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Fifth Sunday in Lent (1885)

John 8:46-59 We lay eyes on our Savior in a state of deepest humiliation in holy Lent; we see Him covered with shame and scorn, with stripes and wounds, tortured by anguish and pain the size of which we cannot conceive, judged as a malefactor on the cross and His head bowed in death. Nevertheless Jesus, the desecrated and crucified One, is still the Son of God. As He did not cease to be God when He became man, He has not ceased even in the days of His deepest humiliation to be the Lord before all, the Holy One of Israel, the Giver of eternal life. Individual rays of His divinity brightly burst forth even through the veil of His flesh. And so we should not forget in holy Lent who was the battered, bent up to the dust of death Jesus. The Church has thus selected such Gospels for this time in which Christ particularly appears to us in His divine glory. Thus the Lord reveals His glory in today's Gospel in the most unambiguous way, and namely toward His enemies. How the Lord reveals His glory before His enemies. He does this, 1. in that He holds up His divine sinlessness to them. "Which one of you" etc.1 "He committed no sin, neither was deceit" etc.2 "One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."3 If all other witnesses for no sinlessness were missing, which so many come to light in the passion history: our text alone already would give us complete certainty about it. Jesus was able to challenge His enemies to accuse Him of one sin. They could not. And because He was the Son of God without any sin He could take alien sin, our sin upon Himself and atone for it. "We should have such a high priest" etc.4 "He is the Lamb of God" etc.5 This divine sinlessness is the first ray of His glory that shines in the eyes of His enemies. We refresh ourselves at this high consolation. The Lord also further reveals His glory, 2. in that He proves His divine patience to them. Just look how the Jews rise up against Him, and how He bears it with a patience without equal. They heap insults on

John 8:46. 1 Peter 2:22. 3 Hebrews 4:15. 4 Hebrews 7:26. 5 John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
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insults upon Him; but He does not become angry about it. They are always bitter and angry against Him; He counters them with wonderful tranquility. Their blasphemous mouths dares to utter: "You are a Samaritan, you have a demon", and to repeat this accusation. He should be a man in spite of the testimony of his divine sovereignty as they, who could not have seen Abraham. And the Lord does not oppose one bitter word from all of them. He could have thrown them to the ground with one word, yes, into the abyss of hell; but He quietly listens to their accusations and seeks to convince them of their injustice; He does not go easy on them, openly tells them the truth, but at the same time He showed long-suffering and patience that is not human, but divine. Oh, the Lord has still today "patient toward us, not wishing that any should perish" etc.6 The Lord finally also revealed His glory before His enemies, 3. in that He offers His divine salvation to them. We see how He struggles to win, to save His enemies! It was not a matter of defending His divine glory.7 What He said was all calculated to bring them to a knowledge of their sin. "Whoever is of God" etc.8 He offers them eternal life in His words.9 He wills that they should believe, live, be saved. And at last, when they had lifted up stones to kill Him, He spared them this sin, hiding Himself by a miracle before them, and departed.10 He should no doubt die, die for sinners, that they may have life; but now His hour was not yet come. And now He lets them have time for repentance. "A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth" etc. Georg Stckhardt

2 Peter 3:9. John 8:50. 8 John 8:47. 9 John 8:51. 10 John 8:59.
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