Do you let people see the real you? It’s easy to present yourself in the way you want others to see you. But none of us should be content to hide what's going on inside, creating versions of ourselves to different people so you can get by. The truth is God sees you, no matter which mask you might hide behind. Discover God’s love for you and how to be live authentically by coming to Christ.
A Church Not For Ourselves. This is the vision of Broward Church, based in Broward County, FL. Subscribe to keep up with what God is doing in our corner of The Kingdom.
Good morning to the Broward Church. It’s great to be here. The love of the Denver Church is sent to you. We are united through brotherhood and fellowship, and it really is exciting to be here. My wife has done a Women’s day here for the Broward Church before, and she speaks consistently and with great affection of this group for your hospital hospitality, for your love, for your spirituality. And I was grateful to be here today, very grateful to Tony. We have become very good friends over the years. I admire Tony a great deal. Much was handed to him at a young age, and with great maturity and a lot of input, he has done a great job with what he’s given, and so many of you are the fruit of that work with the Holy Spirit.
We had an Oasis conference here today with a lot of young church leaders, and I got to tell you, the hospitality of this church is incredible. So friendly, so giving, so humble. You made it so easy to be here. Your elders, the Brushes got up and spoke to this group of young ministers, and the young ministers were blown away by your elders as well. And so thank you for having us. It really is good to be here.
You guys have been talking about the ministry of Jesus for a while now, and we are going to continue that discussion in the Book of Matthew, chapter 15, you can open up right there. But similar to an opera or an epic orchestral, the Gospel of Matthew has many movements and transitions. In chapter 14, we started to see the beginning of a new movement that comes to its culmination in chapter 15 today. In the Gospel story, Jesus begins turning his attention in these chapters, away from the hostility of his Jewish listeners and toward the hearts of the minds, the gentiles. These verses that we read today show a breaking point within that transition. I’d like to framework today’s message around the activity of actors and actresses that take the stage playing roles that have nothing to do with the reality of their true lives. In many ways, this chapter is about the masks that people wear and the notion that truly faithful people, truly fulfilled people, are ones that don’t wear masks.
You know, we had Halloween recently, and my kids dressed up for Halloween. I hate Halloween. It’s a lot of work for parents, and I don’t enjoy all the getting the costumes together. But we had a Latino Halloween for us in the Zillman family. My son Jasper, I’ve got five kids all the way from 21 years old down to seven years old. And so, thankfully, only two of them are at this present time participating in Halloween. And my ten year old, he went as the fictional luchidor, nacho Libre for Halloween. And then my little girl, who is obsessed with the day of the dead, she went as la katrina, and she had all the face makeup on and everything, and from the Dia de los Muertos, and she went as that. And we went around for Halloween, and they wore their masks, and everyone’s wearing their masks that day, and you don’t really know who’s coming to your door, and there’s something fun about that for one day. But like I said, I actually I don’t like costumes. I don’t like costume parties. I don’t really like balls. I don’t like dances. A few years ago, probably about 15 years ago, when my wife and I were in Dekalb, Illinois, we were working at the University at Northern Illinois, we were invited to a formal ball by the English department. And I worked with the campuses there, and I knew a lot of the students, and I immediately said, I don’t want to go to this thing. But we were told that it was a Harry Potter ball. Now, my wife you know, my wife, and some of you do because of the women’s day. My wife is, you know, she’s slightly insane, and she loves she loves Harry Potter, and I like Harry Potter, but she really loves Harry Potter. And she was so excited to dress up as Harry Potter characters and go to the Harry Potter ball.
And here’s the thing. Sometimes when you’re told about an event and it’s months away, you take great confidence that everyone’s going to forget about it, all right? And so I said, yeah I’ll go. And then the week of the event came up, and no one really said anything. And then finally, like, six days out, my wife said, hey, don’t forget this Saturday, we’re going to the Harry Potter ball. I was like, hey, honey, I’ll go, but I’m not dressing up, okay? I’m a grown man, and I don’t want to dress up like a wizard or a dragon or anything like that. She’s like, Well, I’m dressing up, and the people were going with are dressing up. And I was like, that’s fine. That’s not going to make me feel weird at all.
