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September 20th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Third Homily: John the Apostle of Hope

(The third of three homilies on the Apostle John – 09/07/08.

In a few minutes we are going to celebrate together the meal that Jesus gave us. We often speak of this or that aspect of Jesus’ work on the cross as we introduce the communion meal. Today we are going to focus on something said by the Apostle Paul, and we’re going to do that by listening to the Apostle John.

Of the Lord’s Supper Paul said this: “for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” That is, we do focus on the Lord’s death as we share this meal together. Indeed, we don’t just share it we proclaim it! The Lord’s Supper is one of the many ways we proclaim the saving work of Jesus Christ. And we have the privilege in eating this meal of being able to proclaim His death continually until he returns. We are, and will remain until Jesus comes back, a people in waiting.

We don’t often think of the Apostle John as an Apostle of hope. He does not speak that much about hope in his Gospel, but he does in his letters, and of course the entirety of the book of Revelation is about our hope, a living hope that sees beyond the turmoil and trouble of this world.

It delighted John the son of Zebedee to think of Jesus’ return. John knew that when Jesus came back we would see Him face to face, and we would become like him. Our destiny would then be fulfilled.

Because he lived the longest of the Apostles he waited the longest for Jesus’ return. In his waiting and shepherding of the church in Ephesus he witnessed the brutality of the Roman Empire toward the young Christian church. How were Christians supposed to understand their lives with so much suffering? How were they to find the strength to withstand it and remain true to Jesus?

John, by virtue of a special vision from the Spirit, and by virtue of his own life experience, was able to see (as it were) behind the veil. He saw the big picture. That’s what the Book of Revelation is about, the big picture. It’s not so much about the future but about the present – how we are to make sense of things as we wait for the future to arrive. We are to see that behind the veil God’s people and His angels worship the Lamb on the throne day and night. We get to be a part of that. We get to see that the devil, world governments, and world religious powers – all these will fight against the church of Jesus Christ, and many Christians will die. But in the end God will defeat these enemies. He will cast them into the fire. He will act in history to restore His world, and unite the heavens and earth with the Lamb of God as the center of its worship and life.

John yearned for this. He longed for this. He closes out his writings with a simple plaintive expression of longing and hope – “Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus.”

And that is our hope together as we share in this communion meal together. For as long as we do this we proclaim the Lord’s death – His saving and victorious death where he revealed his true glory – we do so with an eye toward the sky, waiting for His return. We eat, we drink, and we say in our hearts “Come, Lord Jesus.”

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  • Alice Wolf
    11:16 pm on September 20th, 2008 1

    It is time for the church to arise and proclaim that we are made in the image of God and we are different from animals in as much as we are creative beings, we share
    the creative abilities of our Father God. We need to come up with solutions that will
    enable us to overcome the present crisis that is confronting the United States and
    through the US Dollar threatening the planet’s population chance of survival and for
    the civilization that we have become accustomed to to be lost and the knowledge we
    have to be rendered impotent. We have to stand up and insist that the government
    has to forget about their fears of losing the ties we have to the old oligarchical empiracal banking system of Venice in the middle ages and look forward to a
    world of peace and of productivity and prosperity and the spread of knowlege of this wonderful universe, the Creation of the Living God and let his Holy Spirit lead us and guide us into all truth. In the wonderful name of Jesus I salute the saints of God tonight and I pray your strength in the Lord. Amen.

 

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