Sunday, February 17 – Why Jesus?

Week #7 is Sunday, February 17, 2019 – Narrative Lectionary Story: Matthew 13:24-43

Image may contain: Heather Roth Johnson, dancing

Theme: Both good and evil reside in every human heart. In the parable of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus says “let them both grow together.” At harvest, we keep what is good and throw out the rest. We hear two more parables about the growth that is possible through just a small seed of faith. Why Jesus? Because Jesus sees the possibilities.

Video Intro: Dain Swanson spent a year traveling in India with Youth Encounter. His experience of ministry with those in extreme poverty led him to a realization of the duality of good and evil living side by side, as he saw first hand how God works in these difficult settings. So why Jesus? Because Jesus sees the possibilities. Check it out!

Confirmation: Check out the Confirmation Material – Because Jesus sees the possibilities to go along with the video!

Readers Theater on Matthew 13 that can be used in worship instead of the regular reading.

Sunday School Curriculum: Please contact whyjesusproject@gmail.com to request the curriculum from Epiphany, January 6 thru Transfiguration, March 3.

Music is has been written especially for the Why Jesus? Project, but here are a few suggestions:

Here are Music Selections for Each Week

Other Sermon Ideas:

  • Check out what Robert Farrar Capon says on Parables: “Parables are told only because they are true, not because the actions of the characters in them can be recommended for imitation. Good Samaritans are regularly sued. Fathers who give parties for wayward sons are rightly rebuked. Employers who pay equal wages for unequal work have labor-relations problems. And any Shepherd who makes a practice of leaving ninety-nine sheep to chase after a lost one quickly goes out of the sheep-ranching business. The parables are true only because they are like what God is like, not because they are models for us to copy. It is simply a fact that the one thing we dare not under any circumstances imitate is the only thing that can save us. The parables are, one and all, about the foolishness by which Grace raises the dead. They apply to no sensible process at all – only to the divine insanity that brings everything out of nothing.” ― Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace
  • “The Gospel of grace must not be turned into a bait-and-switch offer. It is not one of those airline supersavers in which you read of a $59 fare to Orlando only to find, when you try to buy a ticket, that the six seats per flight at that price are all taken and that the trip will now cost you $199.95. Jesus must not be read as having baited us with grace only to clobber us in the end with law. For as the death and resurrection of Jesus were accomplished once and for all, so the grace that reigns by those mysteries reigns eternally – even in the thick of judgment.” ― Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus
  • “Both heaven and hell are populated entirely and only by forgiven sinners. Hell is just a courtesy for those who insist they want no part of forgiveness.” ― Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus
  • “Everybody, even the worst stinker on earth, is somebody for whom Christ died.”
    ― Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus
  • Video Idea(s): Les Miz – Prisoner 24601 – Even though he has completed his sentence, Valjean’s captor will see him only has a sinner, guilty and only fit for condemnation. Clip available for purchase. Les Miz – Release HimValjean receives unearned, unmerited GRACE from the Bishop. Clip available for purchase. 
  • Sullivan’s Travels (1941) Along with EVERY movie EVER about REDEMPTION and second chances, an old favorite is “Sullivan’s Travels,” when a rich man learns the true meaning of community. (1941)….John L. Sullivan: I’m going out on the road to find out what it’s like to be poor and needy and then I’m going to make a picture about it.
    Burrows: If you’ll permit me to say so, sir, the subject is not an interesting one. The poor know all about poverty and only the morbid rich would find the topic glamorous.
    John L. Sullivan: But I’m doing it for the poor. Don’t you understand?
    Burrows: I doubt if they would appreciate it, sir. They rather resent the invasion of their privacy, I believe quite properly, sir….

Children’s Sermon 

Props: Small house plant, mustard seeds, picture of mustard tree

Welcome to our children’s time! Today Jesus tells a story about planting. How many of you like to work in a garden? Well, I couldn’t bring in an entire garden today, but I was able to bring in this one plant. Does my plant look healthy? [Yes.] What do I need to do to take care of this plant? [Give it water, put it in the sun, give it food.] Those are all really important things. What does a plant like this start out as? [A seed.] Pass out mustard seeds. Look at these teeny, tiny seeds. Jesus talks about these in our lesson today; these are mustard seeds. Do you know what these grow into? They grow into a great big tree, even bigger than our plant! Show or project an image of a mustard tree. And you know what’s really amazing about this story? Jesus says that our faith is just like this little tiny seed. That doesn’t look like much, does it? But even when our faith starts out really, really small—like this seed—it is able to grow into a big, strong tree! And when we take care of our faith—just like when we take care of a plant—it is even more healthy and strong. What are some things that we can do to take care of our faith? [Talk to friends, go to church, read the Bible, pray.] Isn’t it amazing that Jesus can take something so small—like our faith can be—and grow it into something so strong and powerful and wonderful. Why Jesus? Because Jesus sees the possibilities.

Let’s say a prayer together thanking Jesus for making something amazing out of something so small: Dear Jesus, thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you that you can take something so tiny, and make it grow into something large and powerful. Amen.

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What is the Why Jesus Project? Check out the FAQ on Why Jesus? Home Page.

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