I kick off both sermons with a statement something to the effect of, ‘there are some difficult words in Scripture,” and there are. However, I am not talking about those words difficult to translate from Hebrew, Greek, and very occasionally Aramaic. I am not talking about wrestling with the Greek grammatical case able to say, “We have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved,” in a single word. No, I am talking about a very ordinary word. A word virtually all of us will understand pretty well.
The first verse in our Epistle lesson is this, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone”. (1 Timothy 2:1 NRSVA) The difficult word is “everyone.” Easy to understand, straightforward, what’s the problem? The difficulty is found in the sermon title, “What if I don’t want to pray for them?”
Both sermons work through what it might mean to pray for “everyone,” especially when the next verse specifically tells us to pray for kings and such. I also try to give a bit of context to the passage which might help us see how we really can pray for those people.
As always, let me know if you have any thoughts about either or both of the sermons.