The Scripture reading this week is Luke 9:18-36, 44-50
The Sermon title is Missing the Point
Early Thoughts: Sometimes it is hard to keep track. Sometimes things don't make a lot of sense. Sometimes we get it wrong.
These things have always been true. Even people we think really "get it" can misunderstand quite badly...
Peter, James and John. If there is a triumvirate of "Best" disciples the Gospels would suggest that this trio is right up there. Surely they, who are so close to Jesus, who get taken up to the top of the mountain and witness the Transfiguration, understand what is happening right?
Sometimes they do. Sometimes they certainly do not....
Peter confesses Jesus as the Messiah. Peter will also deny even knowing Jesus.
They hear Jesus say that the path he follows (and the path he invites them to follow) is not one of glory. At one point in the Gospels James and John ask for the prime seats at the table (this happens in Mark 10, when Matthew tells the same story he has their mother asking on their behalf).
Jesus proclaims the power of God to heal, to cast out demons. John gets worried about someone else doing the same thing, seemingly worried about the competition.
Sometimes it is hard to understand what it means to follow Jesus. The disciples are ample proof of this.
Maybe it is because some (much) of what Jesus says is counter-intuitive ("least among all of you is the greatest", the Messiah will be executed). Maybe it is because we don't want to hear. Maybe it is because we have yet to let go of more worldly understandings of 'how the world works'. But for the life of the Christian movement people have struggled with understanding. And that means we sometimes miss the point.
WE could beat ourselves up about that. OR we could remind ourselves that even Peter, James and John sometimes missed the point too. Sometimes they were afraid to admit they did not understand. [And I fully believe there are many things they did not understand until after Easter, when they looked back on what had happened, retrospection is a gift that brings understanding at times].
So to miss the point, to have questions, to be a little unclear makes us normal.
God help us in our understanding and in our confusion.