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Pastor’s Message

From latest newsletter: July & August 2018

 

More Than a Prophet

By

Pastor Hill

 

King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly. – Mark 6:14-20


What is a prophet? A prophet conveys the word of God. Prophets are sometimes known less for predicting the future than they are for communicating divine will, usually through mysterious language or poetry, and often in debate with kings, priests and other religious authority figures. The Bible contains many examples of prophets, both from the Old Testament and the New Testament. The prophets of the Old Testament include Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, among many others. The prophets of the New Testament include Simeon and Anna, whom we meet when the eight day old Jesus is presented in the Temple by Mary and Joseph. The prophets of the New Testament also include John the Baptist and both of his parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah. Jesus is also a prophet. Or, at least, that is what he is considered to be in the story of the death of John the Baptist. Is this a problem? No, because Jesus is a prophet. The problem is considering Jesus to be only a prophet when he is more than a prophet. Historical Christianity teaches us that Jesus is not only a prophet, but is also a savior, able to save us from our sins in a way that we can’t save ourselves. Those who consider Jesus to be only a prophet risk turning him into a sage, like Confucius, known for his wisdom and spirituality. Those who consider Jesus to be only a prophet risk placing the emphasis on themselves and not on Jesus. They risk placing the emphasis on their ability to hear and understand Jesus, and not on what he says and does. That’s a problem.

Why is Jesus considered to be a prophet, especially in the story of the death of John the Baptist? Our view of past events is only seen through the lens of what has happened after those events occurred. This happens to King Herod in the first three verses of our story: “King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, ‘John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.’ But others said, ‘He is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’” Jesus’ public ministry has drawn the attention of the local populace, including King Herod. Jesus’ manner of public ministry reminds people of John the Baptist. Jesus’ manner of public ministry, especially his teaching, reminds people of “the prophets of old.” Jesus’ manner of public ministry, especially his miracles, reminds people of the prophet Elijah. In our story, context is everything. The events in Jesus’ life only occur in a particular place, at a particular time and in a particular order. Previously, Mark’s Gospel shows Jesus raising the synagogue ruler’s daughter from the dead. Immediately after that, Mark’s Gospel shows Jesus healing the sick and sending his disciples out to do the same. Immediately after our story, Mark’s Gospel shows Jesus multiplying food and feeding five thousand people. So, we can understand why the people who had witnessed Jesus’ public ministry or who had heard about it, including King Herod, think about Jesus the way that they do.

It is only natural that Jesus reminds people of the prophet Elijah. Elijah raises someone from the dead: Jesus raises someone from the dead. Elijah multiplies food: Jesus multiplies food. And, since Elijah never dies and is taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, his return is possible. It is conceivable to the people that Jesus might very well be Elijah. It is only natural that Jesus reminds King Herod of John the Baptist. John the Baptist baptizes people: Jesus baptizes people. John the Baptist has disciples: Jesus has disciples. John the Baptist preaches repentance: Jesus preaches repentance. It is conceivable to King Herod that Jesus might very well be John the Baptist. Although King Herod has beheaded John the Baptist, it is possible for prophets to come back from the dead. The prophet Samuel comes back from the dead, so why not John the Baptist, too? We can understand why the people who had witnessed Jesus’ public ministry or who had heard about it, including King Herod, think about Jesus the way that they do.

Keep in mind, also, that our story is taken from Mark’s Gospel. In Mark’s Gospel, the people appear to have difficulty recognizing who Jesus really is, especially the closer you get to the beginning of the book. In chapter three, Jesus’ own family says that “He is out of his mind.” In chapter six, the people of his hometown of Nazareth “take offence at him” because he is “the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon”. In chapter three, the scribes from Jerusalem say that “He is possessed by Beelzebub” and “by the prince of demons he casts out demons.” In chapter six, Jesus’ own disciples do not recognize him as he walks on the water, “they are utterly astounded, for they do not understand about the loaves, but their hearts are hardened.” In chapter eight, Jesus even has to ask his own disciples, “Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?” Jesus even has to ask them again, “Do you not yet understand?” If Jesus’ own family and disciples do not understand who he is, then how can others be expected to think that Jesus is anything more than a prophet? If Jesus’ own family and disciples do not understand who he is, then how can King Herod be expected to think that Jesus is anything more than John the Baptist? But, then, Mark’s Gospel appears to make a transition.

