Jeremiah was speaking the language of the heart as he prophesied that God was going to write a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. No longer was God’s covenant with God’s called people going to be a set of commandments that were written on stone as was done at Mt. Sinai when Moses received the Ten Commandments. Now, God’s covenant was going to be written on the hearts of God’s people as God said, “No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘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 remember their sin no more.”

Jesus was speaking the language of the heart as he spoke with Andrew and Philip about a request that some Gentiles had made about wishing to see Jesus. The setting for their request was the Jewish festival of Passover when Jewish people remember how God called Moses to lead the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 pilgrims came to Jerusalem annually to observe Passover.

The first part of the observance of Passover occurred on the morning prior to Passover when priests burned leaven as a way of recalling that the Hebrew slaves’ exodus from slavery did not allow time for bread to rise. After the burning of leaven, all work would stop at noon in preparation for the sacrifice of the Passover Lambs at 3:00 p.m. for the second act of remembrance that began with a threefold trumpet blast sounded by Levites who were responsible for assisting the priests in worship. While some Levites sang, others slew the sacrificial animals.

The Passover lambs, with legs unbroken and head attached to the carcass, were returned to the worshipers who were divided into groups of at least ten in number. These companies of worshipers cooked the animals in portable clay ovens, and the meal was served on low tables complete with cushions. Everyone who ate was dressed in festive white and each part of the Passover meal reminded the diners of their heritage as the Passover meal was served as Passover began at sundown.

John reports that it is the context of Passover that some Gentiles, Greeks by nationality, made a heartfelt request of Andrew and Philip, “We wish to see Jesus.” It is in the context of their request that Jesus tells Andrew and Philip how he will be seen as he fulfills the new covenant that Jeremiah had prophesied about by speaking the language of the heart and becomes the Passover Lamb of God who is sacrificed for the sin of the world.

  • “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
  • “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.
  • Whoever serves me must follow me.”
  • “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.”
  • “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.”
  • “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

James Harnish writes about how the language of the heart is spoken through the new covenant of the cross:

The “great Good News of the cross is that God does not love us because we are all that nice or neat or socially acceptable or easy to like …. God does not save us because we believe the right things, say the right things, or do the right things . . . The Good News of the gospel is that ‘God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!’ God loves us — ordinary, everyday, standard-brand sinners that we are — and offers us the extravagant gift of his forgiveness and grace.”

To fully understand who Jesus is in the 12th chapter of John, it is necessary to go back to the 2nd chapter of John to a conversation that Jesus had with his mother. This is the chapter where Jesus performs his first miracle in the Gospel of John as turns water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. Listen to John 2:1-4 for the difference between what Jesus tells Mary at the beginning of his ministry and what Jesus tells Philip and Andrew at the conclusion of his ministry:

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine. And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.

What is the same between the second chapter of John and the twelfth chapter of John? What is the same is Jesus’ concern about being seen for who he truly is as he tells his mother in John 2:4, “My hour has not yet come” and as he tells Philip and Andrew in John 12:23, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

What is the same between the second chapter of John and the twelfth chapter of John? What is the same is that God is establishing a new covenant that will be realized as we say who Jesus is by speaking the language of the heart.

Marshall Mauney spoke of a boy who climbed high into a tree and refused to come down. Throughout dinner – which the parent ate with exaggerated relish in the boy’ sight, remarking frequently about the particular delights of the meal – the boy clung stubbornly to his limb high up in the tree. They tried everything, including threats, bribery, cajolery, lies, warnings, screams. They told him that he would fall and hurt himself, that they would call the fire department, and the firefighters would say what a baby he was. They told him he would catch cold. They tried everything. In desperation, the boy’s mother called the family doctor and told him about what was happening and how they had tried everything they knew to get him to come down from the tree. The doctor aid, “Did you tell him that you wanted him to come down because you loved him and wanted him to be with?” “Well, no, his mother said. She called back a few minutes later to tell the doctor that the boy had been waiting for five hours to hear just that and had come down from the tree.

How are you speaking the language of the heart?

Language of the Heart

by Pastor Marc Brown
March 17, 2024

Accompanying Scriptures: Jeremiah 31:31-34, John 12:20-33

Fort Hill United Methodist Church
Order of Worship for March 17, 2024

Scripture Lesson  Jeremiah 31:31-34, John 12:20-33

The Good News      “Language of the Heart”

Music                          “My Jesus, I Love Thee” Hymn #172



Closing Music      “To Delight in the Lord” by Gerald Peterson

View more Fort Hill United Methodist Church online services.

Follow us: