THE SERMON

SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2022

IMMEDIATE ACTION

John 13:31-35 Text vs. 32 “If God is glorified in Him, God will glorify the Son in Himself, and will glorify Him at once.”

Several times Jesus referred to Glory during His time here on Earth. Glory is when God is regarded as the most wonderful Being in existence. And since human beings were created in God’s image, we, also, share in it. Though imperfectly. Christians sharing God’s Divine Glory are instructed to "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven".

So, Christians are God’s image-bearers! (Matt. 5:16) In the midst of Jesus telling His disciples of His coming Glory, which would be His Resurrection from the grave, He also said to His disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you”. Jesus called this His “new commandment”. It wasn’t a new subject. The Jews had always had the command to love their neighbor. But this command had a purpose. While the old command said, love is the way to remain God’s covenant people. That is, obeying the Law of Moses and you will live as a member of God’s people”. This new commandment had nothing to do with that. This new commandment didn’t say, “Do this if you want to be a child of God”. It says, “Do this if you want to glorify God as being one of His redeemed”.

So, in our lesson today Jesus gives a rare insight into the mind of God. Jesus’ trial and crucifixion was about to happen. It was shameful. It was violent. It was degrading. It was unfair! Jesus was about to be arrested and murdered, despite being innocent. And it happened just as He said it would! Matthew 16:21 says Jesus “began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders. The chief priests. And the teachers of the law. And that He must be killed. And that on the third day, be raised to life”.

. . . From a human viewpoint, there’s no way there’s any redeeming value in that! But, from God’s point of view, God was going to receive glory through Jesus' death on the cross which solved two needs. One: Forgiveness for human sin. And Two: Mercy for those who are loved by God. God was the Creator. And for Him to do that for His created, it was an incredible testament to His love. His kindness. His holiness. His power. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus was a decisive moment in history! God certainly was glorified by what happened! It was intended for those who would put their faith in Jesus. And that statement, the Son of Man will be glorified "at once" (John 13:31) is from Greek that translates "soon". Or "immediately". It meant Jesus was to be resurrected into a glorified body. It would happen soon after His death (John 20:17). And it did! In three days!

But when Jesus said, "The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into His Glory" (John 12:23) the only way for that to happen was by the way of the Cross. Yes, the Cross carried shame with it. The cross was capital punishment for the worst of criminals. But it was by the cross a way was made for you to become Perfect and Blameless in the sight of God. How? By Jesus taking your place on the cross and dying for your sins. The Bible says, Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the whole world! But who really killed Jesus? The Apostles’ Creed, which we repeated just minutes ago says that He “suffered under Pontius Pilate”. Or maybe the blame should be on the soldiers who drove the nails into Jesus hands and feet! How about the Jews who demanded freedom for that criminal Barabbas and then called for the death of the one called the “Christ”? Then they sealed their guilt by saying, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

Many hymns and songs speak of this.

Isaiah 53:5 says “He was wounded for our transgression. He was crushed for our iniquities”.

Stuart Townend, a Christian worship leader and writer of hymns and contemporary worship music writes: “Behold the Man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders; ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers. It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished; His dying breath has brought me life – I know that it is finished.”

And from a previous generation John Newton, an English clergyman who had been a captain of slave ships in the slave trade wrote the hymn so loved by all - Amazing Grace. A deeper truth was when Isaiah 53:10 said, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him. He has put Him to grief”.

That led John Piper, one of the most significant and influential reformed pastor-theologians of our time to title one chapter of one of his books, “The Pleasure of God in Bruising the Son” makes the point clear! God the Father, killed God the Son! “He has put Him to grief…. The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:10). Or as the Apostle Peter said in Acts 2:23, Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan of God.”

And it’s right here in our lesson today. John chapter 13. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus was predicted in the Psalms. It was accepted by Jesus. It was the chosen way to show the Glory of God. But every day each of us crucify Jesus in one way or another. Gossip shared with a friend. Lies, or words said to, or about someone that hurts them. Or was it the stranger who asked for help and found backs turned away? Whatever! - We’re all betrayers of our Lord in one way or another! Jesus clearly revealed He was going to glorify God by His death. He had lived His life glorifying God. And now, God was to be glorified by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. And there’s no Resurrection without Jesus’ death.

So, by His death, He declared the Glory of God. He revealed what kind of God you have. A God who loves you enough not only to send His Living Word Jesus to you, but to reveal His will for your life. Jesus revealed God’s love is strong when you accept His death on the cross as being His sacrificial love to redeem you from your sin. That love is glorious! And Christ’s loving self-sacrifice demonstrates the glory of God. Jesus glorified God in his Oneness with His Father’s Will. His death was to glorify God.

In his book, The Yoke of Christ, Elton Trueblood quotes a schoolgirl’s letter about exploring the depth of her soul. She wrote, "I've been thinking much this year about the importance of caring. Of the passion of life. I've often realized it takes courage to care. But caring is dangerous. It leaves you open to hurt. And looking like a fool. And perhaps it's because people have been hurt so often that they are afraid to care. You can't die if you're not alive. But would you rather be a stone? I have found many places in my own life where I keep a secret store of indifference. Sort of as self-protection." A secret store of indifference? Now, that's interesting!

But we are to care! Because Jesus cared! Jesus was talking about your behavior. How you act toward others. How you treat them. That's why Jesus could say: "a new commandment I give to you". You can't command emotion. But you can command action. The love Jesus was talking about was an act of the will. You do it intentionally! It’s not an automatic response to something. It’s a deliberate choice. Christian love isn’t something you just fall into. So, how do you get it? By thinking of love as action. Service. And ministry. It’s governed by your will. And your mind. It’s not an emotion that’s governed by fickle feelings and deceptive desires. One of the greatest temptations on earth is to reduce love to human terms. To just talk about love. And not live it! It's easy to talk about love. But love is something you do!

There was a comic strip where a young man was declaring his undying love for his girlfriend: "I love you with all my heart," he said. "I love you more than life itself. My love would move mountains and change the course of mighty rivers for you," he said. . . . . His girlfriend replied, "Can you come over Saturday? I need you to help me clean the junk out of my garage?" . . . . . The final frame of the comic strip has the guy looking up and saying, "I hate people who take advantage."

Yes, we all can talk about how much we love people. But the bottom line is this. Do we really care enough about them to know their needs and then do our best to meet them? “If God is glorified in Him, God will glorify the Son in Himself, and will glorify Him at once.” Make sure you’re bringing glory to God by how you’re living your life! “Love one another, just as I have loved you. And you also should love one another.” When you do that, you will bring “glory to your Father in heaven, immediately”!

That’s what your life is all about! AMEN