Today’s text from Isaiah is talking about the potency of God’s Word. Isaiah is saying that God does not speak just to hear himself speak, but to accomplish a purpose. The reading from Romans is talking about the hostility that exists between God and sin. Paul is saying that if the Spirit of God dwells in you, then you are not the target of this hostility. Finally, the text from Matthew is talking about why some people do not respond favorably to God’s Word. Jesus is saying that regardless of the reason why, those who do respond more than make up for those who don’t.
For Isaiah’s exiles, his prophecy assured them that God had not forgotten his promise to them. The half-hearted converts among Paul’s readers were warned of the severe consequences of continuing to live by the standards of the world, while believers were confirmed in their hope. For the disciples, this parable was a primer for understanding why people responded the way they did to Jesus’ message. Christians today are called to examine their lives and their churches for evidence of the “hundredfold yield” Jesus speaks of, and, if we are not seeing changes in the way we think, in the way we live, and in our parish life, we need to examine our response to God’s Word.
Paul says that God sent his Son, made him to resemble our distorted way of living, and then cursed him (instead of us!) for that resemblance. Thus, the demands of God’s justice were satisfied. If we believe this message we can walk away free, blessed by the Spirit, and without ever having to look back over our shoulders in fear. But, if we let the cares of the world choke this Word, we can expect nothing.
Preached by the Rev. Jake Dell on July 16, 2017 at Holy Trinity Church Inwood.