This Is The Feast Of Victory For Our God
March 24, 2018
Verse: John 12:23–12:24, John 12:31–12:33
Christ Lutheran Church
March 25, 2019
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday
This Is The Feast Of Victory For Our God
And Jesus said to them, "The Hour is come for the Son of Man to be glorified! Amen, Amen I say to you, unless the Kernel of wheat fall into the earth and die, He alone remains. But if he dies, he produces much fruit … Now is the judgment of this world! Now the Prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am raised up from the earth I will draw all men to myself." He said this in order to indicate by what death he was to die.” John 12:23-24 & 31-33
There’s an old saying that goes: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. That is what we are faced with today, dear Christians. An elephant on our plate with the ocean set next to it for us to drink. The meal infinitely surpasses our capacity, but let us take it one bite at a time.
The Lord’s words that we hear today are not just another of his many sayings; but announce the concluding chapter of the world’s redemption; the final piece of the puzzle that brings salvation to all! These words change everything, everywhere, for all men and for all time – and they are given to us today: to love and cherish; to have and to hold; from this time forth; and even forever more.
“The Hour is come for the Son of Man to be glorified! Amen, Amen I say to you that unless the Kernel of wheat should fall into the earth and die, He alone remains. But if he dies he produces much fruit.”
This is a great mystery that we will never comprehend until we meet our God face to face. But then we will know! Then we will understand. Then we will occupy eternity reveling in “the great love wherewith he loved us.” (Ephesians 2:4). What we speak of here is incomparable, and so we will not try to explain it; but we will declare it none the less; because it is the Mother Of All Declarations, “The Hour is come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
Throughout John’s gospel the Lord’s death is referred to as his glory. When Jesus says "Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,” (John 17:1) he is saying, “Father, crucify your Son!”
And, as if that does not leave us in the dust, the Lord presses on when he says, “Amen, Amen I say to you that unless the Kernel of wheat should fall into the earth and die, He alone remains. But if He dies he produces much fruit.”
When the Lord declares these words he is referring to himself. He is the Kernel of wheat that falls into the ground and dies.
And unless he does, “he alone remains,” meaning this. That Jesus is The One, True Man. That Jesus Alone is The Son of the Father and apart from Him God has no sons, no children, no progeny, no other!
No other, that is, except for those who are made one with the Son by three-fold death.
Death by baptism; death by the slaying of our sinful pride (as we learn from today’s Epistle); and finally by closing our eyes in this world “in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection from the dead.” And so unless the Lord of Life should die on the cross, and be buried, He Alone Remains God’s Son. But when he is lifted up on the cross he will “bring forth much fruit.”
You are that fruit!
“For” as St. Paul says, “you are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26)
You are the ones, though born under the mastery of the Prince of this World, are now released from oppression. And so let us join our voices to those of the Palm Sunday crowds of the ages, and exclaim with redeemed tongues and grateful hearts: “Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
And let us find great consolation and everlasting hope in these words of Jesus as well:
“Now is the judgment of this world!”
“Now the Prince of this world will be driven out.”
“And I, when I am raised up from the earth I will draw all men to myself."
The Final Judgment is not a future event, but a past one instead, that happened when Jesus died on the cross. And the Future Judgment will be nothing more than what our Epistle lesson details for us today. Namely that at the End of Time; when the Present Age is finally exhausted: Every knee in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth will bow before Jesus, and every tongue – those of believers, unbelievers, and the very devil himself – will confess with full conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord! That “Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:11)
When Jesus died the iron-fisted Prince of this World was expelled! His ability to abduct people, addict them to his vast array of poisons, and force them to do his dark work, was over.
Now, only those who wish to dance with the devil need do so! But those who want nothing to do with him, and the misery he inflicts, can fell him with this “one little word” of Jesus: Be gone Satan! (Mt. 4:10); and he will flee from you!
Further, as often as the baptized “eat THIS bread, and drink THIS cup, they are enacting the judgment; dispelling the darkness; and undoing the error and terror that marks this present age.
This is why Christians must worship, why they must put their pride to death, and perform all the good works that Jesus teaches. This is your duty Oh Christian Soldier, and to desert is treason. To be derelict is to aid and abet the Enemy; to be part of the problem, not the solution. God forbid that this should ever be said about you!
Yes, the Lord’s crucifixion is his glory. His glory and ours. That is why we have a crucifix ever before us! It is not the icon of defeat, but “the feast victory for our God.”
For when Jesus died, the long night of sin was over and the world was restored to its pristine goodness. And by the cross, proclaimed in Christian worship, Jesus draws all men to himself, to the fullness of glory.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest! Amen