This sermon was put together with the help of “Keystone”, the youth group at St Peter’s Church, Littleover. I really enjoyed spending some time with them over a couple of weeks, thinking about what it is to be Christlike, and particularly about this teaching from Jesus.
This passage is about freedom and slavery, truth and deception, and life and death. Jesus has been teaching in the Temple in Jerusalem for a week or so, going in every day, sitting there and holding forth to those around, engaging the religious experts in debate. In that time he’s said some pretty controversial things about himself, and about the way that the people of God are living out their faith.
These things have provoked different reactions among those who have been listening. Some have decided that he is a dangerous rabble rouser, who threatens their power, someone who needs to be silenced. Others have had faith in him, have believed him, have wanted to follow him.
But Jesus is always clear about a couple of things. He’s not very interested in head knowledge alone. He is interested in our whole beings and lives. He’s an all or nothing type of guy. Throughout the gospels he makes it clear that choosing to follow him is a costly choice, it is a choice that must be made whole heartedly. It changes our whole lives. But the other thing is that Jesus offers freedom, life in all its fullness, depth. As good as it can be. Jesus is an all or nothing type of guy.