And so the day of the event came, and I’m in Walmart getting costume supplies for my wife. For my wife. But I run into the couple that we’re going with, and I’m talking to them at Walmart. They’re like, yeah, we decided not to dress up. And I was like, whoa, whoa, no, no, you have to dress up, because if you don’t dress up, it means I’m going to have to dress up. And they’re like, no, we don’t really have anything. And so in an act of solidarity with my wife, I decided to dress up as a wizard to go to this ball, okay? Now I’m in there buying my wife is going to go as Hagrid, okay? My wife is five three. She’s tiny. She’s dressed up as a wizard giant, okay? Hagrid’s, like, seven and a half feet tall. So I’m in Walmart buying a beard for my wife and an umbrella, wondering how my life has gotten to this point. And I go home, and I don’t have anything. I don’t have any wizarding costumes. So she put something together. I forget what I even was. I was like, I don’t know, a Belgium wizard of some kind. And she dresses me up. I feel stupid. She looks insane. We’re on our way to the ball. It’s really cold outside. So we drop the girls off, and the other two, the couple that we’re with, they look fantastic. They look awesome. We look dumb. And I drop her off. We go park the car.
On the way in, I’m noticing that some people are super dressed up. Not dressed up in a costume, but like, really formal. Like they’ve got gowns on and stuff. And I’m like, oh, wow. People are taking this seriously. As we’re walking into this hall where the dance is, my wife comes out. She says she goes, I’ve got good news, and I’ve got bad news for you. I’m like, what? And she’s like, well, the good news is our costumes are a hit. The bad news, this isn’t a costume party.
And so I’m like, I guess we’re going then, because I’m not stepping foot inside this. She’s like, no, it’ll be fine. Everybody loves it. And she’s kind of dragging me in, and I’m like, I don’t want to make a scene, but I don’t want to go. And it was like a movie scene. We walk into the ballroom, and the double doors open slowly, and everyone in their tuxedoes and gowns slowly turns around. And here I am with, like, a wizarding staff and a trench coat, and my wife with her beard and everything, and the people I work with are slowly moving away from us.
The embarrassment was like, incapacitating. It was paralyzing. I didn’t know where to stand. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say to anybody. And my wife is perfectly I was so blown away by my wife’s self differentiation in this moment. But then I realized, she’s got a beard on, she’s got a hat on, she’s got a big coat. No one’s ever going to remember her. Everybody sees me. No one’s going to remember her. And we stayed there for like an hour. It was torture for me. I’ve been traumatized by costumes and by masks.
The thing about costumes and masks is that when you wear them long enough, they become a part of you. You forget, in fact, that there was a day when you put a mask on. Instead, you now believe it’s a part of your face. There is no doubt that there are people wearing masks in here this morning pretending to be something they are not. Pretending to be the opposite, perhaps, of what they actually are. And of course, this isn’t good, but there’s something worse than putting on a mask for everyone. It’s when you put on a mask for so long that you forgot that you’re wearing it.
This is all important because Jesus references a term about wearing a mask and what we’re about to read in Matthew, chapter 15. We go to verse one, it says this, then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat. Jesus replied, and why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, Honor your father and mother, and anyone who curses their father and mother is to be put to death. But you say that if anyone declares what might have been used to help their father and mother is devoted to God, they are not to honor their father and mother with it. Thus you know if by the word of God, for the sake of your tradition, you hypocrites. Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you. These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain. Their teachings are merely human rules. Jesus called the crowd to him and said, listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth is what defiles them.
Then the disciples came to him and asked, do you know that the Pharisees were offended by what they heard? He replied, Every plant that my Heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them. They are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. Peter said, Explain the parable to us. Are you still so dull? Jesus asked him, don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart comes evil thoughts. Murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defiles a person. But eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.
Jesus uses the term he calls the Pharisees hypocrites. It’s a Greek word derived from the history of theater. A hypocrite is literally someone that wears a mask during a performance. In its current manifestation clinical psychologists will describe hypocrisy this way: at the root of hypocrisy is the fear and low esteem. We use hypocrisy to avoid looking at our shortcomings and figure out our part in it. It typically stems from a sincere belief that we should not be held to the same standards as others because we have better intentions. Our belief is juster, nobler and sincerer. Researchers that have studied the effect of hypocrisy upon people and why hypocrisy seem to evoke such visceral reactions from others, describe it this way: condemnation can act as a stronger signal of one’s own moral goodness than a direct statement of moral behavior.
