Matters Of Faith
To follow Jesus and be fruitful in the Judeo-Christian sense, we must be buried in baptism with Him and experience a new birth in His love…
Pastor Steve Treash preached the Palm Sunday sermon at Black Rock-Long Ridge Congregational Church in North Stamford, Connecticut. His theme was that, like a seed, if we are to be fruitful in the Lord, we must be buried before sprouting new life, as in the concluding verses of John 12:12-26:
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
As with so much of the Gospel, the point to be emphasized is the paradoxical nature of Jesus’s ministry and teachings. The righteous humble will have as high a place in the hereafter as the mighty of earth. From His death comes life eternal. Foreswearing love of worldly things brings believers the infinite riches of life in Jesus Christ.
The vast multitudes coming to Jerusalem for the Passover on that original Palm Sunday expected Jesus to start a political revolution that would overthrow the Romans and re-establish the earthly kingdom of David. No one, not even His disciples, understood that the point of Palm Sunday was to inflame the pharisees and set in motion the crucifixion.
Christ’s death on the cross was to be His ultimate, paradoxical triumph, through His resurrection and the spreading of the Gospel by His disciples. They were the seeds planted by Jesus, the seeds that germinated to preach the Gospel throughout the Roman world.
That germination is symbolized in baptism, a public avowal that we wish to be buried with Christ and cleansed of our sins, to be reborn and to follow Him.
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776: