Today's message is based on John 12:27-33


You know, there are all different kinds of religions in the world.
But most all believe in a supreme God who is all powerful and in control of things.
That nothing in the world is beyond God’s scope and ability to insure outcomes.
That the One who created the heavens and the earth can do whatever God desires.

Yet, some people’s theology tells them that God does every single thing in their lives.
So when they find a parking spot close to the store, they say ‘thank you God’.
Or when they drop something on the floor fo their car and then find it - same thing.
Even for bad stuff too, some believe if you stub your toe, God is sending a message.

I gotta admit sometimes I fall into this idea that God is involved in these little things.
But then my rationale mind and seminary learning clicks and I say …. ‘I don’t think so’.
God has more important concerns than helping me find a dime under the car seat.
So I believe that God is active in everyday life but doesn’t orchestrate every little thing.

Yet our faith does teach us that God orchestrates important things.
Christians believe that God is omnipotent or, in other words, all powerful and doing. 
We believe that God acts in crucial times in our lives, especially when we need help.
We believe that God acts in big and small things that are important for us in life.
Even when bad things happen, Christians believe more that God will bring good out of it than God actually makes it happen.

This reminds me of the words that people often use trying to console grieving people.
In trying to comfort others, I’ve heard some say that an untimely death was God’s will.
They say things like ‘God needed them up there more than we do here’, which is nuts.
Although I understand the good intentions, that talk is based on almost nothing biblical

Life on earth does not go on forever and we know when it ends, God then takes us.
But God does not orchestrate our deaths, like a child killed in a drive by shooting.
God does not swerve the car of a drunk driver to kill another person.
God is in control, but so are we with our free will to do right or wrong in life.

Which brings us to where we are going with Jesus in this Lenten season.
He is traveling to Jerusalem to complete his ministry.
His faithful followers continue with him and hear him tell of a frightening outcome.
Yet they still hold out hope for him to be crowned the savior/leader of Israel’s people.

And Jesus tells them he will find glory,… it just won’t be political or temporal glory.
Jesus’s glory will be in the spiritual realm and won’t happen til after his crucifixion.
The resurrection is the glory he finds, but first must come the horror of the cross.
And it is a horrible ordeal that we’ll hear about next week on the Sunday of the Passion

But I think we sometimes see Jesus’ execution as some bad luck that befell him.
We tend to lament that his experience as just a terrible mistake in the world’s history.
We think;.. ‘if only he hadn’t been betrayed’, or, ‘if the people had just supported him’.
And, while as much as that was the case,….. this wasn’t fully what was going on.
Because, you see,…. God was behind all of this and orchestrated the whole thing.

In our Gospel lesson it says that as he prepares to go into Jerusalem, that God spoke to Jesus as like thunder.
That’s what the crowd heard but what Jesus himself heard was the Father speaking.
And Jesus says to God ‘should I ask you Father to save me from this hour?’.
But then he answers his own question in the negative saying ‘this is why I am here’.
He talks about the glory part and glorifying the Father’s name but realizes that he will glorify God in his dying and that this is what God desires.

This is the cold hard truth of the crucifixion that we all think was so terrible.
That God was orchestrating the whole thing and planned it all along.
And to Jesus’ credit, due to his faith,…. He is going along with it.
Because they both see what the others,…friends and murderers alike,….do not see.

They don’t see, at the time, that Jesus’ death is a sacrifice offering for sin.
They don’t see that he must suffer as part of this to teach how love involves suffering.
They don’t see that that forgiveness is so important, that Jesus will forgive his killers.
And, they don’t see that, after three days, he will rise and glorify God’s ultimate power.

The disciples and followers of Jesus saw it later and then spread the news.
And we see it now, thanks in part to them and everyone else who understood.
Understood that God was at work, even in that terrible event, through Jesus Christ.
At work to prove His own glory and to ultimately glorify us as well.

The major message today is that God, in fact, did orchestrate Jesus’ crucifixion.
As terrible as that was, it was done for us.
That we might believe,…. not that God orchestrates bad things in our lives.
But that when bad things happen to us (or when we are bad) God is still in control.
And when time comes for us to die, whatever the circumstances, God will be in charge.
He will be in charge and, in His glory, will prove his power and might to resurrect us.

Amen.