1. Jesus came to His own people to bridge the rift which exists between humankind and God.
  2. God commands we serve only Him. We serve Him with all we have and all we are, including the 90% of our income which does not go in the plates. What does it look like to serve God above money?
  3. The heart of your sermon is the promise that God, in Jesus, has sought and found each of us. He receives us sinners and invites us to eat with Him at His table.
  4. The reason nothing can come before Jesus is because nothing endures beyond the grave except for Jesus.
  5. Nuance and subtlety have been replaced with scorched-earth contempt. It is us versus them. Compromise is not an option. Jesus, however, would have none of it.
  6. Jesus comes to people and changes everything. “Before” is long gone. “After” is a whole new world.
  7. As astounding as co-eternity and co-equality with the Father in majesty and glory is, this is not the most significant answer Jesus gave in this Gospel reading, not for us at least.
  8. Pentecost is a flashback. It drives us back to the past. It also propels us forward into the future.
  9. The thrill of God’s grace fades and the slow march toward the cross dulls the heart. At such times, the former life beckons. Temptations to return grow strong. Which makes Lent such an important annual exercise.
  10. The vinedresser refused to give up on his unfruitful tree. He put himself between it and the judgment it deserved, serving as mediator and caretaker.
  11. Jesus' course led from death into life, as He had promised. And He promises to lead us on that same course from death to life, from lament to joy.
  12. As the greater and more faithful Son of God, Jesus did what the Israelites could not do. Neither can we.

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