Sunday, October 03, 2021

The house of good repute

Sermon for the eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

The house of Windsor. The house of Tudor. The house of Stewart. The house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Here in the UK, these houses mean something to us. They are the royal dynasties. The last one is that of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. You'll notice that they each have a different bearing on British history. They each have a reputation. The Tudors are the reformers; the Stewarts are the monarchs struggling for power. And the Windsors? Time will tell.

Each house has a reputation made by its members and, perhaps, you might hear an older member of the house saying to his son, "remember, you have the family tradition to uphold!" The reputation is set by the elders and maintained, theoretically, by the juniors as they grow. To be a member of the house means to look back at the founding father and continue his legacy. The authority is backward pointing.


And what of the Messiah, the son of David? Well, surely any son of David would look to King David and seek to uphold his name? Any son of David would bow to David's good example, preserve that heritage and continue to uphold the principles. However, a reading of the Chronicles or the second book of Samuel shows us that many of the sons of David have not been worthy of the name. 

It's not altogether surprising why. King David, while a hero of the Hebrews, is deeply flawed. Even as a king, there are times when he lets his children behave appallingly to the extent that Absolom rebels against him and temporarily takes his crown. Every house has its skeletons in the closet. And these skeletons come back to haunt the generations that come after.


Yet, with David regarded as the hero, to be a son of David is a big deal. The Messiah is a son of David and the Jews hope that he will be very much the conquering hero that David is in their eyes. 

Our Lord Jesus, however, points out something odd about the Messiah. Psalm cx says "The Lord said unto my Lord..." The Messiah is the one whom King David calls, "Lord". Rather than the Messiah deferring to David as the head of the house, David recognises the Messiah a thousand years his descendant as his senior. The Messiah may be the son of David, but it is the Messiah who is head of the house.

This is why the Scribes and Pharisees are silenced. To admit this means that their reputation of David as the head of the Royal household is broken. It means their reliance on being from good families to bolster their standing in society is ruined. It means that the Man standing in front of them is the true head of the house and they do not like it. Jesus is the son of David. He is the Messiah. He is the Lord.


Again we see Jesus being the one after Whom the whole family of God is named. In Him we are related and it is His name that we bear and it is a good name.

I does mean that we do truly need to see everyone who calls themselves Christian as part of our family and treat them accordingly. This is what it means to be born again. In being baptised we are born into the family of God. We cease to be of the family of the world.

It also means that we need to see those who aren't Christian as being potential members of our family and treating them in such a way that they should want to be part of our family. The Scribes and Pharisees use the name of David to shut the door to salvation. Jesus uses the blood and water from His side to open that door and to make every human being who chooses to become a blood relation through the waters of Baptism.


The one outside the Church needs to be able to say, "see how these Christians love one another!" The one outside the Church needs to be able to recognise the head of the household in us. The one outside the Church needs to be able to see that he or she is welcome to become part of that family and this family will be brought to salvation in Christ Jesus.

If this is what the one outside the Church needs then how will you live your life to give them what they need. How will you prove that you are a member of the house of Jesus?

No comments: