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The Rev. Matthew L.Whitehead: “Who is this Jesus?” (John 8:46-59)

March 30, 2009

From the Rev. Matthew L. Whitehead of St. Chrysostom REC in Arkansas, here is a sermon for Passion Sunday, Who is this Jesus? that is based on John 8:45-59.  In a sense this sermon actually relates very well to the one we have just seen from Fr. Bill Klock on “Our Great High Priest” in that it shows Jesus exalted above the Old Testament prophets just as He was exalted above the Old Testament priesthood:

Implicit in Jesus’ words was a claim to be the great prophet for whom all of Israel looked, ‘that prophet’ promised by Moses, who would be greater than Moses, and would be their intermediary before God.  People were already beginning to believe that Jesus was ‘that prophet’. In last week’s Gospel lesson we read the feeding of the five-thousand, and after that miracle they looked at him and said that he was ‘that prophet’. He is ‘that prophet’ because he is greater than all of the greatest prophets Israel has ever known.

The implications of Jesus’ claim go further. If the man who keeps Jesus’ word is saved from death, how much more will Jesus himself be saved from death? And here is where things can get sticky for us. We know that Jesus died, and we know that even the most faithful Christians experience death. Jesus’ statement must be understood in the eternal sense.It is not that we live life as we now know it without experiencing death, but rather that death loses its finality. By the word and ministry of Jesus Christ “we enter into a relationship with God which neither time nor eternity can sever”.  Jesus is that great prophet promised by Moses, who intercedes on our behalf before God. And by his mediation, all who are found to be in Christ will be saved from death and will be resurrected unto eternal life. Keep his sayings.

That is really something to think about: that by the ministry of Jesus we have entered into that kind of relationship with the Creator of the universe: one that neither time nor eternity can sever.  Have a look at the rest of this thought-provoking sermon!

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