April 3, 2022 anno Domini
Today is Judica Sunday – judgment Sunday. Judge me, O God. Vindicate me, O God. Is that a wise thing to ask? Do you really want God to judge you?
Judgement is based on evidence. Saying something does not make it true. Just because Fox News or CNN broadcasts it does not make it so. Where’s the evidence?
What evidence could you put forward that God should vindicate you? Can you provide God any evidence that He should favor you? God is all seeing. He is your Father who created you in His image, who gave you the rules of His house in the 10 commandments, and since He is God, He is better than your parents in knowing what you are up to. Your parents could smell the booze on your breath or the smoke on your coat, but you could deny being at a party. Your wife may not know where you have gone on the internet, but your Father in heaven knows. At Redeemer we keep track of how often you’ve come to hear your Father’s voice and eat at His table, but He knows when you are here, but not here. He sees when you are carried away by boredom or your plans for the afternoon, when watching the clock and waiting for the amen.
Could you bring anything, on your own, before God and expect Him to judge in your favor – to vindicate you before an ungodly people. Could you supply any evidence that you are not ungodly?
Yes, you can, but it is not your own. There is evidence not only that you are Godly, but you can expect and even demand God’s favorable judgment for you and against your enemies. His name is Jesus.
In today’s Gospel reading Jesus gets judged and He is found wanting by men. It’s a warning to us. The only evidence you dare bring before God’s judgment seat is Jesus, so your judgment of Jesus is vital.
In John 7 and 8 Jesus is in Jerusalem at the Feast of Booths and everyone is judging Jesus. His brothers judge Him crazy for thinking He is the Christ. Some said He was good, others that He was a liar. Some thought He was the Christ, but others questioned the evidence because Jesus was from up north, from Nazareth in Galilee. Can anything world changing come out of Embarrass or Ely?
The judgment of Christ centered around His Word. Jesus claimed to speak the truth, the absolute truth, and all of us know how uncomfortable absolute truth is – especially when that truth says I am wrong.
Immediately before the text Jesus says, (Read vs. 45). Then the Jews, unhappy with Jesus’ charge against them, lay their own charges against Him. (Read vs. 48). Note that Jesus does not refute the accusation that He is a Samaritan. Being called a Samaritan is like being called the N word if you are black or being accused of white privilege if you are white. Jesus does not refute being a Samaritan because He has come for every human. He doesn’t care what the world thinks of you or calls you because He has come for you. He gladly is identified with any human and every human, even a Samaritan, even you.
However, Jesus will not allow the accusation that He has a demon to stand. So He enters evidence to the contrary. The Devil seeks his own glory. You know how the Devil works because you still have your old sinful self clinging to your flesh. The Devil lies to make himself look better. The Devil tells every story in his favor. The Devil doesn’t feel any guilt or shame over hurting others as long as he feels good.
That’s not Jesus. He tells the truth. He does not seek His own glory. At the beginning of this eighth chapter of John the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. They wanted to stone her. What did Jesus do? He told the Pharisees that if any one of them did not have any sin he could throw the first stone. I’m sure that went over well, but that is what they needed to hear. Then He turned to the woman, forgave her, and told her to sin no more. That is what she needed to hear, but her renewed chastity probably ticked off her boyfriend. Jesus did not seek His glory, but the glory of His Father. The Father desired to save the Pharisees, the adulterous woman, and her boyfriend. The Father wanted to look upon these sinners once again as His own dear children, so Jesus told them the truth that saves, repent and receive forgiveness, but that truth made 2/3 of them hate Jesus.
God wants sinners to have life instead of death, so Jesus tells the truth about the one way of life (read vs. 51). The Pharisees can’t handle the truth. They don’t want to be told they are sinners. They don’t want to be humbled. They don’t want to confess their sins. But before you look down at the Pharisees, look in the mirror. Do you want to believe that faith in Jesus alone saves, when your children or grandchildren exhibit no desire to hear God’s Word or receive His supper? Do you want to believe God’s Word when that Word cuts you to the heart and exposes your coveting or lusting or gossip?
Finally, Jesus enters the evidence that will damn Him before the Pharisees. That same evidence will save you if you believe it. Before Abraham was I am. At the burning bush when Moses asked God’s name – God replied, “I am who I am.” With the Words “I am” Jesus claimed to be God, and that was too much for the Pharisees. They reach their judgment. God must die if He is Jesus of Nazareth, so they picked up stones to kill Him.
Jesus claimed to be God. He said His Word is truth and that His truth alone saves. The Pharisees saw the evidence that supported His claims – the miracles, His teaching, His admonishment of proud sinners like themselves and His forgiveness of broken sinners like the adulterous woman. They rejected the evidence and judged that Jesus must die. If you want God to be silent or dead, it means you have chosen your own way unto death instead of His way unto life.
You have one hope to stand before God alive after you die. His name is Jesus. The evidence that He is God is abundant. The record of His life is the most witnessed event of ancient history. There are multiple witnesses to His teaching and His miracles, but the evidence that is unimpeachable is His death on the cross (which He claimed was for the sin of the world) and His resurrection from the dead three days later (witnessed by over 500 people.)
The Christian desires God’s judgment. You want God to judge you, not on the basis of anything you have done, but on the evidence of Christ. Judge me O Lord – for your only Son bore my sins on the cross. Judge me O Lord because Christ suffered your anger for my sins. Look upon me with favor, My Father, because I am without guilt. Your Son’s death says so. Your Son’s resurrection declares it so. Don’t be afraid to call on the Lord to judge against the evil doer and to judge for you. Don’t be afraid to pray against Vladimer Putin or Abortionists or anyone who serves himself at the cost of others. Pray for their repentance and failing that pray their His destruction. Do so without guilt or fear because you have all the evidence you need that God is for you and against evil. In the name of Jesus. Amen.