John 12:20-33 The Lesson of the Seed March 18, 2018 Examination Sunday/Lent 5
By Pastor Kenneth Mellon, Trinity Lutheran Church and School, Pleasant Valley Rd., West Bend, WI
God’s grace and peace have been shown to you and are in you through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.
Jesus told a lesson on farming as He prepared to give His life as seed for a great harvest in John 12:20:33.
Help us grow in the saving knowledge of the truth, heavenly Father. Your Word is truth! Amen.
Dear Christians growing in Christ,
The weather is getting a little warmer and soon it will be spring. In a few weeks early flowers will appear on the ground and in trees. Soon, the farmers will be preparing their fields for planting. Jesus more than once spoke of farmers who have faith. They plant seeds each year praying that God will provide what is needed to make the plants grow. Every farmer who plants has one thing in mind: the harvest. Spiritually, Jesus had one thing in mind when it came to live on earth: a great spiritual harvest. Today God would encourage us to continue planting God’s Word with Jesus’
Lesson of the Seed!
First, Jesus’ time for planting was almost complete. His public ministry lasted three years until He died at age 33. He walked for 100’s of miles preaching, teaching, and doing countless miracles. These were ways He used to draw people to Him and to prepare them for the blessings as the Savior. We don’t always understand God’s timing. He could have had Jesus begin His work at age 21, instead age 30. Think of how many more people Jesus would have helped or reached! But, just like God has a season for planting seeds in fields so He had a limited time for work of Jesus on earth.
Our verses state that some Greeks wanted to meet Jesus. (v.20) They came to Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples and he was not sure what to do. Jesus’ ministry had been mainly to the Jews. So, would Jesus welcome these Greeks or not? That wasn’t the pressing question. The day that they wanted to meet Jesus was one of His last days on earth. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (v.23-24)
God’s plan of salvation was never to be limited to the Jews. It only began with them. Once Jesus died on the cross, He would become like the planted seed with millions people benefiting! Isaiah wrote, “In that day [Christ] will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:10) God also promised, “My … salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations.” (Isaiah 51:5) With such a positive view of the future, no wonder Christ spoke in such glowing terms about finishing His work even though it meant going to the cross.
It would be painful. He said, “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’ No it was for this very reason I came to this hour. (v.27-28) The sins of the world were weighing down on Jesus. Imagine the burden He must have carried with every sin of every person who ever lived. It wasn’t just mass murders or harming innocent people. It was every theft, every grudge, and every lustful thought. God charged Jesus with every crime ever committed. He suffered and died for them all! No wonder He was troubled as He saw the amount His suffering ahead!
But Jesus went forward to the cross for two reasons. One was: it was His heavenly Father’s will. He lived on earth to honor God the Father even when it meant suffering and dying for the sins of the world. The other reason was the benefit to all people who believe in Him. Jesus later said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.” (John 12:32) That invitation was open to Jews and Greeks and anyone else who would listen to God’s call. Thank God that He called us through His Word and brought us to faith that we might be part of the multitude of peoples who are saved by Jesus!
Second, our planting time continues! Jesus’ disciples told Him that Greeks wanted to see Him. Even if they didn’t see Him during that festival, they would hear all about it on the next major Jewish festival called Pentecost, also known as the harvest festival! When those Greeks returned to celebrate, Philip and Andrew must have been looking for them. They had great news to tell them about Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead. Jesus had died and won! He said, “Now is time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” (v.31) On the cross, Christ won the victory over the devil and death. They could no longer claim anyone who believed in Jesus as their Savior. As the devil tries to accuse us, God will say: “My Son paid for their sins. They are not guilty. They are perfect through the perfect life of Jesus!” God’s words will determine the final judgment! Disciples and all believers have carried this message far and wide over the centuries. And, we are now benefiting from the seed of the Word!
