Transfiguration Glory

Sermon for the Transfiguration of our Lord based on Matthew 17:1-9

Dear future witnesses of the glory of Christ: grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Peter, James, and John saw a glimpse of the glory of Christ. They fell down on their faces and were terrified. When they saw Jesus’ glory that was no longer veiled under a cloak of humility, He revealed that He is God under the veil of human flesh. He deliberately hid His glory except for this moment with His three disciples. These three disciples were witnesses of the glory of Jesus, along with Moses and Elijah.

Jesus’ glory witnessed by Peter, James, and John is an indication to us that Jesus does not intend to keep His glory just for Himself, but He will share it with us. His transfiguration is a foretaste of eternal glory, joy, and blessedness where we will also be.

However, Scripture tells us, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (I Cor. 15:50) As we are, we cannot be with Jesus in His glory. As sinful flesh and blood, even a glimpse of Jesus’ glory would knock us down on our faces in terror.

Our perishable bodies must put on the imperishable; our mortal bodies must put on immortality (I Cor. 15:53). Then, and only then, we can see Jesus face to face.

Until then, Jesus veils His glory from us, even though He is with us. He has promised us, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20) He has promised us, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matt. 18:20) He has promised to be with us in the bread and wine of Holy Communion, where He gives us His true body and blood to eat and drink for the forgiveness of all our sins (Matt. 26:26-28).

Jesus is here, even though He is veiled from our sight. Since Jesus is here, it is impossible to be too pious, reverent, or respectful. God is here, even though we cannot see His glory. We cannot have a church building beautiful enough, or singing, artwork, or crucifixes that are majestic enough for what takes place here. This is the closest that we get to heaven on earth. Jesus comes in His body and blood to us and for us.

Our response to God’s presence among us is to bow our heads and to kneel as we are able. If we would see the glory of God, we would fall on our faces like the three disciples on the mount of transfiguration. Above all, our response to Jesus being among us is listening to Him. After all, that’s what God the Father said from the cloud, “This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.”

Indeed, you can have the most beautiful cathedral with the most beautiful paintings and statues. You can have the most beautiful choirs and orchestras playing the most beautiful music. You can have golden vessels, jewel encrusted vestments, and the most expensive of paraments. But if you don’t listen to Jesus, you have nothing except eternal damnation. Even if you saw Jesus in His glory, but you don’t listen to Him, you have nothing but eternal damnation.

This is what Peter writes about his witnessing of the transfiguration in our Epistle lesson. He writes, “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honour and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’ we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

Peter, James, and John were eyewitnesses of the glory of Jesus. They heard God the Father speak from heaven. Yet, what does Peter say? He says, “We have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place.” We have something more sure than experience. We have something more sure that feelings. We have something more sure than anything. We have the Word of Jesus. God the Father says, “Listen to Him.”

Listen to Him of whom Moses and Elijah spoke, and all the prophets before and after them. Listen to Him to whom all Scripture points. Listen to Him to whom God the Father points. Listen to Jesus, because only He has the words of eternal life.

Anyone can tell you to live a better life. Anyone can tell you to be more helpful to your neighbour, more loving to your family, and more supportive of those in need. Anyone can tell you to stop being selfish and self-centred. Only Jesus can say to you, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)

Jesus gives you rest from the demands of the Law. He gives you rest from the accusations and curses of the Law. He gives you rest from your failures and sins because He gives you forgiveness.

Only Jesus has the words of eternal life and only Jesus gives eternal life. Only Jesus gives eternal life because only Jesus has earned eternal life for you. No one else has paid the price of your sins. No one else has fulfilled the Law of God on your behalf. No one else can give you eternal rest.

Jesus’ death for you was Jesus purchasing your eternal rest. He took all your sins so that you can enter His eternal glory, in which you will see Him face to face. Jesus will not keep His glory just for Himself, but He will share it with you. Not just a brief glimpse of glory, but eternal rest, joy, and blessedness in His glory.

To bring you safely to that place where you will see Him in all His glory, He comes to you with His glory veiled to give you forgiveness. He gives you His true body and blood, in which His glory is veiled so that you can eat and drink without falling on your face in fear. Indeed, He gives you His body and blood so that you would have no fear, but instead have joy in the forgiveness of your sins and the promise of eternal glory.

Receive His body and blood in firm faith for your eternal blessing, and as God the Father says concerning His Son, “Listen to Him.” Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Word is Life

Sermon for Christmas Day based on John 1:1-14

Dear people in the light of Christ: grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Our Gospel lesson for Christmas Day is the most important of the Christmas accounts for knowing who Jesus is. It most clearly teaches that Jesus is not just man, but that He is divine; that He is God.

