The World must Serve us to Eternal Life

Easter 7 Wednesday

John 17:1-2

“Father, the hour has come to glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you as well, as you have given him power over all flesh to give eternal live to all whom you have given him.”

 

Christ means to say: “I have in my hand all kings, princes, and everything that lives in flesh and blood so that I am able to help my Christians from sin, death, and all misfortune, but it is not apparent at this time because I walk about in such weakness and dishonor. This is why I ask you, Father, to glorify me so that I may reveal and demonstrate this.” Here you see written our comfort and spite against all our enemies that we who believe in Christ and cling to his Word are the ones who have been given to him by God the Father and that he wants to care for us, protect us, and sustain us. No matter how high the world rises against us, it shall nonetheless remain under the Lord Christ so that it cannot harm us. In fact, the more the world oppresses us, the more it must serve us to eternal life. This is why we should lift up our hands without ceasing and praise and thank God that he has counted us among the number of those who belong to him and are his own – because we know that we have his Word and that we are persecuted and considered the world’s enemies on account of that Word. For those who are sure and certain of this should have no doubt that they belong to this little flock that shall have eternal life. From this you can also conclude: Since it is Christ’s work and gift that we have eternal life, the entire world must end up in disgrace on our account with all its wisdom, might, and honor and must turn our weakness and impotence into honor. Our Lord Christ demonstrated this sufficiently in his enemies when he came from deepest shame to the highest honor and turned into eternal shame all their boasting and glorying of righteousness and holy living on which they insisted and because of which they persecuted him. For since he alone is a Lord of eternal life, the world that persecutes him and his Christians cannot come to eternal life, even if it strives after it and presumes to acquire it by its own strength. But where Christ gives eternal life, there eternal glory and honor must be. Contrariwise, where such does not happen, eternal shame and misfortune must follow as well. Now that we know this, let our enemies shame us and disparage us for as long as they can; their doings will soon come to an end. For what are thirty, forty, or sixty years compared to eternal life other than a moment or even nothing compared to our entire life on earth? But note how St. John uses the words here in a way that is peculiar to him in comparison to other evangelists to confirm the article that Christ is true God with the Father. For these words, “As you have given him power over all flesh to give eternal life,” etc., do not agree with the claim that Christ is a mere man. For having such power over all living things and giving eternal life is not a property of any creature. The creature may well take and receive eternal life, but to give such life is only God’s work and power. For even the angels, though they live forever, cannot impart such life to anyone. But since he confesses that he has the power to give eternal life to those who are his while he has received such power from the Father, he indicates clearly that he has a single divine substance and power with the Father while he and the Father are two distinct persons.

 

St. Louis ed., 8:758-759.

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