Reader: “He has given us eternal life,”
Response: “and this life is in his Son.”
Scripture: I John 5:1-12
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross—not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. So we have these three witnesses— the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree. Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son.
And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
“But do I have to dad?” Response, “You will if you love me?” Response, “But dad, that’s manipulation!” Response, “No, it reveals your true heart, a heart that is more concerned with itself.” OUCH! “Loving God means keeping his commands.” It is never love God, and do as you please. Loving and obedience are directly connected. In this pericope, John gives us the premiere example of what he has just admonished. Jesus Christ was obedient to the Father in his baptism. When John the Baptist asked Jesus, “Why are you coming to me?”, Jesus responded, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” demonstrating his obedience out of love for the Father. Remember the Father’s response from heaven, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” At Jesus’ baptism the third member of the Trinity affirmed Jesus’ action in that the Spirit descended upon him as a dove. Then there was another example of Jesus demonstrating his love for the Father. His love was so great that he shed drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, a place where we read these words, “. . . yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Jesus’ love for the Father manifested in obedience. When he died on the cross, his side was pierced and out came water and blood. And how does this connect to Christmastide? You’ll recall in the Old Testament that necessary of at least two witnesses to confirm a truth (Deut.19:15). Blood, water and the Spirit confirm the identity of Jesus as the Son of God. To fail to believe these three witnesses, is to call God a liar and conclude that Jesus is not the Son of God. And what does God say by testifying that Jesus is his Son? The conclusion is, if you believe in Jesus, you have eternal life. If you don’t believe he is the Son of God, you don’t have eternal life. When Mary’s water broke and a little baby boy was born with some blood on him and the angels in heaven sang, “Glory to God in the highest . . .,” that was a clue. Did you notice that Jesus never said, “Do I have to Father?” It’s because he loves you.
Music: “Good Christian Men, Rejoice” King’s College Choir
Bonus: “Good Christian Men, Rejoice” Wissmann family
Bonus: “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Home Free Wow!
My Father in heaven, if obedience is the measure of my love for Thee, I am humbled to face the truth. Sometimes my intention is good and on other occasions, it is tainted. At times, obedience is a struggle. I would think I should have outgrown this reluctance by this time. Obedience brings joy and there is a wonderful feeling knowing I have walked the path I should. Why then is it so hard to be consistent? The water, blood and Spirit remind me again and again that I must dwell daily in the One who was obedient, even to death on a cross. May I likewise, die to self every day that I may live, even as my Savior lives in and through me hour by hour, day by day, year by year, decade by decade, through all of eternity. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp