March 16, 2024

Life Through Death Is the Paradox of Christianity (Lent 5)

 A paradox is when a statement that seems to contradict itself is in fact a profound truth. To understand the profound truth of Jesus teaching we need to examine it in the context of both Biblical Prophecy and the dramatic events preceding the teaching. Jeremiah had prophesied that God would establish a new and different covenant with Israel. The Gospel Reading follows the stories of the Raising of Lazarus from death. This gives us hope that we will also be raised from death if we give up our lives in obeying Jesus and serving our neighbour. 

1. Jeremiah prophesied a New Covenant

“The days are coming, declares the Lord when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and the people of Judah.”

·     Not like the old covenant of the Law of Moses that they broke based on keeping the Law

·      I will put my law in their minds, hearts

·      Prophecy of pouring out my Spirit on all people

·      No need to teach each other - Holy Spirit will

·      They will all know me – love relationship vs legal relationship

·      I will forgive their wickedness, forget their sins

·      Individual responsibility for self-sacrificial love replaced keeping the Law

·      BUT the Commandments are still in effect as tests of ourlove of God and neighbour


2. Jesus taught that by Holding on To Our Life We Lose It

·      We tend to be self-centred - protecting our life by striving for more security, more power, more materialism. 

·      This is idolatry with me as the idol

·      See ourselves as in competition with others. 

·      The Competition for security and comfort leads to conflict 

·      Conflict leads to stress and a loss of our joy

·      By loving our life we in a sense loose it physically and spiritually


3. By Giving Up Our Life We Get a New Richer Life

Jesus modeled this new self-sacrificial life of love on the Cross. His death defeated to power of sin to separate us from relationship with God.

·      Created a way for us to be forgiven, made holy and come back into a love relationship with God.

·      This glorified God and Glorified Jesus as the obedient loving Son

·      Holy Spirit was poured out on believers to teach them and heal them so they “know God”

·      Jesus gives believers a richer physical and eternal spiritual life of love, joy and peace

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