06.23.14 The Hinge in the Gospel Luke 9:1-6, 10-17 Sermon Summary
Most people know that the word “gospel” means good news. That’s only half of the story.
In this narrative description of “the gospel” according to Luke’s Gospel, Jesus sends his disciples into villages where they are to minister if they are welcome. They are to “proclaim the kingdom of God,” which includes not only good news but good acts as well. This is a depiction of the whole gospel—not just the good news about God’s kingdom come in Christ, but the enactment of that kingdom in the healing of the world.
After this mission, Christ invites the disciples to Bethsaida for a time of rest. Mission and ministry must be balanced by Sabbath rest and restoration. However, their rest doesn’t last long, for the crowds hear about their location and come with their needs. Jesus teaches and heals them. It is a confirmation of both aspects of kingdom—good news and good acts.
A further message to us today, beyond the gospel being both good news and good acts, is that we can trust God’s providence when needy people approach us. The Sabbath planned by Jesus for the disciples is interrupted when the needy crowd comes. Jesus trusts this interruption and cares for them. He doesn’t view it as an inconvenience; it is a divinely orchestrated opportunity. He helps the disciples see it this way, breaks down the ministry into manageable tasks (“have the crowd sit in groups of fifty”), and feeds the multitude.
With this description of the gospel in mind, we see that the Lord’s Table is the hinge in the gospel. Here it is that we remember the good news of the gospel of Christ—how God came to us in Christ, lived with and taught us, died in obedience to the kingdom of God, freed us from sin, and rose from the dead. This good news is what we rehearse in obedience to Christ’s command to “do this in remembrance of me.”
But this Table also sends us forth, into the villages of our lives, where there are people who need us to perform the good acts of the gospel. This is why the Table is necessary to the church’s worship. The gospel isn’t just good news for the church, it is good acts by the church for the sake of the world. The Table reminds us of and equips us for this ministry. The Lord’s Table is the “Bethsaida” of the church today, the place where Christ gathers us from our ministries in order to restore and feed us for our ministry in the coming week.