THE CHOSEN SERIES
WITH PETER VEYSIE
@GEORGE METHODIST CHURCH
8AM AND 10AM
SUNDAY 25TH JULY 2021
There was a show on TV many years ago that we used to love to watch together as a family called Mythbusters. Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman and their team used to test things out and check to see if they could really do what they said they could do and they would normally take them to the limit to see what would happen. There were lots of laughs and explosions that happened along the way and we loved the show.
I have called this sermon Mythbusters because the chosen series ,which we are following, literally blows up some of the ingraned stuff we believe about the bible in the best possible way and allows us to then look into the story and the truth that sets us free and the Holy Spirit then leads us into all truth.
Having gone through a rough almost three week journey of covid with Debbie which and finding ourselves on the other side now, we are realising more and more that covid is touching all of us and we have to understand that it has a devastating impact on our community and I want to say that however you decide to protect yourselves please just do it. I have been praying for many others who are struggling at this time.
I do believe that the season of looting and violence as well as covid has brought the nation and the world to it’s knees and we are finding ourselves more aware of the desperate need to be the hands and feet of Jesus. The old debates around scripture are not as important as offering loaves and fishes to humanity who is in desperate need of care.
As Jesus came into the world as the Saviour, he began a journey outside of the box of the religious and broke through many myths and ideas that caused devastation and death and renewed it with refreshing and life giving truth that completely and radically changed the world. He was essentially the greatest “Mythbuster”.
I want to share three stories of three different people this morning who were deeply touched by Jesus and then find out how their stories have often been told in a way that did not reveal the truth.
Last weeks scripture again Isaiah 43:1-3.
1. Mary Magdalene -restored Luke 8:1-3
I am going to start with Mary Magdalene being restored. Luke 8:3
“Sex worker, saint, sinner, witness, wife. In the 2,000 years since Mary Magdalene is said to have watched Jesus Christ die on the cross, she’s been labeled many things.
The label “prostitute” has stuck fast for centuries, ever since Pope Gregory I first pronounced her a “sinful woman” in the year 591, defying evidence to the contrary in the canonical Gospels. On the other hand, Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code resurrected an old and popular theory that Mary Magdalene was in fact Jesus’ wife. Myths surround the figure of Mary Magdalene to this day.
But neither theory — penitent prostitute or devoted spouse — actually matches what can be said about Mary Magdalene from what’s written in the Bible: She was a woman from Magdala, a small Galilean town known for its fishing, who became a female disciple and was first witness to Jesus’ resurrection, the cornerstone of Christianity.” Times Magazine
From the New Testament, we can conclude that Mary of Magdala (her hometown, a village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee) was a leading figure among those attracted to Jesus. When the men in that company abandoned him at the hour of His trial and crucifixion, Mary of Magdala was one of the women who stayed with him. She was present at the tomb, the first person Jesus appeared to after his resurrection and the first to preach the “Good News” of that miracle. The first apostolos – sent one.These are among the few specific assertions made about Mary Magdalene in the Gospels. From other texts of the early Christian era, it seems that her status as an “apostle,” in the years after Jesus’ death, rivaled even that of Peter. This prominence derived from the intimacy of her relationship with Jesus, which, according to some accounts, had a physical aspect that included kissing. Beginning with the threads of these few statements in the earliest Christian records, dating to the first through third centuries, an elaborate tapestry was woven, leading to a portrait of St. Mary Magdalene in which the most consequential note—that she was a repentant prostitute—is almost certainly untrue. On that false note hangs the dual use to which her legend has been put ever since: discrediting sexuality in general and disempowering women in particular.
In the chosen series ,having depicted the horrendous and challenging life of a woman discredited by humanity, raped posssibly by roman legions and surrounded by the demons of accusations made against her by others, she rises through the power of the ultimate mythbuster Jesus, who restores her and gives her life enabling her to be a disciple, a follower right to the grave the the first apostolos – sent one – to share the good that Jesus was alive even although Peter did not believe her and discredited her testimony !!!
How many of us live with the so called demon labels that others have placed on us and yes we might have come from some pretty dark places, but the Lord Jesus Christ calls you by name and redeems you to break the myth of who you have been labelled to be seen as.
