John 9:1-41 – Look, You Blind!

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John 9:1-41—As he [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

8The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

18The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

35Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

39Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Pharisees sure claim to “know” a lot of things. Most importantly, they know that Jesus can’t be from God since He breaks the Sabbath. They know that Jesus is a sinner, a nobody.

The formerly blind man doesn’t know very much. He doesn’t know where Jesus is. He doesn’t know exactly how Jesus opened his eyes. He doesn’t know whether or not Jesus is a sinner. The only thing he knows is that he was blind, but now he sees.

The formerly blind man knows that Jesus has done something great for him. Something that had never been done before. “Never since the world began (from eternity/the aeons) has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind” (v. 32).

He is right. Nowhere in the Old Testament does any blind person have their sight restored. None of God’s prophets had ever done this before. Think of Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha. They did some amazing things – parting seas, causing the sun to stand still, cleansing lepers, even raising the dead – but none of them opened the eyes of the blind.

EyeIsaiah prophesized that the Messiah would open blind eyes (Is. 29:18, 35:5, 42:7, 18). The Pharisees knew these passages. But now, standing before them plain to see, is a man who had been blind from birth, but now, his eyes are opened.

But what do the Pharisees do? They blind themselves to what that means. Because of the hardness of their hearts they refuse to see what is going on. Their knowledge blinds them so that they cannot see who Jesus is. Even though they see, they chose to be blind.

As the Pharisees press the formerly blind man with their knowledge. They try to get him to accuse Jesus of being a sinner. But the blind man will not say that Jesus is a sinner. He says, “We know that God does not listen to sinners. And if this [Jesus] were not from God, He could do nothing” (v. 31, 33).

The Pharisees then accuse the formerly blind man of having been born in sin and throw him out of the synagogue. But in rejecting the formerly blind man, they reject Jesus, the only one who can cure their blindness.

But if you reject the only one who can help you, what hope is left for you?

Fellow sinners, we are not the man born blind; we are the Pharisees. God’s miracles constantly surround us, but we blind ourselves to them.

Husbands and wives, God has given you the perfect help mate. God has blessed you with a companion. But you blind yourself to that. You only see your spouse’s shortcomings.

Parents, God has given you the miracle of children. God has given you the responsibility to care for and raise His creation. But you blind yourself to that. You only see parasites.

Children, God has given you parents to care for you, provide for you, and protect you. God has given you a loving home. But you blind yourself to that. You only see tyrants.

God gives you all wonderful vocations so that you can serve and love your neighbor. But you blind yourself to that. You see drudgery.

Look, you blind!

Look at all the blessings God gives. Everything you see is from God your Father who always gives what is best. Everything you have is gift. Everything is grace. Yet, what do you do? You whine. You complain. You sin.

Body of Christ CommunionBut that is precisely why Christ came and died. Jesus came to have mercy on sinners – even blind Pharisees like you. He has room at His table – especially for you blind sinners. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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John 4:5-26 – Well, Well, Well

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John 4:5–26 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

ImageI want to begin today with a side note: Church tradition has some interesting information about this Samaritan woman. Her name is Photini which means “enlightened one.” Just after our text, Photini goes back to her village and invites everyone to come and meet Jesus who she says, “He told me all that I ever did.” The Samaritans meet Jesus and He stays there for two days. The many from the town believe in Jesus as the Savior of the world because Jesus’ words.

Church tradition then says that Photini traveled to Carthage where she continued to tell people about Jesus Christ. Apparently, she even spoke to the Roman emperor Nero’s daughter about Jesus, and Nero’s daughter became a Christian. However, Photini died as a martyr by Nero’s hand in AD 66.

Let’s look at the text:

Last week, we saw Nicodemus, a ruler of the Pharisees, coming to Jesus in the darkness of night. Nicodemus was respectable man; he would be the equivalent of a Supreme Court justice in our time. But Nicodemus comes to Jesus secretly.

