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  Sermons for Lent 4 and Lent

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32  -  The Other Prodigal Son
        Various Texts: Our Lenten Series (see below)   

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Luke 15:  In 1986 Henri Nouwen, a Dutch theologian and writer, toured St. Petersburg, Russia, the former Leningrad. While there he visited the famous Hermitage where he saw, among other things, Rembrandt’s painting of the Prodigal Son. The painting was in a hallway and received the natural light of a nearby window. Nouwen stood for two hours, mesmerized by this remarkable painting. As he stood there the sun changed, and at every change of the light’s angle he saw a different aspect of the painting revealed. He would later write: “There were as many paintings in the Prodigal Son as there were changes in the day.”

It is difficult for us to see something new in the parable of the Prodigal son. We have heard the story so many times we believe that we have squeezed it dry of meaning. Not only that, but, as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. When we hear the opening words of the parable once again, “And there was a Father who had two sons,” we greet the words with ho-hum. Heard it. Heard it. Heard it.

Yet, I would suggest that just as Henri Nouwen saw a half dozen different facets to Rembrandt’s painting of the Prodigal Son, so too are there many different angles to the story itself. This morning I would like for us to re-examine this familiar story by looking at the other prodigal son.

The prodigal son himself is well known to us all. Restless, impatient for his future happiness, he comes and demands from the father that which he thought was rightfully his. He took his money and journeyed to a far country where he wastes it. He wastes the money, wastes his life, and finally ended up doing the most indignant task that a Jew could do——the feeding of swine. It was then that Jesus says that he came to himself. He arises from his situation and goes back to the father to ask to be a servant in his household. And even as he was a long distance away the father saw him and ran out with outstretched arms to greet him. As the story concludes we have the makings of a grand homecoming party.

It was at this point that Jesus shifts the story and begins talking about the older brother. We mustn’t forget the way the story began. It begins, “There was a man who had TWO sons.” It is interesting that Jesus then launches into this wonderfully redemptive story about the younger son who lost his way and came to himself. And, it seems to us an after thought for Jesus to suddenly shift the story to the older brother.

Let’s take a look…


1. The Elder Brother Is Unforgiving.

2. The Elder Brother Needs Forgiveness, too.

3. The Father Loves the Elder Brother, too. 

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Lenten Series

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Lenten: A Sight For Blind Eyes

             David E. Leininger


1.   Lent - Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

2.   The Devil Made Me Do It  -  Matthew 4:1-11

3.   Nicodemus  -  John 3:1-15

4.   Excuses (Alternate Lent 2)  -  Luke 14:16-23

5.   Unexpected Evangelists  -  John 4:5-42

6.   Sight for Blind Eyes  -  John 9:

7.   The Grief Grinch  -  John 11:17-36

8.   Sometimes You've Got to Shout!  -  John 12:12-16

9.   The Imperatives of the Resurrection - Matthew 28:1-10


Lenten: Salvation at the Skull

             Frank G. Honeycutt


1.  Escape from the Island of Spiritual Sloth – Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

2.  On Defeating the Devil – Luke 4:1-13

3.  Headlines and Holiness – Luke 13:1-9

4.  The Waster – Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

5.  Costly Extravagance – John 12: 1-8

6.  Salvation at the Skull – Luke 23:1-49

7.  Pilate Pops the Question – John 18:1-19:42

8.  Resurrection and Remembrance – Luke 24:1-12


Lenten: They Heard Him Gladly

              James W. Moore


1.   The Common People Heard Him Gladly - Mark 12:35-37

2.   Jesus and Andrew  -  John 1:35-42

3.   Jesus and Zacchaeus  -  Luke 19:1-10

4.   Jesus and Bartimaeus  -  Mark 10:46-52

5.   Jesus and Mary and Martha  -  Luke 10:38-42

6.   Jesus and Mary Magdalene  -  John 20:11-18

7.   When The Risen Christ Comes Looking For Us - John 21:15-19



Lenten: The Passion Of The Christ

              Brett Blair


1.   His Triumphal Entry  -  Luke 19:28-40

2.   His Cleansing Of The Temple  -  Luke 19:45-48

3.   His Teachings  -  Luke 20:27-38

4.   His Last Supper  -  Luke 22:14-23

5.   His Trial  -  Luke 23:13-25

6.   His Death  -  Luke 23:33-43

7.   His Resurrection  -  John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-10


Lenten: With an Eye to the New: Preaching and Reading the Old Testament

              Elizabeth Achtemeier


1.  Responding to the Story – Deuteronomy 26:1-11

2.  Living by a Promise – Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

3.  Return and Be Forgiven – Isaiah 55:1-9

4.  Passing from Old to New – Joshua 5:9-12

5.  Endings – Isaiah 43:16-21

6.  Servant Song – Isaiah 50:4-9a

7.  Passover and the Lord’s Supper – Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14

8.  Suffering Servant Song – Isaiah 52-53:12

9.  God Shows No Partiality – Acts 10:34-43


Lenten: The Healing Power Of The Christ

              James W. Moore


1.   The Healing Of Simons Mother-in-Law - Mk 1:21-28

2.   The Healing of the Man with the Withered Hand - Mk 3:1-6

3.   The Healing of the Gerasene Demoniac Mk 5:1-20

4.   The Healing of Jairus Daughter and Hemorrhaging Woman - Mk 5:21-43

5.   The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus - Mk 10:46-52

6.   The Healing Power of the Cross - Mk 15:33-41

7.   The Healing Power of the Resurrection - Jn 20:1-18 or Lk 24:1-10



Lenten: Encounters With Christ

              James W. Moore


1.   Jesus & the Man Born Blind  -  John 9:1-12

2.   Jesus and Mary and Martha  -  Luke 10:38-42

3.   Jesus and Nicodemus  -  John 3:1-10

4.   Jesus and the Woman at the Well  -  John 4:7-15

5.   Jesus and James and John  -  Matthew 20:20-28

6.   Jesus and Caiaphas  -  Matthew 26:58-6

7.   Jesus & Mary Magdalene  -  Mark 16:1-7



Lenten: Journey To The Cross

             James W. Moore


1.   Jesus And The Demon-Possessed Man  -  Mark 5:1-20

2.   Jesus And The Hemorrhaging Woman  -  Mark 5:21-43

3.   Jesus And The Extravagant Woman  -  Mark 14:1-9

4.   Jesus and Judas  -  Mark 14:43-51

5.   Jesus and Simon Peter  -  Mark 14:66-72

6.   Jesus And Pontius Pilate  -  Matthew 27:15-26

7.   Jesus And The Women At The Tomb  -  Mark 16:1-8



Lenten: The Man From Galilee

              Thomas A. Pilgrim


1.   The Temptation Of His Life  -  Matthew 4:1-11

2.   The Transformation Of His Call  -  Matthew 4:18-22

3.   The Touch Of His Hand  -  Matthew 8:14-17

4.   The Treasure Of His Kingdom  -  Matthew 13:44

5.   The Test Of His Courage  -  Matthew 20:17-19

6.   The Tragedy Of His Victory  -  Luke 19:28-40

7.   The Triumph Of His Defeat  -  Matthew 28:1-10


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What Is Unique About Christianity?

The story of Jesus sitting and debating the Law with rabbis reminds me of another debate that took place in a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity. Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God became incarnate in human form. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.” Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead.

Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, armful of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what's all this rumpus about?” Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We're debating what's unique about Christianity.” “Oh, that's easy,” answered Lewis, “it's....

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