Saturday, March 24, 2012
The fifth Sunday in Lent, commonly called PASSION SUNDAY
Hebrews 9:11-15 * John 8:46-59
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.”
For once the enemies of our Lord were right about something, frankly, about something that many nominal Christians are wrong about. His enemies understood exactly what he meant by his words, “before Abraham was, I AM.” And, we call this day Passion Sunday because we see the reason, ultimately, that his enemies wanted him dead, and the reason they were unrelenting in pursuit of his execution. They understood him rightly, and because they reacted in the only logical way they knew, they picked up stones in order to kill him.
In one of his most famous passages in all his works, C.S. Lewis addressed this very thing that today’s Gospel is about, in Mere Christianity:
'I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a good moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.' 1
When Jesus tells us He is without sin, He tells of His love for us; for on the cross he offered that ransom for each of us that no rich man can give for his brother. He said that He is the One, and He dared to proclaim on His own behalf the Name I AM. This declaration also took him closer to the cross. So, when He calls you to the radical commitment that may even cost you your life, as it does cost Christians in other lands who suffer persecution and martyrdom even to this day, know that He already died for you. Know, as I say often, that when you look up and see Him on the cross, and behold sorrow and love flow mingled down, the shedding of His blood and pouring out of His soul unto death, that you can and must take this love personally. Either reject him completely, if you can, or fall down and worship him as your Lord and your God.
1. Page 56
2. Psalm 49: 6-8
3. from Isaiah 53