The Fifth Sunday in Lent 2016

Bible Text: John 8:42-59 | Preacher: Rev. Mark Buetow | Series: 2016

The devil is a liar. The devil is a murderer. In fact, the devil’s lies lead to murder. They kill those who believe them. Just look at Adam and Eve. The devil lies to them. They believe him. They ultimately die. Jesus says, “Whoever holds fast to my Word will surely never see death.” Catch that? The devil has lies and death. Jesus has His Word which is the truth and it gives life. The antidote to the devil’s lies and murder is Jesus’ Word and life. Now, the lie the devil tells that leads to our death is this: You can be like God. In fact, you can be god. Put yourself first. Push the true God aside. Put yourself above others. You are the man. The king or queen. Top dog. It’s all you. In this life, this world, this universe, everything revolves around you. You are a god. And that leads to death. It leads to death from God because to believe that means abandoning His Word that gives life. It also means physical death because what do you think happens when the people who think they are number one run into the other people who think they are number one? Conflict. Sin. Death. The devil is a liar and murderer. Which is why Jesus points out that He didn’t come to serve Himself. He came to give honor and glory to the Father. And He does that by bringing to fulfillment all the promises God made to Abraham and those after him. Jesus came to do the Father’s will and that means saving those who have been lied to and murdered by the devil.

Now pay attention, because this is awesome! How does Jesus save us from the lies and murders of the devil? By being lied about and murdered! He totally allows Himself to be attacked the devil’s way to save you from sin and death. Lies. All lies. False witnesses testifying about Him. The religious leaders making up stories and calling those false witnesses. The Roman governor talking like it’s not his responsibility and there’s nothing he can do about it. The hecklers at Calvary lying about the things Jesus said and could do. And all that lying leads to His murder. The hatred of the Jews. The crycifying of an innocent man by the governor. Jesus is lied about and murdered. That’s exactly what the devil does! That’s exactly what he does to us so in order to save us from that, Jesus undergoes the same thing. Lies. Murder. Lies and murder bring suffering and death to Jesus. But lies cannot overcome the One who is the Truth. And death cannot hold back the One who is the reusrrection and the life. So despite the lies and murder of the devil, there is Easter. And Jesus is alive.

Now, to save you from the devil’s lies and murder. Truth and life. Jesus’ Word. Jesus’ life. His Word brings life. It does it with water at the font. There is the truth and life: You are forgiven. You are not God but you are baptized into His Name and called His child and claimed by Him. Absolution. The truth is that your sins are forgiven. The lie that you are guilty is abolished and negated. Your sins are forgiven. The Supper of Jesus. His Body and Blood. The truth is that He gives what He says He gives and that Body and Blood forgive your sins and promise that you will be raised from the dead on the Last Day. And then consider this: with these gifts, given to you by the One who died and rose, whose Truth cancels out the devil’s lies and whose Life counters death–with these gifts, Jesus makes sure you will never see death. You will not. It’s at worst a nap for a time until He raises you again. But death? Real death? Permanent, blotted out nonexistence apart from God? Not for you. Not, because of His truth and His life. The devil says you can be god. Lie! The Lord says you are His dear and precious child. The devil’s lies lead to death. The Word of the Lord given in water, Word and bread and wine gives you life. Lies are exposed. Death is defeated. This has been the work of Jesus for all of Lent: Snatching you back from the devil and his lies and death by being the One who suffers all things in your place. Jesus’ Word. His truth. His life. And you shall never see death but live forever in Him. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.