Summary: A sermon that discusses what it means to die to christ - Uses a graphic description of Christs death and an amusing story to emphasize it’s points - Was well received
Unless a grain of wheat John 12 – 23
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the son of Man to be glorified, I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, my servant also will be. My father will honour the one who serves me.
I wonder what you might think would be one of the great moments of your life!
Perhaps it might be some happy occasion – a family celebration – a childs birth or a wedding.
If you were thinking of a moment when there was great sadness you might think of some time when there was a death or horrifying incident.
What about some time when you were highly honoured!
Maybe you won some race – or perhaps were part of a team that won a game – maybe you got a certificate for something – achieved acadaemic success or even won a community award.
Whatever it is it would have little connection with the most horrifying incident in your life.
Yet our bible passage this morning brings a suggestion from Jesus that the most horrifying incident of his life is in truth the best moment of his life.
How can this be.
This is what people describe as a paradox.
The hour has come for the son of Man to be glorified.
What Jesus is referring to is his coming death on the cross.
Most people know what the cross of Jesus meant for Jesus.
The following reflection - Calvary sums up the negatives of what it meant.
You had said:- “The hour has come for the son of Man to be glorified.”
It began in the threatening shadows of Gethsemene –
Beauty mingled with terror.
When that traitor Judas led the rabble of soldiers
- accusers and the vicious religious
To that spot where you had prayed.
They yelled and threatened held up flickering flames of illumination that really led to darkness
and waved their pitiful swords and sticks.
Calmly you looked at them and restored the one who had been struck by the over zealous disciple.
There followed a nightmare of trials and blows spit and torture – whips and sweat – and yes tears and further betrayals – tearing off of clothes - stripped dignity pressed down crown of thorn s piercing your skin causing blood to flow and mingle with the blood from the lash marks on your back.
Back and forth back and forth – Pilates desparation but cowardly impartiality commiting you to a criminals death – while all along the baying crowd roared Cricify him Give us Barrabas!!! Again and again until the flesh of Pilate gained ascendancy over his wifes fears as he washed his hands of you.
The long walk along the via Delarosa leading to the hill that was Golgotha. The journey – Jeers and violence – terrible pain and blood loss causing - dizziness stumbling pain beyond belief and eventually simon carrying the cross – On Golgotha Nails like sharpened bolts hammered through legs and hands producing pain that can hardly be imagined followed by scorn – laughter – jeers and viniger jammed in the mouth to add insult to injury –
Eloi Eloi Sabachthani you cried and breathed your last.
And when You had cried out again in a loud voice, You gave up Your Spirit.
Glorified? Glorified? They asked themselves
then the light faded - earthquakes shook the earth – graves opened – dead men walked – and at that moment on that day of all days – significantly
The temple curtain tore in two
then suddenly or maybe later upon reflection – Men knew
That the hour had come for the son of Man to be glorified
On the edge of this Horrific experience Jesus says –
“The hour has come for the son of Man to be glorified,..”
How can Jesus refer to this violent unjust death at age 33 as such a moment that he is going to be glorified in it??
The answer is quite clear –
Because the cross had a purpose –
Of course the crass and religiously superior could not see it any more than the blindly obedient romans.
But they were mere instruments in the hands of a God who was working out his purposes in the greatest act of love the world will ever see.
Jesus death on the cross was a death blow to all that was evil in the world including the revealed source of evil in the Bible known as the fallen angel – the devil or Satan.