In her senior year of high school, Kathryn, our youngest daughter, participated in something called Mock Trial. A
team of youth would compete against another team to “try” a case. Each team would argue with one being the defense and the other the prosecution. Throughout the time of the “trial” with time limits allowed for each side, the teams were “judged” and given a score. At the end of the time, the team that the judges awarded the most points won!
There are so many situations in which people are judged today.
* A person goes for an interview - how did they do?
* A referee makes a questionable call and fans will judge them.
* A person walks down the street and based on the color of their skin, some people will cross to teh other side
to avoid them.
* The list could go on and on....
The third article of the Apostles Creed speaks about Jesus coming to judge the living and the dead.
It is misleading to simply say that Jesus will come again to judge because Jesus has really never left. Jesus is with us, yet not fully in the power and glory that will happen sometime in the future. The technical word in
Greek that refers to the coming of Christ is paraousia, which literally means “being beside” or “being present.”
Jesus is always being near to us, but he will come in power casting down all that holds us from a relationship with God.
The words of Isaiah are filled full of meaning in Jesus. Jesus is present to bring good news to the oppressed and comfort the broken-hearted and those who mourn. Jesus is being beside us to fill us once again with joy and confidence by which we can praise the Lord.
In the lesson from John, the disciples –including Thomas - do praise the Lord. It was not easy for Thomas because he had missed when Jesus first appeared. He wanted to see for himself! He did not trust in their word, but when Jesus did become present to him, Thomas made a powerful confession of faith:“My Lord and my God!” Now he was ready to act upon his faith. Pastor Brian Stroffregen wrote that “faith is not really about what we believe, but what difference it makes in our lives that we believe.”
Like Thomas, we do know that Jesus comes along beside us and unlike the disciple Thomas, we do not see Jesus physically. Yet, we have come to believe that Jesus is the promised one, our Lord and our Savior. Now we come to the question: what difference does believing make in our lives? Yes we are called to believe in God and because of our trust in God, we are also called to “walk the walk and talk the talk” of someone for whom believing makes a difference.
What we do and say matters… and Jesus does pay attention. I wonder if he is really the one who is “making a list and checking it twice?”