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Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Today’s Scripture Reading | John 12:20–36
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.
“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. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 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.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”
After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them. (NRSV)
Remembering the sights and sounds of Jerusalem during a Fourth Church Mission trip in 2007, I can picture Jesus entering Jerusalem with a large crowd following him after he had raised Lazarus from the dead. You can just feel the collective heartbeat of the crowd—the gentle pushing as they anticipate what is next and the clamor to be near Jesus. Jesus must have silenced the crowd when he said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Something is different—the hour has come? You can just feel the crowd take a deep breath—waiting, wondering.
Then Jesus continued: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Did this talk of dying create a stir and side discussions? Did the words resonate or confuse? A grain of wheat dying and bearing much fruit. A charge to follow Jesus. It seems that Jesus is telling us we better stop just being spectators and be participants—examine our lives and consider a new way of being.
Then thunder erupted. Can you picture the crowd’s concern now, as they reassured each other that angels were speaking to Jesus? Jesus says, “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” Now I expect I might be uncomfortable—thinking this was more than I expected out of this outing to Jerusalem.
Jesus responds, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you.” We are called to follow.
The hour has come. Not only in Lent, but every day I am reminded to examine my soul, to walk in the light, and be ready.
Dear Lord, the hour has come. You gave your life so I could have eternal life. What a gift. Help me to look deep in my heart at the places within me that need to die, knowing that each one is a grain of wheat containing much fruit. May your light shine through me in all I do and say in the ministry of your love. Amen.
Written by Marc Miller, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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