16 June 2019
"Can you believe what this Jesus had to say?"
Almighty and everlasting God, You have given us grace to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity by the confession of a true faith and to worship the unity in the power of the Divine Majesty. Keep us steadfast in this faith and defend us from all adversities; for you, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, live and reigns one God, now and forever.
Can you believe what Jesus had to say? Wherever Jesus goes. There is trouble. His words. His message. His witness. Always create a conflict.
The discussion takes place in Court of the Women within the temple complex. There, the Pharisees confront Jesus head-on. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” (Vv.3-5)
Will Jesus condemn and convict? Or, will He dismiss her? He does neither. He simply states. “Whoever is not guilty of (this) sin may cast the first stone.”(v.7) Jesus pointed out their hypocrisy, causing them to walk away. “But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.” (v.8)
Jesus proclaims that He is the light of the world. His statement to them that He is not of this world, His telling them they do not understand His words, that they are not sons of God but sons of the Devil. Not all this sits well.
The Pharisees deliver a double insult. Now angry, they retaliate. Not only is Jesus their enemy. He is also possessed.
This is the classic conflict scenario. Of those who are in the wrong. They ramp up their false accusations against the innocent.
We all know how heated exchanges escalate and end in physical violence. This situation is no different.
Jesus had attacked their pride. Now they wanted revenge. “What mad talk! Now we’re convinced you’re a man possessed.” “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” (v.48)
“Who do you think you are?” The critics ask. Consider the confrontation Jesus presents to the authorities of His day.
They argue. “You certainly are not greater than Abraham! He died, as did the prophets. Who do you make yourself out to be?” (v.52) “You are not yet fifty years old! And yet, you have seen Abraham?” (v.57)
They did not understand that Abraham was already with God. Abraham, throughout all of his challenges, obeyed God. “And it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3) God made a covenant with Abraham. Jesus says that Abraham —— was able to foresee the advent of a Savior.
Abraham saw in Melchizedek - one made like unto the Son of God, and a priest forever.
He saw an appearance of Jehovah, attended with two angels, in the plains of Mamre.
When he pleaded for the city of Sodom, he saw an example of Christ’s intercession. In offering up Isaac, and then a ram instead of his son, he saw the great sacrifice of Christ. And his calling that place “Jehovah-jireh” – “The Lord will provide.”
All these were predictions of the coming of Christ. And Abraham, by faith, saw it all and believed.
Jesus responds, “Before Abraham was born I am!” (v.58) Before Abraham - Jesus was.
First, Jesus existed As God. “I am”, is the name of God. God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” (Exodus 3:14); His name denotes his self-existence; Jesus does not say, “I was,” but “I am,” for He is the first and the last, He will not change, He’s the same. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)
Jesus was not only before Abraham, but also before all worlds, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
Secondly, As Mediator Jesus was the appointed as the Messiah, long before Abraham.
He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. “And all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” (Revelation 13:8)
This supposes His divine nature. He is the same in Himself from eternity. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
He is the same to man ever since the fall. He was made of God wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
To Adam, and Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and Shem, and all the patriarchs that lived and died by faith in Him before Abraham was born. He is the eternal God who entered time and space for your rescue from sin, misery and death.
Jesus’ words are the assurance you need this day. “Whoever keeps my word will not taste death into the age to come. Whoever believes in Me will never die." (v.51) Into the age they will NOT, no, not ever, behold death. They have escape condemnation and share everlasting life with Him.
How is it that Jesus can say, “You will not be dead forever”? It is given to you as a gift through faith. It is faith, which acknowledges Jesus as Savior. It is faith, which causes you to repent of your sins. And it’s faith, which trusts Christ’s sure and certain promises.
Because of this faith, you have no reason to fear death. Instead, you have every reason to be welcomed into Christ’s eternal heavenly home. What Abraham beheld, you see as your reality by faith. The troubles and challenges you experience in this life are only a vapor, a mist. They will all fade away.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
Sufferings hurt us. Do not make light of them. Or diminish the terrible physical and emotional pain that suffering can bring. It can be awful. Its intensity can increase to such a degree that we scream with terror and pain. We think we can no longer endure. But the intensity of the suffering we experience is not even a drop compared with the intensity of glory that is coming. The revelation of the glory that is coming - Abraham saw all this by faith – you see it too.
On this Trinity Sunday, take to heart the encouraging words you confessed today in that ancient yet relevant statement of faith we all confessed in the words of the Athanasian Creed:
“For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead; He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies; and shall give account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.”
This is the faith confessed, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.
Passive Sentences –2%
Reading Level –5.1
Collect for Trinity, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Image of the Trinity © Higher Things