The Keys of St. Peters

Sermon: The Good Shepherd and His Sheep (John 10:11-18)

Text: John 10:11-18
Fourth Sunday of Easter, Series B
Listen to the sermon here.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

One of my wife’s favourite icons is the picture of the Good Shepherd carrying the wayward sheep on his shoulders. We have it hanging in our house. My wife also grew up hearing that little children’s hymn many learned in Sunday school. In fact, when my kids are fussy, tired, or need a little comfort, Laurin and I will sing this little hymn to them:

I am Jesus little lamb;
Ever glad at heart I am.
For my Shepherd gently guides me
Knows my need and well provides me
Loves me every day the same
Even calls me by my name. 

LSB 740:1

The image of Jesus as the good shepherd might seem quaint and cute to many. Something we tell our children. It has a warm, gentle glow of safety and warmth about it. If we think we’ve outgrown that little song, we need to spend a little quality time with image of Jesus the Good Shepherd. We may have grown from little lambs to big sheep, but we’re just as much in need of a shepherd. “I am the Good Shepherd,” Jesus says. This is more than a nice little figure of speech for the children. It’s a solemn revelation of who Jesus is. This morning we’ll look at what this revelation says about us, and what is says about Jesus.

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Sermon: What You Need to Know About Jesus (Luke 24:36b-48)

Text: Luke 24:36b-48
Third Sunday of Easter, Series B
Listen to the sermon here.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

There is a book out there entitled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  The title is a bit of an exaggeration, but the point it’s trying to make is quite true. The skills we need to get along with others in the world, are learned in Kindergarten. If you can share, refrain from hitting, clean up after yourself, apologise when you hurt someone, and so on, you will be well on your way to becoming a kind and productive citizen.

How would you respond if I told you that everything you need to know about Jesus Christ is found in our Gospel reading from Luke? Now that’s also a bit of an exaggeration, however this text does serve as an important summary of Jesus’ life, ministry, and the very gospel message we proclaim. This means this passage will help us to discover how all of this Jesus stuff applies to us.

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Sermon: The Unexpected Job Offer

Text: John 20:19-31
Second Sunday of Easter, Series B

In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

Imagine for a moment that you have applied for a job at a pharmaceutical company. You’ve already been interviewed, but now management wants to have a meeting with you. Now, imagine that instead of offering you the job you applied for, management offered you the one above it. A senior position in the whole company. You would be running an entire department. A huge budget. Lots of benefits. Overseeing much of the company’s operations. You may think that you’re simply not up to it. ‘I couldn’t possibly do that!’ You may say. ‘Well,’ says the owner, ‘we think you can. Of course, there’s going to be a lot of responsibility. But we think you’re right for the job, and we’re going to change some things around so you get the right assistance. You’ll have everything you need to succeed.’  An unexpected job offer! Read More

Sermon: Hear Mary’s Testimony (John 20:1-18)

Text: John 20:1-18
The Resurrection of our Lord
Listen to the sermon here.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

It was Sunday, the first day of a new week. It was still dark. A woman has broken through her fear in order to tend to the dead body of her teacher and friend. In the dim light she saw the stone door had been rolled away, the grave was open. The woman assumes the logical worst – someone had taken the body of her friend and teacher. That was the reasonable thing to think. Dead men don’t rise. Someone must have moved the body. Nevertheless, she runs back to tell others what she believes has happened. “They’ve taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid him.” The body of Jesus of Nazareth is missing.

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Sermon: “Behold the Man!” (John 19:4-7).

Text: John 19:4-7
Good Friday
Listen to the sermon here.

We find ourselves on a Friday morning, on the sixth day of the week, looking at the Roman governor and his peculiar new prisoner. This prisoner has been scourged. He lets the soldiers dress him up as a king—of sorts: the crown of thorns, and the slapping about the face, tell you what they thought about such a claim. And Pilate says the words that still haunt us: ‘Behold the man!’ Pilate is not saying this to the scribes, the Pharisees, the chief priests and rulers of Israel. Pilate is saying “Behold the man” to you, to me. Pilate is asking us what we will do with this Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. The same Jesus who was displayed by Pilate to the people of Jerusalem is set before us who hear his gospel, and these words are addressed to all to whom the Word is preached: “Behold the Man!” This morning, on the Friday we have called “Good,” we will behold the man.

