Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Creston, Iowa;
Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.” (John 12:20–33, ESV)
(From a Sermon by Norman Nagel)
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The time had come for Jesus to be glorified. Make no mistake the glory of Jesus is the cross. So important is the cross to all that Jesus is and does, that if you take away the cross you have no Jesus. We Lutherans get very picky about this. We say crux sola est nostra theologia. Which means the cross alone is our theology. It is the theology of everything we believe, teach, and confess. It is the theology of every sermon. In fact a sermon without the cross is no sermon. A sermon that is the same if the cross is removed is no sermon. We Lutherans preach Christ crucified just as St. Paul said (the verse I used in the first sermon I preached to you)
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2, ESV)
or even more so
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, ESV)
in our catechism we are taught in morning and evening prayer that we should begin our prayers with:
...make the sign of the holy cross and say, In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
It is our connection to Holy Baptism and the Cross of Jesus. Every day we live in our baptism under the sign of the cross. And when we do that, every day we are reminded that in baptism under the cross we are incorporated into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God's name is placed on us with the sign of the cross. And were God's name is so is his glory.
Jesus is on the cross for you. Jesus comes to his full glory on the cross for you. He is located there in a way that is different from God being everywhere. He is there in glory, for you! It's a time and a location. We confess in the creed that it was "under Pontius Pilate." And Jesus says "the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." And "for this purpose I have come to this hour." Jesus throne is the cross. There is God on the cross. There is God on the cross for you and for all people. It is located in time and space for you.
Martin Luther said "The Gospel is not Christ." The gospel is the proclamation of Christ. And the proclamation of Jesus Christ is the proclamation of the cross for you. It's the cross for you here and now. The word about Christ, the proclamation of the cross, brings all that was done for you to you. You can't travel through time and go back to the cross to have your sins forgiven. It is the word that delivers forgiveness to you. The word about the cross. And the word about the cross is put together with water and delivered to you. And the word about the cross is put together with bread and wine and delivered to you. The words spoken, the water, and the bread and wine are located here and now. It's easy to find. You only have to go to a particular place at a particular time to receive all that Jesus did for you on the cross.
So much is your need. So much is God's glory. That he would bring his glory to your need in a way that leaves no doubt. The word strikes your ears. The water strikes your head. The bread and wine strike your tongue. It is God in his glory there for you, on the cross and here for you now. Amen.
The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.