Sunday, April 21, 2013
The Paraclete as Teacher (John 14:22-31)... Holy Spirit Come: Jesus teaching on the Holy Spirit in John's Gospel (Part 2)
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Not As Orphans (John 14:12-21)... Holy Sprit Come: Jesus Teaching on the Holy Spirit in John's Gospel (Part 1)
We are starting a new series this morning called ‘Holy Spirit Come’. And we will be looking at John’s teaching on the Holy Spirit, specifically in what is known as the farewell discourse; his teaching at that last supper with his disciples. We are doing it for two reasons.
John’s gospel starts with Jesus eternal origins and says that he was active in the creation of the world. In Genesis the Spirit is also present with God in the beginnings and as it says in Genesis 1:2 the Spirit of God was involve in the creation process, it hovered over the face of the deep. The New Testament has many Trinitarian formulas and cases where the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are talked of as being active in our salvation and our sanctification.
I love the example of one of the women in our church who was passing her local bakery recently and saw that the baker was throwing out heaps of bread at the end of the day. Now one of the things the Holy Spirit is about is calling us to care for the poor.She went home and rang them and asked if it was possible to give the bread to a local school for a breakfast programme. The baker said he'd be happy to do that... but the school closest to them had said no. The women rang some other schools and found one feeding quite a few children in the mornings before school and arranged for the bread to go there. No flash thus says the lord or anything like that just a simple coming alongside the spirit, and the spirit being alongside us.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Over the next month leading into Pentecost I will bre preaching a series of messages on Jesus teaching on the Holy Spirit in John's gospel and the first chapter of acts.
This is not the original image I had for the series but as we are leading into to Pentecost I have used this photo that I picked up somewhere many years ago and which speaks to me anew every time I see it.
We will be using a wonderful song 'Holy Spirit Living breath of God' by Keith and Kristyn Getty as the theme song for the series.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
I Am The Resurrection And The Life (John 11:17-44)... Refracted Glory: Jesus Revelaed in the "I Am" Sayings of John's Gospel (Part 7)
In the film Skyfall James Bond says his hobby is resurrection. Like many times in the Bond film franchise he’d been presumed dead but well he was back. And as it was the film to celebrate 50 years of Bond movies, it had a wider implication; the film series itself seemed to be dead again and again but keeps coming back. This latest film, through traumatic and sorrow filled events, resurrects the Bond Universe. Hopefully without ruining the film for people who haven’t seen it, at the end we are left with a new ‘Q’ a new “Moneypenny” a new ‘M’ and a Bond ready to go to work. The story has new life breathed into it and we are left with the message ‘Bond will return…soon’.
For Jesus resurrection isn’t just a hobby, it is at the core of who he is, “I am the resurrection and the life”. The context for that saying is Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It good for us to look at this after Easter as RVG Tasker says ‘Raising Lazarus in john’s gospel leads to Jesus death and resurrection but also is the sign which discloses more clearly than any other the meaning of his death and resurrection”.
This is the last in our series looking at the “I Am” sayings in John’s gospel; Sayings that show us the divine nature of Jesus. We’ve called the series Refracted Glory because John in his prologue, says of Jesus… ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Our working definition of Glory, is that it is the weighty reality of who someone is, and like light is refracted through a prism through looking at Jesus ‘I am’ statements we get to see the wondrous hues and deep rich dimensions of the weighty reality of all God is revealed in Jesus. It is my prayer that we may catch a renewed vision of the glory of God with us that would fill us and overflow into the world around us.
The immediate context of Jesus saying “I am the resurrection and the life” is a conversation with Martha, Lazarus’s sister. Leonard Sweet paints the picture of Martha, Mary and Lazarus as being the people that Jesus would most likely hang out with on a night off. They are Jesus mates. Martha is the oldest sister and for many of you, you’ll know that there are culturally designated thing for her to do at Funerals and other gatherings, particularly as there does not seem to be an older generation around. When Jesus comes to dinner, in Luke’s gospel, she’s the one making sure that everything is done and here she comes out to welcome the visitors coming to give their condolences.
Jesus response is to tell Martha that, ‘her brother will rise again’. I don’t know about you but at funerals and in times of grief and tragedy it’s easy for us to simply say things even great truths of our faith hoping they will and ease peoples grief. Maybe Martha had heard that same thing from many of the religious leaders who had come down from Jerusalem. Martha responds with her faith that yes she knows that Lazarus will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ She has this hope in God’s ultimate victory over sin and death… a future hope of eternal life. That great truth gives her comfort and hope.
That doesn’t really tell the whole story of encountering God in the midst of the realities of life. Let’s face it Lazarus died again. Millions of believers have died since, we face pain and sorrow, tragedy and grief. In this narrative we see more of Jesus response to that. Even though Jesus knows what he is going to do, we have that shortest and most profound of verses… Jesus wept. The divine nature of I am the resurrection and the life is perfectly at home with the very human nature of weeping for the loss of a friend, showing empathy for those who are mourning. We have the Son of God entering fully into what it is to be human, knowing our pain, our sorrow our grief.
This sign story finishes beyond our reading this morning with some believing in Jesus and others plotting to have Jesus killed. In fact it finishes with the high priest saying “It is better for one man to die for the people that a whole nation to perish.” Something that John says is prophetic. Jesus raising his friend to life even though this will to his own death. This is Jesus ultimate response to our suffering and brokenness. Jesus takes those things on himself on the cross. He takes them to the grave rather than them taking and leaving us in the grave. Paul Metzger says “While I don’t have all the answers, Jesus lives the questions and is himself the answer to our greatest pain and suffering. He who knows no sin and the all-powerful and all good God becomes human to identify with us in our need.”
Then in his resurrection he offers us the invitation to identify with him and his glory: the weighty reality of all that he as God is…To identify with his eternal nature that we will be raised to life to be with him for eternity. Death where is your sting it has been swallowed up in victory…To identify with his omniscience his presence with us all ways and everywhere. And lo I am with you to the end of the age there go make disciples … to identify with His being all loving his mercy and grace both too us and through us. As I have loved you so love one another. Forgive one another … To identify with his compassion, to identify with the cross and costly selfless love. What you have done for the least of these you have done for me… And yes his omnipotence, his all-powerfulness the reality that God can reach into his world with resurrection and life. Didn't I tell you if you Believe you will see the Glory of God?