Sermons

Judica (Jn 8:46–59)

April 2, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Who’s JESUS? It’s a question many people want to answer. People come up with all sorts of answers, and they’re usually based on their own preconceived ideas. Most of the time, people don’t want to listen to what JESUS has to say about Himself. Now, in the Gospel of John, JESUS is really clear about who He is. He says the same things in the other Gospels, but Matthew, Mark, and Luke have JESUS being more subtle. But in John, JESUS lets the cat out of the bag.

And there’s one thing you get from what JESUS says, there’s one thing He can’t be: a great moral teacher. That’s not JESUS—not the JESUS of the Gospels, anyway. You can either believe what He has to say, but if you don’t, there’s only two options for who JESUS: He’s either crazy, or He’s a liar. If He’s either of those, then He can’t be a great moral teacher.

So, who does JESUS claim to be? Well, from our Gospel text this morning, we’re confronted by what JESUS clearly says about Himself. JESUS confronts us with this:

JESUS, THE GREAT I AM, HONORS THE FATHER AND KEEPS HIS WORD.

JESUS, THE GREAT I AM, HONORS THE FATHER AND KEEPS HIS WORD.

((I. He honors the Father by confessing who He Himself is.))

JESUS calls the people out. Now, He doesn’t lay into them hard, but nevertheless He goes against their preconceived ideas. JESUS says something they already know: He’s done nothing wrong. He also claims to be speaking the truth. “Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?”

By speaking the truth, JESUS is honoring the Father. So, what does JESUS say to honor the Father? Well, it’s simple, He confesses that He’s Yahweh. It’s not that JESUS claims to be “God.” That’s true in some sense, but He’s claiming to be a very specific God, with a specific name, and a history of acting in certain way. He claims, again, to be Yahweh come in the flesh. Along with claiming to be Yahweh, JESUS says that He’s the Son. “I honor my Father,” He says. But then come the mic-dropping claim: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

JESUS claims to be Yahweh of the Old Testament walking around, talking to them face to face, doing all sorts of miracles. That’s JESUS claim. They get His claim. It’s why they were always trying to kill Him, as they did here: They picked up stones to throw at him. The big problem for them was: things JESUS was doing were things only Yahweh could be doing. He was healing the sick, He was curing lepers, He was forgiving sins, He was raising the dead. All those things prove one thing: JESUS is speaking the truth. It’s why no one could convict Him of sin: He only did good. He always spoke the truth: He never told a lie.

They didn’t believe. They rejected Him. “The reason why you do not hear is that you are not of God.” JESUS said. They wanted Him dead for what He said and did.

((II. He honors the Father by keeping His Word, and the Father honors Him for it.))

JESUS is the great I AM. His Word and deeds prove it. He honors the Father by confessing who He is. But He also honors the Father in another. He honors the Father by “keeping His Word.” That’s what JESUS says, ”I do know him and I keep his word.” He cherishes what He hears from the Father: “The One who is of God hears the words of God.” JESUS hears and cherishes, He guards it, and He fulfills it. That’s the true way JESUS keeps, that is, cherishes the Father’s Word: He fulfills it.

“Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” We heard about that in our Old Testament lesson: “Yahweh Himself will provide the Lamb.” Yahweh Himself is the Lamb. The only Son comes, and He becomes the sacrifice for sin in Isaac’s place, in Abraham’s place, in your place, my place. He’s “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” JESUS is the great I AM who’s come to die FOR YOU, and in this way He honors the Father. Because that’s the promise the Father made, it’s His Father’s will to save you, and so Jesus does that saving.

Because Jesus says what He says and does what He does, the Father honors Him. The Father resurrects the Son. He brings Jesus back to life once Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many. He wouldn’t be stoned, but He’d be led up to Mt. Moriah (yes, Mt. Moriah is Jerusalem), bound, carrying the wood for the sacrifice, Jesus would be the true sacrifice. He died, and three days later He came back to life.

Jesus honored the Father by what He said and did, and the Father honored Him (bringing Him back to life) for what He said and did. But what Jesus said and did wasn’t just for His Father. He said and did it all for you. That’s truly who Jesus is. Not a guide, not a teacher, not a moral example, but much more than that—JESUS, THE GREAT I AM, is your Savior.

JESUS, THE GREAT I AM, HONORS THE FATHER AND KEEPS HIS WORD. In doing this He saves you. He dies and rises for you. We cherish Jesus’ Word, and “If anyone cherishes My Word,” He says, “He will not see death forever.”

“Whoever is of God hears the words of God.” That’s you and me! We’re of God: redeemed, baptized, forgiven. We trust Him and His Word. We cherish it, when we cherish it we “won’t see death forever.” We may taste death, but we won’t see it forever because we’ve tasted, we eat and drink, Jesus’ body and blood, and He says, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise Him up on the Last Day.”

INI + AMEN.

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