Lectionary (Year B): Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51:1-12 or Psalm 119:9-16; Hebrews 5:5-10; John 12:20-33
Theme: Jesus Christ draws all people to Himself
Message: “Has the Whole World (And we) Gone After Him?”
I challenge each of us to read one of the gospel accounts this week from beginning to end in one sitting. We can read the gospel of Mark in less than an hour. Or, read the gospel of John, from which our lesson comes this morning. Get the feel and the scope of the Jesus we claim to follow by praying that the Spirit would speak through the gospel to you and help you to know what Jesus would do.
Then, take the three biggest problems that you are facing, or the nation is facing, or that your family is facing, or that your church is facing, and ask yourself: What would Jesus do? If you don’t know then pray and read and write out the answer God gives you.
Then, engage in a conversation with a friend about what you have read, and talk about what you think Jesus would do and what He may be calling you to do in a present circumstance in your world.
Quote(s): “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for him…I think I understand something of human nature; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man; none else is like Him: Jesus Christ was more than a man…I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me…but to do this it was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, my words, of my voice. When I saw men and spoke to them, I lightened up the flame of self-devotion in their hearts…Christ alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man toward the unseen that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy; He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart; He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, withal its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable, supernatural love toward Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man’s creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it, which strikes me most; I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ.” (Henry Parry Liddon, Liddon’s Bampton lectures, 1866 (London, Rivingtons, 1869, p. 148)
Film, other visual aids:
Mr. Holland’s Opus, 1995, Angela’s Ashes (1999)
Music: “I Love You, Lord,” “O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee,” “Christ for the World, We Sing,” “May the Mind of Christ, My Savior”
We bring no excuses.
We bring no alibis.
We bring no pledges.
We bring no bribes.
We bring only ourselves, asking for pardon and rejoicing in your grace through the cross of Jesus Christ.
Words of Assurance:
The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18, ESV
Remembering that Christ loves us and gave himself for us, we in turn love others and give of ourselves for others. Look upon these gifts as fragrant offerings and sacrifices to God, motivated by Love.
In the words of the hymn writer: “May the mind of Christ, my Savior, live in us from day to day, by his love and power controlling all we do and say.” –Kate B. Wilson, 1859-1928, “May the Mind of Christ, My Savior”
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