Friday, May 4, 2012

John 12:20-26

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast.  They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”  Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. (John 12:20-22)

It would be so easy to just skip past these verses, but remembering that John was extremely selective I checked out what Jon Courson had to say about this group of Greeks coming to see Jesus. Glad I did! He points out that at Jesus’ birth, the Gentile Magi came from the East to seek Him out and worship Him. Here, just before His death, Gentiles come from the West. Whether or not they came to worship or just out of intellectual curiosity (which would be a Greek mindset), Jesus makes it clear that the only way to truly follow Him is the way of death.

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (vs.23-26)

God’s ways are so not our ways! And unless we view everything from the perspective of the Cross, we’ll miss what He has for us. When He divides, He does it to multiply; when He subtracts, He does it to add; and if we want life, it must be through death. Jon Courson writes that in this final public discourse Jesus gives the secret of life: “Get a life,” people say. And Jesus tells us how. “Get a life,” He says, “not by asserting yourself, not by pampering your self, not by changing yourself - but by dying to self.” (Courson, Application Commentary: New Testament, P. 540).

If we live only for self - that’s all we’ll get: one life that ends in death. But if we die to self, we will not only find eternal life, but there will be multiplication of life as we bring others to Christ. If we want eternal life, we must follow Jesus into death. Courson points out that there are so many questions we will have throughout our lives, for which we may never get answers. “Why did my child die, Lord?” “Why am I in this loveless marriage?” “Why didn’t I get that job I’ve been praying for?” “Why did the cancer return?” If we will just take it all to the Cross, and remember that it is in dying that we live, we will be able to trust Him. How can we NOT trust the One Who loved us so much that He resolutely turned toward the Cross, knowing the agony He faced there, in order to bring us to the Father?

In the next passage we will get a glimpse of His agony, along with His focus.  

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