Jesus is God's Work most fully revealed

[Jesus lifts Adam and Eve (and you) from their graves in the Resurrection]
the text: John 5:19-29
Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomsoever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.

‘Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

the ideas
Father – Saturday’s text was about Jesus working on the Sabbath and calling it good because the Father is still working. This caused the Jewish leaders to move towards killing Jesus because he called God his own Father and this was equating himself with God.

The Son – Here, on Jesus’ lips, John is fleshing out who Jesus is and why he does what he does. Namely, Jesus is from heaven and does what he is seeing the Father do. Also, the Father has given Jesus specific duties, privileges, and powers.

… only what he sees… - Jesus is the fullest picture of who God is and what God does. Jesus reveals the Father to us.

Jewish Customs  - in previous stories we have seen Jesus talk to Samaritan women, heal on the Sabbath, and predict the destruction of the temple while claiming that he is the temple. How does Jesus, a Jewish carpenter/rabbi, get away with minimizing or breaking proper Jewish customs and laws? John tells us here – Jesus is from the Father, from Heaven, doing only what he sees the Father doing. Not to mention that Jesus has been placed as the judge over all things righteous and unrighteous (as opposed to the Law or Moses). Jesus gets both to the heart of and trumps anything that has come before.

The Father loves… - in classic John style, love is the motivation and goal of all that is being done. More than that, just as Jesus is the fullest picture of who God is, Jesus is the fullest understanding of God’s love. Jesus uncovers for us the heart of the Trinity.

Death and Life – Death and life are major themes in this section. There are two forms that are related but seemingly separate. The last references are about the actual resurrection at the end of time, but more on that later. It is helpful to know that for Jesus, in the book of John, eternal life is the mission. Jesus is inviting us into what he calls eternal life. This doesn’t begin after we die, but right now. In Jesus, there is both eternal life and a literal resurrected life. The dead, then, are not those who are biologically not alive, but those who have not truly walked into eternal life. Jesus is the door to that new reality called eternal life.

Resurrection – many people believe that the end goal of Christianity is for the faithful to live a spiritual existence in heaven. While the saints who are currently asleep (dead) might be in heaven, the goal of God’s work is the transformation of old creation into new creation. That means that we will not ultimately end up as spirit in heaven, but we will have physical, resurrected bodies like Jesus in the merge of heaven and earth known as new creation. According to this passage and others, our options are resurrection to life or condemnation. Again, the way we determine this is by placing faith in Christ as the one who lives and brings true (eternal) life.

the stuff
What does it mean that this humble, compassionate person fully reveals to us the invisible life, love, and work of God the Father?

Even more mind-blowing, what does it mean that this person invites into that life and mission of God?

You are a child of God who dwells in the eternal life of Christ present and available to you now. Live boldly. Live lovely. Live generously.

Who do you need to reconcile with? Who is that person who needs your boldest, most generous love? Maybe it is a friend who you got separated from because of time, distance, or old drama? Maybe you have family, a son, who you haven’t spoken to in 20 years?  Imitate Christ who imitates the Father and humbly invite that person back into your life.

Daily Office Readings, Year 2 - Week of the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 15) - (August 17, 2014)


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