“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
‘Father, save me from this hour’?
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven,
“I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” – John 12: 27 – 28
Today is the Fifth Sunday of Lent, and the last Sunday in Lent before Palm Sunday.
In today’s readings, the urgency of Jesus’ mission comes to the forefront.
In the second reading, from St Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, I’m struck to read that Jesus, “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered” – Hebrews 5: 7
I’m struck by this because it makes me think that, if Jesus, as perfect as He is, had to suffer to learn obedience to the Father, how much so does it apply to me?
Again this is reflected in the Gospel, when Philip and Andrew come to meet Jesus to tell Him that some Greeks want to see Him.
Jesus immediately recognises this as a sign that, His hour has come.
Indeed the hour He referred to, was the hour of His suffering and death.
He meant that the time had come for Him to suffer and die for the salvation of all the world.
The Greeks who came to Him, represented gentiles outside of the Jewish people, and Jesus knew they sought Him for salvation, to find faith in Hm.
However, Jesus is only able to reconcile all people to the Father, through His death on the Cross.
And so Jesus mentions that “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” – John 12: 24
To express His mission in more depth, He goes on to say, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” – John 12: 32
I came to a profound understanding of this promise, 14 years ago, when as part of an international group of university students, I celebrated the final week of Lent, also known as Holy Week, in Rome.
The gathering of worshippers that filled the entire St Peter’s square and beyond, came from every part of the world.
Every nation, tribe and tongue were represented, and were collectively celebrating as one, the redemptive work of our salvation.
Many times as I gathered in the places of worship, I beheld the cross of Jesus before me, and I finally understood that when He was lifted up, He had truly gathered all people to Himself.
Indeed, even though Jesus had the opportunity to simply ask the Father to “save (Him) from this hour”, He obeyed His Father’s mission, and through suffering, learnt obedience…and obtained the salvation of all.
In the same way, the Lord calls us to a life of obedience…and in many ways, our obedience to the Father, would be realised through suffering.
Jesus says again today in the Gospel, “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.” – John 12: 26
Therefore, as we move closer and deeper into the final mysteries of Lent, let us be encouraged to follow the Lord Jesus.
Let us remember that whatever our sufferings may be now, the Lord will turn all things around for our good.
Just as Christ had a sure promise of Resurrection, we too have a sure promise of Easter – and know that as the Father glorified His Son, so also Jesus assures us, the Father will honour us too.
Heavenly Father, as we move deeper into this season of Lent and Christ’s ultimate mission to save us through His death on the cross, we affirm that through His death, we are reconciled to You Most High God.
Father of Truth and Love, we place ourselves completely at the service of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.
We again ask for Your mercy and grace to reject the plans and schemes of the evil one, and embrace the power of Christ’s saving work on the Cross.
Hear our prayers o Lord, for mercy and grace.
Forgive us our sins, and in this season of Lent, pour a new refreshing upon us, and heal our land.
That we shall bear abundant fruit for Your glory.
We ask this Holy Father in Jesus Name.
Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good
You turn it for our good and for Your glory
Even in the valley, You are faithful
You’re working for our good
You’re working for our good and for Your glory
– “Sovereign Over Us” lyrics by Michael W. Smith
Always & Forever,
To The Lamb.
With all my love.