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NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, 4th Week of Easter, May 16, 2014
Acts 13:26-33, Ps. 2, John 14:1-6


Scripture quotations are from the RSV unless otherwise noted.

 

"Those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning him" (Acts 13:27).


When the Jews and their rulers condemned Jesus to death, they fulfilled, without realizing it, the words of the prophets. They fulfilled God's prophesied plan for the salvation of the world, namely that the Son of God should die for the sins of the world (1 Cor. 15:3). Philip explained this plan to the Ethiopian eunuch from the prophecy of Isaiah fifty-three (Acts 8:32-35). And Jesus himself told his disciples, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished" (Luke 18:31). And on the road to Emmaus the risen Christ told the two disciples, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" (Luke 24:25-26).


The main prophecy about these things is Isaiah fifty-three: "The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6). God put our sins on Christ so that he could suffer their punishment for us, so that we could be justly forgiven (2 Cor. 5:21). "He bore the sin of many" (Isa. 53:12). "When he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring" (Isa. 53:10). He suffered our punishment that we should have suffered for our sins instead of us, in our place. "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isa. 53:5 KJV). St. Peter says, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed" (1 Pet. 2:24).


God condemned and punished our sins in the flesh of Jesus Christ on the cross in order to fulfill the law that the sinner must die for his sins (Gen. 2:17; Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 6:23). This law having been fulfilled for us by the death of Christ on the cross, we are thereby freed from both our sins and their punishment, when we put our faith in him, confessing our sins (1 John 1:9). This is so, because Christ served our death sentence for our sins for us. This is what St. Paul means when he says, "For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us" (Rom. 8:3-4). That is, Christ fulfilled the law for us by dying for our sins.


Christ suffered on the cross the curse of the law for our sins, instead of us suffering it, thus shielding us from this curse. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, ‘Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree'--" (Gal. 3:13). He was cursed by God on the cross because of our sins, thus saving us from this curse.


Because Jesus did this for us, he saves us from our sins and brings us to God. There is no other savior who can bring us to God, because no one else has died for our sins for us. Only the Son of God was able to do this for us, and he alone has done it. Therefore he is the only way to the Father, as he himself tells us today, "No one comes to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

 

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