Service for March 21, 2021 — Jesus’ Moment of Clarity

Old Testament Lesson: Jeremiah 31:31-34:

31“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

 

Psalm 115 in Christian Worship Supplement

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us but to your name be the glory,

because of your love and faithfulness.

Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?”

Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.

The Lord remembers us and will bless us:

He will bless the house of Israel,

he will bless those who fear the Lord—

   small and great alike.

 May the Lord make you increase,

both you and your children.

May you be blessed by the Lord,

  the Maker of heaven and earth.

The highest heavens belong to the Lord,

but the earth he has given to man.

It is not the dead who praise the Lord,

     it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore.

 Glory be to the Father and to the Son

                and to the Holy Spirit,

                                as it was in the beginning,

                                is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 5:7-9:

7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

 

Gospel Lesson & Sermon Text: John 12:20-33:

20Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

23Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly I tell you, 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. 25Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

30Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

Sermon Manuscript:

It happens fairly often in movies where one character has a moment of clarity where he finally understands things as they really are. One of my favorite examples of this is a scene from the original Toy Story. this is a movies that I have seen countless times because it is one of those movies that helps to soothe a Jordan when he needs some soothing. In the movie, the character buzz lightyear thinks that he is a real action hero. At about the midway point in the movie, though, he sees a commercial that clearly depicts him as a toy. He then takes a look at the instrument panel on his arm and discovers that it’s only a pasted on sticker. All of a sudden, he realises exactly who he is and what his life will be like. One of my favorite lines in the movie is where he expresses just how clearly he sees everything, “One minute you’re defending the whole galaxy, and, suddenly, you find yourself sucking down Darjeeling with Marie Antoinette… and her little sister…” he eventually comes to love his newfound status , but when he found out what he really was, it was quite a shock to him. This morning, we are looking at an incident in Jesus’ life where he clearly sees everything laid out in front of him. You could maybe call it…

Jesus’ Moment of Clarity

I. The suffering

II, The ongoing ministry

III. The glory

The event that the evangelist John do pics here took place on the Tuesday of Holy Week. This was the day that Jesus conducted the last acts of his public ministry. He was preaching and teaching in the temple area and contending with the religious leaders who opposed him. It was on this day that he told his final parables and made his final warnings. In the midst of all of this, there were some visitors to Jerusalem who wanted to see Jesus. John identifies these people as Greeks. That means that they were from outside of the nation of Israel. Somehow or other, they figured out that Phillip was one of Jesus’ disciples and they approached him in order that they might meet Jesus. Phillip, at first, was unsure of what to do since he knew that Jesus’ ministry was primarily to the Jewish people. He talked it over with Andrew, another one of Jesus’ disciples, and then brought the people to Jesus.

When Jesus saw these people approaching him , knowing who they were, he had what I call a moment of clarity. You can almost see all of the pieces fall into place in Jesus’ mind. Of course, in one sense he already had all of this clearly in mind. As the all- knowing son of God, he had known all along exactly what awaited him. But this is one of those instances where the Bible hints at what it must have been like for Jesus to live in a state where he did not always make full use of his divine power. We see, in this incident, an example of how Jesus’ human nature and divine nature came together.

This incident what is a reminder to him of why he was going to go through what he was going to go through and what it would accomplish. He had spoken to his disciples , before, about his upcoming suffering and death. In those accounts, it seems as if he almost did it with no emotion. Now, however, we see the deep feelings that Jesus had about the upcoming events. In his words to the crowds, we see both his horror at what is about to happen and his glory in what his father would accomplish through all of this.

Listen again to what Jesus has to say, 23Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly I tell you, 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. 25Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!”

It really is quite amazing what Jesus says here. He really goes through not only what was going to happen to him in the next couple of days, but also what was going to result from that over the next couple of millennia. He talks about the agony of soul that he would experience when he was in the garden of Gethsemane wrestling with his father over what would take place over the course of the next few hours. I think it is important for us to remember the kind of struggle that Jesus had. We need to remember that Jesus was not able to remove himself from the suffering that he experienced on the cross because he was and is the son of God. What he experienced at the hands of his enemies, on the instrument of torture, and especially by the will of his father was something that truly caused him great pain and suffering. It was not just a show that he put on. When he expressed his feelings of woe when he said, “My God my God, why have you forsaken me?” he really meant it. He saw all of that, but he decided to go through with it despite the personal cost to him.

He decided to go through with this great suffering because he knew two things about it. First of all, he knew that this was his father’s will and that this act would bring glory to his name. This is what he calls out as he wrestles with his upcoming suffering on that day. He tells his father that he is willing to go through with it so that he can bring glory to his father’s name. His father then tells the crowd that what would happen would bring glory to his name, just as everything that Jesus had done brought glory to his name. He echoes the message that he gave at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, his baptism, and at the full height of Jesus’ ministry, his transfiguration.

Jesus knew that bringing his father glory meant achieving God’s purpose. The father’s purpose in everything that Jesus did in his life and in his ministry, as well as in his suffering and death, was the Salvation of the people that he had created who had sinned against him. In what is surely one of the last parables that Jesus told during his ministry, he shows what God’s purpose in his suffering and death was all about. He talks about how a seed finds its purpose when it dies. He says that if a seed remains by itself and is not planted, there are no visible effects that come through it. Archaeologists have actually discovered seeds that are 2000 years old and older. Those seeds have remained inert until this day. but scientists are able to take those seeds and plant them in the ground so that they produce something that is alive. Jesus says that when you take a seed, put it in the ground, and it dies, it produces more seed. He was talking about what was going to be happening in the next couple of days , and also in the next couple of 1000 years. He was going to die so that he could give life to people like the Greeks who approached him that day. his death, and only his death, could pay the entire price that god the father demanded for the sins of the world. His resurrection from the dead would show that he had, indeed brought life-giving Salvation to the people of the world.

What would come next is illustrated in these words, 30Jesus said, ‘This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ 33He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.”

He would draw all people to himself. With those words he was picturing the work that his disciples would do. He indicated that they were going to be going out into all the world to draw people to Jesus. When that message would reach them, Jesus knew what would happen to them. He had talked earlier about how those who love their lives would lose their lives. But he said that those who hated their lives, those who died to themselves, would find that Jesus had given them eternal life. In this, Jesus is talking about what happens when someone is drawn to him. They give up on the idea that they are the Masters of their own fate. they give up on the idea that they are good enough to merit god’s favor period instead, they put their lives completely in his hands and they serve him out of gratitude for the sacrifices that he offered and the payment that he made.

Finally, Jesus speaks of the final glory that he would bring to his father. He speaks about the defeat of the Prince of this world. This is one of the titles that Jesus had for Satan. He calls him this because it appears to all the world as if he is in control. Since everyone is a Sinner, everyone appears to be on his side. Also, if it were up to the ability of the people of this world, they would never get out of his grip. He, apparently, could lay claim to everyone on earth because everyone had sinned. Jesus was saying that he was going 2 defeat him through his death on the cross. This is what the first prophecy of the savior spoke about when it spoke about the seed of the woman crushing the head of the serpent while his heel is wounded in the process. He was speaking about this as an accomplished victory when he would be lifted up above the earth on the instrument of his death, the cross.

He was speaking about more than that, though. He was looking across the whole history of the world and seeing his final victory over Satan, the victory that the Book of Revelation tells us all about when it describes Satan as being thrown into the Lake of fire. All of this is what Jesus sees laid out before him. Over the course of the next week, we are going to review what happened to him in the three days after he spoke these words. We will see him in the upper room, the garden, the judgment Hall, Calvary, the tomb, and the upper room again. We will review all those things that Jesus saw laid out before him that day. In looking at these things, though, we will also be looking forward to that day when we will see the risen savior with our own eyes. that will be a day when we will have the ultimate moment of clarity. In that moment, we will see the entire history of the world and of our lives laid out in front of us and see how God works things out so that we could know this Jesus as our suffering savior and as our victorious Lord. This is why this coming week is the highest time in our churches calendar. It is the time that we celebrate everything that puts eternity into perfect focus for us. Amen.

About Joel Lilo

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