Trinity News and Sermons

2017/5/14 Sermon for 5th Sunday of Easter on John 14

An atheist was spending a quiet day fishing when suddenly his boat was attacked by the Loch Ness monster. In one easy flip, the beast tossed him and his boat high into the air. Then it opened its mouth to swallow both. As the man sailed head over heels, he cried out, “Oh, my God! Help me!”

At once, the ferocious attack scene froze in place, and as the atheist hung in mid-air, a booming voice came down from the clouds, “I thought you didn’t believe in me!”
“Come on, God, give me a break!!” the man pleaded. “Two minutes ago I didn’t believe in the Loch Ness monster either!”

 

My fear of flying starts as soon as I buckle myself in and then the guy up front mumbles a few unintelligible words, then before I know it I’m thrust into the back of my seat by acceleration that seems way too fast and the rest of the trip is an endless nightmare of turbulence, of near misses. And then the cabbie drops me off at the airport.  –Dennis Miller.

For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.
-Author unknown.

 

Matthew Henry,

Let not your heart be troubled. Notice these words:

First, the word “troubled.”

The word evokes the image of a troubled sea when it is churning with unrest and confusion.

Jesus doesn’t say, “Let not your hearts be grieved or sad.”

He says, “Don’t be ruffled and discomposed, don’t be cast down and disquieted”

 

 

Second, the word “heart.”

Although country and city be troubled,

although your little family and flock be troubled,

yet let not your heart be troubled.

Keep possession of your own souls when you can keep possession of nothing else.

The heart is the main fort;

whatever you do, keep trouble from this, keep this with all diligence.

Your heart must be able to sustain the infirmity,

so make sure that your heart is not wounded.

 

 

In verse 1, Jesus admonishes his disciples not to be troubled in heart.

 The verb tarassw (trouble) used here also appears in 11:33, 12:27 and 13:21.

In these three uses, it is Jesus himself who is troubled at the power of death and its effects.

Thus, the word denotes much more than the emotional experience of sadness or any type of sentimentality

but rather reflects a profound sense of turmoil and upheaval created by death’s power over humanity.

 

Here, Jesus encourages his disciples,

as he prepares to face the very power that has caused him so much anguish in the previous chapters,

by instructing them to believe or trust in him even as they believe in God.

 

Jesus’ imperative to believe in God and also in him corresponds to the unity of Jesus and God that appears throughout John’s gospel (5:19-24, 26-27; 7:28-29; 10:25-30; 12:44).

In addition, they provide comfort to people of the Johannine community facing death.

 

His declaration that he will come again assures the Johannine community that he overcomes death,

as well as emphasizes that he hasn’t abandoned them.

Such a declaration serves to strengthen Jesus’ earlier imperative to them not to be troubled.

He promises to come back and take them to himself, highlighting both his refusal to let death separate him from his own and his ultimate triumph over death itself.

(PAUSE)

 

I am the Way!

 

Here, Thomas thinks Jesus speaks of “the way” in terms of direction to his destination.

But Jesus speaks in terms of his person as the way to God.

Jesus’ answer to Thomas speaks to a Jewish community exiled from its Jewish past and facing persecution.

 

The Way – in Acts, the first church is known as the “Followers of the Way”

He assures them that he provides access to the Father, and they need not worry about separation from God,

despite being put out of the synagogues (9:22).

Those who know Jesus know the Father, also. This “I am” saying corresponds to other “I am” sayings that appear earlier in the gospel narrative – I am the Bread of Life; I am the Vine you are the branches, I am the Resurrection and the Life.

 

 

Dare not use his “no one comes to the Father except through me” as a force for exclusivity and arrogance.  No cause for “we’ve got Jesus and you don’t” so you’re going to hell.

 

Many seek for God.  Many seek for meaning.  Even in this very gathering there are persons who express their spirituality in differing ways and have come from various religious backgrounds.

 

Karl Barth:

Christianity is the only non-religion.

Religion, for him, was about humanity seeking for God – some where – “out there”

Christianity, About God coming down. In Jesus. 

Not us seeking for God and the Infinite some place else. 

Incarnation. God in the flesh.  God comes to us.

 

For me, as a life-long Lutheran Christian, rather than judging those who “don’t have Jesus” – as if we could somehow possess him!!! – I feel we are called to help them see that the ULTIMATE expression of the love of the Divine is found in God WITH us, AS ONE OF US.

 

Namely, in Jesus.

To invite people into a dynamic and living relationship with the One who created them.  Who loves them.  Who is FOR them.

 

And ultimately:

 

WHO DIES FOR THEM.

 

Jesus tells us today that if we want to see God the Father – LOOK AT HIM.  THEY ARE ONE!

 

 

 

Here are other words that help us to understand this relationship we have with the Living God, found in Jesus Christ.

 

 

A reading for 1st John 4:7-16

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and those who love are born of God and know God. 

Those who do not love do not know God; for God is love. 

In this the love of God was made known among us; that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 

In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and send his Son to be the payment for our sins. 

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 

No person has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. 

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in that one, and they in God. 

So we know and believe the love God has for us. 

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 

In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

 

 

Let not your hearts be filled with turmoil and fear.

 

I and the Father are one.

 

I go to prepare a place and I will come again.

 

I am the Way. The Truth. The Life!

 

Be at peace!