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midweek Vespers

John 5:19-29

Rev. Andrew Eckert

Wednesday after Septuagesima
Our Savior Lutheran Church  
Stevensville, MT

Wed, Feb 15, 2017 

The text is the Reading from the Gospel according to St. John, the fifth chapter, especially verses nineteen through 23.

Like Father, like Son.

Christ our Lord says, “The Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing.  For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”

If only we were more like this!  We should be.  We should take to heart the

Scriptures so devoutly that we would not think of acting against what the Father says.  We should hang upon the words of sermons so closely that our attention never wavers, and then take to heart these sacred words to act upon them in our lives.

But we sometimes act as if the words of the Father were challenges.  “Do not covet,” He says, and we rush to find things to covet.  “Do not bear false witness,” He says, and we can hardly wait to tell somebody about somebody else.

The Son, Jesus our Lord, was able to see and learn directly from the Father.  Christ saw the Father do things, and then Christ also did them.  He saw the Father’s pure love for mankind.  He saw the providence with which He preserved our earthly lives in spite of our sinfulness.  Christ saw the desire of the Father that men be saved, and Christ acted in accord with that love.

We see through a glass, indirectly viewing the Father’s love through Scriptures.  Yet He is clear enough in these pages that we should not mistake His intentions.  We know the Commandments, and so we should act in accord with the Father’s love.  But we so often do not.

Thank heavens that Christ follows the ways of the Father, not the ways of sinful humanity!

Christ says, “As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will.” This is the wonderful love of God for us, that He does not leave us dead to sin.  He has raised us through the life-giving Word and through the washing of rebirth.  Christ does this because it is one of the Father’s works.  So He cannot fail to do it.  Like Father, like Son.  As the Father gave life in the beginning of the creation, so Christ is the life-creating and life-bestowing Son.  As the Father promises resurrection at the end of this world, so the Son also will raise all the dead, having already become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

He will raise us up.  This in itself is not good news, since He will also raise up all the dead.  But for us, resurrection will be to life and glory.  Because He has given us faith in Him, we will live with Him.  Although we are not worthy sons who follow the heavenly Father, yet Christ gives us adoption into His Sonship and His obedience.  He makes us heirs to inherit the new heaven and the new earth.  To this He will raise us, which is most certainly good news.

At the last Day, the Father will yield to the Son the right of judgment.  Here we see the kind of love that exists within the Godhead.  The Father is not demanding to take the place He deserves, which is the Judge of all the men whom He created.  No, He yields to the Son so that more glory can be given to Christ.  This is because the Father is pleased to count all honor given to the Son as given to Himself.

May we learn to be so selfless.  May we willingly pass up opportunities for our own glory so that others may receive it.  May we see and imitate the love of the Father and Son.

Yet this is far more than imitation.  Christ is telling us the vital information that tells us that He is not only a God of judgment (although He is also that).  He is not only a God who expects us to obey (although He is also that).  He is also, and much more, a God who is love.  He is loving within the Persons of the Trinity.  He is loving towards mankind.  His love far outshines our pale attempts at imitation, which is a good thing.  Our weak love could not save anybody.  But His perfect love and grace and mercy are the source of our salvation.

In love to us, the Father planned for our salvation and sent His Son into human flesh, into our world of sin, to a death of pain to redeem us.  In love to the Father and to us, Christ suffered all this to accomplish His great work of saving us.  The persons of the Trinity act in harmony at all times to give us all things.

If the Son were not in harmony with the Father, then He would not have come into our flesh or died our death.  But He is in accord with the Father, as He said.  So our salvation has been most certainly accomplished by the work of the Holy Trinity.

All praise be to this great and glorious God forever.  Amen.

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