The Glory Has Departed


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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mid-Week Lenten Service. 2016. Jesus the Son of God


Mid-Week Lenten Vespers, 2016

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson



The Hymn #145 -          Jesus Refuge of the Weary           
The Order of Vespers                                             p. 41
The Psalmody                   Psalm 23                  p. 128
The Lections                            The Passion History
                                                 John 1 
The Sermon Hymn #657        Beautiful Savior               

The Sermon –     Jesus the Son of God
 
The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                            p. 45

The Hymn #660 - Heaven Is My Home   

KJV John 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.  



Jesus the Son of God
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Two Natures in Christ have not been separated, ever since the Incarnation, but we can see that passages in the Bible emphasize one Nature, then the other, many times in the same section. For us is these times, it is good to consider the categories because people have denied one or the other. This rationalistic age denies and attacks the divine nature of Christ. Almost all the mainline theologians and scholars simply start from the concept of Jesus as a man, around Whom the early followers invented a religion. 
Many modern sermons presume the same, but people of faith hear the faith words and still believe. They hear the Scripture readings and still believe. Where the liturgy and creeds have not been kicked to the curb, and the hymns are still sung, those elements also strengthen faith in Jesus as the Son of God.

I read that John does not speak of the Virgin Birth, but that means ignoring the nature of the Fourth Gospel, which is to supplement Matthew Mark and Luke. John's Gospel goes beyond the Virgin Birth to reveal more about the pre-existence of the Son of God and His role in Creation, not to mention additional proclamation about the Trinity. To do this in a few verses, in such simple words, is beyond human ability, unaided by the Holy Spirit.

The first verse is Trinitarian, using the Word three times and making it clear in the following verses that Jesus is the Word of God - Logos in Greek. The Logos created everything in the universe. And in the style of Biblical revelation, there are no exception. "without him was not any thing made that was made."

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

This is a beautiful statement, because life really means eternal life. The Gospel brings eternal life to everyone who hears and believes, so it is the light of men also. The Gospel of John (like Paul) uses light and darkness to illustrate truth and error. The occult followers "send light" to their friends. One person was sending me light during a talk I gave - that is how low Lutheranism has sunk today.

There is only one Truth and only one Light. John's Gospel makes that absolutely clear. I told one classmate that he should study John's Gospel and forget about the shortcomings of the visible Christian Church.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
This is a prose interlude in the middle of the Logos hymn (or poem, or confession of faith.
How important was John the Baptist? He fulfilled Isaiah 40, so his arrival on the scene was the definite sign of the Messianic Age. That stirred the excitement of the people and the anger of the authorities, but it also prepared people for the coming of Jesus and His public ministry.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
So John turns back to Jesus the Son of God. John was not the Light - HE was te true Light. There is only one illumination, one enlightenment, one wisdom, and that is Christ the Light of all the living. 
Here is the paradox. He was in the world, the very world He created, and yet the world did know realize or acknowledge this. 
Even worse, He came to His own people and His own people did not believe in Him.
Although many Jews converted to Christ, the entire nation did not, which grieved Paul so much. Jesus wept over Jerusalem, knowing the tragedy they were buying by their rejection.
Receiving is an important word, parallel to believing. They are different words for the same concept. It is not making a decision. Christians are new Creations by the Word (creatures in KJV) not New Decisions. It is not an act of the will or intellect. But by hearing the Gospel our hearts are open to receive Him, to trust in Him for forgiveness and eternal life.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
One could say - as many as believed in Him... But the variation is a simple but profound way to emphasizing what we know to be true. The expression is very much like the Old Testament because receiving is used with believing.
Why name? Nothing is more important than a name. Every false god has a name, and nincompoops want to embrace them all, more like a divine lottery - one must be a lucky number. But there is only One Name by which we are saved. Or to use the exclusive expression of Acts 4:12 - By no other Name is anyone saved than by this one.
The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin - for not believing on Him, on His Name. We cast our cares on Him because He cares for us.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
This is the Incarnation, the Word (pre-existent) took on our flesh and dwelt among us. Let me be the first to note that this sounds exactly like the Virgin Birth but in different words. The Son born of Mary retained the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
This is the second prose interlude in the Logos Hymn.
16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [GJ - explained] him. 

Nothing is clearer than John's declaration of Jesus being the essence of God's grace, full of grace, overflowing with grace to give to all who believe in Him. Here is the important distinction between Moses (very important figure in John) and Jesus. The Law came from Moses, grace and truth from Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the best possible one to explain and show God the Father to us. The task of explaining the Scriptures, verse by verse, is called exegesis. Jesus is the only begotten Son - the exegesis of the Father.