Sermon – John 8:46-59 (Lent 5 – 2019)

Let us pray: Lord God, heavenly Father, Your Word is truth. We give thanks to You that You have revealed to us Your Son, our Savior through Your Word. Guard and keep us from misbelief, and grant us a steadfast faith in Your gospel, that we may have life eternal in Your kingdom; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.

Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

46 “Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?

 47 “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

 48 Then the Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.

 50 “And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges.

 51 “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”

 52 Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say,`If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’

 53 “Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom do You make Yourself out to be?”

 54 Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God.

 55 “Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say,`I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word.

 56 “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

 57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”

 58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

 59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your Word is truth. Amen.

Who’s the Liar Here?

Dear fellow redeemed,

What does Jesus know about God? What does He really know about God? We know that is a ridiculous question. Jesus says, “I know Him,” and we know that Jesus knows the Father, because Jesus is the Son of God, begotten from eternity, one God with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

And so it is a telling argument that is taking place in our gospel reading. The Pharisees who think they know God better than God who stands before them, show by their rejection of Jesus that they are deluded by the lies of the devil.

And they even take on the nature of the devil, whom Jesus calls their father.

Now let’s see what has been happening here. Jesus had forgiven the woman who was caught in idolatry. Then He speaks to the crowd that remained there saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (Jn 8:12). From Him the rays of salvation go out to all men, to save them from their darkness and sin and bring them into life with God.

The Pharisees were offended by this claim of Jesus. And now we see the evidence that they are not of God, but of the devil. They reject Jesus argument, not so much arguing Jesus’ against claim, but rejecting it on a technicality. Jesus is giving witness of Himself. The Old Testament requires two witnesses to determine the truth of the matter. And Jesus admits the validity of their argument which they have in their law, saying, “the testimony of two men is true,” which is some wisdom repeated several times throughout Scripture.

But Jesus doesn’t need another witness, because He is divine. He is God and does not lie. But nonetheless, Jesus responds to their technicality, saying, that He does not testify about Himself alone, but the Father also bears witness through Him. So it is both He and the Father that bear witness of Jesus, that He is from God, and that He is the world’s salvation.

But then we see them ramp up their intensity against Christ, showing again that they are of the devil. They accuse Jesus of sin. They think that Jesus blasphemes the name of God. So blinded they are to the truth of God and His Word that He speaks, that they think that Jesus’ words are lies and offenses to God.

They accuse Him not only of blasphemy, but accuse Him of being a Samaritan, who were considered heretics, and even of having a demon.

Jesus brilliantly shows that He is blameless in this entire conversation. He is not blaspheming the name of the Father. The fault is with the Pharisees. A demon cannot honor the Father. Jesus by His works and words honor the Father. But the Pharisees, by dishonoring the one who honors the Father, by implication dishonors the Father. It is a similar situation as when a person persecutes a Christian, such a person is also a persecutor of God.

Jesus doesn’t testify of Himself for His own sake for His own glory. He willingly receives the dishonor and abuse, because He has come to seek and to save the lost. But there is One, the Father, who seeks Jesus’ glory, and He is also the judge. So those who do not glorify Him will receive a dreadful judgment.

Then Jesus continues to testify about Himself out of love for them. For in their hatred they only think lies about Jesus, but Jesus wishes for them to know the truth about Him that they may be saved.

He tells them that His words give life eternal. He says that He was before Abraham, confessing that He is Yahweh, I AM, the eternal God.

And what does the truth about Jesus do? It drives the Pharisees mad. They had already accused Jesus of blasphemy, stated that He is a heretic and has a demon. And now they pick up stones to stone Him.

In the verses preceding our text today Jesus said the devil is the father of lies, and a murderer from the beginning. And we see that these who belong to the devil take on the traits of their father. They hate the truth. They prefer lies. And they are murderers hating Jesus and seeking to kill Him.

But such is the natural state of our flesh. Paul says, “you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.

Our corrupted nature is to live according to the prince of the power of the air, namely the devil, and to be sons of disobedience. Our fallen nature is to exchange the truth of God for the lie, and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator. Our nature had taken on the characteristics of the devil, lying and murder.

We are no longer under the power of the devil, for by God’s grace we have been delivered from his bondage, and are newly created in the image of God.

But we still carry our sinful flesh. We do not revile against Christ, accusing Him of sin and calling Him a liar, but when we obey the will of our flesh rather than the will of the Creator, who are we calling lord? Is not Christ our Lord? Or when we question whether Christ can actually forgive a certain sin after hearing absolution, we call Him a liar. When we question a teaching of God’s Word, are we not saying that our Lord has lied? We say that Scripture is God’s true Word, but what are we saying when we neglect it, when it simply collects dust on the shelf? Furthermore, we may not pick up stones to kill Christ, but when hatred boils up from our hearts towards others, we are guilty of being murderers.

Who is the liar? Who is the murderer? Who convicts Jesus of sin? In truth, we are the sinners. But the Father has convicted Jesus of sin. And that is what the sacrificial Lamb is for. He takes your sins. Your lies, your murder, they were counted against Jesus. He took the guilt, the punishment. This Jesus who not only speaks the truth, but is the Truth, This Jesus who never murdered, never had one evil thought against His neighbor, but perfectly loved even those who were His enemies, who went berserk, with wild, satanic hatred against Him, this Jesus became guilty of all these sins, your sins, and with His blood and life, atoned for your sins. So where are your lies, where is your murder, where is your guilt? Drowned in Christ’s blood, washed away, taken from you as far as the east is from the west.

Jesus does not lie. He is I AM, the eternal God, whose blood and life are sufficient to remove from you all your sins. You are forgiven!

This is the salvation that you are joined to through baptism, and which is yours now through faith. You are delivered from such enmity against Christ, to now love Him, to delight in the truth, to see Him with faith as Abraham did and rejoice!

You belong to God. And so you hear the words of Christ. Here preached for you. You have this treasure in your homes, you get to read and hear and speak God’s Word there. And so also, we do not lie, but speak the truth. We proclaim Christ as the eternal Son of God our Savior. We do not murder, but we love God and love our neighbor and proclaim the life with God that Christ has won for all mankind with His redeeming work on the cross. And in so doing, we glorify Christ, and proclaim the good and saving news to our neighbor.

God’s Word is truth, and a wonderful, saving truth it is. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.

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