Contrast that with this Samaritan woman. First of all, Samaritans integrated the worship of other false, pagan gods with worship of Yahweh (2 Kgs. 17:29-32). Secondly, she was a woman. Rabbis in Jesus’ day taught that men were not to talk to women in public – even their own wives. Third, this particular woman was also an outcast; she comes to the well well [sic] after all the other women would have been there in the cool morning to draw water. She was likely tired of everyone talking about her personal life with her five failed marriages and her current live-in boyfriend.

She comes to the well around noon, in the heat of the day to draw her water. She comes around the bend and finds Jesus sitting there on the well alone, dusty, and tired from His walking. “Give Me a drink,” Jesus says.

Jesus and the Samaritan WomanThe woman is surprised that Jesus, a Jewish man, would even speak to her. The Samaritans and the Jews didn’t get along. They are your typical Hatfield and McCoy feud. The Samaritans’ temple on Mt. Gerizim (the mountain that the woman refers to later) was destroyed by the Jews in 128 BC. The Samaritans retaliated a few years before Jesus was born by attacking Jerusalem and filling the temple area with the corpses of the dead. The only dealings Jews and Samaritans had were bitter and morbid.

Yet, Jesus says to the Samaritan woman, “Give Me a drink.” But Jesus is more interested in giving this woman the living water she needs than receiving the drink that His tired body needs. Jesus uses His own need to get this woman to realize her need to receive from Him. “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

If she knew the gift of God, she wouldn’t be looking for fulfillment in man after man after man. If she knew the gift of God, she wouldn’t care that her neighbors had cast her out socially and that she was a complete loser in their eyes. If she knew the gift of God, nothing in this whole world would matter, except having Jesus, who gives everything.

John means for us to see this scene as a courtship scene. Now, Jesus isn’t seeking to marry this woman as we think of marriage. He wants this woman to become part of the Church which is His bride. Our marriages aren’t pictures of Christ’s relationship to us, instead the reverse is true. Jesus’ perfect, holy, faithful, grace-filled marriage to the Church is a picture of what our marriages should look like.

Sitting there on Jacob’s well is Jesus – the One greater than Jacob. Jacob had first met his beautiful bride to be, Rachel, at a well (Gen. 29:1ff; also see Gen. 24ff and Ex. 2:15-22). When Jacob saw Rachel, he wept because of her beauty. Jesus sees this woman with all of her sins and flaws, and wants her to believe in Him as the Messiah.

Jacob ended up having to work for fourteen years to marry Rachel. But Jesus, the One greater than Jacob, worked even harder enduring God’s wrath for this Samaritan woman’s sin – and all of mankind’s sin, even yours – to gain for Himself a bride, His Church.

You see, you have been more adulterous than this woman. In fact, you have whored yourself out to all sorts of sins thinking that in them you will find happiness. You are a slut seeking a husband in all the wrong places.

But there is Jesus who is always seeking to be your Husband. He is always true and faithful to you no matter how many other suitors you seek. Jesus has pledged His undying love and faithfulness to you. He invites you to drink from the well of living water which He has dug with His own hands. Though you are a sinner, in the eyes of Jesus you are the bride He desires most. He invites you to “dine at His table and drink from His cup. [In His eyes], you are the fairest of them all, for His kisses of grace have healed your scars, brightened your eyes, and transformed you from a beast to a beauty” (Chad Bird). Amen.[1]

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.


[1] I am thankful to both a blog post by Chad Bird “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Jesus and the ‘Bad’ Samaritan Woman” http://birdchadlouis.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-jesus-and-the-bad-samaritan-woman/ and an article by Dr. Peter J. Scaer “Jesus and the Woman at the Well: Where Mission Meets Worship” Concordia Theological Quarterly Vol. 67:1 January 2003 as inspiration for this sermon.

John 3:1-17 – Born by Water into God’s Kingdom

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Jesus & NicodemusJohn 3:1-17—Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Along with the rest of the world, we are all perishing. Like the poisonous serpents came into the camp of the Israelites (Nu. 21:4-9), the snake of sin has come and bitten everything in this world. All humanity has been stung with the sting of death, and the countdown to your death began from the moment you existed. Death is hereditary; it is written in your DNA.

As a child of Adam you are a child of sin and death. You slog through this life slowly, steadily marching towards your death. “The wages of sin is death” (Ro. 3:23). Payday is coming, and what you have earned will, finally and ultimately, come to you.

You get little pay advances of death as you journey through this life, and they all serve as reminders of what is coming. An illness is tossed into your tip jar as a reminder that one day your whole body will be broken. You find the loose change of death when someone gossips about you saying, “A real Christian would do such and such.” The world is always ready to hand you a stipend of death along the way – war, famine, and persecution. After months and years filed with despair, a parent, spouse, or sibling dies battling cancer and you hit the jackpot of death. Ultimately, your payday comes and death visits you personally.

As a child of death, you are what you are, and Nicodemus was what he was. Under the cover of the darkness of night, Nicodemus comes to talk with Jesus. He comes in wonder, for no one can do the signs that Jesus does unless God is with him. Nicodemus comes to talk with Jesus, this God-sent Sign-worker, but Nicodemus comes as an unbeliever. That is why Jesus doesn’t dilly-dally. Instead, He moves the conversation directly to the crux of the matter. “Unless you are born from above, you cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The word that gets translated again there in v. 3 almost always means “from above” only rarely does it mean again. Nicodemus wrongly thinks that Jesus means that he must enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born. That is conceivably possible (pun intended); though, I would tend to think very few mothers would allow their children to enter back into their womb a second time.

Jesus speaks to Nicodemus of a different kind of birth, a birth “from above.” But Nicodemus can only think of one type of birth, the natural type. All this talk about a birth that is “from above” is hard for Nicodemus to understand. He can’t even imagine a different type of birth. But this is not surprising because, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Co. 2:14).

But Jesus says exactly what this different “from above” type of birth is – a water and Spirit type of birth. Jesus speaks about baptism.Baptism 2 Children of God are not born of natural, physical parents. They are born not of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man. They are born of the will of God (Jn. 1:13).

You did not chose to be born physically. No one consulted you about your conception. No one asked you if you were ready to be delivered into this world. But you delivered into this world you were.

In the same way, you do not chose to be born spiritually either. You are dependent upon a birth that comes only from the will of God. In your baptism, God has given you that different kind of birth, that different kind of existence.

Like Nicodemus, we ask, “How can these things be? How can water do such things?” We too come to Jesus in the darkness and night of our own sinful misunderstanding. Jesus says that baptism is not simply water, but water that is connected with the Spirit of God and the Word of God. In the waters of baptism, God gives you the kind of birth He requires. ”The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Your spiritual birth is all God’s doing. The only part you have to play in your salvation is to benefit from it. God has chosen baptism to “give life to the dead and call into existence the things that do not exist” (Ro. 4:17b). God could have chosen to do it another way, but He chose to do it through baptism – the birth from above of water and Spirit.

BaptismSo that you can have this birth, God the Father sent Jesus, His only begotten Son. Jesus was sent to live a sinless life not for Himself, but for you. Jesus was sent so that you should not perish, but have everlasting life. God sent Jesus to die the death you deserve. Jesus was paid your wages of sin. Jesus has been lifted up to die so that all who look on Him might be saved.

And so that you could be connected to Christ’s death, God gives you baptism. In your baptism, the Holy Spirit dragged your sinful flesh back to the cross to kill it. He placed you into the tomb of Christ, and you were born anew with Christ out of the hopelessness of death. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now and forever. Amen.

Matthew 4:1-11 – Words

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Matthew 4:1-11—Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Find a Bible, and open it to 1 Jn. 2:16, the ESV translates it this way,”For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” Notice how that follows the pattern of our Old Testament text: Gen. 3:6, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food [desires of the flesh], and that it was a delight to the eyes [desires of the eyes], and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise [pride of life]…”

Notice that because that same pattern is followed in the three temptations in our Gospel text.Temptation of Christ

Today’s Gospel text comes immediately after the account of Jesus’ baptism. The Holy Spirit who had descended upon Jesus like a dove now leads Jesus up into the wilderness in order to be tempted by the devil. Jesus looks wholly unprepared for this battle with Satan. Jesus does not go out with legions of angels to face Satan. He doesn’t even go out with His little, loyal band of disciples. Jesus is in the wilderness with no gear to help Him build shelter and find food. Jesus doesn’t even eat; instead, He fasts forty days and forty nights. In the wilderness, He is exposed and vulnerable.

But in reality, Jesus is playing offense. Jesus enters the wilderness with the only weapon that will have any effect against sin, death, and the devil. He goes out armed with the Father’s words recorded just before our text (Mt. 3:17), “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Satan comes to cast doubt on those very words of God. “If You are the Son of God.” This is the very same trick of the devil in the Garden of Eden. Gen. 3:1, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Satan seeks to arouse the desires of the flesh in order to cause doubt upon the Word of God.

Satan’s words to both Eve and Jesus sound good and right, “Doesn’t God want you to have food? Do you think that if God really loved you that you go through life hungry like this?” Eve fell for the trick, and she dragged all of us into bondage from which we will never set ourselves free. But Jesus, faced with the same temptation, comes out victorious.

Jesus takes what is wrong with us – our mistrust in God’s provision, our unbelief that God will care for us, and our doubt in the promises of God – and strikes back with the promise of God, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus triumphs over the desires of the flesh.

Satan takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple and tries to cast doubt upon the Word of God again, “If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. God won’t let You get hurt. He will send His angels to protect You since You are so important.” Satan seeks to stir up the desires of the eyes. Satan tempts Jesus to see if God will really protect Him.

Jesus, again, takes what is wrong with us – our desires to see some fantastic miracle, our desires to see God act in some special way towards us – and He strikes back with the Word of God, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the text.” Jesus triumphs over the desires of the eyes.

Satan then takes Jesus to a mountain to show Him all the kingdoms of this world and their glory. Satan tells Jesus, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Satan seeks to stir up the pride of life. Satan tells Jesus, “You can be king of the lot, Jesus. All the power that is mine I will put at Your disposal. The two of us together can hardly fail, if You will only do things a bit more my way” (Nagel).

But Jesus, again, takes what is wrong with us – our pride, our desire to be like God and control our own destiny – and strikes back with the Word of God, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’“ Jesus triumphs over the pride of life.

Your Savior triumphs over the devil, the world, and sin. You have a Messiah who defeats the desires of the flesh, who casts down the desires of the eyes, who is victorious over the pride of life. And He does it all for you.

Do you see what Jesus did by winning this battle against Satan? He completely reversed the Fall of Adam and Eve. Our Epistle text (Ro. 5:12-19) says that Adam was a type of the One who was to come; that’s Jesus, the new Adam who brings life to all mankind. Look at Ro. 5:18 and let me fill in a few of the blanks there, “As Adam’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so Christ’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”

Jesus Crushes the Serpent's HeadChrist has defeated the enemy; He has crushed Satan’s head. And Jesus’ victory is your victory. Everything that Christ has done is credited to your account as though you have done it yourself.

You will be tempted, and you will fall into sin. However, when you fall prey to the temptations of sin flee to Jesus who has already defeated Satan. Repent and return to Christ. “[Jesus] who was tempted for you is never tempted to turn you away. [Jesus’] baptism is your baptism, His conquering of sin is your conquering of sin, His crucifixion, His resurrection, His ascension are all yours. What belongs to the Head belongs to the body, and you are the body of Christ” (Chad Bird). Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.