Dean’s Lent Addresses 2018: The Passion according to St John – Sentenced to Die

On this page you can find details of the fifth of the Dean of Melbourne’s Lent Addresses 2018, The Passion according to St John: Tried for his kingdom. You can find the first Lent Address here, the second address here, the third here, and the fourth 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 death sentence before Pilate as told in the Passion of St John, and on the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s reflection in a moving chorale that although we may not recognise in the broken man of sorrows the King of all kings, we know that Jesus’ suffering for us in time is an aspect of his eternal sovereignty.

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.

Readings for the Fifth Sunday in Lent:

You first may wish to read the Bible reading on which this talk is based John 18.38-19.16.

Dean’s Address:

Questions for Group Discussion or Individual Reflection:

Reflecting on Dean Andreas’s sermon and our readings today:

  • Why do you think the religious leaders called for Jesus Barabbas (whose name means Bar Abbas, ‘Son of the father’) to be set free, rather than the true Son of the Father, Jesus Christ?
  • Do you believe that Pilate really believed that Jesus was innocent and sought to set him free? If so, why did he not follow up on his intention? Was this powerful tyrant in reality powerless, or was he swayed by popular opinion?
  • What does Jesus mean when he says to Pilate, ‘you would have no power over me unless it was given you from above?’ Where does Pilate’s power come from? Why does Jesus’ power, which is shown forth in powerlessness, last forever and Pilate’s is ultimately broken?
  • Does God suffer? Would Pilate, or the religious authorities, have expected God to be a broken, bleeding man? Is that why there were unable to recognise that Jesus is God?
  • In Johann Sebastian Bach’s chorale heard at the end of the sermon, he suggests that Jesus the only way in which we can repay Jesus for the gift of himself is through giving him our love and allegiance. How can we show forth our love for Jesus in the world?

Dean Andreas’s invitation for the Week ahead:

In the week ahead I encourage you to reflect on Christ’s gift of love for you. I invite you give thanks for the gift of Christ’s mercy, and to pray that we might be given strength to show forth this mercy and love in our own interactions with others this week – in the way we love, and serve others: at home, at work, and in the places in which we worship.

Prayer at the end of your study time:

Lord God, your Son our Saviour
gave his back to the smiters
and did not hide his face from shame:
give us grace to endure the sufferings of this present time
with sure confidence in the glory that shall be revealed;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

© The Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne, 2018

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