12.17.2011

John 5:39-47

Ontology
Reading: John 5:39-47

Jesus says:
You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you'll find eternal life there.
But you miss the important thing while taking care of minor things.
These Scriptures are talking about me!
And here I am, standing right before you.
You aren't willing to receive from me the life you say you want.
I'm not interested in crowd approval.
And do you know why?
Because I know you and your crowds.
I know that love, especially God's love, is not on your agenda.
I came with the authority of my Father.
But you either dismiss me or avoid me.
If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms.
How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time seeking position with nice benefit, ranking each other and ignoring God?
But do not think I'm going to accuse you before my Father.
Moses, in whom you put so much trust, is your accuser.
If you believed, really believed, what Moses said, you would believe me.
Because he wrote of me.
If you are not taking seriously what he wrote, how can I expect you to take seriously what I speak?

Here Jesus is talking about something fundamental.
They were reading the bible, skipping parts where God talks about love, and not caring the glory of God.
Jesus is asking them to get rid of all the non-essential stuff.
Jesus is asking them to know God and follow God.

Let me explain in this way.
I don’t know whether you like to read some theological book.
When you read some theological book, you may see many weird words.
One of them may be "ontology."
Once I understand what it is, I like this word.
Let me explain why.

In a theological conversation, this word can be used like this. You may say, “I study about the ontology of God.”
It means that you study the essence, character and being of God.
So, you dig in order to know about the core essence of who God is.
In order to know that, you need to get rid of all the non-essential stuff which attaches to God even though it is not of God.
For example, a person can fear God and be afraid of God.
It means that he or she fear God and is afraid of God.
It does not necessarily means that God is like that.

So, we remove our presumption in order to know of God.
After that, you find to know what is left.

So, through this kind of ontological study, we learn that:
God is love.
God is compassion.
God is even willing to die for love and compassion if God has to.

Now let’s think about some ontological aspect of the Church.
What is the Church?
What is the core essence?
The Church is the body of Christ.
That is, the Church is called to think with the Christ and to make decisions seeking the will of Christ.
The Church is called to work with Christ on earth, not with our power but with the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is the ontological purpose of the Church.
For example, when we share our faith, we don’t do that with our intellectual nice footwork (our wisdom?), but with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then what is the non essential part of the Church?
Since it is a human organization, there can be am understandable doctrine, tradition, policies and good politics, because we need to have peace.
But if we forgot to ask or misunderstand what Christ wants to do in our midst, we may miss our ontological calling.

So, God is ever calling the Church to be radically God’s.
Then when the Church does the will of Christ, something beautiful happens.
Through the Church, people become one with God.
Through the Church, God manifests God’s presence on earth.
The Church feels joy sharing the story of Jesus with the world.
The Church is even willing to die for Christ while sharing.

Now let's think about ourselves in this ontological way.
Who are we?
What is the core essence of who you are?
We may mistake thinking someone else is us.

What is the purpose of your existence?
When we squeeze orange, we get orange juice.
When life squeezes you, what does come out?
Pride or the character of God.
Here is an ontological question: What is the one thing that you may be even willing to die for?

Jesus seeks the will of God, forgiveness and the Kingdom of God.
The Lord’s Prayer explains what Jesus seeks.

Paul was ontological.
He says: I want to know nothing among you except the crucified Christ. (1 Cor. 2:2)
He lives to proclaim Christ in which all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. (Col. 2:3)

They want to know “what is our business” and “how is our business.”
What is your ontological calling?

As a church, we want to know Christ and want to explain Jesus to this world. This is an ontological calling of us.

May this grace of God with you all.