Sunday, June 30, 2013

“The Walking Dead!” (Luke 9:51-62)

S-1371-6SAP/C 6/30/2013 Hymns: (O) #193; (S) #297; L.S. #205; #496; (C) #468

Texts: 1 Kings 19:9-21; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62

Theme: “The Walking Dead!” (Luke 9:51-62)

Question: “Would you say, ‘You are connected or disconnected?’” Armour, SD

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text is from the Gospel lesson: To another He said, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:59-60).


Beloved in the Lord our world has changed, and the change is not for the better. You have witnessed that this past Wednesday when the US Supreme Court repealed the DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act) permitting their word to stand against the Highest Court in the world—the Supreme Judge—God. Sadly, some churches, not our LCMS (read our strong statement against the Supreme Court on or printed in the bulletin), have changed to meet the world’s views instead of God’s eternal Word that changes not. Though the world has changed, know this well, the Gospel of Christ and His message of forgiveness has NOT.

Did you know that the number one TV show in USA is called The Walking Dead? The Walking Dead is an American horror television drama series, (developed by Frank Darabont). It is based on sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes, who awakens from a coma to find a post-apocalyptic world dominated by flesh-eating “walkers”, resembling zombies. He sets out to find his family and encounters many other survivors along the way.

It is truly a sad commentary of our time, when a terrible show like The Walking Dead can consume many people’s lives and homes. But I guess we should not be surprised about the ways of the world. The world has always been against Christ and His Gospel. You see it in the opening remarks of the text with the actions of the Samaritans who didn’t accept Jesus as Lord and Savior because He was going to Jerusalem. Jesus was bypassing their dead religion. Instead He was going to Jerusalem to win their salvation through His suffering, death and resurrection.

Dr. Luke in the Gospel lesson today tells of the encounter on the way to Jerusalem of Jesus and a would-be-disciple. Jesus had asked him to follow Him, but the man replied, “I am busy now, let me go and bury my father.” Jesus then declares: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’” Jesus didn’t mean you shouldn’t do the honorable thing by caring for the body of your beloved. We do that all the time in this house of worship as we lay to sleep the saints who leave us. Instead Jesus was saying there is a cost to discipleship. To be Jesus’ disciple means by the power of His Spirit, you follow the Savior and tell of His love that took Him to the cross. But don’t be like a dead man walking. In reality there are many people who are walking like Zombies. PAUSE.

Psychologists seem to think that to see or dream that you are a zombie, suggests that you are physically and/or emotionally detached from people and situations that are currently surrounding you. You are feeling out of touch. In other word, a zombie means that you are feeling dead on the inside. You are just going through the motions of daily living. To dream that you are attacked by zombies, indicate that you are feeling overwhelmed by forces beyond your control. You are under tremendous stress in your waking life. Ultimately, the dream represents your fears of being helpless and overpowered.

How many people in this world are walking dead? On the outside they look like their lives are all put together, but on the inside it is all torn to pieces. So many people are chasing the gods of this earth, instead of the God of the Universe who loved His world and sent His Son to redeem it. In truth, a lot of people feel half dead, walking dead and decomposing as they go. PAUSE.

On the other hand, we, as Christians and children of God, have so much more to offer the world—His forgiveness, His Gospel, His grace and His peace. We live as Easter people on the move proclaiming to the world the story of salvation. We are spiritually alive and on the move telling the world of the Savior’s love and His death for them and us. We, therefore, show the light of the gospel in our words and works.

But unlike us, Zombie’s are walking dead. Zombie movies may be entertaining but they are really very bad theology. We believe in the resurrection of the body, and those God raises are completely raised not living dead; but living and not dead at all!

That is the point that Luke makes at the end of chapter 9, that Jesus desires those would-be-disciples to follow Him and proclaim His sweet, precious and living gospel to the ends of the earth. Jesus’ gospel was and is the message that death is not the end, nor the last word. Instead the Resurrection that He brings forth IS.

The last words of Edward the Confessor were: “Weep not, I shall not die; and as I leave the land of the dying I trust to see the blessings of the Lord in the land of the living.” We call this world the land of the living; but it would in fact be more correct to call it the land of the dying. Through Jesus Christ we know that we are journeying, not to the sunset, but to the sunrise; we know, as Mary Webb put it, that death is a gate on the sky-line. In the most real sense we are not on our way to death, but on our way to life—eternal life.

Without God’s love and adoption we would be children of the devil (John 8:44) living in a household of chaos and cruelty, a place devoid of love and hope. We would be among the spiritually dead, stumbling into life devoid of all good, looking ahead to a painful and dreadful future forever.

But on account of Christ we are children of God and Easter people on the move to the land of the living and not to the land of death; and on our way, we tell the story of love that earned our eternal life; as Christ follows the will of God and dies in our place so that we may live forever with Him. PAUSE.

What Jesus has asked the disciple-to-be He asks of us today; ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for YOU, go and proclaim the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:60). The question is are we vigorously sharing the Gospel? Be honest, is that one of your prayers to get the Gospel out? Weekly at the end of our Divine Worship Service we recite our Mission Statement: “Redeemer’s Mission as the people of God is to share the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ to a lost and condemned world, and proclaim that salvation is found in no one else except, in Jesus Christ.” And our Synod’s Mission Statement is this: “In grateful response to God’s grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, the mission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is vigorously {emphasis mine} to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities and the world.”

Are we, as Easter people redeemed by the blood of the Lamb vigorously proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus? Are we doing the will of God as these people in the following story have done?

In the book of 2 Kings, is the story of four lepers who are usually considered to be outcast. During that period the Syrians had besieged Jerusalem and the people were starving to death. But God had promised deliverance from this king. At the appointed time the Syrians army fled leaving everything behind. These four lepers had gone to the camp looking for food. When they arrived they found the camp deserted and began to eat till they were filled to the brim.

Then the writer tells of these men’s desire to tell the good news of what they had found: “Then they said to one another, ‘We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household’” (2 Kings 7:9).

Saints in Christ that should be our prayer too. We should be vigorously proclaiming the Gospel—God’s Good News to the people around us. May the Holy Spirit stir our hearts as He did the lepers and move us to be faithful servants proclaiming life in the midst of the walking dead. Amen.

Now the peace…


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