„Don’t you dare to doubt!” Based on John 18-19

John 18-19 Good FridayHave you ever thought about what you need to do to be able to stand in God’s presence, when this life is over, or when Christ returns in His glory? When you need to give an account for your life?

How should you live your life not to be ashamed when all your deeds, words and, yes, also thoughts are revealed before this ultimate Judge? Then there will be no arguing about what you have or haven’t done.

Everything, everything will be revealed, your whole life will be made known. And we all can, at least partly, imagine what exactly will be revealed about us…

Usually these questions spring up when we encounter death. Today we do encounter death as we meditate upon Jesus sufferings, about the last few hours of His life, about what was done to Him and what all of this means for us, for our standing before God.

Yesterday we meditated about the events of the last evening in Jesus life. Remember, how John described it. Jesus knew that His hour had come… the hour of His betrayal, arrest, humiliation, sufferings and death.

He knew it and what did He chose to do? He wanted to show His love to His disciples to the end. This thought alone blows our mind away. He knew what was going to happen and … He spend His time… how?!

Putting Himself into a role of slave, washing His disciples feet, humbling Himself in a way His disciples couldn’t even comprehend. Showing His love to the end. Showing that there was nothing He would not do for His loved ones.

Today we read the whole passion narrative. And again, it begun with similar words. When Judas led a band for soldiers to capture Jesus, „Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, „Whom do you seek?” „Jesus of Nazareth.” „I am he.” When Jesus said „I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

As John put it ‘Jesus knew all that would happen to Him’. He knew all that would happen during the next few hours. What did He do? He had a power to do whatever He wanted.

Just see this event as John describes it. From what we can understand there were at least a couple hundred men sent to capture Jesus. Solders. Trained man. Strong. Brave. Without fear.

„Whom do you seek?” „Jesus”. „I am he”. Then they drew back and fell to the ground… The Bible describes similar reactions when people are exposed to God’s glory. They fell to the ground…

For they simply can’t stand in God’s presence. Jesus could do whatever He wanted. His life was fully in His hands. The Father had already given all things to Jesus. So, what did Jesus do?

We just read it. He handed Himself over to His enemies to be executed. Why did He do it? To show His love to the end. We can’t explain it, or fully comprehend, but – Jesus gave up His life, He gave Himself as a voluntary ransom for all our wrong deeds, words and thoughts.

He took responsibility for our failures, for our sins. The Creator Himself took upon Himself the consequences of the havoc that His beloved, but rebellious creatures have created. He chose to step in our place. In your place.

He chose to take upon Himself what sinful beings like ourselves rightly deserve. Death. The question remains – why did He do it? Why did He take our place? Because there was no other way we could stand before holy God, give our account and not be condemned. So He took our place.

Having no sin Jesus chose to lay down His life in exchange, yes, in exchange for yours. This is what He said: „Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends.” (John 15:13-14) He calls you His friends.

No one force Him to give up His live. No one could force Him. He already had all authority given to Him by the Father. That’s why Jesus said: „I lay down my life … No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:17)

Throughout the Gospels and especially in this passion narrative which we heard today, it is so obvious that Jesus Himself chose to do what He did. We all as God’s creatures stand under His judgement, and His laws are clear.

“The wages of sin is death.” This is what would await us. Justly. But, then something unbelievable happened. „God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were still sinners… While you were still a sinner, deserving God’s wrath, Jesus died for you.

What now? Where does it leave us, where does it leave you? “Jesus, knowing that all was now finished … said, “It is finished” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit”.  (John 19:28-30).

It is finished! What is finished? Remember what was our initial question? What should you do to be able to stand before God, when this life is over? Jesus answer is – your work is finished. I have done it all. There is nothing left.

I did it for you. I knew you couldn’t do it. So I did it for you! I gave my life in exchange for yours. What an exchange! Now it is finished. Come and receive the Kingdom which was prepared for you [!] from before the beginning of the world! Come, come into my joy!

Now what? What shall we say? But we don’t deserve it. Sure we don’t. We have failed Christ so many times and we’ll fail Him many more times. True. But don’t you dare to say that you need to do something to receive what Christ offers you.

Forgiveness of all that you have ever done wrong. Eternal life. Life in God’s presence. We can say that we are not worthy of such a high promises. Of course, we are not!

There is nothing is us, nothing that would make us worthy of what Jesus had to suffer for us. He didn’t do it because we deserved it, or because we were worthy, He did it to show His love to the end.

So don’t you dare to say that we need to do something to become worthy, and then… No! Jesus has done it all. All what had to be done now ‘is finished’. And don’t you dare to doubt that all Jesus promises apply to you too.

For all that He did, He did for you. Now it is finished. Receive your life with God. Receive it already today! What is written is written so that you can know that Jesus has done it all.

What is left for you, – spend your life in joy, learning and trying to appreciate what a wonderful, what a priceless gift Jesus has made for you. Share this joy with other. Pray that they too could receive this gift. And don’t you ever, ever dare to doubt that all of this He did for you!

Amen.

To listen the sermon PRESS THE ORANGE BUTTON! 

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