Latest sermons by this teacher

Dan Olson. PHD
Matthew 5:1-12
15 mins 47 secs
Views: 773
We repeat these familiar words every Sunday, and what Jesus says here is commonly referred to as "the summary" of the Law (or of the Old Testament). I will admit that "summary" cannot be called an inaccurate description, and indeed there are other New Testament texts that seem to support that characterization; nevertheless, is "summary" really the most accurate way of describing what Jesus is saying in this text? He doesn't say that the two commandments, to love God and to love our neighbor, serve as a summary of the Old Testament but that all that is in the Law and in the Prophets "hang" on them, which is not exactly the same thing. Or is it? This Sunday we will see if the distinction is merely a matter of splitting hairs or if it matters in some way. After all, if we're going to affirm something every time we worship together, it behoves us to understand what we are saying as best we are able.
Dan Olson. PHD
Luke 17:11-19
11 mins 41 secs
Views: 119
This Sunday's Gospel reading is from Luke 17, telling the familiar story of the ten lepers who came to Jesus for healing. All were healed, but only one of the ten returned to give thanks to God for the miracle, and moreover he was a despised Samaritan. The lesson for us readers seems self-evident: we ought always to actively give thanks to God for the blessings we receive from his hand, and we should not be like the ungrateful nine, denying God the praise he deserves for his grace and mercy. But is that all there is to it? If the story is intended as an exhortation to behave in a certain way, it seems to be missing a key element: motivation. What penalty is there for ingratitude, and conversely, what reward is there for gratitude? The answers to these questions are not easy to find in the story. The key must lie in the very end, where Jesus tells the grateful ex-leper that his faith has made him well. This is not an unusual way for Jesus to end one of these encounters. Do we really understand what he means?
Dan Olson. PHD
John 16:12-15
14 mins 54 secs
Views: 111
Often we are told that we humans have a grotesquely inflated sense of our importance. We are reminded that our planet is but a tiny speck of dust within a vast universe of stars and galaxies which present us with sizes and distances beyond our ability even to imagine. Is it really believable that the Lord of all the Cosmos should be personally concerned with such microscopic creatures as ourselves, floating as we are within the immense, dark oceans of space? The author of Psalm 8 wonders about this too, and yet he recognizes that our smallness is only half of the story. What does he know that we don't?