Today’s lesson speaks of Jesus no longer being in the world. I think that we immediately jump to the wrong conclusion. We assume that he is speaking of going to the place we call heaven. That’s too easy and not really consistent with this 17th chapter of John. In verse 3 it says: “And this is endless life, for people to know you, the only true God and to know Jesus whom you sent.”
Jesus always said what he meant. If he wanted to say he was going to heaven he would have said that. In John 12:47 he said: “I have come not to judge the world but to save the world.”
Why is it important for us to see that Jesus means something for us right now and not just in a far off future???
Genesis tells us God made everything in the world and that it was all very good. So what needs saving? Adam and Eve were not happy to receive all they needed from God and to live as children in their Father’s house. Instead they wanted to possess control and ownership of themselves.
This snatching and grabbing at what is God’s was passed on to Cain and Abel. Cain who loved his brother fell into the sin of is parents. He loved himself more than God, and he desired to have all God’s attention. He was so selfish that he wanted to have God all to himself.
Right after Cain killed Abel, and God expressed his outrage at what Cain had done, Cain builds the first City. Another way to look at this is to see Cain as the founder of civilization and human culture. That is why Jesus needs to save us. He saves us from the order that we have created that is contrary to God’s will.
This is the world that Jesus isn’t in any more. “I have given them your word and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world.
Those who know and live by Jesus word of truth refuse to go along with the ways of the world and so the world hates them too. In his trial before Pilate Jesus says: “I have come into the world but I am not of this world” and “My kingdom is not from this world.”
People have chosen to abandon God’s order and to create their own order. Jesus is saying that he and those who follow him can no longer live in that old corrupt order. Jesus and his people are hated because their presence shines the light of truth on the world’s corruption.
Jesus made everyone so angry at him that they crucified him. He held up God and he said that his Father opposed everything that they loved. If we chose to live by Jesus words, those who are of the world will consider us to be unreliable because we won’t play our part in the world’s games.
So if we follow Jesus and step out of the crowd and out of human culture, to live after Jesus example we need to stop getting our social and psychological grounding from the world. We have to stop imitating each other and instead imitate our Lord.
Why is following Jesus a different way than the way of the world???
Again from John 15 let us look at what Jesus says about the vine and the branches. “My father is the vinedresser, I am the vine and you are the branches.” This is the new world you belong to. Christ replaces the world as your source of self-substantiation. Jesus by shining the light of truth on the world is slowly diminishing the world’s power to keep itself going. If we really want to be authentic and filled with substance we must ground ourselves in Christ.
The world under the illumination of the cross is slowly but surely being seen for what it is. False and mythological. Jesus says, you must have a home, you don’t have a home in the world any more, instead make your home in me. Abide in me and then you will be grounded in the everlasting life of my Father.
Under the bright light of Jesus cross we can see things like that it is not right to treat people differently because of their race or gender. The abusive ways of the world are coming apart under the pressure of Christ’s cross which always sets people free.
Maybe I am too abstract. But, I can make this concrete. The church is supposed to be the body of Christ so that when the world looks at us they will see Jesus. That of course explains why the progress has been so very slow. Who would ever believe in God’s son by looking at the church that has become a hierarchal structure that mimics exactly the world’s government and corporate structures which are antithetical to being like Christ? Fortunately the Holy Spirit has all of time for this to work out.
We hold onto Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel. We try to remake ourselves and the world in our own image instead of following Jesus. But Jesus really did want people to look at his disciples and to see him in them.
Later this morning we will come forward and try to do as Jesus said. We will come forward to His Supper, to empty ourselves, to deny ourselves and to replace what we left behind with the body and blood of Jesus. Self importance must give way to the importance of Jesus and his Father because they are the only source of endless life.
The unholy communion of the world is based on sacrificing someone else. The trick is to get someone else to pay for you. As long as we are above average and better than most that somehow makes us ok and allows us to rest. But that is the unholy communion of Cain’s city. The church, the Christian community is founded on the person of Jesus who was cast out, who was himself sacrificed. The very stone the builders rejected has become the corner stone of the new way.
Jesus has become the firstborn of a new community. He is the founder of the Kingdom not from this world but from his Father.
1. Luther said Christians live in the world but are not of the world. What does this mean for us?
2. Why was everyone so angry at Jesus?
3. Why must people when they see the church see Jesus and not just another of the world’s institutions?