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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

“Living in the Light”

I John 2:1-11

John reminds us that we do not have to sin.  Jesus on the cross broke the power of sin, death and even the devil himself (John 12:31).  Yet the irony is that we do sin.  We choose to sin.  John them reminds us that in the struggle with sin Jesus is our advocate.  He is also our helper and our comfort.  As we have noted this letter draws on the gospel of John which may have been written by the same author.

To understand that our advocate is able to overcome our sin we need to first realize that we tend to have a narrow view of sin.  We think of sin too often as just doing “bad things.”  Sin however takes in a whole lot more.  Sin is brokenness.  It is failure.

Jesus’ first miracle in John’s gospel is turning water into wine at a wedding reception (John 2:1-11).  How is this an “atoning sacrifice” for sin since Jesus plays this role as the advocate who takes away the sin of the world throughout the gospel (John 1:29).  We might think running out of wine at a reception is a trivial matter.  Yet it is a sign of brokenness which ultimately is part of the tragic reality of sin.

Jesus reaches out to many forms of brokenness.  In John 5 he encounters a man who has been paralyzed for thirty eight years.  He asks him, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6).  We may well ask, what kind of question is that?  Of course the man wants to be made well.  Yet he doesn’t answer Jesus’ question directly.  In fact he complains that no one has helped him in all this time.  We have to ask, did he ever ask for help?  Is that perhaps the reason for Jesus’ question?  Jesus proceeds to heal him without the man asking for healing.

Over the course of John’s gospel Jesus reaches out to a rejected woman, heals a royal official’s desperately ill son and forgives a woman caught in adultery (John 4:1-42, 46-54, 8:1-11).  All of these are examples of Jesus being the atoning sacrifice not only for us but for the whole world.  If we are to experience the full power and joy of Jesus we need to show love the way he did.

Merciful and gracious God I thank you that you have not only taken away my sins but the sins of the whole world.  Give me the grace to show the same love you showed.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.