The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Second Mid-Week Vespers Service, 2015



Second Mid-Week Lenten Vespers, 2015


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Worship, 7 PM Central Time 

The Hymn #649    Jesus Savior Pilot Me                3.80
The Order of Vespers                                             p. 41
The Psalmody                   Psalm 23                    p. 128
The Lections                            The Passion History
                                                 John 6

The Sermon Hymn #370   My Hope Is Built           3.70

The Sermon –     I AM That Bread of Life
 
The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                            p. 45

The Hymn #653        Now the Light Has Gone Away               3.30

John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.


I AM That Bread of Life

John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

The seven I AM passages are very important for the Gospels. The Fourth Gospel clearly supplements the first three and assumes knowledge of those Gospels. John's Gospel could be seen as an elaboration on the others and a commentary on them. Since the author was an apostle and close to Jesus, even taking care of His mother in Ephesus, the importance of the added material can hardly be emphasized enough.
John's Gospel is both sermonic and poetic. The Gospel is more sermonic because the readers or hearers already know most of the narrative. The sermons are poetic, reflecting Hebrew poetry and a style that makes them easy to memorize. Very few Bibles line them out like poetry, but they clearly have that the kind of poetry we see and memorize easily in the Psalms.
The theme of John's Gospel is faith. The noun and verb are the most frequent in the New Testament and very frequent in this Gospel. 
The verses above are clearly in complete harmony with the end of the Gospel and John 16:8ff. The foundational sin is not believing. Therefore, this Gospel was written especially to promote and nurture faith.
Believing is forgiveness, and forgiveness is salvation and eternal life. No one can separate this theme from any section of John's Gospel.
Luther knew this Gospel well and saw through the efforts of others to supplant faith, to make it secondary, and insert their form of works, which eliminates grace.
Why are people less gracious today? They do not hear about true grace. They hear the word endlessly, but not the meaning. Grace plus works is not grace, it is the Law.
This little exchange is very powerful, which is why the false teachers have to ignore it. Doing the works of God - that does not mean building another cathedral or funding another charity. 
This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
That is where the Gospel begins and ends, not without fruit. Not at all. The fruit of faith is the only good, wholesome and spiritual fruit. But the tree is not fruitful without faith.
The Father-Son relationship is constantly emphasized in this Gospel. Faith means believe in God the Father, Who sent the Only-Begotten Son. That sounds odd to some, to say that. Don't we all know it? No.
The foundation of disbelief, apostasy, starts with "I cannot believe in a god who lets his son die on a cross." The modernist theologians cannot get rid of the cross, so they re-invent it and make it a symbol of Jesus' transparency, so we can see God (whatever that means!) or some other rationalistic nonsense, spoken with great piety and emotion.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
The transition is very telling - doubt. What miracle do you have to prove who you are, that we may see and believe? In other words - we do not believe, but we have a miracle for you to try for us.
This is always the plea of doubters - God must do something they demand, to prove He is God. For that reason their prayers will not be answered.
This is what sets up the sermon by Jesus. They demand manna, which is a minor miracle for God, but Jesus is the Bread of Life and tells them so.
First He defined the true Bread of Life -

32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
Then He said clearly - 
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
As anyone can see, this is becoming a clash between teaching faith and the doubting reaction.
39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
The message is one of comfort, and yet it irritates those who do not believe. This is a litmus test - If someone halts and does not like part of the message, then he does not believe what Jesus said. There is no book, essay, or statement outside the Bible that trumps what Jesus said here.
We can also see how the simple words of Jesus (simple in vocabulary and grammar, profound in meaning) soar higher and higher as He speaks. 
Jesus gathered the crowds with His profound revelation of Himself as the source of righteousness. The people were told they could never be as pious, as scholarly, and as strict as the Pharisees. They could never have that kind of righteousness. And Jesus told them that righteousness meant nothing - they only needed to believe in the Father Who Sent Him to receive forgiveness, eternal life, and salvation. 
This is the grace others praise but seldom teach. Their law demands always creep in, even when they talk grace and tack on faith as a supplement to their New Moses talk (coaching, achieving goals, that kind of baloney). 
This chapter is a sermon that we can read and meditate upon. One measure of the Gospel is how we react - or rather it is a measure of us. If we find comfort and peace in these Words of Jesus, then we believe the message as from God Himself, as it is. If we fight against it, doubt it, demand proofs, or reject parts of it, then the Spirit is convicting us of unbelief.
Anyone who has trouble with John's Gospel is being convicted of unbelief by the Holy Spirit. The answer is more Gospel of John, more meditation upon the Fourth Gospel, prayerful study of faithful authors to help. Any Luther sermon is worth two dozen good books, and he would say better than his own scholarly works. The sermon is everything.
The entire Bible is a sermon about Jesus.