We dislike hypocrites because we feel duped. They benefit from the signal that moral condemnation sends while engaging in the very same immoral behavior. This is exactly what Jesus is pointing out in this verse, as we will see in a moment. So one puts on a mask of judge and juror in regards to the behavior of others and then takes it back off when they look at their own life.
There is a lot of asymmetrical moralization and condemnation going on nowadays. People will selectively choose to condemn one aspect of social life such as racism, sexism or greed, while at the same time living out a life of adultery, addiction or theft. Often what a hypocrite believes is that by condemning someone else’s sin, they can atone for their own. I remember once when I was a campus student, I was at Indiana University. I’d only been a Christian for a few weeks and I went out to share my faith. I’ve never been someone that loves sharing my faith, but I feel a moral obligation to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. And so I was out, I went to Punk Rock Park, okay, this is in Bloomington. This is in Bloomington, Indiana. At. IU. And Punk Rock Park is where all what we call townies. That’s probably not a great term to use for the people that live there, but they were the kids that lived there that didn’t go to the school. This is where they hung out. So I went into Punk Rock Park and began sharing my faith. And there are skaters there, there were musicians there. And at one point I saw a guy sitting on a bench and so I sat down next to him and I began sharing my faith. And he was really distracted. I could tell he didn’t really want to talk to me. But in the middle of the conversation another guy came up to him. And the guy that came up to him and said, well, you have the stuff. And the guy I was talking to, he said, yeah, but do you have the money?
Now, I didn’t think that they were exchanging baseball cards or anything like that. I figured this probably wasn’t good what was happening. I didn’t know how to extricate myself from the situation, though. On top of that, I was kind of fascinated. I kind of want to know what’s going to happen. And so the one guy takes out a bag of pills and the other guy takes out a roll of money and they exchange hands right in front of me. And so I stand up and I go, guys, I don’t know if I saw anything or not, but my campus ministry is having a barbecue today and I want to know if maybe you guys would want to come. I’m part of a great church in the area, maybe you guys should study the Bible. And the guy who was dealing the drug said, well, what are you serving at the barbecue? I was like, I don’t know. I think we’re hitting hot dogs and hamburgers. He’s like, that stuff will kill you.
Obviously, the irony is completely lost on him. And this is the effect of hypocrisy. You can easily condemn the actions of others while being so blind to your own shortcomings. This is one of the issues of self-righteousness and outspoken moral denouncement. This isn’t to say that we don’t speak about right and wrong from a place of deep conviction, but we do so also from a place that acknowledges our own complicity in sin.
Getting back to the verse itself, there’s a lot going on in that verse that we read in Matthew 15. The Pharisees come to Jesus, critiquing him as a teacher for not teaching his disciples the traditions of the elders and that of the ritualistic washing of the hands before they eat. And this is something that the Pharisees were very intent on the Jews not breaking the law again. The Jews were oppressed, thrown into exile, their temple destroyed because the people did not follow the law. The Pharisees made it their job, their duty, to help the people follow the law once again so they wouldn’t be punished. They could come back into the so that their promised land would be independent again. They were really watchdogs to make sure that people listened to God. All right?
So what they did, though, is they created rules to help make sure that people followed the rules. They created guardrails they got further and further from the intent of the Old Testament Law. The ritualistic washing of the hands was just another way to make sure that people stayed pure. All right?
Now in response to this critique, Jesus points out how flawed some of their traditions are. He points out this idea that Mark seven. Mark seven, which is the parallel verse this calls this whole practice that Jesus references corbin all right? In this verse, Jesus says, yeah, but your traditions actually nullify the word of God because we are told in the law that we are to honor our father and mother. And what he’s referencing here is that there’s no Social Security system or anything like that for when people’s parents get older. So it was the obligation in honoring your father and mother to care for your mom and dad in their old age.
Here’s what the temple said, though. The temple said, however, if you don’t feel like that doing that, if you would like to keep that money for yourself, what you could do are those assets to yourself. What you could do is you could label the assets that you should be giving to your mom and dad as a gift devoted to God. Corbin. And then you can give it to the temple later, but you can utilize it for yourself right now. Jesus said that tradition that you guys came up with is nullifying the very word of God.
Suffice it to say that Jesus is challenging a few things in response to the criticism of the Pharisees that the disciples do not follow their ritualistic washing of the hands. First, Jesus challenges the types of tradition that give only a vacuous nod to God but offer nothing of substance in fulfilling his actual will. Instead, they are designed to either assuage our human insecurities or achieve our selfish ambitions. In fact, some of those traditions, like corbin, actually nullified the word of God. That’s one thing Jesus is saying.
