‘Sharing the Faith, Refining our Faith’ – a sermon on Psalm 22/Mark 8:31-38 (Lent 2, Year B)
To show that we need to share the Good News that Jesus is the Christ – with each other and with unbelievers
Introduction – Sharing
‘You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian’, ‘my faith is my business’, ‘you can’t share your faith in a secular society’.
Psalm 22 tells us that God intends everyone to hear the Good News. It cuts across all divisions: rich and poor; in the church and outside; Jews and non-Jews; those living, dead and yet to be born.
The Psalmist says that everyone will turn to God and be blessed. How will they know that they should do this? How will they know how to turn to God?
Message for the Time
Peter had already confessed that Jesus is the Christ, but he totally misunderstands Jesus’ mission. No one knows this until Peter speaks out, then Jesus corrects Peter and asks people to gather round – then Jesus explains his mission and that of his disciples.
Notice that Peter was correct given the religious assumptions of the day – but still wrong. The other disciples probably thought the same thing – but no one knew they were wrong until Peter spoke up! We all make mistakes, but if we view our faith as our possession and never discuss it then we will never discover anything new – our faith is closed, dead. We must share our faith and our experiences, thoughts and doubts with each other.
Message for Today
Notice also that Jesus then told his followers that they must deny self, take up their cross and follow Jesus (to death). He also says that if we are ashamed of Jesus message, he will be ashamed of us on judgment day. Clearly, Jesus expects us to share our faith with the faithless, even if this is not easy and earns us hostility.
What odd ideas do people have about: God – superstition, “a deal with God”; Jesus – “a good man”, “a wise teacher”; and the Holy Spirit – something for weirdos only?
What odd ideas do people have about our faith? Are they hostile to Jesus because they think we think ourselves superior and are judging them? We need to tell them the truth about how we don’t deserve salvation!
We need to share our faith with each other, and with non-Christians, in order to make it real, vital and alive. We need to share the Good News, that Jesus is the Christ, that he died for us and is alive today as if our lives and their lives depended on it. Because it’s true!