Salvation Is For All Men
5th Sunday of Lent
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
March 21, 2021
Readings: Jeremiah 31: 31-34
Hebrews 5: 1-10
John 12: 20-33
Our joy and foundation is in Christ Jesus. If we are constantly changing our minds then we have no past or future. The things that God has created are forever. They have not changed. An example of things that have changed in this world by man is what is popularly known as “climate change.” But God did not change anything to His creation because He made everything perfect. It is man who has changed the course of nature. This is the enemy’s tool to change our way of thinking and our mindsets. Our Collect today tells us it is God who sets the course and direction.
In our Gospel, we see Jesus at the Festival. There were people who wanted to seek Him after the incident of the cleansing of the Temple had taken place. The Greeks or Gentiles were wanting to meet Him to gain knowledge. They felt that if they could just talk to Jesus, they could go home with new-found knowledge. So they came to Philip and asked how they could go to Jesus. Then Philip told Andrew about it, and together both he and Andrew went to Jesus to tell Him that there were these people wanting to seek Him. Jesus then told them that that was what He was there for. John 12: 23 “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
He then gives the Greeks certain directions: “John 12: 24 “Verily, verily I say unto you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it abideth alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.” Jesus was talking about a dying to self. A dying to one’s own selfish desires and wants. A dying to the attachment of things of this world.
John 12:25 “He who loves his life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
People are discontent with material possessions. If they get a new car, they want more more. There are those who even have twelve cars in their garage! This is pride.
John 12:26 “Whoever serves Me must follow Me, and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.”
Jesus in essence was telling them that He was going to give them life if they followed Him. If we want peace in our lives, we need to follow Jesus.
As soon as He said this, there was a stirring in His heart. He knew His hour was coming. That He came for one purpose, and that was to bring glory to God. A voice from heaven said, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” When the multitude heard it, it sounded like thunder to them. Jesus told them that it was God wanting all people to be drawn to Him – both Jews and gentiles. Jesus came to redeem all men. He didn’t do it for just a few. When judgment comes to the earth, God will bring righteousness. At Jesus’ death on the Cross, a “trial” was taking place – it was Satan vs. Jesus. Satan had been claiming that the world was his when man failed. Now Jesus was taking it back to where it rightfully belongs. The “prince” of the world or the “prince of darkness lost His place when Jesus took over.
1 John 2:11 … “but if anybody sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.”
John 16:11 “and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
The enemy today is still trying to deceive us in many ways. God is calling out to us to “come back to Him.” The church today should not be the ones begging. We should be the ones who are giving and reaching out. We should not let the things of this world be substitutes of our relationship with God. God is the source of our lives. The stripes He bore at the Cross is for our healing. He took away the sin of all. We need to submit ourselves to the great God, setting aside other things to focus on Him. This is what Lent is all about.