I am sure that all of us can identify with this in one way or another and it’s time to allow the Lord to resore you from the labels and myths that others have laid upon you. Forget the former things see I am doing a new thing – do you not perceive it ? Isaiah 43:18-19
2. Nicodemus – reminded. John 3:1-13
We know from John 3 that Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a member of the Jewish ruling council, who came to Jesus at night with a question. He received an answer that generations of Christians would hide in their hearts.
Nicodemus’ Secret Conversation with Jesus
In John 3, Nicodemus concedes that God must have sent Jesus because of all the miraculous signs he performed. Jesus gets to the heart of the matter by responding with firm truth: “…no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” (John 3:3).
Nicodemus, thinking literally and physically, asks how anyone can be born twice (John 3:4). Jesus continues the conversation teaching Nicodemus about the need to be born of the Spirit (John 3:5-8).
Then Nicodemus simply asks, “How can this be?” (John 3:9). Jesus laments that Nicodemus cannot seem to grasp such a heavenly concept (John 3:12) and relies on an Old Testament story (Numbers 4-9), which a Pharisee was sure to have heard before, to illustrate how to be born again and get to heaven.
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:14-15).
It’s in this story of Nicodemus where John writes the God-inspired verse:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
Nicodemus was Not a Spy
Some scholars question Nicodemus’ motives. They claimed that he came as a representative of the Sanhedrin as a kind of spy, tasked with trapping Jesus in giving an official response based on the questions he would pose. After all, Nicodemus speaks using the first-person plural (“We know You have come from God as a Teacher”). But there are three problems with this idea.
Since other Jewish officials challenged Jesus in public, Nicodemus would not have needed to sneak through the night to visit Jesus.
He did not ask; he declared that Jesus was a Teacher from God. This hardly seems the language of a disapproving enquirer.
Mainly, Nicodemus later reveals himself as a believer when he comes with Joseph of Arimathea to prepare Jesus’s body for a proper Jewish burial (John 19:39).
Nicodemus was Honestly Seeking God
The better answer is that Nicodemus, while not yet fully convinced of Jesus’ divinity, had seen the miracles Jesus performed. Comparing what he knew from the Old Testament and the expectation of the Messiah, he planned for a way to see Jesus. Therefore, he came honestly seeking after God. By the time of Jesus’s crucifixion, Nicodemus had grown bold enough to publicly reveal what he now believed.
“And though now he came by night, afterward he owned Christ publicly,”
The myth of the religious not always being on the right page and simply going through the motions may be true of some but it is not true of all and I have a sense that the Lord is engaging with our religious hearts to remind us of who we are in him. You may have been a member of a church or institution for many years of your life and like Nicodemus been curious but then not fully committing yourself to who Jesus really is in your life. You are reminded again that He has called you by name and you are His.
Peter – Reinstated John 21:15-17
I struggled a lot with the Chosen depicting Peter in a fight and then having a punch up !!! I had to get my head out of the myth that he was this holier than thou Saint Peter that is often depicted by the church.He is also married!! The BC (Before Christ) of Peter’s life is not often spoke about.
Follow me and I will make you a fisher of people.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus came to Peter’s house and healed “his wife’s mother” (Matthew 8:14)
And when Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick with a fever.
This proves that Peter had a wife.
Jesus said to him at one stage “Get behind me Satan” Matthew 16:23 and that he was a stumbling block!!! He found himself denying Jesus, and yet in the end after the resurrection he is reinstated. I want to say that so often a blymp in our faith journey where we have failed can become the very thing that identifies us rather than the hope and healing and forgiveness that God does to reinstate us. It does not mean that we can do whatever we like but we need to allow the Mythbuster to break down the narrative of accusation that so often does not allow us to be who we are truly called to be.
I have called you by name – you are mine?
Questions to ponder
1. And so which character do you identify with ?
2. Which myths do you need the great Mythbuster to break down ?
3. How will you allow the Lord to restore remind and reinstate you as the one who is deeply love and called by name Isaiah 43:1 ?