The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Judica Sunday, The Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2017. John 8:46-59


Judica Sunday, The Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2017


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Savings Time


The Hymn #12                 This Day at Thy Creating Word
                                     
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #40            The God of Abram Praise

                          
The Great I AM

The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #410               Jesus Lead Thou On           

       

KJV Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

KJV John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Exodus 3:2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Prayer
O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee, that of Thine infinite mercy Thou hast instituted this Thy sacrament, in which we eat Thy body and drink Thy blood: Grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not receive this gift unworthily, but that we may confess our sins, remember Thine agony and death, believe the forgiveness of sin, and day by day grow in faith and love, until we obtain eternal salvation through Thee, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Great I AM

KJV John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 

As Luther said in his sermons, the Books of Moses are the goldmine from which the New Testament draws the divinity of Christ. There is no greater proof of that claim than this passage from the Gospel of John, which draws from the Exodus and from the stories of the patriarch Abraham.

The teaching of Jesus involved a lot of argumentation, but not the normal kind that rationalists expect. For that reason they miss the point and mock what He is saying. The arguments center on Jesus as the Son of God and source of righteousness. No  one lacking faith can follow them. That also alerts us to a simple fact - Many church leaders are like the Pharisees of the past, dealing with the Word all the time but never believing it. 

In these verses, hearing means more than the sound of the words. We all listen without hearing, or is it - hear without listening? That is why Chemnitz wrote about listening in sincerity, that is, taking in the truth of God's Words, concentrating on them and receiving them as the truth of God's revelation.

Since the Books of Moses are a goldmine, we should treat each fleck as a flake of gold, as the miners did in California, washing down hills to extract the gold found in flakes.

If we read the Fourth Gospel carefully and repeat this action many times, we realize how much John is completely rooted in the Books of Moses, from John 1 explaining Genesis 1 onward. The serpent was lifted up, so must Jesus be lifted up. Abraham was the example of faith in Genesis 15, for believing God's great promises (not just the promise of a son) and Abraham is the turning point here.

Unbelievers cannot tolerate these words and reject them with scorn. They may be condescending and flattering at first. I have warned people to be just as cautious about the sugary soft tones as the raging red-faced dictator - both are signs of falsehood. 

Luther:

1. This Gospel teaches how hardened persons become the more furious, the more one teaches them and lovingly stirs them to do their duty. For Christ asks them here in a very loving way for a reason why they still disbelieve, since they can find fault neither with his life nor with his teaching. His life is blameless; for he defies them and says: “Which of you convicteth me of sin?” His teaching also is blameless; for he adds: “If I say truth, why do ye not believe me?” Thus Christ lives, as he teaches.

2. And every preacher should prove that he possesses both: first a blameless life, by which he can defy his enemies and no one may have occasion to slander his teachings; secondly, that he possesses the pure doctrine, so that he may not mislead those who follow him. And thus he will be right and firm on both sides: with his good life against his enemies, who look much more at life than at his doctrine, and despise the doctrine for the sake of the life; with his doctrine then for the kind of life he leads and will bear with his life for the sake of his teaching.

3. For it is indeed true that no one lives so perfect a life as to be without sin before God. Therefore it is sufficient that he be blameless in the eyes of the people. But his doctrine must be so good and pure as to stand not only before man but also before God.


48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.

This is a beautiful insult from the religious leaders, delivered with great skill. "Are we not correct in calling you a despised Samaritan, a pseudo-Jew, and possessed by Satan?" (Note the connection to the Parable of the Good Samaritan, where Jesus is the Samaritan.)

The purpose of a personal attack is to enrage the target, but Jesus responds calmly, knowing there is nothing to the charge. His answer involves several truths:

  • I am not possessed  - I honor God the Father, because I am the Son.
  • You dishonor Me by these words.
  • I am not glorifying myself but God, who will and does condemn you.
When an unbeliever mocks Jesus or the Word of God, he is not attacking the person but the Savior. "He who receives you, receives Me; he who receives Me receives the One who sent Me." Matthew 10

 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 

This is the greatest possible Gospel Promise, because death is the sum of all fears 
  1. the fear of losing everything and everyone
  2. the fear of living a meaningless life
  3. the fear of the unknown.
The response show how powerful this Gospel Promise is, because of unfaith to faith is bound to be volcanic, when the Promise comes directly from the Savior.

52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?

Although the response is boiling hot, every statement they deny is correct, so it is a type of warped confession, a confession in reverse, a denial of every point. The claims of Jesus prove to them He is demonic. That is important to realize in dealing with false teachers, because they react the same way.

