Anglican Church of Australia Innisfail/Tully
Diocese of North Queensland


Lent 5 2018

In the Gospel reading from John 12 this morning Jesus challenges us and our relationship with God and one another. This is not a teaching on the way we live our lives but delves into our very being and our beliefs especially in our belief in God, our faith. How strong is that belief and how far are we prepared to go in our service of Jesus and the Father.

This portion of scripture begins with a simple request by the Greeks to see Jesus. Jesus uses this request to educate his disciples on his relationship with God and what it really means to be a disciple.

Jesus’ reputation had spread throughout the region. It was significant that these Greeks wanted to see Jesus in that they were probably converts to Judaism. Perhaps they came to Philip as he has a Greek name and the connection could make it easier for them to meet Jesus.

The recognition provides Jesus with an opportunity for him to teach the disciples how important his relationship with God was. Even though Jesus is the son of God there is no easy path for him to follow to fulfil God’s plan for him.

The ministry to this point has been one where, the wonder of the teaching and the joy of the healing have encouraged and drawn the disciples to their teacher. Now Jesus brings the reality to light.

‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

Jesus is not talking about been glorified in that he will be sought by all men as a wonderful teacher, as the greatest man of God to come to Israel, but as a Son who will fulfil the plans God has laid for him, whatever the cost. The glory lies in the fulfilment of God’s plan.

The ability of Jesus to teach in terms which are real to his listeners never ceases to amaze. Here he takes the example of their staple diet, wheat, and uses its life cycle to explain the basis of his ministry and that of the disciples.

My study Bible explains this very simply.
“This is a beautiful picture of the necessary sacrifice of Jesus. Unless a kernel of wheat is buried in the ground it will not become a blade producing many more seeds.”

Jesus must continue on his path to the cross. He must be killed and buried as the ultimate sacrifice for each one of us. In this way, we as redeemed individuals will become part of the corporate body of Christ, revitalising the family of God which had stagnated under the corruption and scandals of the Jewish hierarchy. This was the time for glory. God could not let his people degenerate further into mediocracy. It was time to make a stand which would be significant to society and history. The Son of God would bear in his own body the failings of the world both then and in the years to come.

The glory would materialise in the commitment and love of God and his son for the whole human race. The glory is not limited to some visiting Greeks but stretches to the history of post BC.

Whilst Jesus seems to limit the glory to him and his Father’s relationship, he then turns the whole thing on its side. He draws his disciples and each one of us into the ministry and shares the responsibility with us.

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Jesus in these few words draws us all into his ministry. His Glory would involve his sacrifice, but for the body of Christ to be truly GLORIOUS we must commit to follow.
If we love ourselves more than God our lives will end in a lonely forsaken desperation, all will be lost. However, all is not lost. Jesus through his sacrifice draws all those who love God and fellow man above self to share in eternal life. We will be the seeds who are prepared to sacrifice our lives for the love of God.  Jesus makes this very clear and gives us little choice when he said:

6 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.

For those of us who think that serving Jesus is a passive path where we sit back and keep our noses clean could not be further from the truth. We must actively get up and place our feet in the footsteps of Jesus. We must be prepared to make the hard commitments and put everything on the line for Jesus and the family of God.

If we are prepared to make the commitment to serve there will be a generous reward for each one of us:
My Father will honour the one who serves me

Jesus now turns to the horror of what lies ahead of him. He knows that the path will not be easy, and he will be alone as he faces the sacrifice he must make. He asks the father in his anguish to save him from this path and then realises that this is not possible. He asks the Father to “glorify you name”.  God responds directly, and all the crowd can hear.

A response which was given to intensify the confidence of the people and the disciples in their master.

Jesus now addresses the very reason he came to earth and his ministry. The judgement of the world is the true goal. The world has been found wanting. The influence of Satan must be set aside. The influence which began with the temptation of Eve and continues. It is the power of Satan which must be set aside. Jesus’ power is greater. He will exercise this power in a way which would seem foolish to men. The power would be realised in his defeat on the cross. A defeat which would be completely overshadowed in the victory of the resurrection on the third day.

Death would conquer Christ and Christ would conquer death on behalf of all mankind. Christ would be lifted up and draw all people to him.

To share in Christ’s glory, we must be prepared to share in his ministry. Where Christ is, those who serve will be with him and earn the reward of the glory of the Father.
Paul Beasley