First, we see this because He is the Word. John points us back to the beginning as recorded by Moses in Genesis, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” John writes, “In the beginning was the Word.”

For each day of creation, God created with His Word. The first day, God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. This John corroborates by writing, “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

If everything that was created by God was created through Christ, who is the Word, then that means that Christ is not created. Christ must precede everything that was created. Christ therefore is eternal without beginning.

Nothing exists apart from God and what God has created. If Christ is not created, He is therefore God.

Then John tells us, “And the Word was with God.” This was in the beginning, before creation. There was nothing outside of God, so of course the Word was with God. Again, this is the same that Moses writes. When he writes, “God said, ‘Let there be light’” it shows that whenever God speaks, the Word must be with Him. The Word was with God, a separate person, but also God. Therefore John continues, in order to be as explicit and clear as possible, “And the Word was God.” There is no doubt therefore that Jesus is very God of very God as we confess in the Nicene Creed.

Second, our Christmas Gospel tells us concerning the Word, “In Him was life.” Of course, you cannot create life unless you are the source of life. Apart from the Word, nothing is alive. All things that are alive are alive through the Word.

This is also true of eternal life. Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) There is no resurrection without the Word. There is no eternal life without the Word. Only the Word made flesh can give eternal life because only He died to earn you eternal life, and only He conquered death by rising from the dead Himself. Only the Word made flesh can give eternal life because He is the source, the cause, the fountain of life.

Next, our Christmas Gospel tells us concerning the Word, “The life was the light of men.” If the Word is the light of men, without Him, we are in darkness. This is why the prophet Isaiah writes concerning the birth of Christ, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” (Is. 9:2)

Without Christ, man is in complete spiritual darkness. He may imagine that he is pleasing God in his life. He may think that his ways are right. He may think that he clings to what is life, but because he is in darkness, he really clings to death.

All who trust in Christ for salvation, however, are in the light and have life. Even though our body will die, our soul will live forever and never die. This is what Jesus promises when He says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26) “Though he die, yet shall he live” sounds like a contradiction if you don’t know what He means. It is no contradiction. Whoever believes in Christ has eternal life even when his body dies. The body is buried and awaits the day of resurrection, but the soul returns to its maker in Paradise, and is alive.

Christ died as a man and His body was buried. Yet His spirit lived on because He is Life. Life could not and cannot die. Consequently, death was overcome and was swallowed up by life, so much so that His body soon again became alive.

This same Life is the light of men. He who recognizes and believes in such a life in Christ, indeed passes through death, yet never dies. Christ, who is our Life protects him, so that death cannot harm him. Although the body must die and decay, the soul will not feel this death because believers are in the light of Christ, who is Life. On the day of resurrection his body will be raised imperishable and reunited with the soul.

He who does not believe this, remains in darkness and death. Such a soul will taste and feel death, and will die eternally. On the day of resurrection, his body will be raised from the grave and both body and soul will suffer eternally for rejecting Christ who is the Life.

Christ is your life. The soul of all who believe will never taste death because Jesus tasted death for you. The eternal Word who created you, came to earth to save you. God became man to deliver man. He is your light. He is your life.

The darkness of this world cannot overcome the light of Christ. Death cannot overcome Christ, who is the Life. The Word who created you will protect your soul from death and raise your body on the Last Day. He is God, so you know that He keeps His promises and can do what He says He will do. He is eternal, and in Him, you too will live forever.

May these blessed and comforting words of the Gospel strengthen you at this Christmas time. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Him, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Him shall never die. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Jesus: Crazy, Possessed, or God?

Sermon for the Third Sunday after Pentecost based on Mark 3:20-35

Dear goods plundered from Satan: grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Jesus is out of His mind, claimed His family. He is possessed by Satan, said the scribes. Whoever does not do the will of God comes to the same conclusions.

You either take what Jesus said and taught, believe it, and do the will of God, or you reject what Jesus said and taught, do not believe, and do not do the will of God. It’s not a game of picking and choosing. You don’t pick and choose what you like out of what Jesus’ said and taught. It’s all or nothing. You must conclude either that He is God and speaks the truth, or He was insane and a lunatic. Everything He said and did He said and did as God, or He said and did for Satan. There is no middle ground.

There was no denying that Jesus had been casting out demons. Satan’s unclean spirits fell down before Jesus, and He showed His power and authority over them by casting them out. Jesus has power and authority demons. He was casting them out either by the power of God, or the power of the devil, the prince of demons.

The scribes argued that Jesus did it with the power of the devil. They said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out demons.” They rejected what Jesus said and taught, so that was the only conclusion to which they could arrive.

His family wasn’t much better. They said that He’s lost His mind. He’s off His rocker. He’s gone crazy. His family went out to seize Him; to grab Him by force and take Him away from the crowds because they were saying, “He is out of His mind.”

The followers of Christ should expect no different treatment from those who do not do the will of God, whether they are our family or not. Where we cling to what Jesus said and taught, they will think that we are out of our minds.

Jesus said things with which our rational minds have problems. The man Jesus says that He is the Son of God the Father, making Himself equal with God (Jn 5:17-18). He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Jn 3:5). He says, “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.” (Jn 6:53)

You must either believe what Jesus says or conclude that He is out of His mind. If you do believe Jesus’ words, then the world will conclude that you are out of your mind, just as they have concluded that Jesus is out of His mind.

To conclude that Jesus is out of His mind is much the same as concluding that Jesus is in league with Satan. Since the work of the Holy Spirit is calling sinners to believe in who Jesus is and trust His work of salvation, those who reject the Holy Spirit’s call to faith and say that Jesus is crazy or demon-possessed are in danger of committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Jesus says that whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.

The calling of the Holy Spirit may take place over a significant period of time, but there comes a time when faith either takes root or is rejected. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is refusing to believe, denying the Gospel, rejecting who Jesus is and what He has done. This is why the sin against the Holy Spirit is mortal and unforgiveable. It is a rejection of forgiveness.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is to reject His call to repentance. It is not about any particular sin, but it is refusing to turn away from any sin and receive forgiveness. Every other sin can be forgiven. No other sin is an eternal sin. We are all sinful and commit sin every day. Some Christians even fall into great shame and vice in their weakness. But these sins are not the same as blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is refusing to turn away from sin when you are called to repentance and faith through God’s Word. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is not any act of sin, however heinous, but a state or habit of sin which someone wilfully choses and in which he persists in opposition to the Holy Spirit.

It is important to note that Jesus did not say that the scribes or His family had already committed the unforgiveable sin. He warned them of the danger of committing it. We know certainly that Jesus’ brothers James and Jude later believed (cf. I Cor. 9:5), and especially James became an important figure in the early church. We know that Jesus’ mother Mary believed and is found at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:26-27).

The warning is that if someone hardens his heart when the Holy Spirit is calling him to faith, he is in a very dangerous place where the Holy Spirit may eventually stop calling him. Death may come. Christ may return. This then is final impenitence and unbelief – the unforgivable sin which is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

However, the Holy Spirit has revealed to us that Jesus is God and He is not out of His mind. We cannot always understand His mind. His thoughts not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s ways higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Is. 55:8-9).

God does things that don’t make sense to us. He allows things to happen in the world and in our lives that we cannot see as being good.

Yet we trust in Jesus. We trust that He loves us and does everything only for our eternal good. Surely He only wants what is good for us since He has plundered us from the devil.

Satan did not defeat himself. Satan did not cast out Satan. Jesus bound Him and then plundered his house. Jesus rendered Satan powerless and then saved the captured prey from his house.

In our sins, we were hopeless to save ourselves and escape from Satan. Because of our sins we deserve to spend eternity with Satan in hell. But Jesus would not have it so. Jesus is the stronger one (cf. Mark 1:7) who bound Satan. Jesus “took captivity captive” (Eph. 4:8) and plundered Satan’s house, saving us from under his power. Our sin which held us captive under Satan has been forgiven. We have been released from the Law which would accuse us (Rom. 7:6).

Satan’s reign over us has been destroyed by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Our sins do not keep us captive to Satan. Jesus bound Satan and he is thus powerless to hold us captive. And since Jesus took captivity captive, captivity itself is captured. There is no longer any captivity to threaten God’s people. Christ has conquered sin, death, and the devil and He has made us free. There is no threat of hell for us.

All true believers come to the same conclusion. We take what Jesus said and taught, believe it, and do the will of God. We believe and follow Jesus’ Word even when we cannot completely understand it. We believe and follow Jesus’ Word even when the world rails against us for being crazy. We believe and follow Jesus’ Word, because His Word is eternal life. His Word has given us faith in His death for us, so that we know that we have been plundered from the devil and are safe in His Church where He forgives our sins and brings us to eternal life. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Citizens of Heaven

Sermon for the Fifth Sunday of Easter based on John 14:1-14

Dear citizens of heaven: grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Without Jesus, God is unseeable and unapproachable. God is Spirit, a blinding light and a consuming fire. He is the almighty creator, immortal, invisible, all-knowing, and omnipresent God, not part of creation. As God told Moses, “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” (Ex. 33:20)

However, in Jesus, God has come to earth, not only to be a part of creation, but also to partake of our very flesh. Thus Jesus, God in the flesh, tells His disciples, “Believe in God; believe also in me.”

