A DOCTRINE IS LAID DOWN in the Gospel this morning:
On this day which we refer to as Passion Sunday –
But it is in today’s gospel that an earth shattering proclamation is made
As we are told of the doctrine of the immortality for believers.
And we are told of the required character of the believers for they are the ones who keep the sayings of Jesus,
His word, which he has delivered must be kept.
And for those who keep it, those who not only have it, but hold onto it, who keep it without spot as Paul tells Timothy (1 Tim 6:14),
will have the property of death altered,
in that believers will not see a second death – for eternal life has been offered and received by believers.
AND THIS DOCTINE IS GAURANTEED:
But, who could guarantee such a statement of immortality?
Well, it is He who proclaims in the Gospel reading this morning the doctrine itself;
Eternal life is guaranteed by God Himself.
In Exodus 3:14&15 we are told Exo 3:14 “And God said unto Moses,
I AM THAT I AM:
Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Exo 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel,
The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
hath sent me unto you: this is my name / for ever.
So, when Jesus says before Abraham was, I am.
(Oh boy, these two words “I AM,” just three letters, lit the fuse and the fireworks began – and I would argue still does today.)
You see, Jesus did not say he was, but I AM…for He is the first and the last, immutably the same
(Rev. 1:8) as He would later say “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord,
which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
Patriarchs had lived and died before Abraham was even born.
And Abraham was the root of the Jewish nation, the rock out of which they were hewn.
Therefore if Christ was before Abraham, he was prior to Judaism itself.
From the earliest of times the words I AM have caused people to hide their faces and fall down in God’s presence.
These two words say everything.
Before the “burning bush”, you know the story, God tells Moses I AM THAT I AM –
… this is my name for ever …
Eternal as well, is His word, for even the Bush that burnt not symbolized an inexhaustible existence that does not end.
It is our everlasting God – who burns like a fire with Love and Righteousness, and yet remains the same and is never diminished.
It is Jesus who uses the name that is beyond all names, thus revealing a power above all powers.
“I AM” contains the truth that God alone – IS. There is no other.
God is the fullness of “Being” and He is of every perfection, without origin and without end.
He alone is his very being; he is of himself: He IS – I AM.
Jesus, who is to be nailed to the shameful wood, who is HE? –
The same people which cheer one day are the ones who turn on him as traitors,
and scream for his blood, as they will soon shout Crucify Him!
This same Jesus who Satan tempts, is the same to whom people pray,
He who spoke of the Kingdom of God, and who feeds the multitudes; is the same whom Abraham saw and rejoiced in seeing?
Many people profess the name of Jesus and yet they do not know who he is.
Some “so called” Christian Denominations proclaim him but do not know who he is…for they say there was a time when he was not…
let me be as clear as possible … for of these words, there are none more important:
Who is He? Listen:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
Who is He – let us hear who he says he is:
Gospel of John
• “I am the bread of life.” (6:35) Jesus is, the sustainer of life, the One who satisfies life.
• “I am the light of the world” (8:12), Jesus illuminates life – He who explains and casts the light of Truth upon all mysteries.
• “I am the door” (10:7), Jesus gives the opportunity for life, the open way and the only way to true life and freedom.
• “I am the good shepherd” (10:11); Jesus guides and leads us through life with all of its challenges, through this sinful and secular world… oh yes, (“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”) Amen
• “I am the resurrection and the life.” (11:25) Jesus is the power of true life – Of life eternal for which you were created.
• “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (14:6) That is, I am the real substance behind all things – behind all life.
• “I – am – the vine … apart from me, you can do nothing. “(15:5)
HE IS GOD – HE IS FULLY GOD and yet FULLY MAN.
This is no light matter – for to stand before the living God is a fearful thing.
And yes, we (all of us sinners and underserving) are told as believers – those who keep his words – that we will be with Him for eternity.
Even Isaiah, when he saw the Lord lifted up, and the temple filled with the smoke of his glory,
bowed down and cried out, “Woe is me! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” (Is. 6:5)
And an angel fly’s down from the altar, took a coal, and put it upon his lips, cleansing him.
We all, you and I, can relate to Isaiah for woe is we, for we are of unclean lips and we dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.
So for the disciples of Jesus (remember our friends sitting upon the mountainside with other disciples last week,)
well, it was for all of us that not an angel was sent; but God Himself.
The question is not how much does Jesus love us…but how much do we love him.
The Good News:
God; the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
is whom we deny daily, as we put our will above His Will;
however; his greatness is greater than our sins – His righteousness is aboveour sinfulness…
God is soooo good and we soooo underserving.
That is why we must come to God humbly with a penitent heart and crying with the Canaanite woman-Lord, have mercy upon me.
Let go, and allow guilt to flow out of your body in streams
and pray for His living word to flow into your heart, as a mighty river.
Let His word cleanse your heart and then fill your heart that it be flooded through the sanctification of your life
as you fill yourself with His goodness.
Yes, wipe away all tears and proclaim the victory of Christ as see His ways becoming your ways:
minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, and week by week.
Two thousand years later, He is still I AM and with us, just as He was with the early disciples upon that mountain side
and His Church at its formation of which He was, and still is, its Great High Priest…
He feeds us still today through His Sacraments, and He guides us via His Word…and the great thing is this…
He is with you today – I know … hard to believe?
Oh sweet Jesus – let us hear your words as he tells us (Heb 13:5)
Let your conversation be without covetousness;
and be content with such things as ye have:
for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
From the days of Deu 4:31 we have been told:
(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee…
It does not matter:
if you are homeless or if you are rich,
and it means nothing if you are sick or well,
it matters not if you are having a terrible day, a bad relationship,
if you are fighting addiction of any kind,
or if you have let others down,
if you have stolen,
if you have fallen into heavy debt,
if you have just moved and left friends behind,
none of this matters if you are His disciple and who keeps His Words.
for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Regardless of your situation:
Give Him your life, for He gave his for you…
The hour cometh and now is……