Our Revelation reading tells us about an angel proclaiming the Gospel of our eternal creator. Our Epistle reading was about law, righteousness and faith. Our Gospel reading, Jesus tells us about Truth and Freedom.
What’s the connection? If you’re not sure let me help you out.
I have another bible verse for you from the Old Testament which I believe will help clear things up.
“Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!” – Proverbs 30:4
This verse certainly helps with the Gospel and with the verses leading up to our Gospel reading. Bear with me a little longer here. It will be worth the wait.
The Gospel reading was from John chapter 8. Let’s go back to John and review the earlier verses.
About 20 verses earlier, Jesus prevents the stoning of the adulteress stating, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
A handful of verses after that, Jesus tells the Pharisees, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus also states, “I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.”
Later, he continues, “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
He continues, “”You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.”
Now, based upon what we all know of Jesus, He has gone up to heaven and come down. He has calmed the wind and controlled the waters. We know God created “All Things” through Jesus Christ. We all know the name of Jesus Christ but do we know God’s name? We know not to take it in vain but what is His name?
In my research for this sermon, I found at least 12 names given for God in the OT but most of them refer to His attributes not His actual name. The tetragrammaton is given as His personal name over 6000 times. The YHWH. Many will say this is Yahweh, some will say Jehovah but when they do they are adding letters to His Holy name.
Moses was a great prophet. A chosen vessel for the Word of God. Moses didn’t just lead the Israelites and give them the 10 commandments. He also gave them their own language. This language was Paleo-Hebrew. He was a prince of Egypt so His language was Egyptian and His writing was hieroglyphics. Paleo-Hebrew was a picture language. The characters used for God’s name where the characters God Himself told Moses. The ancient versions of the Yod, Heh, Vav, Heh. These characters tell a story and you’re going to want to hear this story.
God withdraws unto Himself and takes on the form of a man and prays. He puts His 10 fingers together and His prayer manifests into His right fist. He opens the window from His unseen place and fills the void from His withdrawal with creation. The Yod is His forearm and open hand.
The next character the Heh is the revealing of a view inside the window of the unseen place. A man with His arms raised in praise. But there is another Heh at the end of His name which changes the meaning of this character since it tells a story. The breath and spirit of God takes on the form of a father.
Then we get the Vav which serves as a revelation of true faith and is represented as a nail. Something or someone has been nailed down to be viewed as a visual example of true faith.
The final character is the second Heh. Again, a view inside the window of the man in praise except this is the second heh so this is the son.
In Hebrew translated to English gives us YHWH but we refer to God by His Latin name of Jesus.
In Latin, the letters the YHWH would be IEUE. When converted to Greek, in it’s masculine form an “S” is added to the Heh character or the E’s making it IESUES. In our English, The “I” becomes a “J.” This is where we see that He has His father’s name. God’s name becomes Jesus. The great I AM which is I AM WHAT I AM BECOMING. From our perspective it is What He became. He was born into the body of a Jewish man named Jesus.
Even if we ignore the story from the pictures just the pictures alone point us to Jesus. An open hand with a nail. A man with outstretched arms.
So now all the questions from Proverbs are answered. Let’s move on to the Law, the Truth, Freedom and the Gospel.
What has Jesus Christ done?
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. For by Him all things were created. God the father sent His Son to be born of a woman, born under His law. God in His justice, must punish sin. If He doesn’t, He violates Himself. Jesus wept, suffered and died for our sins. Jesus paid the price for our freedom. He paid the price for all who are subject to the law. His will be done. His kingdom will come. Imagine being governed by God in a kingdom that represents our unearned and undeserved reward and inheritance. We have true freedom.
Freedom is that double-edged sword. There is always a price to pay.
Like Janis Joplin belting out Kris Kristoffersons song.
“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
Nothin’, don’t mean nothin’ hon’ if it ain’t free …”
Jesus was fully human when He cried out, “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me.”
Feeling isolated and abandoned is so human. Sometimes we are blind to all we have. We feel there is nothing left, there is no where to go. We panic. This is when we need to pray.
God never abandons or forsakes us.
Cool Hand Luke is one of my favorite movies. It’s basically a metaphor for the Gospel of Luke. Freedom and redemption found in a prison through a prisoner. It’s perfect when he says, “nothing is a real cool hand.” When we are down to nothing, God is up to something.
If we have faith in God and we understand that Jesus Christ died for us, then what do have to lose? We only have everything to gain.
Freedom is just another Word. The Word. The Word of God.
Also like Stevie Nicks with the song Gypsy,
To the gypsy that remains, faces freedom with a little fear,
I have no fear, I have only love…
The bible commands you 365 times to Not Be Afraid or Do Not Fear. Always given as a command and followed by an action. A verse for every day of your year.
Martin Luther would’ve loved these lyrics.
He said …
“One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the gospel of Christ.”
He also said …
“A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject of all, subject to all.”
But we have a responsibility. Our responsibility is to respond to God’s work. Our part of His plan. We receive new life by grace through faith and confession. We have a responsibility to acknowledge the truth. We have a responsibility to align our lives to His truth. We need to believe and declare that God is loving, holy, and just.
In 8:31, Jesus says, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.”
The mark of genuine faith is not professing that you’re a Christian.
You need to be confident and brave in your faith. God doesn’t want you to hope or believe in Him as we understand those words. He deserves certainty and that will give you the strength you need. A true Christian stands strong as evidence that Christ is real. We are not to be products of our environment or children of this world. We answer to an even higher authority. We need to be comfortable in our true identity as children of God. Be at home with God in God’s word. Be the example, be a walking miracle.
The best example I’ve ever seen was my youngest son. We have this Little Tykes castle. He was so small and so young it really was like a castle for him. He figured out the ladder which brought him to the top of the slide but he had never been down a slide before so he had no confidence in going that way. He looked over the walls and that wasn’t an option. So he turned and tried to go back down the ladder but couldn’t commit to reaching that first step. It was so far. He stood back up, conducted a full re-evaluation of his situation and then without a moment’s hesitation he leaped blindly into my arms. The greatest bible study of my life.
Trust in God. Be certain that He is there for you. Be convinced and positive of the power in His holy name.
In the blessed and perfect name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.