Summary: This sermon is designed to reassure the saved of the love of Christ and as a call to a renewed faith that includes witnessing to others on the 5th Sunday in Lent, Year B.
We have all experienced it. We have been busy, or caught up in something when we realize that we have finished or that it is time to leave it behind. At that point, we take a deep breath, commit ourselves to the new course of action, exhale, and start down the new path.
In the Gospel of John chapter’s ll & 12 are a little like that. They “stand as a bridge between Jesus’ ministry and his hour.”(i) The message today comes from the time between the public ministry Jesus and the hour of his death. We can almost hear Jesus take a deep breath. We can see him pause when he sees the symbolic meaning of a different kind of people coming to him. Instead of directly addressing their concern, Jesus turns and looks to the task that is before him. When he tells the Father to bring glory through the cross it is a dramatic event in history. God Himself speaks a reply in a voice like thunder.
Listen for the message that God has for us today as I read His Word from:
Scripture: John 12:20-33 NLT
20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsedaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28 Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
This is the Word of God for the people of God.
[Topic: “Who comes to Jesus?” with reference to v. 20-21 Some Greeks …said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.”]
Will Rogers said, “You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is.” (ii) In modern times if we move to some place away from home, there is a good chance that we will be able to go back and see the family we left behind. It hasn’t always been that way. For most of us in this congregation, when our ancestors left Europe or Great Britain, they probably never got to go back to see their family again. They really went out on a limb when they got on a boat and crossed the Atlantic. But their trip to America resulted in the opportunity to share in the fruits of this great country.
Several years ago my wife’s uncle told us how to get to a certain cemetery in Statesville. When we got there we got to see the grave of one of Jane’s ancestors—he was the first one in that line to come from Scotland to America and he is buried in Statesville at the Old Indian Creek Burying Ground. Jane has a Scottish heritage on both sides of her family. We were able to go to Scotland for our 25th wedding anniversary. I am now more aware of the deep Gaelic influence, not just on our family, but on much of the US. The highland games held each summer here in NC, in Avery Co. is one of the largest gatherings of the clans in the world. For many, many years, especially in the 1700’s in NC you could go to a lot of different churches with Scots and Irish people where only Gaelic was spoken. There were many other churches in the piedmont where only German was spoken. The Waldensen church in Valdese used French in church services well into the 1900’s and still uses French on some special occasions. NC has also become home to people from Switzerland, and to the Welsh and Moravians. It is good to remember that that all of us here in NC whose ancestors came here from somewhere else are descended from foreigners. Someone in our family took a chance, went out on a limb, and came across the ocean.