This man, Jesus, is God. Believe in Him as you believe in God. Trust in Him as you trust in God. See this man Jesus as the almighty creator, immortal, all-knowing, and omnipresent God.

That is not how Philip saw Jesus, so he said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus responded to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”

After all that time spent with Jesus, Philip still struggled to grasp that Jesus is God. This man who walked with them and talked with them and ate with them is God in the flesh. This man who grew up from a little boy is God. This man who was born of a woman, nursed and raised by her, and had his diapers changed by her is God. That just didn’t sit right with Philip, and we’d be lying if we said it sat right with us. Yet, it is true.

There’s even more. This man who was mocked and abused by men is God. This man who was shamefully treated, whipped, spit on, crowned with thorns and crucified is God. This man whose arms were outstretched on the cross at Golgotha is God. Colossians tells us that the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in this man Jesus, that He is the visible image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15; 2:9).

It is necessary that Jesus is God in order for Him to defeat sin, death, and the devil, and pay the price of our sins. It is necessary that Jesus is God in order to reconcile us to God.

Because we are reconciled to God by the death of Jesus, Jesus doesn’t just speak of God in a distant or generic sense. Jesus doesn’t speak of Him as if He is unseeable and unapproachable. Jesus calls Him Father. Because you are reconciled to Him through the Son, you can call Him Father.

And the Son invites you to His Father’s house, saying, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.”

Because God the Son has reconciled you to God the Father, you have a place in the Father’s house waiting for you. God is no longer unseeable or unapproachable for you. In His house, you will get to see Him face to face and live. He will then no longer be invisible to you or seem distant from you.

So whatever troubles you in this life, cast your burdens on Jesus, because He’s got a place waiting for you in the Father’s house. Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Jesus, His Son.

The man Jesus not only has a place for you in eternity, but He also has promised that He Himself will receive you into the Father’s house. At Jesus’ death, as the temple curtain was torn in two no longer separating God and man, so the doors of the Father’s house were flung wide open for you. This means that whenever you die, Jesus is ready to receive you into your eternal dwelling in the Father’s house. The doors stand open waiting for you.

Jesus said that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. Thus, wherever Jesus is, there God is. Through Baptism, you are in Jesus. Those who have been absolved on earth in Jesus’ name are absolved before God in heaven. Those who have eaten and drunk the bread and wine of holy communion on earth have eaten and drunk the body and blood of God in the person of Jesus. You are in Christ; thus you are where He is.

Ephesians tells us that because we have been baptized into Christ, God the Father has taken us who were dead in our trespasses and made us alive together with Christ and has raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:4-6). To say that we are seated already now in the heavenly places sounds as crazy as saying that God was being nursed by Mary, but it also is true. Through our incorporation into Christ, we are where He is. We are not removed from earth physically, but we are already now sharing in the heavenly blessings. We already now reign over death which has no authority over us (Rev. 20:6). Our citizenship is already now in heaven; we’re already now enrolled in heaven (Phil. 3:20; Heb. 12:23). We already now have a place waiting for us in the Father’s house because we are already now alive in Christ.

God’s invitation to you through Jesus isn’t just for a nice meal at His house. There certainly will be many fine meals at the eternal banquet that never ends, but it is also so much more. God’s invitation is for you to live with Him eternally in His house where thieves cannot break in and steal; where tears will flow no more; where sin, guilt, and shame will be no more.

Since you are already enrolled in heaven; since your citizenship is already in heaven, let this be reflected in how you live here in exile, away from your eternal home. Live with your mind set on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col. 3:2). Put to death the sinful desires that you have (Col. 3:5). Live like your sin, guilt, and shame has been removed from you, because it has. Jesus took all your sin, guilt, and shame on Himself so He has taken it away from you. You are a child of the heavenly Father with a special place prepared just for you in the Father’s house.

No matter what happens in this life, let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Jesus, His Son. Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life. He is the one and only way to the Father. He is the one and only way to the Father’s house. Since Jesus has died for you and prepares a place for you the Father’s house, you can be certain of your place there. You can be certain that He will return, and will take you to Himself, that where He is, you may be also. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

I AM

Sermon for the festival of the Holy Trinity based on John 8:48-59

Dear people who will never see death: Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

When God called Moses to lead the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, Moses asked God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Ex. 3:13-14)

“I AM,” or the original Hebrew “Yahweh”, is the name of God as He revealed it to Moses. It is translated as “the Lord” in most English translations of the Bible, but we would do well to remember the meaning is “I AM.”

