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The Passionate Jesus

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Topic Features About Persecution

The Rev. Peter W. Marty

Trusting God to Settle Scores

Romans 12:9-21

11th Sunday after Pentecost - Year A

August 28, 2011

The Rev. Peter Marty (ELCA)

The recording studio for this radio broadcast is only three or four miles from the site where the 1996 Summer Olympics took place. I am speaking to you from Atlanta, GA. Few of us remember the names of athletes who made their mark during those weeks of the '96 summer games. We can't recall the records that were set in different Olympic competitions that year, but we do remember the tragic incident involving a pipe bomb in Centennial Park, the one that killed one person and injured more than 100 others. Eric Rudolph, who spent five years hiding in the North Carolina wilderness before his apprehension, was responsible for the crime. He is currently serving more than four consecutive life terms for his role in both this Olympic bombing and several other women's health clinic bombings. We will not be seeing him anytime soon.

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The Rev. Dr. Leslie Holmes

Discipleship is Demanding!

Luke 14:25-33

Proper 18 - Year C

September 09, 2007

The Rev. Dr. Leslie Holmes (PCUSA)

I'm here to tell you that discipleship is demanding!

There was something exciting and magnetic about the personality of Jesus of Nazareth that drew huge crowds wherever he traveled. Most likely it was the power of God behind His every word, or the authority with which He spoke. Or, maybe it was just that He brought good news in a bad time. Wouldn't that be why the Greeks would call His gospel, "eungelizomai," meaning, "good news"? Yes, there was something very captivating about this Jesus and His message. That being said, however, it is important to note that not everybody who followed Jesus was there for the same reason. Some followed Him because they were curious onlookers and some were spies from the camp of the day's religious and government leaders. They wanted to see what He might do that they could report back at headquarters. Some people came looking for healing and some looking for hope. And some followed after Him because they had committed themselves to being His disciples and to gleaning some new life direction from every message He preached. Now, when I use disciple in this context I'm not speaking exclusively about the 12 disciples who were first called out by Christ and whose names we know. No, I'm speaking about the masses who joined Him as He went from town to town preaching His message. There were droves of them and what they believed about Jesus is not exactly clear. Yet, they had this one thing in common: They had committed themselves to following Him and to learn from Him as He journeyed along. No doubt, among the masses were some new converts as well as others who were contemplating the possibility of becoming disciples. In that context, Jesus addressed the multitude in no uncertain terms about just exactly what being one of His disciples entails. He emphasizes the difficulty of discipleship by using three strong "cannot" statements:

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