Thunder

The parade was over.
The music faded and the dancers caught their breath. The Pharisees hoped this unfortunate and dangerous demonstration was over. The hopeful kept their eyes on Jesus, still looking for a sign from Him that He was taking over. The delegation of Greek proselytes huddled together discussing in whispers the amazing things Jesus said to them. The air throbbed with the low moan of expectation. Surely Jesus was about to speak…

Not What They Wanted to Hear
The look on Jesus’ face was not one of triumph but of deep sorrow. He knew the ordeal that awaited Him before He could “take over” anything. He spoke quietly, more to Himself and to His Father than to the crowd.

“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say?”

Whatever it was, the people were ready to hear it. It would be so easy to play to the crowd, to give them what they wanted to hear. Looking to heaven, His sorrow became a prayer.

‘Father, save Me from this hour’?”

The heavens did not reply. Silence loomed like a dark cavern before Him. He knew the answer.

“But for this purpose I came to this hour.”

Still, there was no answer. Jesus lowered His head. The prayer of His heart escaped His lips.

“Father, glorify Your name.”

A wind seemed to come from every direction and the ground beneath them began to tremble. Screams from the crowd punctuated what some said later was a sudden storm. A voice from the heavens—or was it thunder?—shook the scene.

“I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

As quickly as it had come, the wind and the shaking were gone. Whatever the sound was—some claimed it was only thunder—it still echoed from the surrounding hills.

The Voice
Jesus confirmed that it was a voice, the voice of the Father from heaven. The troubled look was gone from His face, replaced by one of profound peace. He explained that the voice was not for His sake but for the sake of the people. This was the hour of judgment. Sin would run its best play and lose the game.

Lifted Up
He spoke in terms of crucifixion.

“… if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

His meaning was not lost on the crowd.

“We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say,
‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”

Their selfish hopes were crumbling. This was not the Messiah for whom they longed. He was bringing a light they did not want to see.

“A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light,
lest darkness overtake you…”

People on the fringes began to gather their belongings and leave.

“…he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.
While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

Seeing they had lost interest, Jesus passed among them and out of their sight.

Scriptures:
John 12:27-36

“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He said, signifying by what death He would die. The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, save me from my selfish ambitions. Help me serve You because You are worthy and not just because of Your blessings. Your plan includes me but it is much larger than me or my dreams or even my momentary needs. It is important that my life and my words “lift You up,” that my story is Your story, that my truth is Your truth. The cross lifted You up so that all may be drawn to You. May my message be that of the cross—God’s love extended down to man. May this truth thunder in every aspect of my life. Amen and amen.

Song:
Lord, I Lift Your Name on High

Words and Music: Rick Founds

Lord, I lift Your name on high
Lord, I love to sing Your praises
I’m so glad You’re in my life
I’m so glad You came to save us

You came from Heaven to earth to show the way
From the earth to the cross my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord, I lift Your name on high

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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