After spending entire chapters teaching the multitudes, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead and having almost everyone not understand who he is, all of that changes in the middle of the Mark’s Gospel. In chapter eight, a blind man gradually regains his sight, perhaps symbolic of Jesus’ own disciples who gradually come to see him for who he really is. Later in chapter eight, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they tell him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asks them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answers him, “You are the Christ.” Mark’s Gospel shows us that Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ. In fact, Mark begins his gospel with the words “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” The word gospel means “good news.” Mark’s Gospel shows us how Jesus’ life and death bring “good news.” Mark’s Gospel shows us who Jesus really is and why his death is important. The final six of the sixteen chapters of Mark’s Gospel deal with the final week of Jesus’ life and, eventually, lead up to his death. Perhaps this how we are to see Jesus in the story of John the Baptist’s death. Mark’s Gospel shows us that Jesus is more than a prophet. In our story of the death of John the Baptist, we can see Jesus as more than a prophet. He is our Savior.


But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. – Mark 6:21-29

Prayer List

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Our Savior, Redeemer & St. Paul’s Lutheran Churches,

Brayden Christianson,

Charlotte Grohnke,

Eric Hewitt,

Marcy Ketelsen,

Kurt Kramer,

Jan Martin,

Keith Peters,

Ralph Rudolph,

Ray Rudolph,

Sonja Rudolph,

Floyd Scouten,

Julie Seil,

Norman Seil,

Ron Smith,

The Family of Jim Somsen,

Charlie Wanzek

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7


After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. – John 17:1-11


“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” – John 17:20-26

Announcements

What is closed communion?

“Whereas, the principle of ‘closed communion’ requires that only those who are in altar fellowship celebrate and partake of the Lord’s Supper with each other;

Whereas, the celebration and reception of Holy Communion not only implies but is a confession of the unity of faith, therefore be it

Resolved, that pastors and congregations of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, except in situations of emergency and in special cases of pastoral care, commune individuals of only those Lutheran Synods which are now in fellowship with us.”

– Resolution 2-19 of the 47th regular convention of the LC-MS, 1967


Please support your church

· Thank you for (1) attending and (2) giving ·

· Please encourage others to do the same ·


Mail

· Don’t forget to check your mailbox at church! ·


Don’t forget the following

● Wimbledon ●

Food Pantry

● Kensal ●

Roofing Fund


it is IMPERATIVE

• Please tell other members about this church •

 • Please tell them how important this church is to you •

• Please ask them to support it •

Your efforts are appreciated!


Upcoming Voter’s Meetings

Every (1) January, (2) April, (3) July and (4) October


Alternating Fifth Sunday for 2018

Wimbledon / Woodworth: July 29, December 30

Kensal / Pettibone: April 29, September 30


Alternating Fifth Sunday for 2019

Wimbledon / Woodworth: June 30, December 29

Kensal / Pettibone: March 31, September 29


 

Important Dates for 2018

(service times and locations are subject to change)

 

Thanksgiving Eve

Wimbledon – 7:00 pm (Wednesday, November 21)

Thanksgiving Day

            Pettibone – 8:30 am (Thursday, November 22)

Mid-Week Advent 1

Wimbledon – 7:00 pm (Wednesday, December 5)

Mid-Week Advent 2

Wimbledon – 7:00 pm (Wednesday, December 12)

Mid-Week Advent 3

Wimbledon – 7:00 pm (Wednesday, December 19)

[Sunday, December 23

            ??? Kensal – 8:30 am

            ??? Pettibone – 11:00 am]

Christmas Eve (Monday)

            ??? Wimbledon – 11:00 am

            ??? Kensal – 3:00 pm

            ??? Woodworth – 7:00 pm

Christmas Day (Tuesday)

            ??? Pettibone – 8:30 am


Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people — the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world — just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:1-14