Judica—Lent 5 (Jn 8, 42–49; Gen 22, 1–14; Heb 9, 11–15)

Photo by Kate Townsend on Unsplash

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Jesus said, “I haven’t done anything of My own accord, but [God the Father] sent Me.”

᛭ INI ᛭

We’re getting into the thick of it now. We’re on the last leg of the journey. Only a couple weeks away from the heart and soul of what Christianity’s all about—Supper in the Upper Room, Calvary, hanging dead on the cross, buried, empty tomb, resurrection from the dead.

None of this is from Jesus. He certainly did it, but it’s not from Him. Not from Him alone, at least. It’s not just His the things that Jesus says that are from God the Father. No, it’s His actions, too. Whatever Jesus says, it’s what His Father sent Him to say. Whatever Jesus does, it’s what His Father sent Him to do.

The Father wants things done, wants things said, wants things believed. God the Father has a will. The Father’s will is the Son’s will. What the Father wants—whatever the Father wants—Jesus says and does. None of that should surprise us because, well, it’s all wrapped up in who Jesus is. Not only who we think Jesus is, but who Jesus claimed to be. Really, who Jesus proved Himself to be.

((2. Jesus is the Son of the Father.))

Who’s Jesus? He’s the Son the Father. God is His Father. He is the eternal Son of God. He is this by nature. “Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by Whom all things were made.”

This is exactly what Jesus claims today. He claims God is His Father. “Making Himself equal with God.” (Jn 5:18) He went even farther today. Jesus pushes the envelope—right over the edge! “Before Abraham was εγώ ειμι.” Εγώ ειμι. I AM.

I AM: God’s name in the Old Testament. “I AM WHO I AM.” (Ex 3) And so Jesus is claiming to be the God of the burning bush. The One who spoke with Moses. The One who spoke with Abraham. The One who appeared to Abraham in our Old Testament Reading. The One who created the universe. Standing there. In the flesh. Face to face. I AM.

Two syllables. Two words. They knew what He meant. Crystal clear. “They picked up stones to throw at Him.” That’s the punishment required for blasphemy, breaking the First Commandment. “You shall have no other gods.” But Jesus is the God who spoke that Word, who delivered that commandment. Jesus is who He claims. The proof of that is Golgoltha and an empty tomb. “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it.” (John 3) That’s what happened. It was. He is. I AM.

By His Word and actions Jesus proved to be I AM, the Son of God. The Jews, however, by their words and actions proved not to be sons of God, but rather sons of the devil. By nature, they were “children of wrath. (Eph 2)” “Sons of their father, the devil.” They wanted, they sought, they strived and struggled to do “the [sinful] desires of their father.” Living selfishly, sinfully.

Now, they also had “a zeal for God,” but it was “not according to knowledge,” (Rom 10) what they knew from God’s Word, what He revealed to them in His Word. They had zeal toward the Law (cf. Phil 3; Gal 3), the doing of the law. Doing the traditions of man, too. They searched the Scriptures for a way of life, proper living before God, but, as Jesus says, “It is they”—the Scriptures—“that testify about Me.” (Jn 5)

Living selfishly and working so hard to make up for it, that’s what it means to be a “son of the devil,” a “child of wrath.” Under the wrath of God. And that’s not just the Jews in our Gospel text. That’s who we are too, in ourselves alone, that is, in our flesh. “By nature we are sinful and unclean.”

“No good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” (Rom 7) So says Paul. You and me, too. “The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit.” (Gal 5) The desires of our flesh match exactly the desires of the devil. You are who you are. You are flesh. (Not only, but more on that in minute.) But if you want to know what your Old Adam, Old Eve looks like, look in the mirror.

((Transition.))

Many different names for all this in the Bible. “Old Adam.” “Flesh.” “Outer nature.” Who we are in ourselves. By nature, as human beings before God, we are children “worthy of His wrath and displeasure, physical death, and eternal damnation.” So were the Jews. “You are of your father, the devil.” But not Jesus. Jesus by His Word and actions proves who He is. He’s I AM. The Son of the Father. But not just Son of the Father—Servant of the Father, too.

