Jesus’ Scandalous Acts of Righteousness
A Sermon on Matthew 8:1-13
The gospel of Matthew provides an antidote to the domestication of Jesus, any attempt to make him more palatable to middle class Americans. Mark Labberton calls it “the smelling salts gospel.” He calls our attention to the accounts of Jesus deeds in Matthew 8:1-13 directly following his powerful words in Matthew 5-7. We see confirmation of Jesus unique authority in that he enacts what he says. The two stories of this passage show Jesus redefining what true righteousness is, a purity of love that scandalously reaches past ritualistic or political boundaries to bring love and compassion to those who are outsiders. Labberton challenges our own tendency to avoid those who might “bum us out,” and encourages us to act according to Jesus teaching and example in this gospel. He asks, do our lives make our words a work of fiction?
Dr. Mark Labberton was named president of Fuller Theological Seminary as of July 1, 2013, after serving as Lloyd John Ogilvie Associate Professor of Preaching and director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute of Preaching since 2009. He has authored the books The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor: Seeing Others Through the Eyes of Jesus (2010) and The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice (2007). He has published articles in periodicals such as Christianity Today and Radix, as well as Leadership Journal, for which he also serves as contributing editor.