Sermons

Judica—Lent 5 (Jn 8:46-59)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

“A ram for an Isaac.” That’s our focus now until Easter. Payment must be made. Justice served. “An eye for an eye.” “A tooth for a tooth.” “A ram for an Isaac.” That’s the glory of God—true glory. That’s Abraham’s joy—true joy. No other way than the Ram’s way, the Son’s way, the Calvary way. So, we put away trappings of other glory that shifts our eyes and minds away from the true joy and glory of the cross. First, no “Alleluia.” Then, no “Glory be to God on high.” And now, no “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.”

Judica. “Vindicate me, O Lord.” “Declare me innocent!” His glory is to do exactly that. No other way for Him. There must be payment, sacrifice. Justice must be served. That’s the Ram’s way, the Son’s way, the Calvary way. That cross really is Jesus’ glory, His coronation. The joy of Abraham, too! “A ram for an Isaac.” But not just Abraham, you too! Your joy! A Ram, the Lamb of God, for you. That’s Genesis and John, and it all—like everything else—comes together at the cross.

ABRAHAM’S JOY—YOUR JOY!—AND JESUS’ GLORY IS THE CROSS.

((I. The cross is the fulfillment of God’s Word and Promises.))

That ABRAHAM’S JOY—YOUR JOY!—AND JESUS’ GLORY IS THE CROSS is the fulfillment of God’s Word and Promises. That’s what the Lord is all about—that sort of Word and Promise. Word and Promises that point to Abraham’s joy and Jesus’ glory—the cross.

That’s the sort of Promises the Lord gave: “I will put enmity…between your seed and her Seed; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.” This promise was again given to Abraham: “In you and your Seed all families on earth will be blessed.” “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”

All these promises of a Savior who would come through him and Isaac filled Abraham with joy: “Abraham rejoiced to see my day,” Jesus says, “He saw it and was glad.” Abraham had an ear toward the promises of God in the coming Savior, just like every like everyone else who is “of God.” Just like Jesus said, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God,” that is, His preaching and promises.

Abraham did in the offering up of Isaac, as Hebrews says, “He who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead.” Our Old Testament lesson isn’t an obedience text. No Jesus, there. It’s a faith text, a promise text. Abraham believed these promises with joy, and he most certainly received that new another promise: “A ram for an Isaac,” a ram for all!

Jesus cherished these Words and Promises of God. He gave them! “Before Abraham existed, I AM.” He cherished His Father’s Word. “I know Him and cherish His Word.” Jesus lived the picture of Abraham and Isaac: ascending Moriah (Moreiah’s where Jerusalem is built), carrying the wood of His cross, being the Lamb of God, crowned with thorns, taking away the sins of the world.

All of God’s Word and all of His Promises pointed to that moment: Ram/Lamb of God crucified for Adam and Eve; for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for you and me; for the entire world! That’s what the Lord is all about—that sort of Word and Promise. Word and Promises that point to Abraham’s joy and Jesus’ glory—the cross. ABRAHAM’S JOY—YOUR JOY!—AND JESUS’ GLORY IS THE CROSS, just like God promised.

((II. The cross is Jesus’ true glory and source of eternal joy.))

ABRAHAM’S JOY—YOUR JOY!—AND JESUS’ GLORY IS THE CROSS. It really is so. Abraham trusted the promises of a Savior and that He would come through Isaac, but there’s obviously joy because of a stand-in. Isaac doesn’t pay the price. Abraham doesn’t pay the price. You don’t pay the price, either—not even for forgetting the Lord’s promises, not having full ears on them.

For all that payment, there is the Ram. There’s Jesus. And it is His glory to be that Ram, that Stand-in. Jesus says earlier in John 8: “When you have exalted the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM.” There He is lifted up, seated on His throne, entered into His kingdom. The Stand-in’s glory is being the stand-in.

We rejoice that there is a stand-in, and because He was our stand-in, we trust Him. Jesus died and rose just like He said He would. “He told the truth,” and the Father confirmed it. The Father sought the Son’s glory and raised Him from death. He vindicated His Son, declared Him innocent by raising Him from the dead.

Judica. “Vindicate, O Lord.” He declares you innocent in His Son. Innocent of sin. He vindicates you from death, too. As His Son rose, you will rise from the dead, too. Dead. Then, not! That’ll be you. As we prayed in the Psalm: “God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.” That’s Jesus for you.

There’s eternal, never-ending joy here. For all this we will praise and thank the Lord forever. Abraham was overjoyed! You too! Of course! That’s the cross. Jesus’ glory is doing it. Joy there too! His and yours! ABRAHAM’S JOY—YOUR JOY!—AND JESUS’ GLORY IS THE CROSS.

The cross. That’s Jesus’ glory—true glory. That’s Abraham’s joy—true joy. Your joy, too. No other way than the Ram’s way, the Son’s way, the Calvary way. So, we put away trappings of other glory that shifts our eyes and minds away from the true joy and glory of the cross. First, no “Alleluia.” Then, no “Glory be to God on high.” And now, no “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.”That’s our focus now until Easter.

Judica. “Vindicate me, O Lord.” “Declare me innocent!” His glory is to do exactly that. Not just Abraham’s joy—your joy, too! Yes, “an eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.” Payment must be made. Justice served. “A ram for an Isaac.” And, of course, that’s Jesus’ cross—His glory—for you, but even more! Not “eye for eye,” not “tooth for tooth,” not even “ram for Issac,” but that Ram’s“body and blood for you.”

INI + AMEN.

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