The Prince and The Dragon

Sermons from the Gospel of Luke

Zechariah’s Song, or: The Song of the New Exodus (Luke 1:68-79)

As Zechariah the Priest contemplates the first Christmas ever, he begins to realize that the Roman empire is not the enemy — he is. And then he realizes it doesn’t matter, because God is a “me for everyone” kind of God.

Simeon’s Song, or: Why the Christmas Story is More Political and Less Christmasy Than You Have Been Led to Believe (Luke 2:1-52)

Luke describes the prince’s birth and early years, a story featuring migrant workers, a few shepherds, and some old people. The reader is told to wait: it’s going to get better!

The New Joshua, or: Why Durian Doesn’t Grow On Apple Trees (Luke 3:1-20)

A crazy prophet shows up in the desert and announces that a new Prince Joshua is coming to conquer the land, defeat the dragon, and bring on Judgement Day. Some people ask how they can join the prince’s army when he arrives. Other people throw the prophet in prison.

The Anointed King, or: The Prince, in the Desert, with the Devil (Luke 3:21-4:13)

John the Baptist anoints a guy named Joshua (Jesus, in Greek), announcing that he is the prince everyone has been waiting for. The prince visits the dragon’s desert stronghold to announce the coming war. The dragon tries desperately to negotiate.

Are You Still With Me? or: Why Healing Rallies Are Actually Beside the Point (Luke 4:14-44)

Jesus officially declares war on the dragon. Launching an attack, he wins the first battle easily. The people start to think he is the greatest exorcist ever! Then disappointment sets in when they realize he is actually more interested in preaching than in doing miracles for them.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want, or: But If You Try Sometimes You Just Might Find You Get What You Need, Ooooh Baby Yeah (Luke 5:1-26)

Jesus recruits his first followers and performs three miracles, proving that he has power to control animals, power to cleanse the body of sickness, and power to cleanse the spirit. Some people begin to wonder if he might be more than just a great exorcist.

The Two Thousand Year Old Punchline, or: Don’t Be Like the Pharisees (Luke 5:27-6:11)

Jesus starts to break local religious rules. The Pharisees confront him. In response, Jesus makes a joke, asks a riddle they can’t answer, and then gets them to admit that they are totally uptight jerks. No one laughs.

Opening the Gates of Paradise, or: Inside, Outside, Upside-Down (Luke 6:12-49)

Jesus starts to tear down the religious walls that have kept the people separated from each other and from God. He tells everyone to stop trying to build paradise for themselves and let him do it.

Are You Still With Me (Part II), or: splanchnizomai \splangkh-nid’-zom-ahee\ Greek verb. To have the bowels yearn, i.e. (figuratively) feel sympathy, to pity;—to be moved with compassion (Luke 7:1-35)

Jesus meets a soldier and a widow, and is wrenched with compassion. Meanwhile, John the Baptist sends a message from prison: why are you so hard-hearted? If you really are the Messiah, hurry up and save us!

Jesus, the Pharisee, and the Woman, or: It is Raining Outside—For the Windows Are Wet (Luke 7:36-50)

Jesus is invited to a dinner party, lets a prostitute touch him, and teases his host with a riddle about love, true love.

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