LENT V 2021
‘Now the hour has come …’ says Jesus.
Back at the beginning of John’s Gospel, at the wedding at Cana in Galilee,
Jesus’ mother turns to him and tells him the wedding guests have run out of
Jesus replies: ‘woman, why turn to me? My hour has not yet come.’
Later in John Jesus is teaching in the Temple and is being question about
having healed a man on the Sabbath, and the authorities are now plotting to
arrest him but, John tells us ‘no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had
not yet come.’
This talk of Jesus’ hour strongly suggests God’s hand over the unfolding story
of Jesus’ ministry.
Nothing will happen until the time is right and all the necessary elements of
this unfolding drama are in place.
But despite all this, still Jesus is unsettled.
‘Now my soul is troubled’ he confesses.
This is the nearest we come in John’s Gospel to the Agony in the Garden.
A very brief intimation that Jesus isn’t as calm and in control as he appears.
The second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews alludes to this same
‘During his life on earth, Christ offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and
in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death.’
The responsibility which Jesus bore in carrying out his Father’s plan for our
salvation was immense, and given that he shared our human nature it is
natural that there was some disquiet in his heart about the events which were
about to begin.
But the crisis is brief, and Jesus quickly resumes control with the words:
‘What shall I say:
Father, save me from this hour?
But it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.
Father, glorify your name.’
‘It was for this very reason that I have come to this hour’ – the reason being to
be ‘lifted up from the earth’, to be the grain which, by dying yields a rich
harvest; to give his life as a ransom for many and by rising on the third day give
glory to the heavenly Father from whom he came:
to save us and glorify God.
That is why Jesus came.
And what of us?
‘If a man serves me he must follow me.
Wherever I am my servant will be there too.’
If we call ourselves Christians, if we want to be his disciples we do as he did:
die to ourselves, die to this life, die to this world.
The faith we have been given is a great gift.
The Gospel reading alludes to those who do not share what we have.
When the Father’s voice rings out those standing around thought it was a clap
So many listen but do not hear, look but do not see.
But we hear, though sometimes we pretend we do not, we see, though often
we feign blindness.
As I said last Sunday, one of the themes running through John’s Gospel is that
those around Jesus do not understand.
Do not hear when God speaks, do not see that the universal King is standing in
But we do.
We see, we hear, we understand.
And still, we do nothing.
‘Now sentence is being passed on this world.
the prince of this world is to be overthrown…’
Now the hour has come …
It is time to decide.
Are we of this world, or the world to come?
Are we earthly, or heavenly?
Do we serve the prince of this world or the Prince of Peace?
If we choose Christ, if we vow to follow him then we must understand what it
is that he wants of us.
He wants a life of love and service.
And such a life will inevitably bring suffering – as it did for Jesus -.
But that is what he means by:
‘Anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life.’
He is talking about a life lived for others; that is what Jesus wants of us.
‘Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering;
but having been made perfect,
he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.’
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.