J. Hugh Magers

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Sermons and Bible Studies

Born In Us, Christmas Day (I) – 2000

December 25, 2000

Think about it. A pregnant unwed teenage girl is going with her boyfriend to a strange town. The baby is born while they are there. They couldn’t find a proper place to stay, so they made do with a space in a stable. The girl believed that the baby was conceived through the action of […]

The Easter Text from St. Mark…, Easter Day (B) – 2000

April 23, 2000

The Easter text from St. Mark’s Gospel is remarkable for several reasons. First, some scholars do no think that it was originally part of St. Mark’s Gospel at all. They think that it was a “free floating” Resurrection story, not originally attached to any of the Gospels. But it had such power and authenticity the […]

Many Scholars Think…, Epiphany 4 (B) – 2000

January 30, 2000

Many scholars think that St. Mark’s Gospel was set down somewhere between 60 and 65 AD. The presumed primary audience is the Jewish Christian community, not in Judea, but perhaps in Rome. If these scholarly theories are true, then the story about Jesus’ authority takes on a special kind of power and import. If the […]

The Text from the St. John Gospel…, Epiphany 2 (B) – 2000

January 16, 2000

The text from the St John Gospel is a quintessential evangelism and mission text. First, Jesus said to Philip, “Follow me,” and he did! This is remarkable. It is just backwards from the way we are inclined to gather people into the Christian faith. There is a wonderful hymn by St. Richard of Chicester, commonly […]

Today’s Gospel Is a Feast…, Epiphany 1 (B) – 2000

January 09, 2000

Today’s Gospel is a feast of improbable and colorful images. There is a certified and certifiable wildman named John the Baptist. This John is perhaps the most colorful personality in all of Holy Scripture. Then there is a truly strange event. John baptizes Jesus, who does not need to be baptized. Finally, there is a […]

The Bad Boys Were Trying…, Proper 24 (A) – 1999

October 17, 1999

The bad boys were trying to trap Jesus. Actually, in the eyes of the society, they were supposed to be the good guys. They were the brightest and best. The Pharisees were people who observed all of the traditional standards and rituals of Judaism. They tithed. They were compassionate. They were moral. They were at […]

The Gospel Lesson is Hard…, Proper 20 (A) – 1999

September 19, 1999

This Gospel lesson is hard for those of us who are concerned about fairness. It seems to tell us that God is not fair. The story is simple: Jesus describes a hiring process. Some workers are hired early, some at mid-day, some in the afternoon, and some just before quitting time. At the end of […]

And in Anger…, Proper 19 (A) – 1999

September 12, 1999

And in anger the Lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do it to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart. This is not good news for those of us who have trouble […]

We Live in a Time…, Proper 17 (A) – 1999

August 29, 1999

We live in a time when there is a most peculiar notion generally present in our culture. It is the self-help notion. There are books by the crate-full, videotapes, audiotapes, and hundreds of devices and processes designed to assist us or guide us as we help ourselves. We can gain weight, lose weight, become a […]

This Text Ends With a Puzzle…, Proper 16 (A) – 1999

August 22, 1999

This text ends with a puzzle. Peter has named Jesus as God’s own anointed one. The language used here is “Messiah.” It means the anointed one. But then Jesus tells his disciples not to tell anyone that he is the Messiah. Why? There are several theories. One is that it was not time for this […]

The Gospel Appointed to Be Read…, Proper 28 (C) – 1998

November 15, 1998

The Gospel appointed to be read this Lord’s day is harsh, strikingly harsh. One of the theories as to why it is harsh is related to the probable date of Luke’s Gospel. Luke’s Gospel was assembled probably around 75 AD. This is roughly 40 years or so after the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. If […]

This Parable of Jesus…, Proper 24 (C) – 1998

October 18, 1998

This parable of Jesus is commonly called the story of the unjust judge and the widow. It is a troubling parable. It ends with the promise that “justice will come quickly.” If you are satisfied that justice has come then you are excused from listening. Please pray, while not listening, for those of us who […]

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Christopher Sikkema