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Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Today’s Reading | John 12:20–26
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. (NRSV)
When Jesus receives the request from the Greeks who want to see him, he first stays with his disciples for a moment longer—those followers who have seen Jesus exhausted by the throngs of people who, everywhere he goes, crowd around him, hoping to be healed, fed, taught, and touched by him and who can never get enough of him—and says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Trying to save the people he encountered every day along his way, Jesus must have faced the impotence to be everywhere at one time, to bring healing to every disease, to ease every pain, to save every soul.
As Jesus approached the end for which he has lived, he begins to prepare his disciples for it. His death, he wants them to know, will bear much fruit. More precisely, his death will bear much more fruit than his physical life ever could; no longer bound by the laws of nature, he would be raised and glorified by his Father in heaven, and with his Father he would be able to “draw all people” to himself.
There are lessons for us to learn from Jesus, not only about what he did and taught while living a physical life, but also about what he taught in preparation for his death and departure from us. Jesus had to die because by dying he could be raised and by being raised he could draw all people to himself. For us and for everyone who, like us, weren’t around two thousand years ago when Jesus walked the earth, this is good news.
Lord, help me to learn the lessons that you taught not only about the purpose of your life, but also about the purpose of your death. For the sake of your love for all, I pray. Amen.
Written by Joyce Shin, Associate Pastor for Congregational Life
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