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Sermon 81306

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Dear Lord,

You sent your son so that I might have abundant life and eternal life.  Thank you Father, for my Savior Christ Jesus.  I will follow Him, Honor Him and share His good news, every day.     Amen

          “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His Glory, Glory as of the only son from the Father full of grace and truth.”

          John sets down at the start of his gospel who Jesus is.  He is God incarnate.  St. Paul says of Jesus in Col. 2:9 “For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” And in Romans 9:5 Jesus is “God over all”  St. Thomas (one of my favorite saints) declares to Jesus “my Lord and my God”.

          But who does Jesus say that He is?  We need first to go back to Exodus 3:14.  Moses, being sent to Israel, asks God who shall I say has sent me?  God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” “Tell Israel I am has sent me to you.”

          In today’s gospel reading we hear the first of seven “I am” sayings listed in John’s gospel. 

          It is these sayings that I will talk about.  Jesus used these sayings as a claim to his deity.  In John 8:12 Jesus says “I am the light of the world.”  Light can be a symbol of prosperity or happiness as in Esther 8:16, “The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor” which as Proverbs 13:9 tells us is the lot of the righteous.  Light is a symbol of illumination, it can bring hidden things to light as in Ps. 90:8 “You have set our iniquities before you our secret sins in the light of your presence” or shed the light of instruction as in Ps. 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

          St. John tells us in his first epistle that “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.”

          In John chapter 10 Jesus says “I am the good shepherd” and “I am the door of the sheep.”  St. Luke tells us the parable of the lost sheep, which is my favorite parable.  The shepherd says “rejoice with me for I have found my sheep that was lost.”  Jesus says “I tell you there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance.”

          I relate to this as I have heard the joy in heaven.  When I finally said to God “If it is your will for me to become a deacon, then I will stop fighting it I will surrender to your will.”  That was before I went to bed.  That night I was treated to a chorus of the host of heaven praising and worshipping God for my turning to Him.  I also heard, “well, it’s about time.”  I am not sure who said that but I know that it was said in love. 

          Jesus says “I am the resurrection and the life.”  In today’s gospel reading we hear that all who believe in the Son will be raised up on the last day.  “This is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me.

          Other I am sayings are “I am the way, the truth and the life.” “I am the vine” and “I am the bread of heaven” or “I am the bread of life.”

          Jesus is the true bread of heaven.  This refers to what is everlasting, spiritual, and eternal as opposed to the bread God provided through Moses.  Manna was only material and temporary. 

Jesus is the bread that comes down from Heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.

          We know that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine.  We are told this on page 868 of the Book of Common Prayer in the Article of Religion II.

          It is no wonder that the Jews were grumbling about Jesus.  Who does this Jesus think He is?  We know his mom and dad.  He’s the son of Joseph, the carpenter from Nazareth.  Now he  claims to have come down from heaven, he claims to be God, he says He will raise the dead.  Why can’t he be happy just being a rabbi a good moral teacher?

          In “Mere Christianity”  C.S. Lewis writes:  (pg 52)

          In last weeks gospel we were told by St. Luke “then from the cloud came a voice that said “this is my son, my chosen, listen to Him.

          Let us pray:

          Ever living God, who strengthened your apostle Thomas with firm and certain faith in your son’s resurrection: Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, that our faith may never be found wanting in your sight; through Him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

                                      Amen.

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