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Sermon for 4 February


2 Samuel 12:1-13, Luke 4:14-21


Nathan was sent by God to meet with David.

Nathan was doing God’s business.

He was in an economy of Grace.

We as a society talk about being ‘sent to Coventry’, ‘sent to prison’

Sent being to cause, permit or enable to go

So who is causing us to go somewhere?

Who is permitting or enabling us to go?

The Lord sent Nathan – Nathan did not decide to go – he went because he was sent.

Jesus echoes that sending – ‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me’ – he has anointed me.

The word anointing has its origins in the practice of shepherds, lice and other insects would often get into the wool of sheep, and when they got near the sheep's head, they could burrow into the sheep's ears and kill the sheep. So, ancient shepherds poured oil on the sheep's head. This made the wool slippery, making it impossible for insects to get near the sheep's ears because the insects would slide off. From this, anointing became symbolic of blessing, protection, and empowerment.

In Luke Jesus again echoes what David did as a shepherd – the job of blessing, protecting and empowering others.

Jesus talks about proclaiming freedom for the prisoners

And recovery of sight for the blind

To release the oppressed.

What does this mean in our front lines – if we are sent and anointed by God, who are the prisoners and how are they imprisoned? Who are the blind and how are they blinded, who are the oppressed and the oppressors?

In our own church community, how do we recognise and speak to our blind spots? How do we release each other, how do we create freedom?

What Nathan said and did –

Nathan had an intimate knowledge of David – he knew the shepherd boy, the boy chosen by God to become King. He told a story that would call to that boy, to the ‘anointing’ he had been chosen to become for Israel.

The story created a reconnecting to the person that David was sent to be – it released him from the prison of being a king, from the blindness of what he was doing and allowed the oppression created by his behaviours to be released and redemption to occur. Despite the brokenness of what David had done, God gave him a son who would go on to rule and be a wise King.

If we look back to the life of David, he was oppressed, he was prosecuted and he became King. He then oppressed both Uriah and his wife, one who became Queen and one who died as a result of David’s actions. This is an echo of Christ crucified - to cruel nails he surrendered. It is Christ acting out his ultimate anointing – a story that goes beyond our own crucifying of each other. A story that takes us to transcendence of the repeat of a repeat of a repeat. It allows for an exception in the rules that paralyse us, it becomes a story of new life, of transformation, of new possibilities and futures.

It is a story made up of nails – in a recent visit to the Dali museum, I noticed that many of his paintings had nails embedded in them that seemed to originate from a paining in which Christ crucified had the nails falling away from him. He seemed to be suggesting that in the weave of fabric of life there is this incredible truth – of nails that are no longer needed, nails that are surplice to requirement, nails that are present, not because they are needed to crucify us, but rather to remind us of our own anointing, of the spirit of the Lord which is upon us, is within us and surround us, because Christ nailed it – once and for all.

We are anointed to nail it in our front lines, just as Jesus nailed it for us. As we start to move towards Easter we ask that you take a nail to carry in your pocket – as a reminder of your anointing in your front line to nail the truth that is the risen Christ. We invite you to bring the nail back to our Easter service where we can celebrate your anointing in the risen Christ.


Questions for you as you come and get a nail?

What are the stories of redemption in your front line?

How can you proclaim freedom for yourself, for others and for the wider world around you?

How can you perceive you own blind spots and those within society?

How can you release each other from oppressive ways of being, thinking, behaving?

How can you proclaim who God is by who you are on your front line?

How can you nail it?


Going deeper
  1. Re-read the story of Nathan and David from (2 Samuel 12:1-13). You might like to read the story that leads up to it (which you can find in 2 Samuel 11). What do you notice in the story?
  2. Thinking of what the sermon says about anointing, what might it mean for you to have been anointed to do what you do on your frontline? 
  3. Who are the prisoners and how are they imprisoned on your frontline? Who are the blind and how are they blinded? Who are the oppressed and how are they oppressed? Are there ways you are called to work for truth and justice in any of those situations?
  4. Are there patterns of behaviour that you notice - either in yourself, or on your frontline - that repeat oppressive behaviour? What do you need from Jesus to help break those patterns?
  5. How can you pray, either for yourself or for your small group, as you work for peace and justice on your frontline?
Posted: 04/02/2018 at 13:39
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