As the shadow of the cross stretched across Jesus’ final days he told a parable depicting final judgment Jesus indicated that the King of the Universe separates the righteous from the unrighteous like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. The King holds the practice of compassion as the basis of the judgment of the nations (Gentiles). This challenges some or our theology of a reduced Gospel fixated on the afterlife rather than the world of the here and now. To Jesus, the practice of compassion reveals real faith.
God’s Torah specified how the people of Israel were to treat foreigners. Since foreigners were vulnerable in the land they could have been subjects of abuse and exploitation. God forbade all mistreatment of foreigners reminding Israel that they too had experienced oppression as foreigners in the land of Egypt. Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan in which a despised foreigner did the will of God in reaching out with compassion on a Jew victimized in his own land. This sermon examines several Old Testament texts wherein God instructs Israel to demonstrate compassion on the foreigners.
People of faith practice hospitality toward strangers. Abraham and Sarah entertained God’s messengers through their caring actions. This sermon reflects on Genesis 18:1-15, Hebrews 13:1-3, and Jesus’ word’s in Matthew 25:31-40.
Jesus appeared to the disciples on the first Easter evening. He mysteriously passed through locked doors to speak words of encouragement and hope. He shattered their guilt, despair and shame. Jesus gave them (and us) a new purpose and equipped them (and us) with a new presence. This sermon reflects on John 20:19-22.