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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Fifth Sunday In Lent-B

Option A: From Rev. Kelly Bedard

"Seeing Jesus"
John 12:20-33

Introduction: We hear much nowadays about athletes--whatever the sport--expressing the need to "see the ball." It's both a mental and physical phenomenon, not always easily attainable. So also in the spiritual realm, where Jesus and His love for us is the ultimate object to be seen.

A. Mentally

1. "I will put my law [Torah] in their minds..." [kehreb: nearest part, center, among/before the bowels] (Jeremiah 31:33b); need Gospel!

2. "...and write it on their hearts" [labe: widely, feelings; will, intellect, wisdom] (Jeremiah 31:33c)

3. "A voice came from heaven..." (verse 28b)

a. Some hear thunder; they're not attuned to receive the revelation

b. Others hear angels

c. Christ alone recognizes the true nature of the voice ("...for your benefit" [verse 30])

B. Physically

1. Suffering: losing life (verse 25)

a. Life as psyche ("breath"), mere vitality, as grand as that is; ultimately animalistic

b. Per a t-shirt message: "Pain [suffering and death] is temporary; pride [glory] is forever"

2. Dying: loving Life (verse 25)

a. Life as zoe, "alive life"; moralism--though not moralistic--and more (John 10:10)

b. Concentrating on more than one's own personal success in life

3. Glorifying: by serving and following (verse 26)

a. To serve (diakoneo): to be an attendant, wait upon (menially, as a host or friend)

b. To follow means sharing the Master's suffering but also His glory; to be in the same way with, accompany


1. Verse 20: proskuneo, a derivative of kuon, means: to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand; to favor; to fawn or crouch; prostrate oneself in homage; do reverence to; adore

2. Verse 21: eido: to know, understand; to have an interview with

3. Verse 23: to be glorified is refusal to seek one's own glory--as a grain of wheat disappears from sight to die and, then, springs up

4. Verse 24: a kernel must perish as a kernel if there is to be a plant; so death is essential for further life; moreover, Christ's death brings many to life

5. Verse 25

a. In comparison with love for Christ, all else is hate

b. Losing and loving life might be akin to gooey versus Gospel love, sentimentality versus sensibility (to a degree, anyway)

6. Verse 29: akouo is similar to akoloutheo; the sense might be "Do you follow (hear)?"

7. Verse 32

a. "Lifted up" has dual meaning: a) physical elevation; b) exaltation

b. "Draw"=drag: Christ crucified acts as a magnet that none can escape--either for salvation or to damnation 

Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

Option B: From Rev. Wayne Dobratz

"The Growing Cycle In God's Kingdom"
John 20:20-26

Setting: It is Tuesday of Holy Week. This is the last day that Jesus spent in the public eye. It was Passover Week and many travelers were in Jerusalem for the Feast. When some Greek men tell Philip: "Sir, we would like to see Jesus", Jesus thinks about how soon is work is coming to its fulfillment. These Greek men are representatives of all nations. The sound of their knocking at the door highlights for Jesus the significance of the work He is about to complete in Jerusalem.  His work and the Christian lives it gives to those who trust in Jesus are illustrated by the humble seed, as Jesus teaches about THE GROWING CYCLE IN GOD'S KINGDOM

I Death

A. Jesus goes down into death to bring forth life, just as a seed must be planted. V.24

B. So His people must die to self, be buried with him in his tomb (Rom. 6: 4).

II New Life

A. Through death into life was the path Jesus chose to walk.

B. So His people must return to their Baptism where they died with Jesus to rise to new life.  (Rom. 6:6-14)

III Multiplication

A. As Jesus illustrated in John 15:5.

B.  As we follow the example of the early Church in Acts 8:4

Jesus said: "If the seed dies, it produces many seeds."   Lloyd John Ogilvie writes: A grain of wheat has a hard shell protecting the wheat germ. The germ cannot grow until the shell is broken open. This happens when the grain is put into the earth. The moisture and warmth of the earth softens it, cracks it open, and the germ begins to grow. The result: the fruit of the strong stalk of wheat that grows and ripens until it is ready for harvest. 

Christians cannot grow until the shell of our preconceptions, values and our whole personality is broken open. Paul writes in Gal. 2:20 " I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Jesus said that the Christian life is like a seed.  It must die to have new life in order  to multiply. David Livingstone wrote in his journal: People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my lie in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paying back a small part of the great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind and a bright hope of glorious destiny hereafter? Away with such a thought! It is most certainly not a sacrifice. It is a privilege.

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.

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