Sermon Starters

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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Seventh Sunday After Epiphany
Series B

Option #1: "Friendly Faith, Friendly Savior, Joyful Results!"
Mark 2:1-12
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

I. Friendly faith--vv1-4; cf 1 Thess 1:3-4; James 2:18-22

II. Friendly Savior--text, v5; Matt 8:5-10, 15:22-28; Mark 5:27-34, 10:46-52

III. Joyful results--text, v12; Matt 15:31; Luke 13:13, 17:15; Acts 3:8 & 16; Rom 14:17, 15:13, Gal 5:22-23

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: "Faith is full of inventions. The house was full, a crowd blocked up the door, but faith found a way of getting at the Lord and placing the paralyzed man before him. If we cannot get sinners where Jesus is by ordinary methods, we must use extraordinary ones. It seems that a tiling had to be removed, which would cause dust and cause some danger to those below, but where the case is very urgent we must not mind running some risks. Jesus was there to heal, and therefore fall what might, faith ventured all so that this poor paralyzed friend might have his sins forgiven. Oh, that we had more daring faith among us!"


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Visual: a picture of Christopher Reeve in costume as Superman


Anyone recognize this man? (Allow for answers) The character is Superman from the comics and the movies, but who is the man in the costume? Yes, his name is Christopher Reeve and he had to stop making Superman movies. Anyone know why? That’s right: he had an accident riding his horse and he was paralyzed. He could not move his arms or legs. And he died a few years ago.

Some friends brought a paralyzed man to Jesus. There were so many people near Jesus that they couldn’t get close enough to him. So they went up a flight of stairs and removed some roof tiles. Then they lowered his stretcher down through the hole in the roof to get their friend near Jesus.

Wow! They must really have cared a lot for their friend. And Jesus cared a lot for him, too. The Bible says that Jesus saw their faith, Jesus forgave the man his sins, and he was able to walk away that same day. What a wonderful miracle that was!

Jesus hasn’t changed since that day. There is no guarantee we will always be healed, but you can be sure of this: when you get close to Jesus, when you have faith in him as your Savior, then your sins are forgiven and that’s the greatest need we all have.

This man had some great friends. Try to find some friends like that--the kind of friend who is close to Jesus and gets you closer to him too.

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Option #2: "A Closer Walk With Jesus"
Mark 2:1-12
Rev. Mark Borchert, B.S., M.Div.
1.   The healing in this passage drops into the background under the larger question of Jesus’ authority, specifically, his authority to forgive sins--something only God can do.
2.   In Mark 1:22, there is a contrast made between the teaching of the scribes and Jesus’ teaching. As the crowds say in 1:27, Jesus’ teaching is “a new teaching--and with authority!” His teaching is backed up by the tangible demonstration of authority over demon possession. In the text, Jesus’ teaching and authority to forgive sins are backed up by the tangible demonstration of authority to heal.
3.   The scribes know they are facing a challenge to their authority.
4.   When Jesus tells the paralytic that his sins are forgiven, they do not challenge him verbally but think to themselves that this is blasphemy. However, Jesus brings the controversy to them.
5.   With a display of his supernatural power, Jesus knows what the scribes are thinking. This display reinforces the authority that Jesus claims to have.
6.   Jesus asks a rhetorical question. Of course it is easier to say “Your sins are forgiven” than to say “Get up and walk” because one can see right away whether one gets up and walks.
7.   Since saying “Get up and walk” is the more difficult, Jesus says “I’ll do that. Then you all will know that I have the authority to do the 'easier' thing--forgive sins.”
Point:          Forgiveness is the foundation for the Christian walk
Problem:     We are paralyzed by aspirations of our own making.
Promise:     Jesus has not only the authority to forgive sins but the desire to do it; and he does forgive our sins, empowering us by the Holy Spirit to walk the Christian walk


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This page was revised on: Monday, November 13, 2006 11:59:29 AM