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Man, Joy Of Jesu's Desire

May 20, 2017

Verse: John 16:28

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Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
May 21, 2017
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Easter 6
Man, Joy Of Jesu’s Desire

The gospel the church reads each Sunday is not simply a history lesson to inform us of what happened back in the day. But it speaks afresh to the church in every age. Today we are the disciples, reclining at the table with Jesus, on the night in which he was betrayed.

As Easter 2017 draws to a close, and Pentecost approaches Jesus says to us, “I came from the Father and am come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” We do well today to consider what the Lord means to tell us here.

First he reminds us that he came from the Father. There can be no stronger claim than that. It means that the one we worship, and rely upon for life and salvation, comes from our Almighty God and Father! The giver of every good and perfect gift.

He “came down from heaven” to do the Father’s will. To bring Light and Life to a world lost in death and darkness.

He came with divine teaching to open the eyes of the blind, and the ears of the deaf so that light and truth would enter them, and transform them! His teachings eradicate the cancer of our sin, and give us fresh life. This is why the church reads Scripture to her children, so that it might banish the darkness, dispel the deception, and give people a vision of the things that God has has prepared for those who love him.

Our Lord also came with great power, and perfomed mighty miracles. But we misunderstand things if we think of them as public relation stunts, or attention grabbers. That’s not what they are. They are, instead, symbols that manifest the Kingdom of God, and enable those oppressed by death and the devil to participate in it; just like the sacraments do today.

And what did our Lord bring with him from the Father? By virtue of his two natures, Divine and Human, he reconnected what was broken by sin in his body on the cross. He reconciled God and man, and brought peace to Jew and Gentile alike; so that man is alone in the universe no longer; and so that, by Christ, God would gain back his lost creation. (Ephesians 2:14-16)

God loves us! Yes, he allowed Adam the freedom to choose, love always does, or it is not love. But you are too precious and dear to God that you should be left to live like a beast, and die in the squalor of your sins, without the hope of salvation. To be consigned to Satan and his hell forever; rather than to “the inheritance of the saints in light,” (Colossians 1:12) who shine like the stars forever. (Daniel 12:3)

These are profound mysteries that we cannot bear at this time (John 16:12); but that will be revealed to us when we see Jesus face to face. (1 John 3:3) Then what we know now only in part, we will will know in full; know even as we are known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

But the central act of our salvation, the reason for the Lord’s incarnation, is his death on the cross. The bronze snake that Moses was commanded to put on the pole in the desert, to heal all those who were bitten by the fiery serpents, was but a prediction of our Lord and his cross. Anyone who looked at this Old Testament sacrament was healed. No medical treatment needed. No charge. No gimmick. Look and be healed. Jesus says the same of his cross in John chapter three. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes, in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15) And so, “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

This is what our Lord brought with him into the world. Divinity for humanity, salvation to sinners, and it is yours here, now and always.

But as Jesus came into the world from the Father, he also leaves the world, and returns to the Same. This is not a bad thing. Or a sentimental thing. Indeed, as often as we can break out of the orbit of our self-pity, we can look forward to our own return to the Father. St. Paul says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain!” To die is an advantage. The greatest blessing and good that can be bestowed upon any human being. “This day you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

What did Jesus take with him from this world? The most important thing of all. He who brought divinity to us, now takes our humanity to heaven. For you see, when our Lord ascended he did not shed his human nature. Nor did he leave it behind like a snake sheds his skin. But it is a part of him forever; which means that we are his Body, his Members, his Church, his Bride into perpetuity as well. And therefore, necessarily, participants in things of which it is impossible to speak of at this time. (2 Corinthians 12:4)

Jesus who was crucified, and raised again, is now established as the Lamb upon the Throne forever. The source of our salvation. The font of our satisfaction, our peace, of consolation, courage and confidence. Our own High Priest who intercedes for us when no one else can, and no one else will. Who takes the church’s prayers to the Father, who loves us, and assures us that they are heard and heeded.

St. Paul writes to Timothy, “for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of it.” (1 Timothy 6:7). But what is true of us, is not true of our Lord. He came from the Father bringing gifts to the world, and now he leaves the world, and takes gifts back to the Father. You are those gifts. You are the prize. You are the Pearl of Great Price for which the Lord “sold” all he had. (Mark 13:46) You are: Man, Joy of Jesu’s desire. Amen.