Going Deeper 03.19.2021

The Gospel reading for Lent 5... John 12:20-33

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

Way back when God chose Abraham as the one through whom He would continue His plan of salvation, God included in His promise/prediction that through Abraham's offspring, all the nations of the world would be blessed.  This outreach/in-gathering is a major theme in John's Gospel, where Jesus is proclaimed as the replacement to the Jerusalem temple as being the point at which God encounters His people... and vice-versa.  And all are invited.

It is at the point where Jesus was told that "some Greeks" wanted to meet Him that Jesus proclaims that "The hour has come."  Now is the time when God will bless all the nations of the world through this descendant of Abraham, the "Son of Man" predicted by the prophets.  And the mission of Jesus will now reach its climax... in truly a most unexpected way.

Jesus will be glorified, Jesus will draw all people to God, Jesus will fulfill His mission of restoration not by ascending to a throne of human glory and power, but by being "lifted up" upon a cross.  He will bring life by laying down His own life, and will conquer death by rising from the dead.  It is in this shocking way that Jesus says that He "will draw all people to myself."

In this time of both world-wide and national conflict, racial tension, and political polarization, it is vital that we--as followers of Jesus--recognize that His goal of drawing all people to Himself and uniting them as one is accomplished through us.  This mission is inspired and empowered by God's Holy Spirit as we bring the good news of our being reconciled to God and to one another to people throughout God's world. 

With You in His Mission,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"