Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The hour has come. . .

Sermon preached on Passion Sunday, Lent 6A, on Sunday, April 13, 2014.

     Time after time Jesus has said "not yet... My hour has not yet come..."  How many times they sought to arrest Him but Jesus slipped away...  But not today.  Now the day is here, the hour is at hand.  Now is the time for the Son of Man to be glorified. . . but what kind of glory?
    Does Jesus come as earthly kings in regal splendor?  Does He come in royal attire with royal entourage?  Does He come to impress us with His greatness?   Does He come to rule over the world and make for a great nation and kingdom to be feared?  Does He come to claim Caesar's place or kingly throne?
    Does Jesus come as rebel to organize a rebellion against the earthly authorities?  Does He come to establish a new and ideal world for us?  Does He come to overturn the injustices and unfairness of our world and give us what we deserve?  Is He part super hero and part freedom fighter?
    Or does He come as Savior and Redeemer, as the One who is born for the glory of suffering and to die for sinners like you and I?  Does He come to disown us or to claim for Himself the wretched ruins of our lost lives?  Does He come as the holy man too good for the rest of us or as the sin bearer to claim our sins as His own and then to cover us with His own righteousness?
    How best does He show His glory?  It is hidden in the King of Mercy who rides a donkey to a cross?   Is it hidden in the anguish of our pain and the agony of our suffering?  Is it hidden in the seeming defeat of death and the cold emptiness of the grave?
    What kind of glory does He reveal to us in this hour?  Does Jesus come to claim our death so that we might receive His life – a gift we do not deserve and dare not claim?  Does Jesus come to point at us the unbending finger of the Law or to keep the Law for us?  Does Jesus come to wield Scripture as a weapon or to fulfill the prophet's word and the ancient promise of the Father in Eden?  Does He come to demand restitution from us or to meet us in repentance, to take what is ours and to give us what is His?  Does He come for respect or looking for our trust?
    Does He come to wash us in water that cleanses us from sin?  Does He come to feed us bread that makes us live without hunger and the cup that quenches all our thirst?  Does He come to speak the absolving word that clears our conscience and consoles our pain?
    Jesus said this moment was coming.  Some of the disciples refused to hear.  Peter rejected the future Jesus said was coming.  But when it came, they all ran.  None of them were ready for it.  Are you?
    They were not ready.  Not the crowds waving palms and shouting hosannas...  Not the disciples whose hearts were broken thinking it was all over... Not the judges who condemned Him in their kangaroo courts as if He was but a mess to be cleaned up... Not Pilate whose word finally sent Him to death...  Not the soldiers who carried out the order...  Not the crowds who called for His crucifixion and then stood in pale shock at the brutal death...
    What about you?  Are you ready for His coming?  Do you see Him as He is or as you fear Him or want Him to be?  Do you love the glory He revealed in the cross or do you wish for some thing more or something different from Him.  We have watched His march to the cross, witnessed His embrace of our sin and lost condition, and heard how He met all our enemies and even  death for us? 
    Look and see but not with a mind seeking reason or a self-righteous heart seeking justice.  No, look and see with faith that the day has come and it is mercy's day for you and me.  It is the glory of the cross that compels us and the glory of the cross that saves us.  This glory and none other.   This is the glory of the Father that He sent His one and only Son to suffer and die that we might live through Him.  Lord, keep us in this faith always.

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