Sunday, March 29, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009 Lent V John 8:46-59
"Who of you all convicts me concerning sin? If the truth I speak, through what do you yourselves not believe in Me? The one being of God, the word of God that one hears; through this, you yourselves do not hear, because of God, you are not." Answering, the Jews also said to Him, "Do we not rightly say that, a Samaritan You are, and a demon you have?" Jesus answered, " I myself do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, yet you dishonor Me! And I Myself do not seek My glory; there is One seeking and judging. Amen, amen I say to you, If ever someone safeguards My word, death, no, he will not taste into the ages." The Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon; Abraham died, also the prophets; yet You say, ‘if every someone safeguard My word, no, he will not taste death into the ages.' You are not greater than our father, Abraham, who died; also the prophets died. What do You make of yourself?" Jesus answered, "If ever I Myself glorify Myself, , My glory is nothing; it is My Father who is glorifying Me, of Whom your yourselves say that He is our God; And you do not know Him, but I Myself know Him. And if ever I would say that I do not know Him, I would be like you–a liar; but I know Him, and His word I safe-guard. Abraham, your father, rejoiced in order to see My day, and he saw and was glad." Then the Jews said to Him, "Fifty years you do not yet have, yet Abraham you have seen?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham came to be–I AM!" Then the picked up stones in order to throw upon Him, but Jesus was hidden, and he went out of the Temple.
One time the Jehovah's Witlesses came to my door in a feeble attempt to prove that Jesus wasn't God. So we opened up to today's text, and they let me read out of my King James' Bible, "before Abraham was–I Am! Well, that proved to them that the KJV was simply apostasy, since it used such poor grammar. They opened up their New World Translation which read, "before Abraham was, I was". Then I opened up my Greek NT and showed them Jesus used bad grammar on purpose!
Now this is where my wife will probably get mad at me, English major that she was back in college. Jesus used bad grammar, and it was a good thing! For it was the very best way He could make His point before the Jewish leaders. He used God's name from the Old Testament, Yahweh, which is translated *I AM*. This was pure blasphemy to the Jews, Jesus claiming to be the same as the Father, so they did what they thought was right, and grabbed rocks in attempt to stone Him to death.
Jesus evaded death at this juncture, only to embrace it at a later date. For Jesus was correct in telling the Jews that Abraham rejoiced in looking forward to Good Friday. Abraham even predicted it to his son Isaac. "God will provide Himself, the Lamb" Literally, from the Hebrew, it reads, "God will *see* Himself, the Lamb." That's just what happened. Jesus, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world was seen by His Heavenly Father looking down, forsaking Him at the cross for you.
God the Father beheld God the Son giving up His life as a ransom for many on Calvary's hill. There as the High Priest, Jesus is the Lamb of God slain to purchase eternal redemption for you; not with gold or silver, but with His body given, and His blood shed for your forgiveness. Jesus was that spotless Lamb which God alone could provide, the only perfect, sinless sacrifice there is. Without His Own blemishes, He takes your sins upon Himself on the tree, and is forsaken by God in your place.
Only God is perfect. God alone is holy. That's why God had to become man, to suffer and die in the once and for all sacrifice instead of Isaac, and in your place too! Into the holy temple of His body, your sins were taken. He died your death on the cross to cleanse your conscience from sin and death in Holy Baptism. Washed clean, pure and holy, you are given life in exchange for Jesus' death, that promised eternal inheritance which awaits you in the paradise above–the kingdom of heaven!
Yes, before Abraham ever came to exist, Jesus was already the Great I Am, the God of creation Whose plan it was to redeem the world at the cross. And that redemption is yours, given you as a free gift from the message of His loving gospel word. Not only that, but God has blessed you to be a God-fearer like Abraham, for He has worked faith in your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit; so that you may safe-guard that saving word entrusted to you, believing it with your whole heart.
You who believe that Word, and keep it safe in your hearts, belong to God. You are of God–that is–of Jesus, Who is God-in-the-flesh, the great I Am. In Him you live, never to taste death, forever!
Today's Hymns from LSB:
#429 We Sing the Praise of Him Who Died
#430 My Song is Love Unknown
#437 Alas and Did My Savior Bleed