When God revealed His name to Moses as “Yahweh” or “I AM,” it is not the first time God’s name appears in Scripture. Already in Genesis chapter two the name “I AM” appears multiple times when describing His creation of man and woman and His placing of them in the Garden of Eden. The name “I AM” is the most frequent name for God in the Old Testament, appearing over 5000 times.

“I AM” is God’s holy name. Out of fear of taking God’s name in vain, the Jews of Jesus’ time never uttered it. They were so scared of breaking the Second Commandment that they never spoke God’s name in prayer or worship. Even when reading from the Scriptures in synagogues, they would say “Lord” instead of “I AM,” which is written in the text.

“I AM” is God’s personal name indicating His eternal existence and the origin from whom all things came to be. Only God can say, “I AM.” He has no beginning; He has no end. In the book of Revelation, God says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8) In Isaiah God says, “‘You are my witnesses,’ declares I AM, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I AM he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am I AM, and besides me there is no saviour.’” (Is. 43:10-11)

So you can imagine the outrage of the Pharisees when Jesus describes Himself as “I AM.” The Pharisees, as usual, were arguing with Jesus. Jesus said, “If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” This set the Pharisees off in an uproar. They said, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets… who do you make yourself out to be?” The Pharisees did not understand Jesus was talking about eternal death and that Abraham and the prophets are alive with God in Paradise even though they died from this life.

Part of Jesus’ response to the Pharisees was saying, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” This only added fuel to the fire. The Pharisees replied, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”

Genesis tells us about I AM appearing to Abraham and speaking with him. I AM made promises to Abraham and made a covenant with him. I AM called Abraham out of his country and promised to make a great nation of him (cf. Gen. 10-25, esp. 18). This was more than two thousand years before Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees. So how can Jesus claim that Abraham saw Him? What is Jesus saying about Himself?

Just to remove all doubt, Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus is claiming to be I AM. Jesus is taking God’s holy name for Himself. He is saying He is eternal with no beginning and no end. He is saying that before Him no god was formed, nor shall there be any after Him. He is saying, “I, I AM who I AM, and besides me there is no saviour.”

That’s why the Pharisees picked up stones to stone Jesus to death. Not only was He speaking God’s name, He claimed to be I AM, the one and only true God. In their eyes, this was blasphemy. Someone is guilty of blasphemy if he claims to be God and is merely a man. Recall that this was the only charge against Jesus of which He was found guilty in His trial before the Council.

Jesus’ words left the Pharisees with two options: believe that Jesus is God or believe that Jesus is some lunatic claiming to be God. There are no other options.

If Jesus was just a prophet of God, but not God in the flesh, then He would not have claimed to be God. No other prophet sent by God ever claimed to be the eternal I AM. If Jesus was a good teacher but nothing more, then He would not have said that Abraham had seen His day and was glad. No teacher is good who makes up such lies. Either Jesus is God or He’s crazy. There are no other options.

This means that you also only have those same two options to believe. Either Jesus is the great I AM, Yahweh, God in the flesh, or He is a lunatic and a liar. Either Jesus is right when He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death,” or He is a liar and we should discard His every word. It’s all or nothing.

Any thinking that Jesus is anything other than I AM in the flesh is false. This is why today, being Trinity Sunday, we will confess in the Athanasian Creed that along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Son is equal in glory and majesty, that He is uncreated, infinite, eternal, and almighty.

Although He is the eternal I AM, the Son humbled Himself by taking on flesh and becoming man. Although equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit as God, the Son humbled Himself to be a man, and thus to be less than the Father according to His humanity. Even more, He humbled Himself to the point of suffering and death.

The eternal I AM who has no beginning or end, before whom no god was formed and after whom no god shall be, the great I AM, besides whom there is no saviour gave His life for fallen man. The Creator of the universe died for the sake of His creation that has rebelled against Him. So great is His love towards us.

Since Jesus is the eternal I AM who kept His promises to Abraham, we know that He will also keep His promises to us. Whoever keeps Jesus’ Word will never see death, because Jesus saw death instead. Whoever trusts the promises of God has the promise of eternal life.

These promises to you are sure and certain because the eternal I AM has made them to you. He who has no beginning or end promises you that you will have no end. He before whom no god was formed and after whom no god shall be promised you in the waters of Holy Baptism that you belong to Him. The eternal I AM gives you His very body and blood to eat and drink making you eternal by giving you eternal life.

I AM saved His people Israel out of slavery in Egypt and He has likewise saved you from slavery to sin. You are saved from the punishment of sin. You are saved from eternal death. You are saved to call on God’s name in prayer and praise. And because you cling to this Word of God, you will never see death. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.