21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:21-29 (ESV)
Jesus is the judge. The Father has given to Jesus the judgment. Jesus seeks to do the will of his Father. And he who does not honor Jesus does not honor the Father. Honor. We all all short in our honor of God, our honor of Jesus. Our sinful nature does not allow us to listen to them as we should. We fall short of honoring them when we fall short of honoring our neighbor. We do not honor Jesus or the Father when we think of ourselves as better than others, or when he harbor grudges against one another. However, we do honor Jesus when we hear his word and believe him who sent Jesus has eternal life. As Peter will say: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” You have the words of eternal life. And it is this that Jesus wants to give to you and to me and to the entire word. Those who hear him will live. Those who hear! Can it be so simple? Faith comes through hearing, and it is faith alone that saves. Yes indeed it has to be that simple. It can’t be anything else. No, not when you contemplate the cross and everything that Jesus did there, this son of man who had the life of the Father in him. When you contemplate the Father dying. And who did he die for? Sinners unable to help themselves. Sinners like me who abuse our neighbors in thought and word and deed. Sinners who can’t help but to sin. What is he going to have us do? How could he save us if we were all required to take a pilgrimage to Palestine, or Mecca? How could he save us if we were all required to donate food to the food pantry? I mean what about those for whom the food pantry is there? Does Jesus not want to save them also? It seems silly that they would give food when they are in need of food. And yet they are in need of salvation. Just as you are in need of salvation. And Jesus died for them. When we take into account the Cross we see the futility of trying to save ourselves by the law. In fact, you see something more, the futility of God trying to save us by the law, by giving us rules and a checklist to go by, or “principles”. Contemplate the cross, and you want to hold up your good deed for the day to that? I never have understood that Boy Scout logic. Seriously? Your good deed for the day? Really? As if you’re only supposed to do one? Glad I got that out of the way… Now go pat yourself on the back. If you think that contributes to your salvation as you contemplate God becoming man and dying on the cross for your sins, then you are a vile, despicable wretched and miserable sinner who might do well to examine your predicament a bit more. That “good deed” that you just did? You just turned it into an insult to God. Congratulations. You insulted God by shoveling your neighbor’s driveway, it’s as if the snow you just removed from his driveway was moved into your soul and turned into fecal matter. And all because you think it can’t be as simple as hearing Jesus and his words of eternal life, the words he speaks from the cross when he says, “forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” In those words, your salvation is accomplished, in those words your sins are forgiven, the fecal matter removed from your soul, your conscience washed clean. In those words your sins are forgiven by the blood poured out, the blood of God given and shed for you, and for all. And hearing those words, you honor the Son who died for you, and the Father who sent him.