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Passion Sunday
The Fifth Sunday in Lent

WE beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Readings appointed for this Sunday below: Hebrews ix. 11, St. John viii. 46.

If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.

The new testament (covenant) is epitomized in this quote. Keep the saying of our Lord Jesus, and you shall never taste death, but rather you shall live forever with him. The Gospel today records one of the encounters that Jesus had with the Priests and Pharisees over his ministry. In his discourse with them, he made clear who he was, and that his teachings were from the Father because he proceeded from the Father. He tells them, before Abram was, I AM. Their response was attempted murder.

The promise of eternal life that Jesus gives here is conditional. It requires that we keep his sayings. As Jesus says in Matthew 5:20, For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Today many Christians are being led astray by those who have been called to lead them. They are the blind leading the blind. They indulge in behavior that is explicitly proscribed by the Scriptures and they, and many of their peers, attempt to convince their assemblies that this violation of Scripture is "good" and blessed by God. Others give tacit approval to unrighteous behavior by not denouncing it vehemently from the pulpit or pew. Thousands of Christians look up to these leaders and the result is a generation that is being led astray. We must take the Gospel seriously, or we shall certainly loose our inheritance.

Jesus was clear in today’s Gospel. He was clear in Matthew 5:20, the whole of the Scriptures are clear. Practice unrighteousness while representing the Church as a minister of the Gospel and you shall have the same promise that the Pharisees and scribes in today‘s Gospel had. Jesus told them they were liars and sons of the Father of all lies -- Satan. Keep his sayings and have eternal life, flaunt them before the assembly and suffer eternal damnation.

Our collect this day calls on our Lord to look upon his people that they may be governed by his great Goodness. You will find his standard of Goodness in the Scriptures, not in the vain speeches and letters of corrupt Church leaders. There is but one mediator, as Paul points out, he is our High Priest and only Mediator. He has called us to righteousness. Those who honestly attempt to live up to his standard, follow him, and do what is Right, will receive the promised prize. Those who have no fear of God and choose to live outside of his sayings will likewise win their prize.

The Epistle. Hebrews ix. 11.

CHRIST being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

The Gospel. St. John viii. 46.

JESUS said, Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you; but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple

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