Jesus – The Buyer of Souls (Mark 8:31-38)

Sermon for the 2nd Sunday in Lent (3/1/15)

Text: Mark 8:31-38

Theme: Jesus – the Buyer of Souls

The Devil went down to Georgia, he was lookin’ for a soul to steal. He was in a bind ‘cause he was way behind, he was willin’ to make a deal. He came across this young man sawin’ on a fiddle and playin’ it hot. And the Devil jumped up on a hickory stump and said, “Boy, let me tell you what. “I guess you didn’t know it, but I’m a fiddle player too. And if you’d care to take a dare I’ll make a bet with you. Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy, but give the Devil his due. I’ll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul ‘cause I think I’m better than you.”

– Charlie Daniels Band

Making a deal with the devil for your soul – it’s a popular cultural image. The characters, situations, and outcomes differ, but the general story is the same, you get some earthly gift or treasure, the Devil gets your soul. It makes for good stories, good movies, good fiddle proficiency proving songs. And it would just be good entertainment if it weren’t so stinkin’ true.

This world is full of people making very real deals with the Devil for their souls. Exchanging temporary earthly gifts or treasures for their eternal souls. Unfortunately, all too often (unlike the stories) they are not even aware that it is happening.

In our Gospel for today from Mark 8 we see another one of those moments that seemed to happened so often in the life of Peter, a moment when he takes his foot out of his mouth just long enough to stick the other one in. Pet has the nerve to take Jesus aside and rebuke Jesus. Think about that! Think about the nerve it would take to say, “No, no, Jesus. You have it all wrong. Let me tell you how it really should be.”

Jesus makes clear in his response to Peter that what we see Peter doing here is more than just a gaff, more than just a slip-up. Peter was trying to make a very real and very dangerous deal with the Devil. Continue reading

It Is Good For Us to Be Here! (Mark 9:2-9)

Sermon for Transfiguration Sunday (2/15/15)

Text: Mark 9:2-9

Theme: It Is Good For Us to Be Here!

Why did he do it?…

We just saw, with Peter, James and John, a fascinating but all too brief glimpse at Jesus in all of his glory. Mark describes Jesus’ clothes as “dazzling white, whiter than anyone could bleach them.” Matthew and Luke, in their records of this event, describe Jesus’ face as looking as bright as a flash of lightening.

For one brief afternoon, after years of following Jesus’ every move, these three disciples get this little glimpse at the real glory of Jesus. The other gospel writers explain that these guys did what every other human does when he sees true heavenly glory – they fell on their faces in fear, only to look up and see Jesus catting with Moses and Elijah (two men long since dead) like old friends.

And just when the awesomeness of what was going on started to sink in, a cloud settles in, the heavens open and they hear the voice of God the Father himself.

And it just begs the question: why?

Why now? He spent 30+ years on this earth and just in this brief moment, for one afternoon, does he fully reveal who he really is. Sure, throughout his ministry he gave hints as to who he really was with his amazing miracles, but even the prophets did miracles, even the disciples did miracles. This was on a whole different level. This was undeniable proof that Jesus was who he said he was – true God.

Why did he do it? Continue reading