Monday, February 20, 2017

You Cannot Silent the Gospel

There are many examples of the world attempting to silent the Gospel of Christ. It began when Herod sent out armies to slaughter innocent children as an attempt (and I repeat....attempt) to stop the Messiah. It didn’t work. Rome itself was unable to silent the Gospel even killing Christ and unknown hundreds of Christians. Eventually Rome fell to the grace of God and the Gospel was victorious. In modern times too there have been many attempts to silence the Gospel. For more than seventy years the Soviet Union attempted (and I repeat....attempted) to silence the Gospel by forbidding public preaching, teaching and outward displays of faith. Within days of the fall of the Soviet Union, Churches were reopened and thousands have been rebuilt in the years that followed. You might think the enemies of the Gospel didn’t believe Christ....
Gospel Reading: Luke 19:29-40; 22:7-39 (RSV) - At that time, when Jesus drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, "Go into the village opposite, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat; untie it and bring it here.  If any one asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' you shall say this, 'The Lord has need of it.'"  So those who were sent went away and found it as he had told them.  And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?"  And they said, "The Lord has need of it."  And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their garments on the colt they set Jesus upon it.  And as he rode along, they spread their garments on the road.  As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"  And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples."  He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed.  So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying; "Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it."  They said to him, "Where will you have us prepare it?"  He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house which he enters, and tell the householder, 'The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?'  And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready."  And they went, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover. And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him.  And he said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, "Take this, and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."  And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me."  And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.  But behold the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.  For the Son of man goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!"  And they began to question one another, which of them it was that would do this. A dispute also arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.  And he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors.  But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.  For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves?  Is it not the one who sits at table?  But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have continued with me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren."  And he said to him, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death."  He said, "I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know me." And he said to them, "When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"  They said, "Nothing."  He said to them, "But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag.  And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one.  For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, 'And he was reckoned with transgressors'; for what is written about me has its fulfillment."  And they said, "Look, Lord, here are two swords."  And he said to them, "It is enough." And he came out, and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him.
This reading from the Gospel is read on the Monday following the Sunday of Judgment (which was yesterday this year) as a reminder of what is to come. Christ has told us exactly what to expect. Whether it was the Old Testament signs which were to prepare us for His First Coming in the Flesh, or the many signs from the New Testament that have come to pass. Christ has always prepared us for what He had planned, and His plan is to save us if we are willing.

As you make your final preparations for the beginning of the Great Fast next week, I invite you consider how you may have been ignoring the Gospel in your life. Over and over the Church calls our attention to the challenges of faith. Yesterday we learned of our coming judgment. Next week we will hear how we must forgive. We will be forever tempted to take the path of the world, but the world will never be able to silence the Gospel. Why keep trying? Wouldn’t it be easier to embrace the Gospel and Live A New Life In Christ? 

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