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
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #40 The God of Abram Praise
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 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.
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.
- the fear of losing everything and everyone
- the fear of living a meaningless life
- the fear of the unknown.
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.
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.