Secondly, Jesus challenges his disciples to ignore hypocrites as blind guides. Now, I find this to be an understated challenge and one we can easily read past because the Pharisees were, for the lack of a better term, the influencers of their day. They were popular and they were powerful. Asking the disciples to ignore them is asking them to achieve a higher level of differentiation, denying the impulse of people pleasing. That’s the second thing Jesus is asking in this verse.
And the third thing is this, Jesus begins to show that such traditions and even aspects of the old law are not from inside. They’re not from the heart. They do not indicate or communicate what is actually true about a person. They are merely what is on the outside that passes through and out of us. Again, what is real are the things that originate from within us, specifically within the mind and the heart.
For instance, to give a modern day example as an example, we are doing something this morning. We are gathering for church. And you know what? We are supposed to gather for church. As a matter of fact, God indicates with great importance that we should be gathering consistently.
However, you sitting in church does not mean that you are a believer or a follower of Jesus. Being here today is not a definitive indicator of what takes place inside of you. In fact, it could just be another mask that you are wearing. In large part, Jesus is critiquing the obsession with what people present to the outside world. Sometimes it’s tradition, sometimes it’s a mask we put on for others.
And those two things are related because somehow people are satisfied with what the outside world believes about them rather than what is actually true about them.
I get a lot of people asking me for input on a lot of different things, and there’s a specific way that people ask input that riles me a little bit. And someone will come up to me and I can tell that there’s some sort of conflict going on somewhere or they’re having a personal conflict, and they’ll say a sentence like this hey, I don’t want to seem prideful, or I don’t want to seem self righteous or hey, I don’t want to seem greedy. I’m going to stop you right there. Let’s just start with how about don’t be prideful? Who cares what you’ve seen? All right? You don’t want to seem greedy. Can we examine whether or not you actually are greedy? You don’t want to seem self righteous. Let’s just get whether or not you actually are selfrighteous, because I don’t care what you seem, and neither does God. Let’s look at what you actually are. What you seem only matters to people. What you are is what matters to God.
Jesus is eviscerating the compulsion and the satisfaction of people obsessed with convincing the outside world that they are something specific, even when it does not actually exist internally. He’s asking the religious world to unmask and declare, through honest dialogue and genuine confession what they really are.
When I was in college, my wife is the person who introduced me to this church. I was 19 years old. She was 18 years old. My wife and I have been together since we were 14, and we didn’t grow up in the church. I didn’t like church. I didn’t like coming to church. I didn’t like coming to this church. I didn’t study the Bible with this church, all right? I did it all because my girlfriend was going to break up with me if I didn’t give this a chance, okay? And so that’s where I was.
Now, I did become an actual disciple, and it wasn’t easy for me to make that leap. This is not what I had thought about for the future of my life. I will tell you this. I tried to drop out of high school to join the Peace Corps, all right? I wanted to go to Northern Ireland and free them from the oppression of the United Kingdom.
I wanted to run away to Ecuador and learn irrigation farming and teach that all over the world. I had all these dreams, but all of them centered around the idea that I did want to change the world. I wanted to make the world a better place. And when I actually became a true Christian and a true disciple, and I realized that is the calling that every disciple has, that every Christian has. I was in love with this church.
I decided pretty quickly this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to travel the world. I wanted to be disciples all over the place. I wanted us all to be a part of going out and doing things that were amazing and changing the world. And when I was in college, I was like, this is what I want to do.
But nobody was really tapping me on the shoulders for this. I wasn’t the guy that you would have looked at in college, perhaps, and said, oh, yeah, this guy should be in the ministry. All right? My wife was. Everybody loves my wife. It’s actually a problem for me wherever I go.
