Sermon 3/21/2021: The Hour Has Come For Jesus To Be Glorified (Lent V)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/526707979

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/creY05VVhnv

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition: 

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
Exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O Glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

HYMN 568 Christ for the World We Sing
Christ For The World We Sing – Church of Christ Singing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK38WWFCsjg

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN 504 The Old Rugged Cross
The Old Rugged Cross Sandi Patti
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWYZLsjVhcw

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: The Hour Has Come For Jesus To Be Glorified.
Text: John 12:20-33
Series: The Journey Through Lent To The Cross

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
(Apologies for the poor quality of the audio!)

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SERMON NOTES

John 12:20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Beth-sa’ida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.

27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; 32 and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what death he was to die.

1 Corinthians 2:1 When I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

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HYMN 298 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhvXOIVsRv4
or
The Wonderful Cross [with lyrics] – Chris Tomlin & Matt Redman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC1IllbwX4w

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

The hour has come. We’ve been talking about that since the beginning of Lent. The hour has come for us to understand that the kingdom of God is at hand. It’s time to repent and believe the good news. The hour has come for us to take up our cross and be more like Jesus. The hour has come for us to be aware that Jesus is the source for all that is good. And help us to find our way to God. The hour has come.

And in today’s scripture, the hour has come, Jesus says, for Him to be glorified.

What does it mean to be glorified? There’s a sign that sometimes you will see at various churches. These words are in Latin, ad majorem Dei gloriam. What those words literally mean is, for the greater glory of God. And what they mean is that everything we say, everything we do, everything we think, everything feel, everything we believe, may it bring greater glory to God.

In the very first church that I pastored when I returned to Illinois from seminary, there was a reminder of this in the pulpit. There was a little sign on a little strip of wood, right where, as you looked up from your notes for your sermon, your eyes would travel over that sign on your way to look at people.

Now since I was at that church in 1980, over 40 years ago, there has been redecoration, and it’s no longer there. But this is what that little sign said, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” And the meaning of that comes from the scripture for today. But the point of it all is that God will be glorified when, in the sermon, in the pastor, in the words that make up our worship, people see Jesus. People experience the presence of Jesus. People feel, hear, and are aware of Jesus. Sirs, we would see Jesus.

Now, I believe that my sermons are good sermons. Yet, it would be far more of a benefit if you heard the words of Jesus. I believe that I’m a good pastor. But the glory to God would be far greater if in my words, in my sermons, you could see Jesus. If you could be more aware of Him. And that between the words that I say with my mouth, you would hear His words spoken into your heart. Because by now, we should realize the whole point with this is that everything that is of deep and lasting value is about Jesus. Jesus must be at the center of all you do, believe, and think, and see.

Here’s where that scripture comes from John 12. Now among those who went up to worship at the feast, one of the great feasts where people would come from all over the world to Jerusalem to worship at the temple, to be a part of the great religious festivals of Judaism, among those who went up to worship at the temple were some Greeks, were some people who were not Jewish. So these came to Philip. Philip was from Bethsaida in Galilee. He was from an area where there more Gentiles than in Jerusalem. So he was familiar with the Gentile culture. But these came to Phillip and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Not to see Philip, not to see the others, they wanted to see Jesus.

Philip went and told Andrew. And Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. Verse 23, “And Jesus answered them the hour has come.” There’s something significant about this moment when people who are not of the Jewish faith come … because they want to know more about Jesus. And that leads Jesus to name that hour as this, it’s time for the Son of Man to be glorified. What does that mean?

Jesus then said, verse 24, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears no fruit. He who loves his life loses it. And he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternally.” I wonder if you thought about what it’s like for a seed to give life. You see, there’s a hard, outer coating that protects the seed. They found seeds in the pyramids. The coating is so hard and the protection is so durable that even after centuries, these seeds will still sprout. But in order for the seed to sprout, the coating has to break to release the life that’s inside. When there’s brokenness, what’s inside can come alive.

And so Jesus said, Verse 25, “He who loves his life loses it. If you protect yourself, life doesn’t come. But he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me. And where I am, there shall my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor you.” And so we follow Jesus. We say what he says and do what he does. And we serve him by being like him.

“Now is my soul troubled,” Jesus says, “And what shall I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No. For this purpose, I have come to this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” Remember that phrase, ad majorem gloriam dei? For the greater and growing glorifying of God. Then a voice came from Heaven, “I have glorified it. I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said an angel has spoken to Him. Verse 30, Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world. Now shall the ruler of this world be cast out.”

And then comes this amazing phrase, John 12:32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show by what death He wants to die. Jesus is like a seed, and for the life that is inside of Him to be released to bless us and to bless the whole world, He must be lifted up.

What they did, when they crucified someone, is they dug a post hole. And then they tied or nailed the person to the cross, lifted up the pole, and dropped it in the hole so that they would be up high where everyone could see them suffer. Crucifixion was referred to as lifting someone up, and everyone understood when He said this in verse 32, “I, when I am crucified, I will draw all men to myself.”

People had listened to Jesus. They drank the water He turned into wine at the wedding of Cana of Galilee. They saw the miracles of people being healed and set free. They had seen Jesus, but when He is lifted up on the cross, He is seen in a deeper and more powerful way.

In fact, if we take this verse seriously, the Jesus you see on the cross is the one that has the power to draw all people to Him. And when you see Him on the cross, now at that time, you can truly understand who Jesus is. You can truly see Jesus when you can see Him on the cross.

There are all kinds of people around the world who understand about Jesus. They know some of the story of Jesus. They understand some of the facts about His life. Perhaps they have read His sayings and His teachings, and have found them to be admirable. But at what point in time do we see Jesus in a way that changes our lives?

