Summary: Today is Last Judgment Sunday. And it’s the day when we especially focus on the fact that we live a breath away from death…and judgment. Jesus tells us how to be prepared for the Last Judgment His advice is: Get to Know the Son Before Meeting the Father.
A few years ago, right as I was beginning my vicar (intern) year, my supervising pastor gave me an assignment. I had to sit down and write a sermon. And I did that, but this is a sermon that I have never preached, and probably never will preach. It was a funeral sermon that he wanted me to write. But here was the catch: I didn’t know whose funeral this sermon was for. You see, when we are vicars, all of our sermons need to be approved by a pastor, to make sure that there isn’t anything false or goofy in the message. And just in case Pastor Naumann was ever out of town when one of our members passed away, he wanted to make sure that I had an approved sermon all ready to go.
But I have to tell you, it wasn’t the easiest sermon to write. It had sentences in it like, “all of us here are sad at the passing of _________. But we know Jesus died for the sins of _________. And we saw evidences of _________’s faith in Jesus when they did things such as __________, ___________, and __________. But of course, because of Christ’s promise, we know that we are going to see __________ again in heaven.”
Today is Last Judgment Sunday. And it’s the day when we especially focus on the fact that we live a breath away from death…and judgment. You each live a car crash, a stroke, an accident, a heart attack away from being able to insert your name into that unpreached funeral sermon. And, that sermon wouldn’t fit for everyone. It only applies to those going to heaven. So the real key here today is how can you be sure that what is preached at your funeral will be the truth? Is the pastor going to have to lie, and make you seem better and more godly than you really were? As we study our text this morning, we see that Jesus tells us how to be prepared for the Last Judgment His advice is: Get to Know the Son Before Meeting the Father. The Father entrusts the raising of the dead to the Son. The Father entrusts judgment to the Son.
You’ve heard expressions such as, “like father, like son,” or, “just a chip off the old block.” Basically these idioms say, “the offspring are similar to the parents.” But if you were to go up to a teenager and say, “you know, you remind me exactly of your parents,” a teen probably isn’t going to take that as a compliment. At times we tend to look at actions in our parents that we don’t like. We value our individuality. We want to be our own person, and not be compared to our parents, even if they are good, godly people.
Jesus didn’t think that way. Instead of distancing himself from his Father, he goes out of his way to stress the close relationship that he has with God the Father. What had happened in the verses before our text is Jesus had healed a man who was paralyzed. Imagine how different your life would be if you were like that man, unable to walk for 38 years. The way you live would be completely different than how you live. Many of the things you enjoy doing, and many of the things you do because you need you, you would be unable to perform those actions. And if someone came along, and in a millisecond gave you back the power to walk, how could that be a bad thing?
It couldn’t. And that’s the point that Jesus is making here. This miracle of his was met with opposition by the Jews, because Jesus had healed this man on the Sabbath.
Like Father, Like Son. Does God the Father take the Sabbath off? Does he stop working one day out of every week? The world could not afford to have God take even a 5-minute break from his constant work of preservation. Like Father, Like Son. If the Father needs to work on the Sabbath, the Son needs to show mercy on the Sabbath. What a callous Savior he would be if he said to the paralytic, “Sorry, you caught me on a bad day. Try finding me tomorrow and I’ll heal you.”
Listen to how Jesus expresses his closeness to the Father, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” Our world values individuality. I once saw a commercial where a guy went to his buddy’s apartment to pick him up because they were going out for the night. But when they see each other, they are wearing the same jacket, and the same hat. Tragedy! They can’t go out like that! So one of the guys puts his hat backwards, the other reverses his reversible jacket, and now they’re all set, because they each have their individuality back. Here in John, Christ Jesus is interested in conformity, not uniqueness. He wants to be the same as the Father. And he is the same as the Father, and there is no need to hide it.