This morning I continued my Jesus Unleashed sermon series from the gospel of Mark. Today’s text was Mark 2:13 – 3:34. A couple of people have asked me for the concluding words (which are to be taken in the context of the passage from Mark), so here they are:
The new wine of the gospel represented the arrival of the Messiah and the kingdom of God breaking into the world. The kingdom brought a new relationship between God and people. The kingdom brought a new relationship between people and other people. The kingdom brought joy rather than burdensome regulations. The kingdom of God makes a difference.
There is a difference between religion that weighs you down like a ball and chain and one that sets you free.
There is a difference between religion that is like a funeral and one that is like a celebration.
There is a difference between religion where you look for people to accuse and one that looks for people to love.
There is a difference between a religion where sacrifice rules and one where mercy triumphs.
There is a difference in a religion that builds walls of separation from sinners and one that befriends them.
There is a difference between a religion that’s core value is to enforce the minutest detail of the letter of the law and one that values loving people.
There is a difference between a religion that looks down on sinners and one that looks out for them.
There is a difference between a religion that draws strict boundaries and one who throws open the doors to one and all.
Jesus is unleashing something new – the kingdom of God – and it is all about “the least, the last, and the lost.” That’s what we want to be about at this church. We want to be like Jesus! We want to be people of God’s kingdom! May God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.