7TH Sun Easter 5/13/18 Yr B (John 17: 11b-19)

    

           

BEFORE WE BEGIN THE HOMILY TODAY,,, I’D LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENT,,, TO SAY: 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY,,, TO ALL THE MOMS,,, GRANDMOMS AND GREAT GRANDMOMS,,, WHO ARE HERE WITH US TODAY! 

LADIES,,, WE ARE TRULY BLESSED,,, BY YOU ALL!

I’VE BEEN RATHER FACINATED BY PARADOXES!  YOU KNOW,,, THE SEEMINGLY CONTRARY STATEMENTS THAT ARE OFTEN TRUE. FOR EXAMPLE:

“IF YOU GET THIS MESSAGE,,, CALL ME. BUT IF YOU DON’T GET IT,,, DON’T CALL!”  -OR-

“IF THE TEMPERATURE THIS MORNING IS -0- DEGREES,,, AND THE WEATHER CHANNEL SAYS; ‘IT WILL BE TWICE AS COLD TOMORROW’,,, WHAT WILL THE TEMPERATURE BE?

THE BIBLE,,, IS ALSO FULL OF PARADOXES. THINK OF HOW JESUS USED THEM TO TEACH,,, LIKE; 

THE FIRST,,, SHALL BE LAST”.

AND

IF YOU WANT TO BECOME THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD,,, YOU MUST BECOME THE LEAST”.

WITH TRUTHS LIKE THAT,,, WE SHOULDN’T BE SURPRISED TO LEARN,,, THAT FOLLOWING GOD’S WORD,,, LEADS TO A PARADOXIAL LIFESTYLE. OUR READING TODAY,,, IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN,,, TELLS US,,, THAT FOLLOWING GOD’S WORD,,, BOTH SEPERATES US FROM THE WORLD,,, AND YET,,, SENDS US INTO THE WORLD! TALK ABOUT A PARADOX!

JESUS SPOKE THE PARADOXICAL WORDS OF TODAY’S READING,,,  AS A PRAYER,,, ON THE VERY SAME NIGHT,,, THAT HE WAS BETRAYED BY JUDAS. 

IN HIS PRAYER,,, HE ASKED TO RECEIVE STRENGTH FOR HIS UPCOMING CRUCIFIXION AND FOR PROTECTION FOR HIS DISCIPLES,,, WHO WOULD SOON FIND THEMSELVES GOING FORWARD,,, WITHOUT JESUS,,, BEING VISIBLY,,, WITH THEM. 

JESUS WANTED HIS FATHER TO PROTECT HIS DISCIPLES,,, THROUGH “THE POWER OF HIS NAME!” 

WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT MEANT?

HE WAS ASKING GOD,,, TO PROTECT HIS DISCIPLES,,, THROUGH THE WORD! 

YOU SEE,,, GOD’S NAME,,, ISN’T JUST HIS TITLES,,, IT’S ABOUT EVERYTHING,,, THAT HE’S REVEALED TO US,,, ABOUT HIMSELF,,, IN THE BIBLE. 

SO,,, HOW CAN GOD’S WORD PROTECT US FROM THE WORLD? IT PROTECTS US,,, BY SEPERATING US FROM IT!  AND IT DOES THAT; BY GIVING US AN ACCURATE PERSPECTIVE ON SIN & THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN.

 FOR EXAMPLE: 

THE WORLD TODAY,,, WANTS US TO BELIEVE THAT IT’S OK TO RUN AROUND,,, WITH ANYONE WE WANT,,, DOING WHAT WE WANT,,, WHENEVER WE WANT,,, AS LONG AS WE PRACTICE SAFE SEX.

  OR,,, 

THAT SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE IS FINE,,, AS LONG AS WE’ RE IN A COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP.

ISNT THAT WHAT MANY MOVIES,,, MAGAZINES,,, AND BOOKS PORTRAY? THEY MAKE IT SEEM,,, AS IF SUCH AFFAIRS ARE TYPICAL AND THE RELATIONSHIP OF MARRIED COUPLES ARE UNFULFILLING.

IF YOU WANT SOME REALITY,,, JUST TURN ON:

JERRY SPRINGER”. HE CAN’T SEEM TO GET THROUGH A SHOW,,, WITHOUT HIS GUESTS YELLING,,, AND SWINGING,,, AT EACH OTHER,,, BECAUSE THEIR SINFUL LIFESTYLES,,, HAS CAUSED JEALOUSY,,, HATE &DISSENTION NOT EXHILARATION,,, LOVE & PASSION.

ONLY THROUGH GOD’S WORD,,, CAN WE SEE SIN AND TEMPTATION,,, FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS! NOTHING MORE,,, THAN AN ENTICING PICTURE. 

AS AN EXAMPLE; AT HOME,,, I HAVE AN ENTICING  PICTURE,,, OF A CABIN WE HAD IN BIG BEAR,,, SOME YEARS AGO.

SOMETIMES,,, WHEN I GET A LITTLE SIDETRACKED,,, I FIND MYSELF LOOKING INTO THAT PICTURE,,, AND REMEMBERING THE GOOD TIMES WE HAD,,, UP ON THE MOUNTAIN AND HOW GOOD IT MIGHT BE,,, TO GO UP THERE,,, AGAIN.

  (SHOW PICTURE OF CABIN) 

WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE WOULD HAPPEN,,, IF I TRIED TO JUMP INTO THIS PICTURE,, THINKING IT WAS REAL? 

WELL,,, FOR SURE,,, I’D HAVE A SUPER HEADACHE,,, BECAUSE,,, YOU SEE,,, THAT PICTURE HANGS ON A SOLID WOODEN WALL,,, NOT ON A MOUNTAIN SCENE!

