The Beauty Of The Cross

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John 12:20-33


Today we enter into the final week of Lent, the time known as passiontide, we draw closer to Palm Sunday and begin to prepare ourselves for our pilgrimage through Holy Week, which will lead us to the cross, and beyond into salvation.
I wonder what Lent 2021 has held for you, has it been a time of quiet reflection, an opening of minds to come to a better understanding of what faith means personally, has it been a time to Study God’s word, to spend more time in prayer, perhaps is has been a time where God has worked in some aspect of your life, or another way in which your walk with God has found a new level?
I hope that for each person, that the answer to at least one of these suggestions has been yes, and that through our lenten journey, both personally and corporately each person has had that opportunity to walk more closely with God.
However, we need to remember that we haven’t finished our walk just yet, and the worst, or should that be best is yet to come as we head towards Golgotha. This week the Lent groups will meet for their final time, and will consider all that has been studied, and think about how Holy Saturday, one of the most neglected days in the churches observance of Christ Passion should be observed.
Whilst we have already taken time to contemplate todays gospel earlier in the course, it continues to not only to us individually as Christians, but it also speaks into the final part of our Lenten study.
As we have journeyed through lent our focus has been to come to a deeper understanding of the significance of the events of Holy Week, how it affects and deepens our understanding of our faith, and why it is such a deeply pivotal part of our Christian life and discipleship. As we gather for our final session on Wednesday we will consider how it all fits together.

Sermon Points

All of these important questions, and conversations speak to this profound and demanding section of Johns Gospel?
‘Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.’
Christ is looking for people who will follow Him with a reckless abandon. He wants people who will throw caution to the wind and embark on the journey called discipleship.
He is searching for those with a daring heart who will fully devote themselves to Him, and who are willing to give their lives for Him.
I wonder have any of us ever really and truly thought about what it means to be a disciple of Christ? He isn’t asking us to be students, he is asking us to be disciples. The difference between the two is that a disciple strives to become what their master is, and show the traits that He himself came to show the world.
The problem is that this costs us much, for some perhaps too much, because it isn’t just about what we do on a Sunday morning, but in all of our lives. What Christ says in this passage is not, will you be like me for this hour of worship that we have together, He challenges us to be like him 24 hours a day, every day of our life.
Dare we take up the call Christ issues, He says to each of us, will you join the journey? Will you Come and follow me? Will you dare to be a disciple?
Are we ready to take up the call? Are we daring enough to take embark on the adventure called discipleship? The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer described discipleship in these words: ‘When Christ calls someone; He bids them to come and die.’
The church for far too long has created a weak form of discipleship, one where apathy and complacency can live and grow. When Jesus calls us to come and follow, it’s a call to come and die, die to sinful desires, our self-centred and selfish ways, and to turn away from the many other ways where we place barriers that prevent us from walking with Him.
God showed us how serious he was, how far he was willing to go to give us eternity, to bring all of humanity back into relationship with Him, to give us grace, to assure us of his love, he sent Christ, His son to this world to die, and all he asked in return was that we learnt how to walk in His footsteps.
As Christ bids us come and die, he isn’t talking about our physical life, nor is he leaving us bereft and empty, He wants us to be willing to do this so that he can re-fill and re-new us.
All we have to do is look through the bible to see how he wants to accomplish this, and many of them are a paradox, which is simply something that doesn’t make sense to our human mind, here are some scriptural examples
To be whole you must be broken
To live you must give up your life
To receive you must give
To be first you must be last
To be the greatest you must serve
To be exalted you must humble yourself
To be strong you must be weak
To be fruitful you must die
Some of these hurt when we hear them, because we don’t like the consequences of what is being said, they go against what the world tells us, and perhaps the ones that hurt are the ones we need to pay attention to the most.
Perhaps one of the most poignant for us as we journey this year is found in the letter to the Philippians – ‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.’


If we can reach towards the goal that Paul set, then perhaps we will continue to see the breaking down of those old barriers and walls that have exist in our benefice and be strengthened in all of our churches as we foster our caring and loving community of Christians.
As we enter the final week of Lent before we embark on Holy Week, spend time thinking about the words of the Gospel, how we follow Christ and demonstrate His love through our lives to others that we meet. How does being His disciple help us to better understand our faith. It matter not if you haven’t made it to any of the other sessions, consider joining us this week, as we consider Holy Saturday, and gather all of our thoughts about the significance to us of the week we call Holy.
‘Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.’
Out of my shameful failure and loss
Jesus I come.
Into the glorious gain of thy cross
Jesus I come to thee.
A little girl once spoke to her mother and asked, "Why are you so ugly mother?" The
mother said, "Come here my darling and I will tell you." It was time for the secret to be told,
and so she explained why her face had terribly disfiguring scars. She told her that a fire had
broken out in the home when the girl was only a baby. The mother was at a neighbor's house,
and when she rushed home she plunged into the flames to get to the child. She saved the
child, but not without great cost to her own body. The scars she bore were the result. After
the child heard this story she was overwhelmed with love, and in tears she cried out,
"Mother, you are the most beautiful person in the world." Ugliness can become beautiful
when you can see it from the right perspective. When we see the sacrifice of the cross and
what it did for us as sinners, then we see the beauty of the cross.
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