This morning’s devotion was written by John Zahl. 

The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself;  and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” (John 5:22-27, NRSV)

Listen again to these words from our Gospel lesson: “The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son… He has given him authority to execute judgment.”

The unavoidable word in these passages is judgment. It is a word that causes people to bristle, the kind of word that, when we encounter it, feels a bit like a speed bump, even a roadblock. It brings to mind a wagging finger, “tsk tsk” sentiments, shame-shame-shame fingers. Judgment stops us in our tracks, seemingly holding us down under the giant Platonic form of a heavenly thumb.

So we need to think about what it means for Jesus to be our judge. Let me offer two thoughts.

First, if Jesus is the one who has been given by God the authority (as God) to judge the world, then it is also means that you and I have been relieved of any similar obligations. In life, it is not our job to judge. When we find our selves doing it, when we find ourselves looking down our noses at the people we come in contact with, we have stepped out of proper alignment with God. We have, in some sense, simultaneously tried to usurp His role, and have ceased to trust Him.

Second, if Jesus is judge, this is good news. You want his judgment! His justice is full of mercy. As a theologian has said, it is fair to say that, in Christ, “the judgment of God is forgiveness.I don’t know about you, but that’s the last judgment I ever expect reckoned to me. It’s the one verdict that I rarely offer myself. It’s incredibly good news that, once and for all, our final judgment has come down from cosmic officials, as a deep, all-encompassing, counterintuitive, refreshing acceptance.  He has pled our case with three short words: “Father, forgive them.”