Life Sunday – 2020 LSB #412
Text – John 6:68
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
DID GOD REALLY SAY?
“It is good.” That is the Lord’s refrain through the six days of creation. Light and dark, “It is good.” Land and sea, “It is good.” Stars, moon and sun, “It is good.” Birds and fish, plants and animals, “It is good.” Then there is Adam. The Lord looks at him and says, “It is not good.” “It is not good for man to be alone.”
The very goodness of creation is connected to life. If creation brings forth or supports life, it is good. Adam, alone, remains alone. He can have no children, no family. It is not good, not until Eve, and then it is very good. Then, with the gift of marriage, the promise of children, the joy of life, God rests from His work.
And the devil gets busy. He finds Adam and Eve in the Garden. He begins nudging them towards death, and the nudge sounds like this, “Did God really say?” Let’s not miss the point, “Did God really say?” is the sound of the devil’s death nudge. “Did God really say you are not supposed to eat any of this fruit?” “Did God really say if you ate the fruit then you would die?”
The devil deceived with a question of doubt. And his chief lie was in calling God a liar. Yahweh’s Word is truth and His Word is life. If the devil wants us to die (which he does), he will tempt us away from the Word of God. And death comes with doubt. Adam and Eve were tempted away from the word, away from life.
They ate, they died, and we, and everything else in the cosmos, are dying with them. We often lament that ours is a “culture of death.” No doubt this is true. Life is vulnerable at the beginning and the end and devalued all the way through. We mourn the slaughter of babies and lament the medical murdering of the elderly. Still, it is important to remember that humanity’s funeral march began long before Roe vs. Wade or the push for legalized “euthanasia.” It began in the Garden. It began with “Did God really say?” And it continues to march to that same beat today. But it is this funeral march that Jesus came to stop. Christ is not content with our dying. He is not happy to stand by and watch us fall into the grave and come to condemnation.
“I came that [you] might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus interrupts our death with His life. Jesus interrupts our sin with His holiness. The Son of God interrupts our rebellion with His crucifixion. He takes our sin, our punishment, the wrath we deserve, and He suffers in our place. His death is Adam’s death, and Eve’s, and ours.
His agony is what we deserved. He bears our sin so that we could know God’s mercy, God’s grace, God’s forgiveness, God’s life that never ends. And how does He give this all to you? He gives all of this to you in His Word.
In John 6, Jesus is giving a difficult teaching. He is the bread from heaven. He is God and Man united in one person. He is the hope and life of the world:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:53-56).
This was too much for the crowds. There were thousands who came to Jesus for bread in the wilderness, but they don’t stay for the teaching, for the words said by God. Jesus sees that they’re all leaving, and turns to His disciples, “Do you want to leave as well?” Peter answers beautifully, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
God be praised! Peter sees with a divine clarity what you and I must also see – Jesus has the words of eternal life. Jesus has the words that overcome death. Jesus has the words that will pull us out of the grave on the last day. Jesus has the words that fell the old evil foe. Jesus has the words that forgive sin and repair broken relationships. His words are words of eternal life. And, dear saints, you have them as well. You have the words of Jesus. You hear His voice. You know His name. You believe what He says.
It’s true, the devil comes to tempt us, the same as in the Garden, “Did God really say?” “Did God really say He loves you?” Yes! “Did God really say your sins are forgiven?” Yes! “Did God really say that you are saved by grace through faith, without any works?” Yes!
“Did God really say that we will be raised on the last day, and will live forever with Him?” Yes, a thousand times yes! Jesus has the words of eternal life. Those words and promises are ours. That eternal life is ours. God be praised, forever and ever! Amen.
The people that in darkness sat a glorious light have seen; the light has shined on them who long in shades of death have been, in shades of death have been. To us a child of hope is born, to us a Son is given, and on His shoulder ever rests all power in earth and heaven, all power in earth and heaven. Lord Jesus, reign in us, we pray, and make us Thine alone, Who with the Father ever art and Holy Spirit, one, and Holy Spirit one. Amen. LSB 412:1, 3, 6.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet