Lord, give us the obedience of faith, and enlighten us in the mystery of grace. Amen.

John 8, 21-27. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world: I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them. Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.

With profound sorrow Jesus tells these people how unhappy they are in that they do not believe in him. Every word expresses the grief of tenderest love; by which means he attempts to rouse them to re­pentance. But how terrible is the wickedness of the impenitent! They understand very well what he means when he says: “Whither I go ye cannot come.” Yet they wickedly construe his words to mean that he may perhaps intend to kill himself. It is a suggestion worthy of the devil himself. They know that self-murder is the most awful crime which a man can commit; and yet they speak in this way of the Son of God! How the devil must have rejoiced in their speech! In spite of their poisonous tongue, however, the Lord is no less loving and meek than before; he seeks only to win them, and again and again he proclaims to them the truth that without faith they must die in their sins. — All who are to be saved must believe in him. For he is one with the Father, the only true God. We cannot come to the Father but through the Son, and that by faith. But whosoever believes in him does in fact come to the Father through the Son. He is that which he speaks; and he who receives and keeps the word, — that is, believes it — thereby comes into the fellowship of the Son and the Father. Mark that Jesus here says: I am even the same that I said unto you.” If you receive my word into your soul, I myself am therein, and abide in you; I am that I am; I am from the beginning, and remain for ever the same; the living God from above, the Blessed One, who came to the world in order to draw you with me to heaven. — The Jews under­stood not that he spake to them of the Father; for they would not be­lieve, but would continue in their sins. Do you, dear friend, understand the Lord’s speech? Has it entered your heart, and thus made him to become your life?

Lord Jesus, I catch a glimpse of thy glory, and see more and more of it, as gradually I receive grace to obey thee, and to hold fast thy word in childlike faith. Give me ever new grace thereto, most merci­ful Savior, blessed Son of God! Amen.

Thou my faith increase and quicken,
Let me keep thy gift divine;
Howsoe’er temptations thicken,
May thy word forever shine
As my guiding star through life,
As my comfort in my strife.

TLH 1, “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty”; [tune]

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