Home > Lent > Judica 2014 “Life in His Name.” John 8:46-59

Judica 2014 “Life in His Name.” John 8:46-59


christ blessing romaninoJudica (5th Sunday in Lent) + St. Peter Lutheran Church, Joliet, Illinois + St. John 8:46-59 + April 6, 2014. “Life in His Name.”

 

Iesu Iuva

 

Several decades after Moses had tried to set the Israelites free and failed, he was watching sheep in the wilderness. He was a failure. He went from being a nobleman to one of the most menial jobs. And he grew old in that job.

 

And then God appeared to him in a bush that was on fire that didn’t burn out. He said, “I have seen the suffering of my people in Egypt; I have heard their cry under their slave drivers. I know their pain, and I have come down to bring them out of slavery into a good land.”

 

And, He said, Moses, you will go tell Pharaoh to let them go for me.

 

Moses said, “Who am I that I should do that?” He didn’t want to, but God said He would go with Moses. So Moses said, “If the people of Israel ask me the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who sent me, what am I supposed to tell them? I don’t even know your name.”

 

God said, “I AM WHO I AM.”

 

That is the name by which God revealed Himself to His people—I AM. The Jews would not say the name, because who can really say “I AM” except the one who is, and was, and is to come?

 

The Lord is the only one who exists by Himself. Everyone and everything else depends on Him for their life.

 

He gives life and being—He gave it at the beginning. He also gives redemption to His people. Moses didn’t do it. Israel became His people because the Lord took the initiative. We exist and continue to exist because He wills it.

 

We don’t live and continue to have food and clothing and reason because we make it happen but because the Lord—“I AM”—wills it and says it.

 

A righteous man then looks to Him for everything and gives Him all honor, thanks, and praise. That’s what Jesus says that He does.

 

But the people of Israel, though they were called by His name, didn’t want to belong to Him.

 

What about us? Do we seek the glory of His name? Or are we mostly focused on ourselves?

 

When we suffer or have dishonor, do we try to escape it?

 

Do we seek to know God’s will and what pleases Him? And when we know, don’t we often find that we don’t want to do it? Besides the times where we choose not to, or convince ourselves that His will isn’t really His will?

 

Why are we like this?

Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” He is the Father’s beloved Son, who was with the Father in the beginning.

 

And He is in flesh and blood in the temple. The temple was called by the name of the Lord. It was His dwelling place. But now Jesus says “I AM.” He is the new temple, the new dwelling place of God.

 

The people came to God at the temple, but now we come to God in the body of Jesus.

 

Outside of Jesus our flesh is always seeking its own honor, and there is no help for it. We fight against it but it is always grumbling, always starting a new revolt. Only when we escape ourselves and are in Christ are we free from it.

 

That happens through His Word. “Whoever keeps my word will never see death.” His Word—the Good news, the Gospel. That in His death our old Adam died and in His resurrection is our new life. Our life is hidden in Him at the right hand of God.

 

I AM has come to us Himself to speak the Word that frees us from death.

 

Eternal life is honor and praise from God. God gives it to the one who pleases Him—who is righteous, and seeks not his own glory and honor but God’s.

 

That glory and honor belongs to Jesus, who did the Father’s will. He gives it to us though, to the one who keeps His Word, who holds to what He says—that His obedience frees us from sin and death.

 

So you may consider yourself a hopeless case. And you are right. In yourself it is impossible to please God and have life.

 

But the living One whose word brings everything into existence—He says His obedience is yours. His life is yours. His honor is yours.

 

He says to come to Him with your sin your life long, with your hopelessness. He is the God who is and who creates out of nothing; the God who does the impossible. The God who calls what is not as though it were, as He reckoned Abraham righteous because Abraham believed God.

 

I AM says He has justified you. He has made you pleasing to God. He has already done this in His death. He has given it to you in your Baptism. He says come with your sin to my table and eat and drink my body and blood which are given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.

 

The living one who died says this to you. The one who sent Moses to Pharaoh to tell him to let God’s people go; He stands in our midst and tells you that you will never see death. He has tasted it for you.

 

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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