October 16, 2021

The Hour has Come 21-03-2021

21st March 2021
Fifth Sunday in Lent)
Title: The Hour Has Come (Jeremiah 31:31-34; John 12:20-33)
God’s desire is in the sincere relationship with his people. This desire causes that God enters new covenant with them. The new covenant that God will make with His People. When his people fail to keep their part of the covenant, God restores and renews his covenant relationship with them. God will work a transformation of the heart of each believer. The Lord can heal, save, and restore even when it seems there is no remedy, no hope.
When God chooses to forgive our sins, He no longer holds our sins against us even though we have done what God is not pleased. It is possible when God relates to us in His love. God showed us the ultimate method by which he will reveal himself in redemptive history through Jesus. God will work a transformation of the heart of each believer.
In God’s new covenant everyone will be priests who can have relationship with God by a genuine experience of salvation and assurance of forgiveness. The new covenant that will be written on the hearts of the people. In this new covenant, obedience to God’s Words, and acting in accordance with God’s will, become part of our internal character. Especially Peace with God in this new covenant is essential for fellowship with Him. People of faith invest in the hidden future with long view even though it may seem foolish in the present circumstances. The birth, life, and death of Jesus are prophesied in the Old Testament and achieved in the New Testament.
In today’s text, some Greeks asked Philip “we wish to see Jesus.” Philip and Andrew told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. (21-23) The hour has always been coming, but now it has come. (23) It is an hour to which his whole life has been leading, an hour in which he is to be glorified. Clearly the “hour” is the time of Jesus’ completion of His mission. It is the time of his absolute surrender to the God. Jesus was on a mission in the world because God loves the world (John 3:16). In John’s Gospel, it is not
By Heeyoung Lim
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enough just to come to Jesus or “want to see” Him. His followers are invited to come and be with Jesus regarding the “hour”. Jesus wants us to have our ears unblocked and our vision opened by Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection.
He said that the seed of grain must die before it can bear fruit (24). It means that the grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die that it may produce fruit. If the grain of wheat refuses to let go and die it will remain simply a grain of wheat and will produce nothing. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (25) Even eternal life for the many comes through the sacrifice of the One. Only the seed willing to die can live and grow. Loving life is a sacrificial process in our family, church, and communities. It can be expressed as the process of love rather than the process of growth because the purposes of dying and producing fruits are love and life.
In verse 26, Jesus said, “if anyone serves me, he must follow me;
and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him.” What a blessing!
In the text, 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. Along with the time of dying, there is also a time for judgment. (27) Jesus came to this hour for this purpose. Jesus said “Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
In this passage, we can also see Jesus’ emotion and willingness when he prayed that God would be glorified through his death. Then, God spoke from heaven with a promise to do what Jesus has asked.
Jesus’ ultimate concern is the glorification of the Father. Glory originates with the Father and shines through the Son upon believers. We will also share the glory of God in our lives. In fact, glory is part of our everyday lives and suffering is also part of our journey. (28) The greatest manifestation of God’s glory happened at the cross, for there God’s greatest work occurred.
Jesus told them clearly that judgment was coming, and deliverance from that judgment was faith in His work on the cross. The reference to Jesus being lifted centres not on exaltation but death. (30) The cross forms the
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centre of the gospel. By the cross, life and love are offered to Jesus’ disciples.
Jesus says the voice came not for his own sake but for theirs (v. 30); but the enemies of God never hear God’s voice (5:37). Our Lord raised the issue of the hour even when the world did not recognize Jesus because the time of death had arrived.
How should we pray in our physical, emotional, and spiritual crisis? Jesus prayed in verse 28, “Father, glorify your name.” and the dying son of man said, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” The lifting up is simultaneously all three events: crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. In verse 32. There were no boundaries of race, colour, and culture in the gospel.
However, Christ is not affirming that the whole world would be saved, He is showing that all who are to be saved will be saved when they believe in Jesus. Jesus’ action is not a private action. His cross and resurrection, suffering and transformation, and life-giving love and faithful commitment were all for our salvation. Believing this, we, the followers of Jesus, can come in trust to the “hour” in which we must share.
If we are walk with Jesus in the faith of the “cross and resurrection” and “suffering and transformation” just like the grain of wheat dies, we will bear much fruit in the love of God. Throughout his journey to the cross, Jesus refused to take the worldly ways even though He has power. For instance, Jesus’ rejection of violence shows what distinguishes his way from the way of the world.
There are lots of violence, discrimination, and suppression in the world. Many people are still suffering from them. We have all endured a time of pandemic, we may not be able to avoid the darkness by ourselves. But we can cling to Jesus’ promise that He will lead toward light and life. No matter what happened, we need to trust that God will bring about life. As Christians and disciples, we need to learn to be in solidarity with those who suffer as God suffers with us.
The focus on this Sunday is Jesus’ crucifixion for the church rather than the forgiveness of individual sins. The hour has come! Throughout our journey to the cross and resurrection, I hope we remember that we are called to hold on a little longer until morning comes, until resurrection.
Where are we? Jesus said, “where I am, there will my servant be also.” Wherever Jesus is, there will we be also. Jesus is with the Father, and
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he dwells among us. He is leading his followers to eternal life as he moves toward the hour of his death (12:32-33). We will see His Glory at the cross because the hour was the time of dying for salvation. (17:24). God’s love and salvation was revealed through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Are we living a loving life? There are purposes of bearing fruits in the falling on the ground, dying in the darkness, and growing from the deep darkness. What was the purpose of a grain of wheat falling to the ground, dying in the dark, and growing out of the hard ground in the deep darkness? Bearing Fruits. In John, today’s Scripture is the Jesus’ farewell word because this is the last time the “world” will hear Jesus’ words on the earth, and following Jesus is the path of abundant or eternal life. This is the time when the suffering of the Lord Jesus becomes the focus of the church. A week before Palm Sunday, I hope we will begin to meditate on the intense sorrow Jesus endured on His road to the cross, and I pray we will bear many fruits in Lent.
Thanks be to God! Amen!
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)