On this page you can find details of the third of the Dean of Melbourne’s Lent Addresses 2018, The Passion according to St John: Tried for his faith. You can find the first Lent Address here, and the second Lent address here.
For Christians, Lent is a period of renewal and growth.
In this address, the Dean of Melbourne, the Very Revd Dr Andreas Loewe, reflects on Jesus’s trial before the religious authorities as told in the Passion of St John, and on the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s reflection in a moving chorale that it was our own transgressions that led to Jesus’ suffering.
You can read the readings Dean Andreas reflects on in his talk, and you can watch his talk.
When you have done so, you may wish to use the questions for group reflection our congregations are using for their Lent discussion, You may wish to conclude by praying the prayer used at our Lent discussion.
Readings for the Third Sunday in Lent:
You first may wish to read the Bible readings on which this talk is based 1 Corinthians 4.7-15 and John 18.13-14, 19-24.
Questions for Group Discussion or Individual Reflection:
- Reflecting on Dean Andreas’s sermon and our reading today, why do you think Jesus is being questioned about his teaching? What might have been so threatening to his questioners about his message?
- In his sermon, Dean Andreas reminds us that John makes clear that it was the religious establishment who sought to silence Jesus because he was a popular teacher among the people. What do we do to maintain power and influence, and when might we silence others in order to maintain our own prestige and position?
- Jesus told his questioner that he had taught publicly, and that his record spoke for himself. A servant of the temple authorities struck him for insolence. Are there times when we turn our back to the public record and would want to strike off the uncomfortable truth?
- The composer Johann Sebastian Bach makes the link between our own sinfulness and Jesus’ suffering ‘I, I and my sins … have provoked the distress that strikes you’ . In this light, what may ‘turning from sin and turning to Christ’ mean to you? What may we need to confess and give up in ourselves to be better followers of Jesus?
Dean Andreas’s invitation for the Week ahead:
God laid on Christ the sins and shortcomings of this world. This insight is as shocking as int would have been in the first century, when Paul wrote in our epistle that ‘death is at work in us’. It was not a particular group of religious or political leaders that led Jesus to die, but our sinfulness. The cause of Jesus’ death, then, lies in each one of us, just as the hope for Jesus’ life is freely given to each of us. In the week ahead, I invite you to lay before God those things that are deadly and kill, and ask for his grace and forgiveness. Ask that God would renew you by the life that Christ won for us when he took on our sins.
A Prayer at the end of your study time:
Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ turned his face to his betrayer, and let himself be struck by his captors: as we reflect on his suffering on our behalf, help us to lay before him our own sinfulness and acknowledge that it is our shortcomings that led him to the cross. Instil in us a spirit of humility and grace, and restore us to the life that he came to bring through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
© The Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne, 2018