But when I was in college, finally I started getting a little bit of traction with the idea of being in the ministry, and people started believing in me, and I really wanted to do it. Well, one Thanksgiving, my wife and I, we weren’t married. We were just dating at the time. We traveled back to Indiana for Thanksgiving, and while we were there, we got into some sin with one another, and it was embarrassing, and it was bad, and I was kind of terrified because I finally got to the point where people were believing in me. I was repenting of so many other things, and I had this dream to go into ministry, and I definitely did not want this sin to derail me, but I’m not the type of person that can sin and keep it inside. I got to talk about it. I called my mentor at the time, my spiritual mentor at the time, and he talked me through as I’m confessing my sin. And I remember he goes, hey, you need to call Tom. Now, Tom was the evangelist, and I was like, well, why do I have to call Tom? And he’s like, well, because he’s thinking of having you be a part of the internship program, and you’re one of our house church leaders, and so I think you got to let him know what’s going on. So I called Tom up, and we have a conversation. He’s like, well, listen, just repent. Stay spiritual. You’re coming home in four days. We’ll talk when you get back. I was like, well, can we talk right now? We’re a thousand miles apart. He’s like, no, we’ll talk when you get back. And that moment of confession was difficult. Coming clean with what I was, not a version of what I was, not just a version of what I’d done. Here’s the other thing. I knew that my girlfriend was going to say the absolute truth, so there was some accountability there. But I was like, I got to state what was happening as it happened honestly.
Now, that unburdened me of many things. All right? That was an important moment in my life. None of us should be content to wear a mask. None of us should be content to hide what’s going on inside and present versions of ourselves to different people so that we can get by.
Continuing with our current narrative, the Gospel of Matthew next tells a story that transitions from the Jewish world to the Gentile world. Go ahead and open to Matthew 15, verse 21. At this point in the book, Jesus has been highly critical of the way the Jews have decided to teach about honoring God, and he has been distancing himself from the way that they have been practicing their walk with God. And now he is traveling into a region geographically filled with many nonJewish people. And I want us to take note as we read this narrative of the difference between the way our next character approaches Jesus and the way that the religious elite approached Jesus.
Starting in verse 21. Leaving that place, jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, lord, Son of David, have mercy on me. My daughter’s demon-possessed and suffering terribly. Jesus did not answer a word, so his disciples came to him and urged him to send her away. For she keeps crying out after us. He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. But the woman came and knelt before him. Lord, help me, she said. And he replied, it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs. Yes, it is, Lord, she said, for even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table. Then Jesus said to a woman, you have great faith. Your request is granted. And her daughter was healed at that moment.
This is truly one of the most puzzling exchanges I’ve ever read between Jesus and another person. Jesus does not treat this woman’s request with the same gentleness he most often seems to have with those living on the margins. And for the purpose of today’s discussion, I’m not going to conjecture long or thoroughly upon why Jesus decides to speak in this particular way to this particular woman. But I want to express one strong opinion that I do have about this exchange. Jesus is not making this conversation painless. In terms that are not easy for us to understand, Jesus is communicating that he did not come here to this world to meet the physical needs of this woman or her people.
Suffice it to say, Jesus does not treat the healing of this woman as he does others in the book. In order to understand this exchange better, there are some important observations I think it’s good to keep track of. Number one, this woman is persistent, and she is tenacious. Secondly, the disciples grow tired of her and her pleading, and they asked Jesus to send her away. Likely, I’m sure there was like, Jesus, can you just heal her and send her away? Okay. But Jesus refuses because he was sent first to the Jews, which is true. That is true. But we’ve already seen him in this book heal the servant of a centurion, both of whom were gentiles. But the woman persists. Keep in mind, at this point, she has called him Lord. She kneels before him in supplication she has followed the same pattern as a centurion. Then Jesus says something that modern readers cannot but hear as wildly insulting. He calls her a dog, a mongrel companion to the Jews. He cannot give the food that should go to the Jewish children first to their pets. My belief is that Jesus is testing this woman, and he’s testing this audience, and he’s testing us as we read it. And in so doing, he is demonstrating to all those around them how faith actually looks. Faith is not entitled. Faith is not easily offended. Faith is unassuming, and it does not give up. And because she is not entitled, nor does she believe she deserves his help she remains unoffended. She replies without bitterness, but she replies with intelligence and with faith. And Jesus says again in this chapter that he is amazed by the faith of yet another non Jew and he heals her daughter.
Jesus has shown over and over again in the narrative that entitled people will be surprised by their own exclusion when the time comes for us all to need an advocate, because we will all be judged. We will all be found wanting and guilty. And at that point we will all be in desperate need.
This woman, whether she had been a Jew or a Gentile, understood a few things. What other people thought of her meant nothing. She understood that God did care about her and that fact was all that mattered to her. And from that position of her own understood need and helplessness, she sought out God with relentless persistence. She came to Jesus without affectation, without presumption. And she came to Jesus wearing no mask.
