Sunday, 19 June 2022

Like Father Like Son - John 5

We ask our children what they want to do when they grow up, and we have our own hopes and aspirations for them. In the coming weeks many children will be anticipating the 'next step', e.g. going up to secondary school, or to sixth form, or beyond. As parents our aspirations get invested in that too. And with God the Father along with Jesus His Son there is similar stuff going on: the Father had aspirations and desires for His Son - plans that Jesus fully embraced and set about to fulfill. With the Father and Jesus it was the ultimate father/son business thing going on.

But the desire of the Father is not industry or making money (as it might be in a father/son business). Instead the desire of the Father is fully based on love and giving. It is a desire not just for the Son - Jesus - but a desire from the very core of God that flows out for the whole of creation, for the planet, for every human being, for you and me. God created because He loves, and Hi s ongoing desire is for His creation, for us.

Yet we know that creation is broken, with humanity doing hideous things to each other (and to our planet). But the Father's business is not just to create in love, but to going on loving even when things are broken: Like Father, like Son, their business is to love and restore.

Jesus in his words and actions is on a great restoring project. In the John 5 passage Jesus heals a man afflicted with a life-limiting condition for 38 years, and then in a flash Jesus enables him to get up and walk. Shortly after Jesus says 'the Father raises and gives life ... I do exactly as I see the Father doing'. He is saying that the Father/Son business that they are in is a life-giving restoring project.

The person helped is no longer afflicted and can now walk away and enjoy life. But when Jesus says 'He gives life', he is talking about life from God which is flowing from the love of the Father. That life is also to give life, enabling others to live as well. To truly live is to be about the same business as the Son and the Father, to be on God's restoration project.

Now to actually do this restoration project is not easy: creation is broken and humanity has seriously gone off script. For Jesus to be about the Father's business meant Him going to the cross (being painfully executed) - but curiously this is God's way of giving, of fixing things, and of raising to new life. Today we have two people being baptised - marking their decision to be on God's restoring project. It will not be an easy path for them either - it will require clear decision, tough calls and action in the future. Baptism shows this - in the candidate going down into the water to show that the old life is dead & gone, declaring "I can't live that way any longer". Then the candidate is brought back up: to new life, to a new way of being, receiving the gift of life ... be to be able to give themselves.

Finally Jesus said that the Father entrusted him with 'judgement' of all people. Why could the Father do that? It is because the Father could see that the Son had exactly the same values that He had (going to the cross proved this). To follow Christ is to honour the Son an to follow His way - to live the same values as Jesus, to make the same decisions as Jesus, to do the same things as Jesus.

That takes a life-time of us working things out. Baptism is a key marker along the way (it is saying "I'm not going back from this point"). It is to acknowledge that life is a gift from God, a gift to be received ... and having received to then give yourself and go on giving. The decision to 'honour the Son' is a decision that each of us must make for ourselves: what is your decision right now?

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