Lent 5 Judica
St. John 8: 42-59
April 3, 2022 A+D
In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
On Judica the Church asks us to face the saddest reality of the fallen world. He came unto His own and His own received Him not. They loved darkness rather than light, rejected forgiveness for the false promise of pleasure.. Jesus died for everyone, but not everyone benefits, not everyone believes. Talk of love is cheap. Real love means sacrifice not pleasure. In response to Jesus’ love, they picked up stones to murder Him.
Do not think current events are strange. The end draws near. Hostility grows in direct proportion to increased talk of love, freedom is squeezed in the name of safety, and those with the Spirit are accused of having demons.
In John chapter 15 Jesus says: 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. John 15:18–20 (NKJV)
You can’t have the best of both worlds. You can’t live in darkness and light at the same time. You can’t love God and mammon.
There is a cost to Christianity. It is not a call to an easy life, power, prestige, or wealth. It is a call to sacrifice. “A servant is not greater than his master. Pick up your cross and follow Me,” says Jesus. “They persecuted Me. They will also persecute you.”
Earlier in chapter 8 Jesus warned His enemies. He told them “If you do not believe that I am He, (that is Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who spoke to Moses and brought Israel out of slavery) then you will die in your sins.” When they remained confused, He said “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He (that is Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who spoke to Moses and brought Israel out of slavery) and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And then to those who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. . . . And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And again “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. Finally, here at the end of the chapter Jesus says it once again: “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM,” that is. I am Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who spoke to Moses and brought Israel out of slavery. I am here to rescue you.
For that they pick up stones. They don’t want to be rescued and take His offer as an insult. But that they need rescue is indisputable. What joy is there in murder? What commitment and security among fornicators? What safety or peace among the violent? You can’t have the best of both worlds because there is no best of that world. The pleasures offered by sin are a lie. They do not endure. They do not satisfy. Insisting that something is not shameful that is shameful does not take away the pain. Denying or justifying to yourself some sin that you committed does not remove the sorrow of guilt, the unease of regret, the burden of distrust among loved ones.
Jesus comes to rescue in compassion. He isn’t offering some alternative possibility. He is offering the only solution possibile, a solution that only He, Himself, can provide. His forgiveness and Spirit gives true freedom and peace. In it there is lasting joy. It lives in the light without shame or guilt. It enjoys people instead of using them. It basks in knowledge instead of ignorance and myths. It communes with God and knows His love.
If the world hates us for that, sobeit. Jesus lives. A little while and we will see Him again.
In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.