Christ the King A: Surprised by God…Again!

Matthew 25:31-46 Dear Partner in Preaching, What surprises me about this familiar and daunting passage is, well, the surprise. The surprise of both groups alike. Think about it: “when did we…” and “when didn’t we…” are only a sliver apart. Neither group denies its behavior. One group did indeed feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, visit the imprisoned and more. But they didn’t think much of it. And the other group did not do these things…and did not think much of it either. So they’re not surprised by the report of their actions. Rather, they are surprised that the Son of Man was present, which I find incredibly...

John 3:18-21

Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds...

Christ the King A: The Unexpected God

Dear Partner in Preaching, Do you like surprises? I’ll be honest, I’m a little conflicted about them. Actually not all that conflicted, as I really like surprising others – with an unexpected visit or gift, for instance – but I really don’t like being surprised myself. A bit hypocritical, perhaps, but there you go. I think it’s that I like being prepared, feeling more or less ready for what’s coming, and surprises undermine that kind of confidence. I ask this question because I think this passage turns on the matter of surprises. Notice that both those identified as sheep and those named goats are surprised by what Jesus says....

Matthew 13:36-43

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom;...

Matthew 12:43-45

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting-place, but it finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along...