Our March 21 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. We are excited to say that our Sunday 8 & 10:30 am services are open again for in-person worship. Services will continue to be streamed online.
The March 28 Sunday worship service and March 24 Wednesday Lent service will be held with in-person attendance. We have returned to regular in-person worship services. We will still be wearing masks, social distancing and lots of hand sanitizer, but we will be open.
We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 | Psalm 119:9-16
Hebrews 5:5-10 | John 12:20-33
March 21 Sermon
It would seem from the Gospel lesson that Jesus’ fame has spread beyond Galilee, and even the rest of Israel proper, so that besides Jewish people, other peoples have also heard from him. We are told that some Greeks also wanted to see Jesus. Now, these may have been Greek Jews. There had been Jews living in the area of Greece known as Arcadia since just prior to the time of King Saul. But, more than likely, these were Greeks who had read the Jewish Scriptures, what we call the Old Testament, and hadn’t quite converted all of the way yet. These are usually referred to as a group in the New Testament as the “God fearers.” It was to them, that St. Paul often went to preach the Gospel during his missionary journeys.
Either way, this leads to an interesting response by Jesus, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Perhaps, because he knows that his message is spreading farther than anticipated, beyond Judaism. What is even more interesting is that Jesus’ saying about being glorified is couched within the context of another Passion prediction – which we have been getting throughout these lessons during this Season of Lent. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth will draw all people to myself.” John even tells us, as if we need the hint 2,000 years later, but his first readers may well have needed this explanation, “He said this to indicated the kind of death he was to die,” namely crucifixion.
Jesus’ glorification is not in the way that we usually think of glory. Rather, it is a way of obedience and death for the sake of many. To illustrate this, he uses an example which many listening would have understood, “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.” That is how you get a new creation in the form of a crop, bearing even more grain.
“Lest a seed dies, it remains alone. If it dies, it bears much fruit.” A number of us have started planting already, seed pots or even whole gardens. You purchase these nice clean envelopes that look sanitized. You open them, here are these nicely colored seeds inside, many look as if they are homogenized. Then you take them out, and bury them in the dirt. They need to be buried (a couple of exceptions just need to be on the surface), where they blacken, and appear to die. Water gets on them, not to clean them, but for other purposes. In that condition, in time, they sprout as new life. And in more time, more seeds or fruit comes forth.” Ironically, we have here the history of the Church of Jesus Christ. But, he did love to use agricultural examples in his parables.
As Jesus is lifted up on the cross, and dies, he is glorified. “The ruler of this world is driven out.” For in that act, Christ is glorified, and begins quickly to bear much fruit. The powers of Satan, death and sin are ultimately destroyed through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. And, as Christ gathers all people into his Church, we are saved by God’s grace (which is another act of glorification) through our faith in him. We are saved by Christ’s obedience, even obedience unto death, even death on a cross – for our sake. Now, we are commissioned to share that good news to all peoples, as we move out into the world, the earth. So that the Gospel of Christ may bear even more fruit through our telling of the story. As more people are drawn to Christ through our testimony and example.
To quote a certain movie title, it is “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” It is the greatest story that we can tell. For it tells the story of God’s great act for us through the obedience, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, for our sake and the sake of the world. We have been redeemed. We are now claimed through faith in Christ as fellow heirs with him, and so named children of God with him. This is all through the gracious declaration of God, who has glorified Christ, and will glorify him again, when he returns in glory.