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Sermon: The Service of Jesus
 (John 13:1-17, 31-35)

Text: John 13:1-17, 31-35
Holy (Maundy) Thursday
Listen to the sermon here.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Tonight is the first of the three holy days leading up to Easter. On these days, we will meditate on what Jesus did for us in order to save us, how He laid down His life as a ransom for many, how He went to the cross as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Tonight we begin in an upper room in Jerusalem and Jesus with His disciples. Paul, reminds us how our Lord on the night of His betrayal took the bread and the cup of the Passover and made them something new and something more: His own Body and Blood which He would give the next day on the cross for the life of the world. John fills in the gaps around the Supper, focusing on what Jesus said and did. And so there two things we want to focus on this evening: first is Jesus’ example, and second is what this example means.

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Sermon: Barabbas or Jesus? (Mark 15)

Text: Mark 15:1-47
Sunday of the Passion, also called Palm Sunday
Listen to the sermon here.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Welcome to the beginning of Holy Week. We start our week with shouts of Hosanna! and end it with cries of Crucify! They don’t fit together nicely, do they? It’s a collision of two agendas, two kingdoms, two crowds and two messiahs. On the one hand is Barrabas. On the other hand is Jesus of Nazareth. Whom would you choose? Whom do you choose?

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Sermon: The Greatness of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38)

Text: Luke 1:26-38
The Annunciation of our Lord
Listen to the sermon here.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Before there’s a birth, there has to be a conception. Conception takes place nine months before birth, give or take a few weeks. So, why are we having a service tonight? Today we have paused in the midst of this season of fasting and repentance and take a moment to celebrate. Why? Think about it. What other church festival always happens on the 25th of a month? That’s right, Christmas, which always falls on December 25. And since we celebrate our Lord’s birth on December 25, nine months before that, on March 25, is the Feast of the Annunciation, the day Mary heard the Word of God spoken by the angel and conceived the Son of God, our Savior Jesus. “Conceived by the Holy Spirit” on March 25, “born of the virgin Mary” on December 25, nine months later. Today we hear again the angel Gabriel and his startling claim that Mary “will conceive in [her] womb and bear a son … and he will be great.” 

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Sermon: Jesus Our Great High Preist (Hebrews 5:5-10)

Text: Hebrews 5:5-10
Fifth Sunday in Lent, Series B
Listen to the sermon here.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

As Protestants living in North America we get a little fidgety when we hear talk of “priests” don’t we? When talking to people about coming to church or about going to private confession, one sometimes encounters a certain amount of resistance. The ideas and concepts associated with priesthood are not a popular subject. The common attitude of many is, “I don’t need a priest, I can go directly to God and ask forgiveness. I have a personal relationship with God. I often go to him in prayer, asking him to forgive my sins. Why would I need a priest to get in the way when I can do it myself? My faith is between me and God alone.” This kind of attitude can be a dangerous one though. Sometimes we feel perfectly capable of managing our relations with God in our own way, at our own pace, and according to our own desires. It’s that North American, independent, do-it-yourself kind of attitude. However, our second reading from Hebrews tells us that we can’t do it ourselves. We cannot go to God directly. We need a priest. Read More

Sermon: “The Gospel and the Promises of God” (Matthew 28:16-20)

Text: Matthew 28:16-20
St. Patrick, Bishop and Missionary
Listen to the sermon here.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

It may come as a shock to you, but St. Patrick was not Irish. He was British, and a citizen of the crumbling Roman Empire.  His grandfather was a priest and his father a deacon, but Patrick rejected his family’s faith. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates. He was sold into slavery to a cruel master who left him cold, hungry and alone. Patrick spent his days tending to pigs and flocks of sheep in the wilderness. This gave the young slave time to think about spiritual things. He started getting up early to pray, and, before long, it was what he lived for. The Holy Spirit was moving in his heart, showing him his sin and calling him to a deep love for God and people.  After he had endured six years as a slave in Ireland, God sent Patrick a vision urging him to escape and make a run for it. Amazingly, he made the 200 mile journey to the coast and found a ship to take him back home.

Patrick hugged his parents and settled back into British life. But he didn’t settle long. After a few years, he had a dream in which the people of Ireland begged Patrick to return and live among them. Patrick told his parents he was going back to Ireland. His parents find this inconceivable. Why would Patrick go back to the very people who had enslaved him? Why give any more time to those who stole six years of his life? What could have possibly motivated him? And what can we learn about it?

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