When Stadiums are Silentby Pastor Dave Katsma on April 3, 2020
There has been a post going around Facebook, maybe you have read it, or maybe even shared it, saying that God allowed the Corona virus to happen to re-orient people’s priorities worldwide. The post claims that stadiums are silent all around the world. Stadiums that once held events like basketball, baseball, soccer and maybe football – hope it don’t last that long. Stadiums that one held the promise of Olympic dreams will be empty for now. The stands that circled race tracks are empty. Music venues that once were packed with people to listen to concerts, buildings that once held plays and movie theaters are now silent. Restaurants and bars that were filled with people are now empty.
Even mega churches that held thousands of people to small store front churches that gathered less than 100 – including ours are empty and silent on Sunday mornings.
I don’t know if God allows this to happen for that purpose. He has some purpose in it.
I know that all this does force us to re-examine and rethink our priorities and what we see as valuable. For some it has forced this aspect of slowing down life, not running around as much, maybe not as busy a schedule, more time with family. Maybe it has for some set some new boundaries in life for us. Not that some of these things are all easy adjustments to make, and maybe some of them are extremely difficult and even painful, but it is adjustments we are all having to make.
For our thoughts on Palm Sunday, we will look at John 12 starting at verse 20.
“Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Manto enter into his glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” John 12:20-26
When I read this, what strikes me is this
Jesus is about to enter into his GLORY. (vs 23)
“Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.” (vs 23)
In a celebrity driven society, where paparazzi and crowds gather to take pictures of movie stars, athletes, singer and musicians, where glory is defined on how many followers you have on twitter. What would seem glorious to us, the crowds of people praising Jesus and people wanting to meet him. Jesus gives a new definition to glory.
Jesus’ glory is not the praise of men but so much more.
His glory would be in the shame of the cross, his death, resurrection and ascension.
Hebrews 12:2 says,
“Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:2
His glory ultimately is shown to be that in his willingness to die, he would be seated at the right hand of God. We see that where Jesus says, in Luke 22:69,
“But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand.” Luke 22:69
His glory involves those who ENDUREwith him. (vs 24)
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” (vs 24)
That is a beautiful assurance of faith. Jesus says, there will be a plentiful harvest of new lives. He doesn’t hope for it, he doesn’t just long for it, he is assured of it and so can we. Those of us who have put our hope and faith in Christ as our Lord and Savior are the plentiful harvest of new lives.
His glory will be fully realized when all those who put their faith in Christ will stand before him in the last days. His glory will be revealed fully when Satan and all the demons are forever cast into the abyss never again to tempt or wreak havoc in God’s kingdom. What a glorious time that will be as we see and experience the full glory of Jesus revealed.
Revelation 7:13 says,
13 And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
belong to the one sitting on the throne
and to the Lamb forever and ever.” Revelation 7:13
That throng of worshippers will include you and me. That is the glory that is Christ’s that vision of what is to come compels him to the cross. What a beautiful sight.
Lastly we see in this passage Christ’s challenge.
The SINGULARfocus of faith.
“Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. “ (vs 25)
Jesus challenges these Greek individuals, his disciples and us with a sobering reality. He challenges us with a question of where is your security? He doesn’t say in in those words, but he is asking us to reflect on our willingness to let go of the material things of this world, to open our hands and release our hearts of the priorities and the compulsions of this world that hinders our walk and our devotion to faith in Christ. He asks us to fully grasp the spiritual life and the life that Jesus promises.
Things must DIE before it produces new life.
Jesus died a physical death to give us victory over the sin that holds us back and holds us down and holds us away from the love and grace of Jesus. That victory allows us to follow Jesus example of following him to the cross.
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” Galatians 5:24
This is a tremendous truth with tremendous power.
We are called to nail the sinful passions on the cross.
What is it in your life you look to besides Jesus for hope, security and for fulfillment. Do you see Jesus only as a quick fix and feel good, "meet my need now" type savior?
Maybe this time of testing and winnowing is a change to clear up our priorities and bring clarity and focus to our lives of what we have put our hope, faith and security into. Which will make our celebration of Easter all the more meaningful.
It would only be good at this time to rediscover what is important for us and to us and to again be reminded that the things of this world, the comfort, the security, the attention, the glory of this world is fleeting and temporary in light of the future glory and security of Christ’s heavenly kingdom.