Holy Cross Day (2014)
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
September 14, 2014
Central Passage
John 12:20-33

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Some Greeks, having come to Jerusalem for the Jewish feast, wanted to see Jesus. They wanted to see this Rabbi who healed the sick and raised the dead; the one after whom the whole world was beginning to follow. So, naturally, they went to the apostles. After all, if you want to get to Jesus, if you want to know Jesus, you must find Him and learn Him through His holy apostles. That’s the way the Lord set it up.

Despite what many denominations and preachers teach, there is an order to the Christian Church laid out by our Lord and repeated several places by the apostles. When the Lord Jesus ascended on high He said to His apostles that they would be His witnesses by the power of the Holy Spirit to witness to all the world beginning in Jerusalem. And so they have. Even now they witness to the nations. We call their witness the Bible. There is no other source of knowledge or wisdom concerning Christ or the Father He reveals than in the sacred pages of the apostolic letters and writings. If you want to know Jesus, to see Him and learn from Him – as did these Greeks – then you have to do so through His apostles.

So it is written that the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone. So we confess that we believe in “one holy, Christian and Apostolic Church.” From this we learn that you can’t know Jesus without His apostles and the apostolic office. Therefore we confess that in order that we may obtain the faith that saves the Lord instituted the preaching office whereby the Holy Spirit works faith in those who hear the good news of salvation in Christ.

So all those so-called Christians who refuse to gather to hear the words of the apostles; all those who say they can be Christian without this holy gathering wherein the apostles show us the Christ and even more, where Christ Himself promises to be; they are wrong. And we who love and care for them must in Christian love and honor remind them of the truth: those who do not gather to Christ scatter.

So the Greeks came to see Jesus and so went to His apostles. But Jesus didn’t show Himself to the Greeks. He didn’t say to Andrew and Philip, “What a great opportunity! Let’s go talk to these Greeks. Maybe we can convince them to follow Me.” No; He said, “The hour is come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Now the hour is come for Him to be crucified and raised from the dead. Because that is the Christ these Greeks need. That is the Christ you need. And that is the way the Christ reveals Himself to the world.

We preach Christ and Him crucified. A Christianity without a cross is no Christianity at all. The Lord Jesus didn’t want to show Himself to these Greeks until He had been glorified. Then they would know truly who it was who healed the sick and raised the dead. Not merely some Rabbi with miraculous powers, but the Son of God who comes with healing in His wings.

That is how the Christ shows Himself to you. Not merely as a teacher or miracle worker, not merely as one who can show you the way to salvation. But He shows Himself to you as your salvation. For here His living Body is given to you and here His blood poured for you for the forgiveness of sins and the bestowal of life, for where there is forgiveness of sins there is also life and salvation.

One does not come to the apostles to see Jesus or learn about Him without seeing Him crucified and risen, for that is what these same apostles – Andrew and Philip and all the rest – turned and preached to these Greeks on the Day of Pentecost. This Jesus who was attested to you by signs and wonders and anointed by God, was crucified, died, and was buried and on the third day rose again from the dead. And He will come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead.

We preach Christ and Him crucified: a stumbling block to the Jews who look for signs and foolishness to the Gentiles who seek glory. But to us who are being saved, the cross of Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to save.

+ In Nomine Iesu +