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Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
How could Jesus speak as if He was older than Abraham? Certainly the Jews didn’t understand what Jesus meant. How could this man standing before them, a man not yet fifty years old, have existed before Abraham? These are important questions. Jesus is teaching you an eternal truth. He is teaching you that He is God. As God, He has existed from eternity. Before the world came to be, the Son of God was there. All things that were created—the heavens and the earth, light, the sun and moon and stars, and even you—everything was created through Jesus.
But in this truth, there is another mysterious truth: time on earth is not the same thing as eternity. In eternity, everything is now. There is no past, no present, no future as we understand time. Before the world came to be, the Son of God is. I know that sounds awkward, but that’s the truth that Jesus is teaching in this lesson. Whether it happens to be the time of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, the Apostles, Martin Luther, or now, Jesus is.
Jesus is plainly teaching them about the Incarnation. Here stands Yahweh, the God of eternity, in human Flesh. Yes, it is true that Jesus is not yet fifty. As we understand time, as time exists for fallen humanity, it would have been impossible for Him to have been in existence before Abraham. But being the eternal Son of God, Jesus not only is before Abraham; He created Abraham. And in the Incarnation, Jesus comes to His creation in flesh and brings eternity to earthly time. “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus plainly tells the Jews that He is the Son of God.
That they did understand, and it made them violently angry. Truth doesn’t sit well with sinners. We don’t even like to acknowledge that we are sinners. And while we like to look down on those Jews who heard that Jesus is God in the flesh and rejected Him, the truth is, we don’t want to accept truth, either. We are tempted to think that the faith is a ticket to health and wealth and fame—all the things the world considers the good life—if only we believe in Him strongly enough. We are tempted to think that the presence of Christ in His Church ought to mean pews overflowing with people and cash streaming into our bank account. But these ideas originate in the sin-infested, selfish minds of the Old Adam within us, at the encouragement of Satan. Such thoughts come very naturally to our sinful flesh. But it is not the truth.
The truth is full of life, more glorious than the Old Adam in us could ever imagine. See the truth in the mystery of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus died on the Cross two thousand years ago. How can He now give His body and blood to you today? He can do that because His sacrifice to the Father on your behalf is an eternal sacrifice. Being eternal, the body of Christ is always the body of Christ—eternally present, eternally forgiving, eternally for you.
At the Lord’s Supper, Jesus comes to you and brings eternity to earthly time. The Lord’s Supper Jesus brings heaven to earth. To feast on His body and blood is not only to receive a foretaste in earthly time of the Feast to come; it is also to truly feast at the heavenly Banquet itself, in eternity. This is the truth, and the Truth has set you free. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.