It is the meek who inherit the earth, not the brat, not the embittered, and not the self delusional privileged. And in his mysterious ways, he takes those actors who have left their performances behind and he lifts them up. Jesus loves the people that do not pretend to be something more than what they are. Those that are not obsessed with being seen in a certain light or a certain way. Those whose greatest validation comes from God, not from this world, and those who take off their masks he gives grace and he gives it in abundance.
After I called my evangelist to confess the sin of my girlfriend at the time and I just dreaded going back to Massachusetts. I remember it’s a 15 hours drive from Fort Wayne, Indiana back to Amherst, Massachusetts. And we left on a Saturday night, drove through the night so that we could make it to church for Sunday morning. And there was a part of me that was just praying for traffic, praying for the car to break down because I didn’t want to go to church. And I definitely did not want to go to our leaders meeting after church. But we made it in time. We go to church and everyone’s like, how was Thanksgiving? And I was like, Ah, it was. And I’m just getting more and more nervous. I go up to Tom after church and I’m like, hey Tom, can we talk? That’s the evangelist. He goes, I’ll tell you what, we’ll talk. We’ll talk at the leaders meeting. During the leaders meeting I was like, during the leaders meeting? I didn’t like the sound of that. And so after church, everyone goes to lunch. We have people coming who are visiting for the first time. We get them home and then we go to the leaders meeting and we’re in the leaders meeting and my heart is just racing. I don’t want to be there. And we’re going through some of the stuff that we’re talking about. And at one point, Tom gets up and everyone is sharing good news.
And then Tom goes, hey, I got something to say. And he goes, I want to lift somebody up here. And you know, sometimes you come across people who are who are very genuine in their faith, who love God, who are honest and who are passionate. He goes I want to lift up Chris and Megan. And I’m like I’m sitting there watching him. I’m like, Wait, I did confess. I’m pretty sure I confessed. Like, this is going to be so bad if he didn’t understand that what I was confessed. Like, did I say it right?
And he goes, this is a couple that is to be admired, to be imitated, for their honesty, for their passion for God, for their pursuit of righteousness. And it’s the first time I had experienced this public display of grace. And nobody else knew. Nobody else knew what was going on. I’m sitting here, like, trying not to cry, and I’m also a little bit nervous that I did forget to confess. And he goes through it all. And in that moment, I realized this is what it is to live as a disciple, to be imperfect, to be a mess, but to be honest. To desire to repent, to desire to change, to desire transformation. I’ll tell you what, as he’s talking right there in my mind, I’m like, I am never messing up again in my life. I’m never doing this again, and I never did.
And we got married. We’ve been married for 25 years now. We have five kids. It’s been great. But that moment changed my entire understanding of what it was we were doing and what it was we were offering this world, because this is not what the world offers its people.
The world offers its people condemnation. It offers it penalty. It offers it retribution. And what God is saying is, come to me. Be honest. Take off the mask and let me give you something worthy. Let me give you a new person. Let me give you a new sense of self, let me give you a new identity, and let me give you hope. But you have to come to me real. You got to take off all of the versions of yourself and be honest.
God does surprising things when we decide not to wear our masks. Besides, it’s exhausting to wear disguise day after day after day, and all just to win the fickle approval of a world that will turn its attention away from you in a heartbeat. It’s a relief to step off the stage, take off your disguise and stop hiding. Jesus did not come and sacrifice everything only to receive a version of you that is not the full and truest sense of who you are. \
We’re going to take up communion right now.Let’s go to God in prayer.
Father, we are so grateful to be able to come to you honest and true. God, we are so grateful for the promise of forgiveness and the promise of grace. As we take up the bread, we remember the life that Jesus led, the way that he talked to people, the way that he drew people out. He convinced people that they could be honest, that they could be real, and that there was something in forgiveness waiting for them. There was something in the grace that was waiting for them that would make them whole again.
God, help us to be those that deliver that message. And please help us to be those that live out that message. God, as we take up the fruit of the vine, we remember the sacrifice he made and the blood that was drawn as a sacrifice for our sins. God, I pray in joy for that sacrifice. Today we sit at a table of celebration, enjoying the benefits of forgiveness, of mercy, and of grace. Help us never to forget it. Help us never to dishonor the sacrifice with a life that is not genuine. I love you so much, God. Thank you for your son and thank you for church. We love you. It’s in your son’s name we pray.