Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)
TITLE: Take It Or Leave It
By Paul Potenza
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It was his first recorded time in the pulpit but he wasn't nervous. He knew that the message that he was about to deliver would tear apart the community and would pit tradition with fact, but there wasn't a hint in his body language that showed concern.
His attitude seemed to be "take it or leave it."
I'll tell you what he said but before I do I'd like to take a little trip down memory lane.
Here was a man who had heard many sermons. He was a religious man who attended church regularly. He had heard all kinds of preachers from the time he was a boy and I think that he probably admired a few of them. He asked a lot of questions and gave a lot of answers that were truly remarkable.
What sticks in my mind is a question that I read in a book by Max Lucado today during Bible study. The question was "I wonder what these preachers would have thought if they knew who was listening to their sermons."
And so he stepped to the pulpit and he opened the book and he read the prophecy of Isaiah.
Let's listen in shall we?
He went up to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath Day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it he found the place where it is written: "The spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has annointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.
The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
Did you get that? No apologies. No explanations. Just pure fact.
Take it or leave it.
That's what a good sermon does brothers and sisters. It strips away all disputable questions and leaves us with a choice.
Tonight the choice is yours.
Take it or leave it.
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