Lent 5 Year B


Jeremiah 31:31-34 The new covenant
Psalm 51:1(10)-17 Create in me a clean heart O God
Hebrews 5:7-10 Jesus offered prayers
John 12:20-33 The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified

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Suggested Hymns (From Denis Towner. TIS = Together in Song; AHB = Australian Hymn Book; SA = Sing Alleluia)

Jeremiah 31: 31-34
All my hope on God is founded TIS.560 AHB.465
How deep the riches of our God TIS.167 AHB.116
I, the Lord of sea and sky TIS.658 AT Everybody.296
Jesus, lover of my soul TIS.211 AHB.139
O Love that wilt not let me go TIS.602 AHB.525

Psalm 51: 1-12
Come, O Jesus, come, O Lord AHB.211
Create in us a clean heart, O God TIS.712
O for a heart to praise my God TIS.568 AHB.476

Hebrews 5: 5-10
At the name of Jesus TIS.231 AHB.170
Hail, our once despised Jesus TIS.373 AHB.295
O love of God, how strong and true TIS.139 AHB.75
We sing the praise of him who died TIS.347 AHB.262

John 12: 20-33
A charge to keep I have TIS.573 AHB.487
Lift high the cross TIS.351 AHB.271
Now the green blade rises from the buried grain TIS.382 SFGP.100 AT Now.15
O Jesus, I have promised TIS.595 AHB.514
'Take up your cross', the Savior said TIS.583 AHB.496
When Christ was lifted from the earth TIS.248 SA.93

Other Possible Hymns
(Numbers refer to The Australian Hymn Book and Sing Alleluia.)
SA 14 Brother, sister, let me serve you
8 A mighty stronghold is our God
31 God the very name my soul adores
136 Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
160 My heart and voice I raise
183 Lord of the dance
255 O sacred head sore wounded
257 My song is love unknown
258 When I survey the wondrous cross
301 The head that once was crowned with thorns
398 Holy Father, God of might
537 May the mind of Christ my saviour
541 Almighty Father, who dost give

Sermon summary (Click here for complete sermon)

What if Jesus had gone to Athens?

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. {24} Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. - John 12:23-24

Why did the Greeks want to see Jesus? Why did their visit provoke this response?

As they were approached Jerusalem for the last time, just after he had raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus had become immensely popular and the Pharisees had, for the moment, appeared to give up hope of defeating him: (John 12:18-19). The Greeks came to Jesus as foreigners through the agency of a Greek speaking disciple, Philip: (John 12:20-22) Could they have offered him an escape from what lay ahead?

On the one hand he said, The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified, which might be thought appropriate for a popular leader approaching the capital city. But he was talking also of death and, at the same time, of bearing much fruit; and it was difficult to imagine one who might have been the Messiah being put to death. (John 12:34). Paul spoke of it in various ways indicating how we might share in the fruits of death and resurrection:(1 Corinthians 15:37-38; Romans 6:4-5).

It was contrary to both Jewish and gentile cultures to expect anything of one who was hanged on a gibbet: (Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23; 1 Corinthians 1:22-25) - the cross being a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.

Seriously, do you think the coming of the Greeks posed a real challenge to Jesus? Might he have chosen the role of a successful teacher of wisdom in the tradition of the Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle? Paul did go to Athens to speak and argue with the Athenians for Christ (Acts 17:15-33). Might he not have gone himself? I have no doubt that something like the role of a teacher of wisdom in the Greek tradition was a real option for Jesus. We don't really know what the Greeks said or what they expected, but we do believe according to Christian tradition that Jesus was tempted "in every way as we are".

There remains a deep tension between human wisdom and the way of Christ, but no matter how hard people try to make him out to be just another wise teacher: he will not fit that role. Believers know why: unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth.... Jesus knew why too, but he had to make a choice to go through with it, and it was not an easy choice: (John 12:27) 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.

Order of Service - Lent 5 Year B - | DB Home | RCL Resources Index |

[In its original form with hymns printed out this service was planned to be conducted in the open air at the edge of the church property near the shopping centre as an act of thanksgiving and witness, at the time of a local community festival as in previous years. The modified version here allows for a regular sermon and normal liturgy and there are alternatives. The dramatized version of the Gospel is referred in the complete sermon. There are further revisions to be made.]

The Gathering of the People of God


CALL TO WORSHIP Let us worship God
In the name of Christ. Amen.

HYMN 170 At the name of Jesus

Here we confess community failures, and our part in them as well as our personal falling short of God's calling to us as disciples of Jesus.


..... Your sins are forgiven
Thanks be to God.


 Service of the Word

OLD TESTAMENT Jeremiah 31:31-34 The new covenant  

PSALM 51:1(10)-17 Create in me a clean heart O God

EPISTLE Hebrews 5:7-10 Jesus offered prayers

GOSPEL: John 12:20-33 Jesus and the Greeks

Dramatised Version: Jesus and the Greeks (John 12:20-24)
Scene: Jesus and a group of disciples are standing to one side, among whom Andrew stands slightly apart. Philip is at "centre stage".

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks.
[Enter Greeks (2 or 3 men and women) from the opposite side and approach Philip]

They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him,

First Greek
"Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
[Greeks stand aside, Philip approaches Andrew who comes to meet him]

Philip went and told Andrew;
[Conversation such as the following ensues between Andrew and Philip]

Andrew [Who are they? Greek visitors?]
Philip [Yes, they speak our language. They want to see Jesus.]
Andrew [I wonder why. Perhaps they want him to teach their people.]
Philip [Let us ask him.] [Andrew and Philip meet Jesus and the other disciples who are moving to the centre]

then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
[They speak to Jesus, saying, for example]

[There are some Greeks here who want to see you]

Jesus (Jesus answered them,)
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
[Andrew and Philip look puzzled, and move questioningly among the disciples, some of whom can be imagined murmuring something like:]

[But this could be his great opportunity..... What does he mean by speaking of death? .... How can he achieve his glory .... and bear much fruit .... If he dies ....]
[All depart, Jesus and the disciples to one side and the Greeks to the other.]

HYMN 514 O Jesus, I have promised

SERMON for regular service


Many members of the congregation are engaged in a wide range of community service. We have chosen a few examples. They are introduced, interviewed briefly and present of a symbol of their community work:-

Helen -- Hospital Auxiliary
Elaine -- 5000 Club
Elizabeth -- Scouts
Ian -- Rotary
Jan -- Christian Religious Education in Schools]

HYMN SA 14 Brother, sister, let me serve you

SHARING TIME [Notices, celebrations, requests for intercessions]

Thanksgiving for the services provided in the community, and for the sacrifices of those who serve.
Prayers for blessing on the giving of service and on those who are in need.


 The Sending Forth of the People of God

HYMN 183 Lord of the dance
DISMISSAL Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.

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