Summary: Do we hear the message of Christ Jesus and willingly follow? Or do we think his words are only like the thunder the people heard?
John 12: 20 – 33 / Is That Thunder I Hear?
Intro: There was a family from Boston who left the crowded city for Montana. They bought a ranch to raise cattle. Friends came for a visit and wanted to know what they named the place. Bar-J, Suzy-Q, Flying-W, Lazy-Y, Last Chance, Big Kahuna Cattle Ranch. Where are the cattle asked the visitor? Actually we don’t have any…none survived the branding. (from “Life in Paradox” by Russell Brownworth, SermonCentral.com) Now that’s a problem!
I. VS. 20 – 21 “Now there were some Greeks . . . ‘Sir, we would see Jesus.”
A. A young seminary student was invited to present a sermon at a local nursing home. She worked for days preparing a sophisticated, theologically artistic sermon. As she delivered the sermon, one of the patients started wheeling herself out of the activity room. With each push of the wheelchair she said very loudly, “Blah, blah, blah, blah.”
B. Are you like that old lady in the nursing home, thinking to yourself, “Blah, blah, blah, blah?” Do you just hear words when I speak or do you really want to “see Jesus?”
C. For many people, church is a social game they “play” once a week. They come to get, not to give. They come to be seen, not to see. What are you looking for?
II. Lent is that time of the liturgical calendar when we are supposed to focus on the cost of following Jesus. It is supposed to be a time of penance, prayer and preparation for the celebration of Easter.
A. The observance of Lent began around the 4th century. It begins on Ash Wednesday, the 40th weekday before Easter and ends at midnight on Holy Saturday.
B. Lent is about losing our lives by giving them to Christ and getting eternal life by finding Christ within us. Lent is about loss. It’s about losing ourselves in order to find our lives.
C. Many of us are saying to ourselves, I’ve already lost so much. What else is there for me to lose? Husband, wife, child, job, health, peace of mind, friends purpose, direction, strength, children, love, members, control, our voice or power in the church. With all you have lost, God wants you to know still that there is more of you to lose. --- Tommy Lasorda, former coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers once said, “I found that it’s not good to talk about my troubles. 80% of people don’t care and the other 20% are glad you’re having trouble.”
III. What is Jesus’ response to the Greeks? --- VS. 23 – 26 “The hour has come . . . My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
A. I have a riddle for you this morning? --- When is a kernel of corn worth more than a diamond of the same size? You can put a diamond and a kernel of corn in a safe for 20 years and they will have the same proportionate value in the end. But if you put that diamond in the same and plant and nurture the corn it will produce an ever-increasing crop until in 20 years the corn will out-weigh the value of the diamond many times over. (“Brokeness: No way around it.” By Wes Humble, Sermoncentral.com)
B. This is what Jesus is talking about in verses 24 & 25. --- Jesus was talking about himself as the one kernel of wheat---He was on His way to the cross and because of what he did there would be a great harvest of souls.
C. Your faith can be like the diamond in the safe or the kernel of corn in the ground. It is your choice. Will the words and teachings of Christ about loosing your life to find a life take root or will they rot?
Conclu: VS. 29 – “The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; . . .” Jesus went on in VS. 31 “Now is the time for judgment on this world . . .” The Greek word used for time here is hora which is “a point of time or season when an appointed action is to begin.” Is now the time? Or Is that thunder I hear?