John 12 - The Slavic Reformation
The Slavic Reformation
Sunday, March 25, 2012
I am so glad to be home and I bring greetings from more than 20 churches in the former USSR, in Russia and Ukraine. After a week of seminary teaching in St Petersburg Russia, we flew to Kiev Ukraine. Then we traveled around Ukraine (over 1800 miles by car) for the last week. I experienced so many new places and people that when we drove up to the airport in Kiev Ukraine after one week in Ukraine, it was as though I could hardly remember exactly one week before walking out and turning around to see it. As it turns out I traveled more than 11,600 miles in the last two weeks. The Gospel lectionary text (RCL) is perfectly appropriate for today’s sermon-missions-report after two weeks of missionary activity. In John 12, we have the teaching which may be broken into three themes relating to world missions.
The World Has Gone After Jesus (12:19-22)
The lectionary text starts in v 20, but the theme in this selection actually starts in v 19. “So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him. Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast....” This text is used in John as a pessimistic word from the Pharisees, but as is often the case John has a double meaning. In fact the world, beyond Israel, is seeking the Savior. The Greeks coming was symbolic of the coming of all nations to Christ. In my experience in the last two weeks I saw that. The world has gone after Jesus. . . .We met about 10 church leaders in Russia and about 13 church leaders in Ukraine.
The World will Be Saved by Jesus (12:23-27)
John 3:16 is well known, but what it truly teaches us is that Christ came to save the world. Many evangelicals do not believe this. They believe that Christ came to save only a few. But two times in John 3:16 and 17 Jesus makes clear that He did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. It will be the case that so many people will be saved that in the ordinary use of language, “the world will be saved.” In John 12, Jesus explains “how” this salvation will come. It will come through His self-sacrifice:
When I read this I remember the time of driving through Ukraine and seeing the “The Bread Basket” of the USSR, the rich fields of Ukraine, the tremendous capacity of Ukraine to provide bread for the (former) Soviet Union. Yet we visited the The Great Famine Museum in Kieve Ukraine - brought about by an American, Jim Mace from Missouri who researched:
We saw the place where the first Slavic king, St. Vladimir, was baptized:
The World will be Judged by Jesus
We saw the Great Famine Museum in Kieve Ukraine - which was the result of an American, Jim Mace from MO. Parental Alienation as a Tool for State Control over Children - Pavlik Morozov. He is widely infamous as the boy who betrayed his father to the Soviet authorities, and was made into a propagandistic model for all Soviet children, meant to inculcate loyalty to the state and vigilance against its “enemies.” Pavlik Morozov. He is widely infamous as the boy who betrayed his father to the Soviet authorities, and was made into a propagandistic model for all Soviet children, meant to inculcate loyalty to the state and vigilance against its “enemies.” Judgment comes to those men and nations and societies who deny God’s Law and truth.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more