2022-04-03 Lent 5—Judica (Jn 8, 42–59)

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Jesus said, “Truly, truly I tell you: whoever cherishes My Word will never see death forever.”

᛭ INI ᛭

(5. Oops!: There is the way of new life and old death.))

“There are two ways: one of life and one of death. There is a great difference between the two ways.

The way of life is this: first, love God who made you; second, love your neighbor as yourself…

Now, the teaching of these words is this: bless those who curse you, pray for your enemies, fast for those who persecute you. What favor is it when you love those who love you? Don’t [unbelievers] do the same thing? But you shall love those who hate you, and you would not have an enemy.

Stay away from the lusts of the flesh and body.
Whoever would strike you on the right cheek, also turn to him the other one, and you will be complete.
If anyone compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
If anyone takes your coat, give him your shirt also.
If anyone takes from you what is yours, do not demand it back, for you are unable.
Give to all who ask you, and do not demand it back, for the Father wants to give to everyone from his own gifts.” (Didache 1:1–5)

“What is the second commandment of this teaching?
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery…
You shall not steal…
You shall not abort a child or commit infanticide.
You shall not covet what’s your neighbors.” (Didache 2:1–2)

The 10 Commandments protect us from “the Way of Death.”

“The way of death is this. First of all, it is evil and full of [these] curses: murder, adultery, lust, sexual immorality, stealing, idolatry, satanic arts, witchcraft, robbery, false witness, hypocrisy, duplicity, deceit, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness, obscene speech, jealousy, arrogance, haughtiness, boastfulness.”

“Persecutors of good men, haters of truth, loving falsehood, not knowing the reward of righteousness, not holding to the good nor to righteous judgment, being attentive not to the good but to the evil, being far from gentleness and endurance, loving worthless things, perusing a reward, not having mercy on the poor, nor working on behalf of the oppressed, not knowing the God who made them, murdering children, corrupting the image of God, rejecting the needy, oppressing the afflicted, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor—people steeped in sin!”

“Children, may you be rescued from all these things!” (Didache 5)

(4. Ugh!: The way of death is still in our flesh.)

“You are, therefore, without defense everyone who judges. For on the matter you judge someone else, you are condemning yourself, for you, the judge, are practicing the very same things.” (Rom 2:1)

“You who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While preaching, “Don’t steal,” do you steal? While saying, “Don’t commit adultery,” do you commit adultery?” (Rom 2:21–22) “I tell you,” Jesus says, “everyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:28) “While being disgusted with false gods, do you have the burial practices of unbelievers? Whoever of you boasts in the law, do you dishonor God through your transgression of the Law? Just as it’s written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the unbelievers through your actions.’” (Rom 2:22–24)

“The devil, the world, and our sinful nature, deceive us and mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice.” This is how the devil is a “murderer from the beginning.” He is a “liar and the father of lies,” lies the world loves to peddle as facts, lies our own flesh loves to hear.

In the last days “the love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24), and “they will heap up for themselves teacher to suit their own desires” (2 Tim 4). How often we see such behavior even in ourselves! “Seeking a reward,” recognition. “…lust… hypocrisy, duplicity, deceit, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness…boastfulness.”

Can you bear to hear Jesus’ words? His words of Law?

“Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

The inspired apostle Paul speaks to this miserable condition: “I see another law [at work] in my members that is fighting against the law of my mind and leading me captive in the law of sin that exists in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:23–24)

(3. Aha!: Jesus delivers us from this body of death.)

“Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Rom 7:25) We give Him thanks because “gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15) Jesus is the one who delivers us from the body and the way of death.

(2. Whee!: Jesus is the way of life.)

Jesus delivers us from the way of death because He is the way of life. He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Him.” Your behavior won’t. Your behavior’s the problem! At this point we’re not yet talking about the Fruit that comes from the Spirit, but actions that start with us…

No, Jesus is the way life because He Himself does all the demands of the Law. “For our sakes He fulfilled the whole will and Law of God.” He does the very things He describes in Matthew 5!

“…bless those who curse you, pray for your enemies…” “Father, forgive them,” Jesus says.

Whoever would strike you on the right cheek, also turn to him the other one… “He bore the stripes, the wounds, the lies, the mockery” (LSB 438) from Annas, Caiaphas, all the religious leaders, the Roman soldiers, the people, those crucified with him.

If anyone compels you to go one mile, go with him two. “They lead Him out carrying His own cross to the place called ‘Golgotha.’”

If anyone takes your coat, give him your shirt also. “They divided His garments among them.”

Give to all who ask you, and do not demand it back, for the Father wants to give to everyone from his own gifts. Paul says, “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor 8) He “gave His life as a ransom for many,” for you.

His doing this is why Abraham also rejoiced in anticipation of Jesus’ day. Jesus would save Abraham from his body of death, too. Jesus is the “I AM” who saves His people from their sins, the God of the Old Testament, Yahweh. “I AM your shield, your very great Reward,” He promised Abraham.

(1. Yeah!: JESUS GIVES YOU THE WORD OF LIFE.)

There is the way of life and death. Jesus is the way of life that saves us from the way of death, but Jesus isn’t just the way of life.

JESUS GIVES YOU THE WORD OF LIFE.

Jesus’ word of life gives you His Way of Life, the way that winds through cross and empty tomb. “Truly, truly I tell you: whoever cherishes My Word will never see death forever.” His Word of life comes to you and you live. He forgives your sin. He makes you holy. His Word of life comes to you in “the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments.” These are the words of life!

JESUS GIVES YOU THE WORD OF LIFE in Holy Baptism. Apart from that re-creative word, we are not a new creation (2 Cor 5), we are dead in trespasses and sins. (Col 2) But in Holy Baptism you are “transported out of the domain of darkness and into the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son, in whom you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1)”

JESUS GIVES YOU THE WORD OF LIFE in Holy Absolution. There way of death is sealed off, and the way of heaven opened and unlocked. There “sins are forgiven before God in heaven.”

JESUS GIVES YOU THE WORD OF LIFE at His Supper. His Word gives life to the bread and wine so that they are His body and blood “for you for the forgiveness of your sins,” and whoever “eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will resurrect him on the Last Day.” (Jn 6)

Jesus said, “Truly, truly I tell you: whoever cherishes My Word will never see death forever.”

When JESUS GIVES YOU THE WORD OF LIFE, you not only have eternal life but new life in this world so that the Fruit that comes from the Spirit would begin to sprout and begin to grow and begin to produce more and more fruit. In this way the blessing of Psalm 1 is yours: “Blessèd is the Man…who meditates day and night on the Instruction of the Lord. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit in its season.”

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.” (Gal 5) “I am the vine,” says Jesus, “you are the branches; whoever remains in Me will produce much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15) “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me and I in Him, and I will resurrect him on the Last Day.” (Jn 6) “The less you feel your sins and infirmities, the more reason you have to go to the Sacrament to seek help and remedy,” (LC V 78) as Luther says.

JESUS GIVES YOU THE WORD OF LIFE and you live.

᛭ INI ᛭

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