John 12:20-26 (NLT)
Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem to attend the Passover 21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24 The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone–a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 All those who want to be my disciples must come and follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And if they follow me, the Father will honor them.”
Shelter Covenant Church
One of the deep paradoxes of this “following Jesus” business is what Jesus describes in our reading today. Some Greeks really wanted to spend time with Jesus. You would think he would say, “Right on! Come on in.” He never answers their question. Instead, he goes into an analogy about a kernel of wheat. Jesus is giving his disciples the entire enchilada of UP, IN, and OUT in a very short statement. “My time has come,” said Jesus, “to be glorified (UP). In order to love the Father, I will give my life.” Jesus’ giving his life on the cross is the very essence of the presence of God, or his glory. It certainly doesn’t look like glory, but that is the place of Jesus and His worship of the Father. That’s a paradox.
This is also the essence of Jesus (OUT) into the world. The Greeks’ showing up is John’s way of saying, “The time has come for the whole world to now be drawn by the power of the Holy Spirit to Jesus.” (v. 32) The only way this can happen is for Jesus to die and fall to the ground, like a kernel of wheat, producing many seeds. That’s not a good leadership model. That’s a paradox.
The paradox comes full circle back to his disciples (IN). He says to us, “If you love your life, you lose it. If you hate your life, you keep it.” This is good Christian lingo for “DIE TO EVERYTHING THAT IS CLOSER TO YOU THAN JESUS.” Ask yourself the question, “Am I growing in my UP, IN and OUT?” If you’re not, you’re probably not dying. No need to get in a panic when your faith is stale. Simply ask Jesus where you need to die, and, sure enough, you will start growing again.
Jesus, show us where we need to die to all the choices and attachments that keep us from being where You are. Amen.
Dialog discuss: I think the Eastern Church is very practical. They just want to encounter God and then they can learn from the bible about this experience, so they become practical. In the West we tend to be more theoretical an linear -1,2,3 – step by step. In the East most of the churches face persecution and problems and it makes them ore open to God and hungry for revival and depending on Him so their passion is more. Eddy Leo Chief Elder, Abba-Love Church Jakarta.