Now that we are God’s children through faith in Christ, we cannot remain idle. We are to continue to hold to Jesus’ teachings and grow in our faith. Jesus tells us to guard our spiritual lives because and we are always under attack! He warns us as Christians: “The man who loves his life will lost it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (v.25) It’s so tempting to follow the sinful pattern of the world: to ignore God’s laws and His will. We can’t ever be satisfied with committing sins instead of repenting of them. We can’t love money or possessions more than our relationship with Jesus as our Savior.
Just as Jesus had a limited time on earth and so do we! We are to make the most of the time we have to live for Christ and honor our loving God and to share the news of Christ: His victory over death, His full forgiveness for sins, and the free gift of eternal life. Jesus tells us to keep our priorities straight. We are tempted to neglect God’s Word that keeps us close to Jesus. But if we lose our faith in Jesus, instead of joining in the eternal harvest with Him, we will die in our sins and suffer forever alone.
But, we are the children of God by faith in Christ. We want to do God’s will just as Jesus wanted to do His Father’s will. Jesus said, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (v.26) Jesus will stay true to His promise: He will continue planting God’s Word in our hearts so that by faith we will be a part of God’s eternal harvest.
Now is our golden opportunity to plant the seed of the Gospel with others. Sometimes people we know at work or school may have questions, like the Greeks did. We can help them find answers in the Bible or invite them to talk with a pastor. Sometimes people we talk to feel guilty about their sins. We can tell them that Jesus died to forgive them. Sometimes friends on sports teams may feel down from a loss, but we can remind them that Jesus won the ultimate victory at the cross. God raised Him to life to give an eternal victory that our by faith in Jesus!
Hopefully, spring is just around the corner with all the beauty that it offers. But, our spiritual spring time is now! Now is the time to have God plant His Word in us so we remain certain of salvation and share it with others. God will accomplish His harvest. He already had Jesus die to bring life to the world! And He will bless us now through faith and take us to the harvest of heaven. This is His lesson of the seed! Amen.
We are reading selected verses from our text: John 12:23-24 Lent 5, Trinity Lutheran Church
Dear Christians growing in Christ,
With spring almost here, it is fitting to use Jesus’ illustration of a seed. When planted, in a sense it dies, but at the same time a plant grows that produces many seeds. That was Jesus’ point in talking with His disciples. In only a few days Jesus was going to die. Some foreigners tried to learn things from Jesus, but He didn’t have enough time to talk to them. It was sad that they couldn’t learn right away. But it was good, because Jesus died to complete His work to save people from their sins. The Greeks would return to the next festival and the disciples would have been happy to tell them the whole story how Jesus died to save them.
We know that lesson from God’s Word. Jesus challenges us to keep hearing that message for our faith to grow so we can honor our loving God and tell others who need to know about the things Jesus has done. Jesus’ powerful Word gave us faith and it can create faith in others as we tell them about Jesus. The devil is constantly planting seeds of doubt, sinful desires, or disappointment in God. We are tempted to stop following Jesus. But, Jesus tells us to stay on guard so that we do not lose eternal life.
We are the children of God by faith in Christ. We want to do God’s will just as Jesus wanted to do His Father’s will. Jesus said, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (v.26) Jesus will stay true to His promise: He will continue planting God’s Word in our hearts so that by faith we will be part of God’s eternal harvest.
Now is our opportunity to share the seed of the Gospel with others. Sometimes people we know at work or school have questions, like the Greeks did. We can help them find answers in the Bible or have them talk to a pastor. Sometimes people we talk to feel guilty about sins. We can tell them that Jesus died to forgive them. Sometimes friends on sports teams feel down from a loss, but we can remind them that Jesus won the victory at the cross. God raised Him to assure us of an eternal victory for all who believe in Him!
Hopefully, spring is just around the corner with all the beauty that it offers. But, our spiritual spring time is now! It is a time to have God plant His Word in us so we remain certain of salvation and share it with others. God will accomplish His harvest. He already had Jesus die to bring life to the world! And He will bless us now through faith; and He will take us to the harvest of heaven. Amen.