IN THE SAME WAY,,, THE TEMPTATION OF SIN,,, BECKONS AND INTICES!  IT PROMISES WONDERFUL THINGS,,, BUT WHEN WE FALL FOR IT,,, WE FIND OUT THERE’S NOTHING ON THE OTHER SIDE,,, BUT PAIN!

ISN’T THAT WHAT JUDAS FOUND OUT? HIS LOVE FOR MONEY,,, LEAD HIM TO BELIEVE,,, THAT IF ONLY HE COULD HAVE LOTS OF IT,,, HE’D FIND HAPPINESS. BUT,,, WHERE DID THAT GREED LEAD HIM? IT LEAD HIM,,, TO THE BETRAYAL OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR AND THEN TO SUICIDE!

BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, LISTEN TO GOD’S WORD,,, IT CAN AND WILL,,, PROTECT YOU FROM FALLING FOR THE DEVIL’S TRAPS. DON’T BELIEVE WHAT THE WORLD HAS TO SAY ABOUT WHAT IS,,, OR ISN’T FUN.  

AFTER ALL,,, WHAT DOES THE WORLD KNOW????? LOOK AT THE MESS THAT OUR WORLD HAS GOTTEN ITSELF INTO! ONLY GOD’S WORD,,, CAN KEEP US SAFE BY SEPERATING US,,, FROM THE WORLD’S WAY OF THINKING,,, AND,,, THE DEVIL’S LIES!

GOD WANTS US ALL TO BE SAVED FROM THE LIES OF THE DEVIL AND TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH. SINCE GOD KNEW THAT JUDAS WOULD BETRAY JESUS,,, DESPITE HIS WARNINGS,,,HE DIRECTED THE PROPHETS TO WRITE ABOUT THE BETRAYAL CENTURIES BEFORE IT HAPPENED.

THAT’S WHY JESUS COULD SAY THAT; SCRIPTURE WOULD BE FULFILLED BY JUDAS’ ACTIONS. 

HE URGES US TO LEAVE OUR LIFE OF SIN AND TURN TO HIM FOR FORGIVENESS. JESUS DESPERATELY,,, WANTS YOU,,, TO BE WITH HIM IN HEAVEN. DON’T REJECT THE MINISTRY OF SHARING YOUR FAITH,,, LIKE JUDAS DID. 

THE MORE WE STUDY GOD’S WORD,,, AND APPLY IT TO OUR LIFE,,, THE LESS WE’LL HAVE IN COMMON WITH THE WORLD AND WE WON’T SHARE THE SAME PRIORITIES.  REMEMBER,,, WE MAY HAVE TO LIVE IN THIS WORLD,,, FOR NOW,,, BUT,,, WE DON’T BELONG TO THIS WORLD

NOW,,, HERE’S THE PARADOX OF GOD’S WORD. 

WHILE GOD’S WORD SEPERATES US FROM THE WORLD,,, IT ALSO SENDS US TO IT! 

IN (VERSE 18),,, JESUS SAID: 

“AS YOU SENT ME INTO THE WORLD,,, I HAVE SENT THEM INTO THE WORLD”.

JESUS HAD BEEN SENT BY HIS FATHER TO REACH OUT TO A WORLD,,, THAT HAD BEEN DESTROYED BY SIN! JUST AS JESUS WENT AROUND PALESTINE,,, PREACHING: THE TRUTH,,, “GOD’S WORD”,,, NOW,,, HE HAS SENT US,,, INTO THE WORLD,,, TO BRING THE TRUTH ABOUT SIN AND SALVATION.

SINCE GOD HAS GIVEN US THIS AWESOME NEWS ABOUT SALVATION,,, WE CAN’T HIDE,,, FROM OUR RESPONSIBILITY. WE MUST SHARE THE GOOD NEWS WITH OTHERS! 

OF COURSE,,, NOT EVERYONE WILL APPRECIATE OUR WORK OF SHARING GOD’S WORD. JESUS SAID; JUST AS THE WORLD HATED HIM,,, SO,,, WILL IT HATE US.

PEOPLE MAY MOCK AND EVEN RIDECULE US,,, FOR OUR FAITH,,, BUT LET’S NOT KEEP SILENT!

REMEMBER,,, GOD WILL PROTECT US.  AND THOSE WHO REFUSE TO HEAR HIS WORD AND WHO HATE US TOO,,, WILL HAVE TO ANSWER TO GOD FOR THAT! 

JESUS WANTS US TO KNOW THAT EVEN THOUGH HE IS VISIBLY GONE TO HEAVEN,,, HE HASN’T LEFT US HERE TO FEND FOR OURSELVES. 

HE ASSURES US,,, THAT THE FATHER WILL CONTINUE TO PROTECT US,,, IN THE SAME WAY,,, THAT HE PROTECTED THE APOSTLES,,, 

THROUGH THE POWERFUL WORD,,, AND THE WORKING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

LISTENING TO THE WORD OF GOD,,, WILL LEAD TO A PARADOXIAL LIFE,,, AS IT FIRST SEPERATES US,,, FROM THE WORLD AND THEN,,, SENDS US INTO IT! 

BROTHERS AND SISTERS,,, THIS WORLD,,, DOESN’T THINK MUCH OF US AND THAT’S JUST FINE,,, WITH ME,,, BECAUSE I KNOW,,, THAT JESUS DOES,,, AND REMEMBER THIS TOO; JESUS SAID: 

THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST AND THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST (MATTHEW 19:30).

I BELIEVE,,, THAT THIS IS MOST CERTAINLY,,,

A PARADOX,,, WORTH LIVING AND DYING FOR!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER,,, AND OF THE SON,,, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.