Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jesus Didn't Tap - A Sermon Remembered

During Lent, the pastor at my church (Woodforest Presbyterian Church) delivered a couple of outstanding sermons. I wanted to immediately write about them to share with you, but my busy schedule made that impossible. As it turns out, I have only been able to find the bulletin to one of those sermons, and I don’t remember the bible readings for the other.

My memory is hazy on the actual sermon, so this is a brief recap of what it said to me. And while I don’t know what my preacher called the sermon, I’m calling this...

Jesus Didn’t Tap

The bible readings:

Jeremiah 31:31-34:

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

John 12: 20-33 (Sermon text)

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show by what death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?”

My youngest daughter takes martial arts lessons, and a popular clothing amongst these enthusiasts contains the phrase “Jesus Didn’t Tap.” Here’s the link to the clothing line. For the longest time, I watched each new design proudly worn. And I wondered, what did it mean?

Through a Google search and conversation with other parents, I learned that in martial arts, a participant will “tap” when they give up. They tap the floor, indicating an end to the match, a concession, a surrender. They tap to avoid further injury.

Jesus didn’t tap though, despite the fact that he knew what was ahead of him. When the Greeks came to see Jesus just days before his crucifixion, he knew then what was coming. He would be persecuted. He would suffer. Jesus could have said, “Father, save me from this hour,” but he didn’t. He knew his purpose and he stayed true.

Thanks be to God - Jesus didn’t tap and our iniquities are forgiven.

Have you heard a particularly good sermon that has spoken to you?