Fifth Sunday in Lent – Year B

March 17 - 29

Gospel Lectionary Text

John 12:20-33

12:20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks.

12:21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."

12:22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

12:23 Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

12:24 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.

12:25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

12:27 "Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say--' Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.

12:28 Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."

12:29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him."

12:30 Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.

12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.

12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

12:33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.


In the Gospels we hear the voice of the Father three times: once at the baptism, declaring Jesus as the Beloved; again at the transfiguration, saying the same thing; and this week, we hear the Father’s voice a third time.

Welcome to the fifth week of Lent. Jesus’ soul is troubled. He knows his death is imminent, and his “hour” has come. Jesus prays that the Father will glorify his name. But how does the death of the Son bring glory to the Father’s name? The church has been wrestling with this question for 2,000 years. The majority opinion insists that God’s reputation is glorified because Jesus is the perfect sacrifice that satisfies the Father’s holy wrath.

But there has always been a minority opinion, traced back to the early church and held by those at the margins of mainstream religion. In this view, Jesus’ crucifixion reveals a God in whom there is no violence and who is in rivalry with nothing, not even death. In other words, the glory of God is not that Jesus satisfies the Father’s need for sacrifice. Instead, Jesus reveals God’s true reputation by returning human violence with mercy.


How is God glorifying his name in your life, especially when it comes to fear, loss and your own mortality?


Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Be still
See the complete prayer

Word from Below Reflections

Strange Fruit

On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. Chauvin’s knee was pressed into Mr. Floyd’s neck as he lay face down in the street for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Bystanders pleaded with the officer to stop while Mr. Floyd pleaded for his own life, “I can’t breathe!”...

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When I am lifted up

I had a great conversation with a young man recently who was going to be baptized. I asked him what he thought about God and what he believes God thinks about him. His answer was so authentic. “Well, I know God is there in my life. And I feel him. But if I’m honest, sometimes...

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