Proper 22 – Series B
This section of Mark is filled with strong Law/Gospel polarity which first addresses the preacher before he can ever hope to address his congregants. I have written those Law/Gospel dichotomies above in the first person. Read them, apply them to self.
It is significant that these words fall within the great governing triplet of Mark – three times Jesus predicts his death in chapters, 8, 9, and 10. We like to say that Jesus died for sinners. It is a nice Christian thing to say. But the readings of this week and those leading up to it and those which follow next week put skin on those words. We are talking about real lives, lives which have spouses and loved ones, real lives with difficult marriages, divorces, children who rebel, lusts, and passions aplenty. Jesus loves people in all their brokenness. He even calls preachers who have not lived up to their holy vocations. Yeah, that’s you too.
The preacher may well want to draw in the other readings to this sermon. There is an earthy sexuality which permeates the Genesis 2 reading. God is not afraid of these things. Hebrews is very incarnational in the way that it speaks of us and Christ. Christ has come in the flesh, and we are ennobled because of that. Yet, Christ is in the flesh, fully in the flesh. He knows our fleshly temptations and does not flee from them. Yeah, he died to forgive whatever is brewing in your heart, no matter what it is, even those things you hide from your spouse.