Revised Common Lectionary - Year C: Fifth Sunday in Lent - Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3:4b-14; John 12:1-8
The Name of Jesus is the Name of our salvation.
‘I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour… I am the Lord, apart from Me there is no saviour’(Isaiah 43:3,11). Isaiah’s words turn our thoughts towards Jesus our Saviour. The Name of Jesus is the Name of our salvation: ‘Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved’(Acts 4:12). ‘How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear’; ‘There is a Name I love to hear… It tells me of a Saviour’s love, who died to set me free; it tells me of His precious blood, the sinner’s perfect plea. O how I love the Saviour’s Name, the sweetest Name on earth’; ‘Name of all majesty… See now what God has done, sending His only Son, Christ the beloved One, Jesus is Lord!’(Church Hymnary, 376; Mission Praise, 672,481).
Build on Jesus Christ, the Solid Rock.
‘Those who trust in the Lord… cannot be moved…’. When we put our trust in the Lord, we are like the ‘wise man who built his house on the rock’. His house ‘did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock’. When we do not put our trust in the Lord, we are like the’foolish man who built his house on sand’. His house ‘fell with a great crash’. ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain’(Psalm 125:1; Psalm 127:1; Matthew 7:24-27). ‘Jesus Christ’ is the ‘sure Foundation’upon which our faith is built. He is ‘the solid Rock’, our ‘mighty Rock of spiritual refreshment’(1 Corinthians 3:11; 10:3-4; Church Hymnary, 10,411). ‘Christ died for our sins… He was raised on the third day’. Let us rejoice in Him: ‘The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy’(Psalm 126:3; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
We do not save ourselves. We are saved by the Lord.
God’s command – ‘Work out your own salvation’ – must never be separated from His promise – ‘God is at work in you’(Philippians 2:12-13). We do not save ourselves – We ‘put no confidence in the flesh’. We are saved by the Lord – We ‘glory in Christ Jesus’(Philippians 3:3). We are to ‘shine as lights in the world’, directing attention away from ourselves to Him who is ‘the Light of the world’ – our Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:15; John 8:12). We have this testimony: “I have ‘no righteousness of my own’. ‘Through faith in Christ’, I have received ‘this righteousness from God’”(Philippians 3:9). We are living in difficult times. This is ‘a crooked and perverse generation’(Philippians 2:15). We are called to ‘hold fast the Word of life’(Philippians 2:16). It will not be easy. We will face many difficulties. We must take encouragement from this: ‘God is at work in you’(Philippians 2:13).
‘Christ Jesus has made me His own’(Philippians 3:12). In Paul`s words, we hear an echo of Jesus` words, ‘You did not choose Me… I chose you’(John 15:16). Christ has claimed us for Himself. He has laid claim to every part of our life. We are to ‘rejoice in the Lord always’(Philippians 4:4). We are to bring ‘everything’ to Him in prayer (6). We are to be ‘content in all circumstances’(Philippians 4:11-12). We are to face every challenge with confidence in His strength – ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’(Philippians 4:13). We are to trust Him to ‘supply’our ‘every need’(Philippians 4:19). In every situation, we can come to the Lord, trusting in His promise: ‘the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’(Philippians 4:7). Whatever is happening, take it to the Lord in prayer and let Him give you His peace.
Keep on listening to Jesus. Keep on looking to Him. Keep on loving Him.
The Pharisees are developing their wicked plan. God is fulfilling His saving purpose (John 11:49-53). The voice of ‘common sense’ is not always the voice of the Lord (John 12:4-6). There is a higher wisdom than ‘common sense’. We are to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He leads us to put Jesus at the centre of our lives. Jesus is not suggesting that the poor are unimportant. He is emphasising that we must not lose sight of Him. If our concern for the poor is not truly grounded in devotion to Christ, it is not the obedience of faith (John 12:8). The Pharisees are lying in wait for Jesus. They say, ‘The world has gone after Him’(John 12:19). They are going after Him too – in a different way! The crucifixion draws near. God is to be ‘glorified’ in the defeat of Satan and the salvation of sinners (John 12:28,31-32). Jesus had ‘come’ for this ‘hour’(John 12:27).