Back in 1969, Gabriel Setiloane, who was a Methodist theologian from Botswana in Africa wrote a poem about the incarnation, wrote a poem about people understanding Jesus and seeing him and the difference between seeing him and knowing about him – a very, very, long poem called I Am An African. And the first part of the poem talks about how in their days of darkness, they would worship various gods by various names because they didn’t know who to worship. They didn’t know how to worship. But they reached out toward God as best they could.

“For ages He eluded us, this Jesus of Bethlehem, Son of Man; Going first to Asia and to Europe, and the western sphere . . . . “Later on, He came, this Son of man; Like a child delayed He came to us.

And then in the middle of the poem, it shifts to talking about how Jesus came and here’s what it says. And here the theologian is talking about the white Jesus that was brought and taught by the white missionaries. And of course, all of the pictures that they had of Jesus was of a white Jesus. The poem goes onto say,

“The White Man brought Him. He was pale, and not the Sunburnt Son of the Desert.

They didn’t really recognize him as one of them. The poem says this, “As a child He came. A wee little babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. Ah, if only He had been like little Moses, lying Sun-scorched on the banks of the River of God We would have recognized Him. If he was brown like little Moses, we would have recognized him. In the basket helpless, abandoned by the river, we could have recognized him. So they learned about Jesus but didn’t really see Jesus.

The poem goes on to say, “He eludes us still, this Jesus, Son of Man. “…. And yet for us it is when He is on the cross, This Jesus of Nazareth, with holed hands and open side, like a beast at a sacrifice; When He is stripped naked like us, Browned and sweating water and blood in the heat of the sun,
Yet silent, that we cannot resist Him.”

You see, the cross is doing its work. They are drawn irresistibly to Jesus Christ when they see Jesus Christ on the cross. Here’s the most powerful part of the poem for me:

“How like us He is, this Jesus of Nazareth,
Beaten, tortured, imprisoned, spat upon, truncheoned …

What the poem talks about is something I can’t quite understand because I have not experienced that kind of suffering. I have not experienced that kind of torture that when they see Jesus on the cross, tortured and in great pain, they recognize that he is the son of God. In fact, the Roman centurion, after he died, looks up at him on the cross and says, “Truly, this was the son of God.” There’s something that we see when we see Jesus on the cross that reveals him to be the son of God.

How like us he is this Jesus of Nazareth, beaten, tortured, imprisoned, spat upon, truncheoned, denied by his own, and chased like a thief in the night, despised and rejected like a dog that has fleas for NO REASON.
No reason but that he was son of his father.

But for some reason, when we see the injustice done to Jesus, we become able to clearly recognize him.

“OR,” the theologian goes on to say, “. . . Was there a reason?
There was indeed . . .
As in that sheep or goat
we offer in sacrifice,
Quiet and uncomplaining.
Its blood falling to the ground to cleanse it, as us:
And making peace between us and our fathers long passed away.

And here, the theologian talks about all those years of sacrifice that when they see Jesus on the cross, they Jesus as the sacrifice for us all.

He is that lamb. His blood cleanses, not only us, not only the clan, not only the tribe, but all mankind: black and white and brown and red, all mankind.

“HO!” the theologian says in triumph, “. . . Jesus, Lord,
Son of Man and Son of God,
Make peace with your blood and sweat and suffering,
With God
– here he names some of the names of the old gods, trying to make peace with all the gods that human beings have ever worshipped, even gods that had no true existence. It’s time to make peace with blood and sweat and suffering. For the sins of mankind, our fathers and us, that standing in the same Sonship with all mankind and you … Together with you, we can pray to Him above: “FATHER, FORGIVE.”

The time has come for Jesus to be glorified. And when we see him on the cross we understand so deeply who he is and why he is who he is so that together with him we can pray to God above: “FATHER, FORGIVE.”

Have you seen Jesus in this way that draws all people?
Why did Jesus have to suffer? Someone might ask.
Here is the sad but true answer. We would not get it any other way. Only a suffering God can reach us and touch our hearts.

In the picture on the screen, you see a work of art by the painter Thomas Blackshear. It’s entitled ‘Forgiven’ where Jesus is holding and embracing a man and we think what a loving God. Very few people look closely enough to see in his right hand is a hammer and in his left hand is a nail. We would not get it any other way except to see a Jesus put on the cross by us in one way or another for our benefit.

God is wiser than we are but if we can see Jesus on the cross we are drawn to him So be it.

Jesus suffered for us but even more for those who do not know him yet … when the Gentiles are saying Sir, we want to see Jesus. What Jesus knows is that the word of who he is has spread beyond the people of Israel. The word of who he is has spread beyond the Jewish faith and now his love and mercy can flow out to the whole world.

Friends, your worst day is nothing like Jesus’ worst day. And on your worst day, if you can see him on the cross… for you and for me … I think it will give you a helpful perspective of his love for you and for all.

But if I am lifted up, Jesus says, I will draw all people to me.

1st Corinthians 2:1, Paul writes these words. When I came to you brethren, the people in Corinth, the shipping city in the nation of Greece one of the largest cities in the world at the time. When I came to you, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God and lofty words or wisdom. What Paul is saying is that when he came he did not bring ideas and concepts – even though those are good. But Paul made a decision, verse two, for I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Why would Paul focus on that? Why would Paul ask us to focus on that? Well, to be honest, if the words of Jesus are true it’s because it works. Because when we see Jesus on the cross, when we truly can see him, when it sinks into our heart what it must have been like …

When we see Christ and him crucified he draws us to him so that we may find forgiveness and newness of life and the strength to do what in our hearts we most want to do … when we can see Jesus on the cross.

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died
my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.

Seeing Jesus on the cross will change everything. May we all see Jesus in this way. Let the word sink in. Let the truth take root like a seed and grow in our hearts. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

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