Sermons by Rana Khan
In the early days of the book of Acts, everyone assumed that Jesus had come only to save the Jews. But it soon became clear that this was something entirely new, something for everyone regardless of background, status, religion or ethnicity.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd as we all know. To understand the imagery better we need to know a little more about how shepherds worked in biblical time.
The book of Acts sees the disciples of Jesus transition to being apostles, those who are ‘sent’ as messengers of the gospel. It also shows the fledgling Christian community changing from being a group of fearful people to those who preached the word of God boldly. Their hope was in the resurrection of Jesus, and although there was pressure to downplay or even deny that it happened, the resurrection is at the very centre of our faith.
As we celebrate Jesus’ rising again on Easter Day, we reflect on the different responses of the disciples.
… from earth to heaven, from down to up. When we are faithful to our citizenship of heaven then we can fulfil our mission on earth.
The temptations of Jesus in the wilderness are often seen as generic classes of temptation: material needs, power, immortality. But they are much more than that. Satan was attacking Jesus’ mission by trying to misdirect him into changing his priorities and shifting focus away from the Kingdom.
The prophet Joel issues a challenge to Israel and to us to repent and return to the Lord with all our hearts.
This familiar story, which is told only in the gospel of John, is the third of the Epiphany themes and follows on from the visit of the Magi and the baptism of Jesus. It is the first revelation of who Jesus is to the ordinary people Israel, in his home town.
Looking at the baptism of Jesus himself helps us to understand what our own baptism is about – not a box-ticking event but a call to action.
There is a recurring theme in the Old Testament of God providing for childless women and removing what was a huge stigma in ancient times. In Mary’s case, the provision of a child when she was still unmarried had quite the opposite effect and, willing as she was to do God’s will, she went to her cousin Elizabeth to seek counsel.
John was a prophet, bringing a message that was often unpopular, but preparing the people for the coming of their Messiah.
James and John ask Jesus whether they can sit at his right and left hand in his kingdom, and he responds by asking ‘can you drink the cup I drink?’ Such a simple question, like the questions that are asked at baptism, yet revealing that accepting Jesus is not to accept the easy path through life.