Trinity News and Sermons

2015/3/22 Sermon Bullets

Fifth Sunday in Lent

  • The miracle before today’s gospel lesson is the raising of Lazarus from the dead. So the reputation of Jesus spread all around the area.  And the religious leaders of the day were worried about this, in fear that the Romans would come and destroy the nation, so they begin earnestly to plot the destruction of Jesus.
  • Remember, this is not news to Jesus; in John’s gospel he is aware what is going to happen to him – in last week’s lesson we hear him tell Nicodemus that “the Son of Man must be lifted up”.
  • The Greeks come seeking Jesus – as scholars say, to know of him, and perhaps to believe in him. (I can imagine.  If someone has the power to raise the dead, then I would want to see and know and believe in him too!)
  • But Jesus talks about his glorification in a totally different way – about his death. This must have seemed strange to those who sought to know him.
  • He tells them about a grain of wheat dying. In order to bear fruit, a seed must go into the ground and go through a kind of death and resurrection/transformation into something else.
  • A seed germinates and becomes something other than a seed – as the new plant takes form, the husk is burst and the stored nutrients become part of the growing plant. The seed must cease to be a seed in order to bring forth new life.
  • Jesus is saying that in order for him to bear much fruit, he must die and be lifted up into a new life.
  • The fruit that he bears is his obedience to the Father. Though there might be hesitance: “Now is my soul troubled. But what should I say? Father, deliver me.  No, it is for this reason that I came.”
  • The fruit is also all those who come into a dynamic new relationship with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. “When I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself.”
  • This talk of death and life might seem strange to us, but it really is a part of life as we know it.
  • Parents of expectant children find that they “lose their life” – or at least the life they had known, when the child is born and kind of takes over, or at least takes #1 priority.
  • A student who graduates and moves into the first position of their profession dies in some ways, in order to live a new life – no longer studying fully (but hopefully always learning) but an employee that is called to produce “fruit.”
  • Death and life. Being changed into something new in order to bear fruit.
  • Jesus is not only talking about his own death and resurrection, his own transformation into something different, but to those who hear him and especially those who follow him. He talks about bearing fruit – a phrase he uses quite often to describe his followers.
  • It is not enough for Jesus to continue his ministry of teaching and preaching and healing as one individual. He must die and rise, that his ministry and mission may reach a larger audience: may bear MUCH fruit.
  • Specifically because of the death and resurrection: MUCH FRUIT has been brought forth – the Christian church down through the centuries.
  • Those who follow him, you and me, are called to bear fruit.
  • How do we do this? By going where he goes: by not seeking our own glorification. By dying and rising. By sacrificing and giving of ourselves.  Not in order to get God’s love, but in order to give God the glory: Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
  • Pope Francis, in preaching on this text this week said this: “This is the way of life that will give us joy and make us fruitful. For this journey of self-denial is undertaken in order to give life: it is the opposite of the journey of egoism – which leads to one becoming attached to all goods only for oneself . . . The Christian way is open to others, for it is the same journey that Jesus made.  It is a journey of self-emptying for the sake of giving life.  The Christian way is precisely this way of humility, meekness, of gentleness.  Whoever wishes to save their life will lose it.”
  • As we walk closer to the cross with Holy Week approaching, may we come to know the One who died for us, that we might live and bear the fruit of his love and service in our own lives!