Let the words my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to you O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen
What would you do if you had good reason to believe the world would end tomorrow? Get things in order? Have a conversation with the people you feel closest to? Have a party? What would you do? Martin Luther, when he was asked the question, said he would plant a tree. Plant a tree? He had hope. Jeremiah, when confronted with the annihilation of the Jewish nation actually went out and purchased a piece of property, hoping he or his descendants would survive. He had hope. He was planning for the future.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus was telling his listeners a little about the future. His popularity was at an all-time high. He was known far and wide in that kittle area of the eastern Mediterranean. He had now come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. He entered Jerusalem riding a donkey and people throwing down their coats and waving palm branches—an event we will think more about that next Sunday.
People had come from all over. There even Greek speaking Gentiles, probably proselytes, that is, Gentiles who had converted to Judaism. They had asked Philip and Andrew about seeing Jesus. Philip and Andrew—the first of Jesus’ disciples—the ones who had told Nathanael to “Come and see.” And now they were asking to “see” Jesus, to hear him.
Shortly after the experience with the calling of the first disciples, Jesus was at a wedding in Cana. His mother came to him concerning a problem—they had run out of wine. Do we remember what happened in the conversation with his mother? He told her, “My time has not yet come.” Jesus said this many times in John’s gospel—up until now!
“The hour has come” “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified,” He told the Greeks. The hour has come for the Son of Man to be revealed—now comes the unveiling. You will see the Son of Man revealed. And before the end of the week, it happened; he was revealed.
I don’t think many of you have planted your gardens yet; especially the plants that come up by seed. The ground is still a little cool for most of that type planting. But Jesus makes a reference to the planting of seed—in this case wheat. If a grain of wheat dies, the husk gets damp and falls away, it will spring forth life, new life. It will grow and bear much fruit. So that when there are many seeds that do this, even bread can be made—the bread of life. Jesus must die so that much fruit will be produced. He must die so that the community, the fruit he will bear will continue in his name.
Jesus continues his conversation: “Those who love their life will lose it and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Nothing is said here about dying. Whoever serves me must follow me… Peter, on that fateful Thursday night, will claim that he never knew Jesus, but when the rooster crowed, he wept knowing now how much he hated his own life. But Peter went on to follow Jesus and become one of the leaders of the new community, now called the church.
Christianity is a life of service to our savior Jesus. Jesus knew we he had to do. His soul was troubled: Should he say: “Father save me from this hour? No, it was for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father glorify your name.” and the Father answered: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” And the crowd heard the voice.
Jesus prophesied: “Now is the time for judgement on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” Satan will be driven out. And all people will follow Jesus. There’s a lot going on in these few verses. Jesus predicts his death and what will happen afterward.
God loves to make something out of nothing. That’s the way all of creation happened. God took nothing and nothingness and made everything. Something out of nothing. God made mankind and placed Adam and Eve in a garden where he fed them. But these people were not satisfied and ate fruit of the forbidden tree. So God passes by the greatest of his heavenly angels to rectify things. Instead, over the eons of time, God takes the very simplest, plainest, most unlearned, and weakest on earth. And he sets them against the highest wisdom and power of the devil and the world. These are the works of God, for God gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. (Rom. 4:17) God proves it with the grain in the field. It is God’s nature to show His majesty and power through weakness.
He takes the likes of you and me to be his servants. To change things to renew them. He depends on us. We come here; we watch and listen to this service in our homes looking for peace and calm. And we may get some of that, but Jesus is telling us of the urgency of his call. Look at what the world has become—just in our lifetimes.
You and I, in our life journeys have seen God at work. We have heard his voice calling us by name. Now is the time; the time has come. What will we do? I pray thaw we all be his servant in the calling he has presented to us at this time. The call is never ended. We have hope and that hope is for and through Jesus Christ.