Lutheran Worship and Resources

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Judica, The Fifth Sunday in Lent

By Norma Boeckler

Judica Sunday, The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Savings Time

The Hymn #268 Zion Mourns 4:98
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #40 The God of Abram Praise 4:94

The I AM

The Communion Hymn #657 Beautiful Savior 4:24
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 45 Now the Hour 2:95

KJV Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

KJV John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee, that of Thine infinite mercy Thou hast instituted this Thy sacrament, in which we eat Thy body and drink Thy blood: Grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not receive this gift unworthily, but that we may confess our sins, remember Thine agony and death, believe the forgiveness of sin, and day by day grow in faith and love, until we obtain eternal salvation through Thee, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The I AM of John’s Gospel

John 8:48 Before Abraham was, I am.

For a long time, the modernists raged against John’s Gospel because the divinity of Christ is so clearly taught. So is the pre-existence of Christ.

Those aspects of Christian doctrine are not lacking in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but they are especially clear in John.

The following characteristics of John’s Gospel were found to be true, and they all point to the apostolic authorship of the Fourth Gospel. The original manuscripts did not have a title, but they had traditional authors.

1. The language of Jesus’ sermons is easily translated into Hebrew or Aramaic. They were not spoken by a Greek philosopher, as skeptics argued, but by Jewish rabbi addressing the largest group of people possible – the Greek-speaking population of the area.
2. The geography of John shows knowledge of the area, more in evidence than the other Gospels. Knowing the territory can only come from someone who was there. Imagine trying to get little details right about your area without ever living there.
3. The earliest scrap of a Gospel ever found is from the Gospel of John. That means it existed several centuries before the skeptics thought it was written.
4. The Gospel assumes people know the other Gospels, but it also fills in many details and spoken passages, without contradicting anything in those Gospels.

I could list more. This is writer’s intuition – the Gospel has the feel of a first-hand account. John’s claim is clearly made, since the “disciple Jesus loved” is his reference to who is the author. But the language of the Gospel itself reveals an eye-witness knowledge of the events no one can fake.

John’s Gospel is especially devoted to showing a harmony with the Old Testament. That begins with the first chapter starting in the same words as Genesis 1:1. References to Moses and the Exodus call up details from the holiest books of the Old Testament – the Five Books of Moses (Pentateuch). The Torah scrolls are the Books of Moses. When they march through the synagogue today, the Torah scrolls are carried. They are the holiest books of the Old Testament, according to Jewish practice.

This particular lesson features Christ identifying with the appearance of Moses before the burning bush.

Too many translations and books try to make “I AM” seem to be the same as Jesus saying, “It’s me.” When someone phones and asks for a given name, we say, “That’s me.” It may be bad English, but that is what we say. “It is I” seems a bit formal.

“I AM” is God’s name and it was used that way in Greek at that time. That is especially true of this particular use.

“Before Abraham was, I AM” – that makes no sense in any language, unless Jesus is God. The “I AM” transcends any sense of tense. English demands “I was” because both should be past tense. “When Sam was in the Army, I was in school.” No one would say, “When Sam was in the Army, I am in school.”

“I AM” means that the Son of God has always existed.

Secondly, Jesus called to Moses out of the burning bush.

KJV Exodus 3:4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. 7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. 11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

The orthodox Lutherans also identified the nature of the burning bush with the Two Natures of Christ. The bush burned but was not consumed, so it had two natures – the flame and the bush. In the same way, Christ has two natures, human and divine. Just as there is one burning bush, there is one Christ.

For Jewish people, faith in Christ meant seeing that all their religious observances of the Passover were pointing them to Christ. For those who were outside of Judaism, learning the Old Testament was essential.

"But when we are speaking of the subject itself, it is certain that the doctrine of gracious reconciliation, of the remission of sins, of righteousness, salvation, and eternal life through faith for the sake of the Mediator is one and the same in the Old and in the New Testament. This is a useful rule which we must retain at all costs: The doctrine, wherever we read it, in either the Old or New Testament, which deals with the gracious reconciliation and the remission of sins through faith for the sake of God's mercy in Christ, is the Gospel."
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 459.
"Therefore God, 'who is rich in mercy' [Ephesians 2:4], has had mercy upon us and has set forth a propitiation through faith in the blood of Christ, and those who flee as suppliants to this throne of grace He absolves from the comprehensive sentence of condemnation, and by the imputation of the righteousness of His Son, which they grasp in faith, He pronounces them righteous, receives them into grace, and adjudges them to be heirs of eternal life. This is certainly the judicial meaning of the word 'justification,' in almost the same way that a guilty man who has been sentenced before the bar of justice is acquitted."
Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 1989, II, p. 482.
"Yet these exercises of faith always presuppose, as their foundation, that God is reconciled by faith, and to this they are always led back, so that faith may be certain and the promise sure in regard to these other objects. This explanation is confirmed by the brilliant statement of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:20: 'All the promises of God in Christ are yea and amen, to the glory of God through us,' that is, the promises concerning other objects of faith have only then been ratified for us when by faith in Christ we are reconciled with God. The promises have been made valid on the condition that they must give glory to God through us."
Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 1989, II, p. 495.
"Therefore this apprehension or acceptance or application of the promise of grace is the formal cause or principle of justifying faith, according to the language of Scripture."
Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., II, p. 502.
"We must note the foundations. For we are justified by faith, not because it is so firm, robust, and perfect a virtue, but because of the object on which it lays hold, namely Christ, who is the Mediator in the promise of grace. Therefore when faith does not err in its object, but lays hold on that true object, although with a weak faith, or at least tries and wants to lay hold on Christ, then there is true faith, and it justifies. The reason for this is demonstrated in those lovely statements in Philippians 3:12: 'I apprehend, or rather I am apprehended by Christ' and Galatians 4:9: 'You have known God, or rather have been known by God.' Scripture shows a beautiful example of this in Mark 9:24: 'I believe; help my unbelief.'"
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., II, p. 503. Philippians 3:12; Galatians 4:9; Mark 9:24.
"For we are not justified because of our faith (propter fidem), in the sense of faith being a virtue or good work on our part. Thus we pray, as did the man in Mark 9:24: 'I believe, Lord; help my unbelief'; and with the apostles: 'Lord, increase our faith,' Luke 17:5."
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., II, p. 506. Mark 9:24; Luke 17:5.
"But because not doubt but faith justifies, and not he who doubts but he who believes has eternal life, therefore faith teaches the free promise, which relies on the mercy of God for the sake of the sacrifice of the Son, the Mediator, and not on our works, as Paul says in Romans 4:16: 'Therefore it is of faith, that the promise might be sure according to grace.'"
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., II, p. 507. Romans 4:16
"Thus when we say that we are justified by faith, we are saying nothing else than that for the sake of the Son of God we receive remission of sins and are accounted as righteous. And because it is necessary that this benefit be taken hold of, this is said to be done 'by faith,' that is, by trust in the mercy promised us for the sake of Christ. Thus we must also understand the correlative expression, 'We are righteous by faith,' that is, through the mercy of God for the sake of His Son we are righteous or accepted."
Melanchthon, Loci Communes, “The Word Faith.” Cited in Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, II, p. p. 489.

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