Sermon – May 26, 2019
Jesus has claimed great things in the last two chapters of John. In chapter 5, he was shown to be God, while in chapter 6 shown to be all that mankind could ever need. Given these things, his brothers plead with him to make himself known. But such requests (demands?) are not the marks of faith. How should we speak to Jesus about what he has claimed and promised? Should our prayers be marked with language of “claiming promises”? Or, rather, is there a more faithful way to think about how we understand God’s promises and trust in his word? Today, let us think through why the language of “claiming” promises from Christ is a mark of unbelief:
1. Jesus is manna
“Claiming” promises can be dangerous, as at times it just makes Jesus into a conduit to better things. Jesus is just the way you get the stuff you really want and need – health, money, and power. But Jesus will have none of that. He is not simply the magical prophet who opens the doors of God’s storehouse to you – he is the storehouse. He is the manna from heaven, come to feed you eternally. He is the life. He is the “yes” and “amen” that we need. Don’t look past Jesus to the things of the world, but cling to him alone!
2. Jesus is master
Jesus is not your personal assistant, looking to fulfill your needs and your latest whims. We can easily assume that God’s promises are to be filled in the way we think, and that we can demand that they happen the way we want. Yet, God says that all that happens to God’s people are for their good – including cancer, martyrdom, and persecution. We must understand that God knows what is best for us because he is a good Father. Let us never think that we can command God to do for us what we want – sometimes we want things that are bad for us. Let us allow Jesus to be our master, and accept what he has to give to us.
3. Jesus is magnanimous
Finally, do not think that Jesus is stingy. As though he has a myriad of things to give to you, but is waiting for you to come begging for them before he hands them out. Our Jesus is not stingy, but magnanimous, overflowing with love and kindness to us. Yes, we ask for things from him, but not because we don’t think he’ll give them otherwise. We ask because it helps us to see we are not self sufficient. And Jesus is good to give us all we need and more.