are going to echo John the Baptist. They are going to cry out: Repent and believe in the gospel! Continue reading Fourth Sunday of Epiphany: Mark 1:21-28; Exorcism and Discipleship, part II

Third Sunday of Epiphany: Mark 1:14-20

People of God, we come back to the gospel of Mark this morning. Mark is notorious for his rapid-paced descriptions. He summarizes large portions of the life of Jesus with a series of quick punches. He knocks out Jesus’ enemies with short phrases filled with action. In fact, Mark is the writer of action. Other gospel writers approach their message from different angles, but the Spirit guided Mark to write through the perspective of Jesus’ actions. Mark sees Jesus as a warrior; a new David. And this is why Mark places emphasis on discipleship as not so much listening to Jesus, but following Jesus’ footsteps.[1] To be a disciple demands doing what Jesus does.

One way Jesus calls us to follow after him is by doing away with ceremonial uncleanness. Uncleanness is a form of death, and this is why Jesus comes in Mark to clean the temple from the spiritual filth that has accumulated under the religious leaders of the day. Jesus is the cleanser of Israel. It took the entire history of the Old Testament for Jesus to come into the scene. There were prophets, priests, and kings, but none of them could permanently clean up the mess created by the sins of Israel, and the nations.  Continue reading Third Sunday of Epiphany: Mark 1:14-20

Epiphany Sermon: Isaiah 60: The Re-Gathering of God’s People

People of God, another one of the traditional seasons of the year “that amplifies our awareness of the person of Jesus is the…celebration of the ancient feast of the Epiphany. We remember these foreign kings, themselves alerted by strange manifestations in the heavens, like the shepherds, find their way to the Child, and as Scriptures say, “to pay him homage.” (Mat 2:2).[1] On the sixth of January, the Church celebrated the Epiphany of our Lord. The Word Epiphany means “manifestation” or “revelation.” Advent celebrates the coming of the Lord, while Epiphany celebrates his revelation to the world.[2] “We need both. If God comes to us, but remains veiled and incognito, we will never know Him. If we are to be saved, He must show Himself. Graciously, He does show Himself, in all His multifaceted glory. Throughout His earthly life, Jesus manifests His character at various times and in various ways. Jesus manifests Himself as the light of Gentiles to the magi. He shows Himself as the Bridegroom at the wedding in Cana. He reveals His glory as the Son of Man coming in His kingdom at His transfiguration.”[3] It is this manifestation that we will consider from various angles and perspectives in these next six weeks of the Epiphany Season.

The pastors are wearing green in this season.[4] Green represents the new life that Christ gives us…it represents also the renewal we have in our baptisms, as well as the spiritual growth we experience during the season as we study the Lord’s ministry of teaching, healing, and miracles.[5] Continue reading Epiphany Sermon: Isaiah 60: The Re-Gathering of God’s People

Epiphany Sermon: Becoming Like what you Worship, Part I; I Corinthians 12:1-3

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Date: 1/17/2010
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Sermon
Sermon, Uri Brito, “Becoming Like What You Worship, Pt 1”, 1 Corinthians 12:1-3

Text: I Corinthians 12:1-3 -Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sermon: People of God, we begin this morning a series of sermons on I Corinthians 12-14, which will take us through Epiphany and through the Lenten Season. Epiphany is about the unveiling of the Messianic mission. As Christ becomes known to the world, the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and God. The Spirit of God is beginning to pour gifts upon the Church. As the Christ child received gifts from the magi, in turn, the Church receives gifts from the Spirit. When these gifts are used properly, in humility, the world comes to see the majesty of the God/Man. Continue reading Epiphany Sermon: Becoming Like what you Worship, Part I; I Corinthians 12:1-3

The Coming of the King, Part 3; Mark 1:40-45

Providence Church (CREC)

Sixth Sunday After Epiphany

February 15, th in the year of our Lord 2009.

