Dangerous – Living - Now

This can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Year A 5th Sunday in Lent,

Psalm                          Psalm: 130
First Reading:                         Ezekiel 37:1-14                       
Second Reading:         Romans 8:6-11    
Gospel:                                    John 11:1-45                          

What I want to say:
Resurrection is about now, not just the future. It is linked with reprentance. So what does resurrection look like?

The Sermon

       1.     Introduction:

danger Will Robinson clip
todays gospel is soaked in danger and peril
if we have read this movie all the way through
tension would be thick in the air
twice Pharisees – members of Judean elite  (group translated as Jews) tried kill Jesus
now gone back where it all began
across Jordan from Jericho
to go back near Jerusalem is death
and yet
there is his beloved friend
and he is dying.
so Jesus does the honourable thing
he returns
to a house filled with the Judean elite
it appears Lazarus and his sisters belong to that group
that seek Jesus death
once Jesus arrives it starts to get way darker
we can hear the clarion call
danger Will Robinson, danger
Once Lazarus is resurrected
their hands are forced
too much is at stake
Jesus must die
Lazarus must die (again)
powers of darkness are gathering.

       2.     The Hinge

there are no more public signs of who Jesus is
this is the last
This is the centre of the gospel
the hinge
the focus changes
from now on in John’s gospel
Jesus is with his disciples
and then we enter the events of good Friday and beyond
the wait of those looming events hangs here
the end has begun.

       3.     I am the resurrection and the life

In the midst of all this gathering gloom
Jesus says
            ““I am the resurrection and the life.[f] Those who believe/trust in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you trust/believe this?”
The Message translates as
“You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”
Do you believe this?
Do we believe this?
Do we even believe this means?

       4.     What do we believe this means?

St. Anselm – archbishop of Canterbury around 1100
decided use feudal world explain what Christ’s death was all about
king = God
live in kingdom
has laws that have to be obeyed
if not – punished
we have not obeyed
we aren’t allowed into kingdom = heaven
we deserve punishment
Jesus takes our punishment for us
we can get into heaven
this relatively modern explanation has become the dominant way of understanding
lot people for who this is what all about
lot of people who really don’t like this –
            offer alternative to it
somehow this has become the starting point
this morning story is often read in this light
Jesus is resurrection
in him we will rise and get into heaven
there we will have life
just have to believe
some commentators leave out “and the life” all together
just read this whole thing being about in Jesus we avoid God’s anger
he dies
we get into heaven through his ressurection.

        5.     Another view

NT Wright – evangelical English new testament writer and bishop
describes this as
            non biblical
            build on pagan ideas
so not what Christianity is really about.
from biblical point of view
point was not to get into heaven – where God is hiding out
renewal of creation and return on glory (shekinah) of God
            that had been in tent of tabernacle
            then in temple
            until exile
where is glory of God now found according to the gospels?
In Jesus the creation is renewed
In Jesus we are renewed
            reminded that we are made in image of God
            God of generosity, compassion, justice, mercy, love
we are to live that generosity, compassion, justice, mercy, love
            for each other
            for all humanity
            for creation.
NT Wright
and number commentators I read
say that this is what Easter is about
that it is not about getting into heaven
but living life of God in the here and now


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