Sunday, 25 March 2018

Lent 5, John 12v20-36


The passage is a long rambling theological treatise which will not have meant much to the Greeks who want to meet Jesus and came from a different religion, a different culture. Israel was multicultural. Romans, Greeks, Samaritans, Syrophoenicians, Jews.

Jesus does not address the staggering question that Philip and Andrew put to him. There are Greeks who want to meet him. There are North Koreans who want to meet Jesus! Its that stark. Of course 2000 years later we understand that the message of Jesus is for everyone, not just for me and my Jewish friends, not just for me and my English white friends, not just for African Carribbeans, not just for the Church but for Indians, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Russians. The message of Jesus Christ is for everyone. And Jeremiah reminds us that Gods Spirit will live within us.

Philip was Greek and went on in the book of Acts to spread the gospel to an Ethiopian. Jesus reminds them that he is going to die and in his death draw everyone together, as we in the church should be together in Christ. This is again about cross bearing discipleship. Jesus is human and he doesn’t want to suffer. He wants this cup of suffering taken from him. Like at Jesus baptism a voice is heard from heaven. We have a choice we can choose evil or we can choose light and the good life. The crowd of Jews knows that the Messiah will be immortal so they start questioning Jesus instead of accepting what he is saying. He warns them that the time is short to choose. For all of us the time is short but we will waste time arguing, semantics, nit picking. Jesus at this point withdraws. It is enough. And he reemerges on the donkey procession into Jerusalem that we remember on Palm Sunday.

There is only one way to be a Christian and that is through humility and repentance, to accept that in ways we cannot always understand that Jesus, a very good man, Gods Son, was brutally murdered and goes before us to open up the pathway to God. This is the gospel. We come to the end of ourself and we hang there with Jesus, and die, to be reborn by Gods Spirit.

Today the message that Jesus Christ is for everyone is apparent here today but in many churches groups of people huddle together, cossetting their Christian faith in empty, crumbling buildings. This is not the Gospel. Jesus came to show us another way. It is for everyone, for asylum seekers, for prisoners, for drug users, prostitutes, tax inspectors, unmarried mothers, students, the unemployed, the disabled, alcoholics, for the divorced, the elderly. For all of us. Start following this man and put your life in order. This is the message we need to share.

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