((1. Jesus is Servant of the Father.))

Jesus is Son, and He is Servant. First declared at His Baptism. The voice of His Father was heard from heaven: “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.” “You are My Son.” (Ps 2) “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold, My Chosen, in whom My soul delights.” (Is 42)

Jesus is Son, and that means He is Servant. So was Isaac. “I and the boy will go and worship” Abraham said, and then the boy, Isaac, treated like a servant! Loaded up with the wood. Carrying the wood for his own sacrifice. Dutiful son. Faithful son. “Both of them went on together.” All the way to hilltop, to altar, to being bound, but not to death. A ram instead of an Isaac.

Jesus is the true Servant-Son that was pictured in the binding of Isaac. Jesus: faithful Son, dutiful Servant. Treated like a sinner! Loaded up with the sins of the whole world—your sins, too. (True ram, true “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”) Carrying the wood of His own cross up to the hilltop, up to Golgotha, a hill—trash heap—outside of Jerusalem. (Jerusalem built on a hill formerly known as Moriah.)

Jesus, God’s Son, His only Son, the one He loves, went all the way to Golgotha, to cross, to death, to grave. But no stone—little ones, or the big one—could stop Jesus. He rose from the dead. Just as His Father wanted, so Jesus did. Jesus, dutiful, faithful to His Father—“Both of them went on together.”

Jesus was the only Son of Abraham, the only Son of Isaac, the only Son of Jacob (Israel), the only Israelite, the only Jew to do all that was pleasing to God. In fact, He’s the only human being ever to do so by nature. “He is like us in every way, yet without sin. (Heb 4)”

All that He does as Son of the Father and Servant of the Father is credited to our account. Jesus is Servant for you. There’s no earning favor with God, no “seeking to establish our own righteousness” nor “setting aside the righteousness of God.” Therese are the “dead works” Hebrews is talking about today. “For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness for all who believe.” And those who keep, guard, cherish what Jesus does for them and says to them, those who believe Him, trust His Word—you and me—“Won’t see death.”

There’s no living for yourself anymore. Why would you do that? That’s the life of the child of wrath, doing the desires of the flesh, the devil, the world. That’s who you are in your flesh. But you aren’t just flesh. You are in Christ. (Many words for it in the Bible: Saint. New Creation. Inner man.) In Christ, baptized into Him, you are child of the Father. By Holy Baptism, by faith in Christ, Jesus’ Father is your Father. For in holy Baptism, “the blood of Christ,” once shed on Calvary, “cleanses our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

Jesus is your Servant, “the Mediator of a New Testament.” He serves you His body and His blood, “so that those who are called would receive the eternal inheritance, since a death occurred for redemption from the transgressions under the first testament.” “Having been justified by grace we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus,” (Rom 5) we have “become heirs, having the hope of eternal life. (Tit 3)” Heirs from the Font. Children at the Table. That’s who you are in Jesus alone.

((Conclusion.))

Jesus said, “I haven’t done anything of My own accord, but [God the Father] sent Me.” That lets us know who Jesus is. He is Son and He was sent on a mission.

JESUS WAS SENT AS THE SERVANT OF HIS FATHER.

He is faithful Son, dutiful Servant. Calvary. Cross. Came back to life, too. All that His Father wanted, Jesus did. He did it for you. He is His Father servant to save you. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

He shed His blood for you. He is your ransom. The Ransom, the true Lamb, the true Ram: Him instead of you, Him instead of Isaac, too. In yourself flesh. Take a look in the mirror. That’s your old Adam. But in Christ, by faith in Christ, in Holy Baptism, in the Supper of His body and blood, you are who Christ makes you to be. You are son. You are daughter. Jesus blood has cleansed you. You are cleansed. You are clean. In Jesus alone.

It’s why He came. It’s why He was sent. It all shows who He is. He is God. Your God. I AM. Son of the Father, “full of grace and truth” for you. But not just Son. Servant, too.

JESUS WAS SENT AS THE SERVANT OF HIS FATHER.

And you? Well, you’re a child of His Father.

᛭ INI ᛭

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