Sometimes they run away and hide. At other times they use threats and bribery. When caught off-guard, they are clearly frightened. I confronted the two Fuller buddies in WELS, separately. One I asked, "Did you attend Fuller Seminary?" His face went all white and he was frightened. Valleskey denied it, but bragged about the fact later to his Church Growth pal in the CLC. The other admitted he went to Fuller and told how he used his great Fuller wisdom. I had some choice words to say about that, so Bivens went inside to sit with the ladies all evening. A pastor said, "That never happens, pastors do not sit with the wives." Later the braggart denied he ever went to Fuller.

Notice how the claim to being Abraham's descendants is irrelevant. Children by blood, because the faith of Jesus justifies. This is not a matter of genealogy in the flesh, but "from faith to faith." The faith of Jesus justifies because He accomplished all for us. Romans 3:22 KJV.

54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

Jesus warmed them up for a real sermon. These three verses are rather long, from a Gospel point of view, and they say a lot. The Father-Son relationship is crucial to the Fourth Gospel, elaborating on what is taught in the first three Gospels.


Matthew 11:27King James Version (KJV)27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Jesus is speaking a truth that they cannot bear, but it is consistent with everything taught in the Scriptures. He is not arguing but revealing. There is no argument here - that is, human reason cannot prove this or disprove it. From faith Jesus teaches for those who receive His message in faith. We might say that He spoke over the opposition to the believers. In this context we can understand more about His opponents and the false teachers of today, who do not trust the Word of God but fill the world with their words.


56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.

This is I AM statement is Jesus as God Incarnate speaking to the Jews, even more certainly that the Burning Bush (a symbol of the Two Natures) spoke to Moses. What is your name, Moses asked. God answered, "I AM. Tell them I AM sent you." That Name transcends all the pagan deities, modeled after stars, the moon, who knows what. 

Jesus is teaching them about the Incarnation, predicted in Isaiah 7 and 9, as they knew well. God with us. The Mighty God. The Everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace.

This also shows us that every time Jesus said, "I AM," he was NOT saying "It's me," but "I AM GOD." Why did the soldiers fall backwards when He said, "I AM"? Because they felt the power of His divinity expressed. Why He say this when He walked on water and approached them? Because it was to give them faith that as God He could speak the Word and calm the sea, walk on water, turn water into wine, and give us His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sin.

14. Therefore Christ proceeds farther and gives the ground and reason why it is just his Word and not the word of anyone else, that giveth life, and says it is because he was before Abraham, or in other words, because he was the one true God. For if the person who offered himself as a sacrifice for us were not God, it would not help or avail anything, even if he were born of the Virgin Mary and suffered a thousand deaths. But the fact that the Seed of Abraham, who gave himself for us, is also true God, secures blessing and victory for all sinners. Therefore Christ speaks, not of his human nature that they saw and experienced; for they could easily see he was not yet fifty years of age, and did not live before Abraham. But with that nature by which he existed long before the time of Abraham, by which he existed also before all creatures and before the whole world. Just as he was man according to his spiritual nature before Abraham, that is. in his Word and in the knowledge of faith was he in the saints; for they all knew and believed that Christ, as God and man, should suffer for us, as is written in Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and for ever;” and in the Revelation of John, 13:8: “The Lamb of God that hath been slain from the foundation of the world.” Yet now he is speaking here especially of his divine nature.

15. But here reason is terribly offended and becomes mad and furious because God should become man; this reason cannot harmonize and understand. And this is the article of faith to which the Jews still in our day can not reconcile themselves, hence they cannot cease their throwing stones and their blasphemy. But Christ also continues on the other hand to hide himself from them and to go out of their temple, so that they cannot see nor find him in the Scriptures, in which they search daily. Again, this narrative is not a little terror to all who are so foolhardy about the Scriptures and never approach them with a humble spirit. For even in our day it happens that many read and study in the Scriptures and yet they cannot find Christ, he is hid and has gone out of the temple. And how many there are who say with their mouth that God is become man, and yet they are without the Spirit in their hearts; who whenever tested, prove that they were never in real earnest. This is sufficient on this subject.

59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Opponents of the Gospel would like to kill, and they do so all over the world, but it is still illegal here. They use other methods to silence the Gospel. Jesus did not hide Himself away out of fear but prevented the ultimate confrontation, which was not yet time to fulfill. 

Going through the midst of them means that His divine nature was not limited by His human nature (both united in the One Person). That also teaches us about Holy Communion and how He can be bodily present in the elements, without worrying about limits of time, place, and locked windows or doors.

This is a Gospel of faith versus unfaith. We can see how unbelievers react because their trust in in their own righteousness. Thus anyone who denies faith is confessing he is saved by his own works. Their pride and arrogance ultimately undo them.