A Gospel of Scandal

Randy Harris is here this week and is preaching to our adults at WOW 2007 “VBS Southwest Style”

Yesterday morning at our Sunday morning service he preached an introductory sermon to his 4 part series on “The Surprising Jesus.” He started with the Christmas story and showed how totally different it actually was, than what we picture in our minds – than what mainstream Christianity has made it.

He started by showing that Jesus came into the world by a virgin. Joseph was going to put her away quietly, but God stopped him. This is how God chose to come. Through scandal.

Then he showed the social status through which Christ born. From what we know Jesus was born into a lower-middle class family. Such a family would be fortunate to be taken into a hospital, most likely an inn. But there was no room in the inn, for the King of the universe to be born. They had to find the nearest barn. Peasants had it better!

Finally he pointed out that the Christmas story is one of horrifying bloodshed – and the worst kind too! Every male child, under a certain age was slaughtered.

Randy’s point? To show that the Nativity or Christmas story is not a cute one. It is not fun. It is not sweet. It is scandalous. It is sad.

But, it is necessary and it is all important. Why? Because such are the circumstances through which the Savior of the world chose to come to us. The gospel is for everyone. No matter what you’ve done or what scandal you’ve been a part of. No matter how much your “worth”. No matter how much violence is around you. The gospel is for you.

And I want to add this one. Jesus’ birth caused great political upheaval. From the time he was one day old, he was causing great discomfort with the principalities and powers of the world. They are power hungry and manipulitive. They are starving for attention. And Jesus was a threat to take all this away – surely he did!

The forth point I’d add would be that the gospel is for you, no matter what political regime you affiliate yourself with. There is something bigger and better and altogether more important than mere politics and worldly power. Don’t trust politicians to save you or your world. We’ve never had a savior on Capitol Hill. Your interested in the scandal of political issues? Jesus is far more scandalous than any of that. His mere birth caused his president to kill babies!

Bottom line: The gospel is for all. The upright and the wicked, the rich and the poor, those who live peacefully and those afflicted with violence and abuse, republicans and democrats – all!

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