The Coming of the King, Part 3

Sixth Official Sermon

Audio no yet available.

Scriptural Text: 40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus  sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.

Prayer: O Lord Christ, as you have cleansed the leper, Cleanse our hearts that we may see the truth of your Spoken Word and then taste your mercy at Your table. Amen.

The gospel of Mark presents Messiah the king as the One who casts out the unclean spirit in the synagogue, heals Peter’s mother-in-law in her home, heals multitudes of sick and oppressed people at the door and now begins his preaching ministry throughout all of Galilee. Not only is Jesus moving around geographically, but he is moving from one form of uncleanness to another.

We will find in our narrative that the cleansing of the leper bears great similarity to the previous works of healing. When Jesus cast out the demon, he referred to it as the “unclean spirit,” so that exorcism is a form of cleansing.[1] The leper’s healing is also similar to that of Peter’s mother-in-law. In both cases, Jesus touches them and immediately heals them. In all of these cases of healing, we find pictures of the resurrection. The man who is possessed by the unclean spirit is captive to the forces of evil; he is spiritually dead. Jesus raises him from the dead by casting out the demon. Peter’s mother-in-law is raised from the dead. She is lying with a great fever and Jesus raises her to newness of life. The healing ministry of Jesus is not just a spectacle for the watching audience, but it carries a greater significance in redemptive history. In the end of Mark, Jesus will be physically raised from the dead, so that He might be the picture of our future resurrection in the great consummation. Continue reading The Coming of the King, Part 3; Mark 1:40-45

The Coming of the King, Part 2; Mark 1:29-39

Providence Church (CREC)

February, 8th, the year of our Lord, 2009.

Mark 1:29-39

Fifth Sunday After Epiphany

Fifth Official Sermon

Sermon Audio.

Prayer: May the kings of the earth give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth. May your holy nation of priests prepared to hear the spoken word rejoice in the message of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The gospel of Mark stresses the kingship of Messiah. The great King is coming to inspect His house and we read last week from verses 21-28 of Mark 1, Jesus finds his house unclean. The synagogue, which is the very center of worship and adoration, is now the house of Satanism. Jesus performs His first exorcism. It is a dramatic exorcism. It takes place in the middle of the synagogue in Capernaum. It is a public miracle that leads the religious leaders of the day to be astonished and amazed at the authority of Jesus not only to teach, but also to cast out the unclean spirit. The king is bringing His kingdom with great power and authority and the satanic forces attempt a massive attack.

In our narrative this morning we see the growing nature of these manifestations. The authority of Jesus is displayed in public, as we saw in the synagogue, but it is also displayed in private. In verse 29, Jesus enters the house of Simon and Andrew. We find that Simon Peter’s mother in law is sick with a fever. The text does not tell us what disease has caused the illness. In fact, in the ancient world a fever was described as a fire in the bones. Her body is exceedingly warm.[1] Jesus the public exorcist now comes as the private healer. Jesus’ confrontation with the unclean spirit is dramatic, but his encounter with Peter’s mother-in-law carries a domestic simplicity. Note the sequence of Jesus’ healing of Peter’s mother in law: a) First, He comes to her. She is incapacitated. Unlike the blind that can still walk, this woman cannot stand. B) Secondly, He takes her by the hand. Jesus wants to comfort this woman by touching her hand. C) Thirdly, He lifts her up. Her fever kept her down, but Jesus lifts her up, and then d) the fever left her. Mark is very fond of using the word “immediately.” Here we have an immediate healing. It might have taken a matter of seconds to heal this woman. But also note that this process of healing is similar to the resurrection God grants His people. We were once dead in sin and Christ came to us, we did not go to Him. He touched our spiritually dead corpses, lifted us out of the grave and immediately took away the sin, which made us captive to death. This is one of the many pictures of our resurrection. This is the newness of life we have in Messiah our Lord. Continue reading The Coming of the King, Part 2; Mark 1:29-39