yearB proper 19
Mark 8:27-38 - Preconceived Ideas
Could you believe what the news reported this week? [Pause here] You ask, what news report are you talking about preacher: The one that said $87 billion dollars is an admission of the presidents failed policy in Iraq, or the one that said $87 billion shows the presidents serious resolve in finishing what he started in Iraq? Or the report that said the United Nations is now being asked to come in and clean up our mess, or the one that said the United Nations is being asked to participate because the world should be involved in this process; we are trying not to “Go it alone.”
How the news is reported depends not so much on the events as it does the preconceived ideas of the reporter. Rev. Thomas Tyndale came to understand this firsthand when he received a phone call from Attica State Prison in upper New York. A riot had taken place and rebelling prisoners were now in control of Cell Block D taking a number of guards hostage. Rev. Tyndale was requested to sit on a Board designed to start bargaining negotiations between the prisoners and the authorities, negotiations quickly broke down, the result is history. The prison was stormed by police and when the smoke cleared 41 dead bodies, both guards and prisoners, lay scattered across the courtyard in the worst prison disaster in the history of the United States. In his book on this tragic incident Tyndale discusses reasons why negotiations broke down: “Everyone came with their own preconceived idea about the situation, all of which proved wrong,” wrote the minister. “No one fully understood the great gulf which existed between the guards and the prisoners.”
Wrong preconceived ideas. That pretty well sums up the situation as Jesus came on the scene as Messiah. Everyone had his own idea just who the Messiah was and how he would bring about this Kingdom. The problem is that no one really understood the real Jesus.
But hasn’t this always been a perennial problem. In the parable of the prodigal son the real tragedy of the story was not the open rebellion of’ the younger son or the jealous envy of the elder brother. The real tragedy was that neither one of them really understood the father. This was certainly one of the problems of the one talent man in the parable of the talents. He went to the master and said: “I knew you were a hard man reaping where you did not sow.” He just didn’t understand the master.
As it was then so it is now. So few understood Jesus; so few understand him today. Why is this? The answer? Wrong preconceived ideas. Take a look with me at the...
1. The preconceived ideas of the first century Jew.
2. The preconceived ideas of the twenty-first century Christian.
3. Answering correctly the question: Who do you say I am?