Daily Devotion - Tuesday, March 22, 2016
12:24 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. 12:25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. - John 12:24-26
Jesus tried to help his disciples understand the meaning of selfless sacrifice. He tried to help them to see clearly why his impending death was necessary--as a way to demonstrate the restorative, reconciling power of God through resurrection. Jesus connects his teaching with the way Creation works--that when something dies in Creation, something else has a chance to live.
When you think about it, everything that you will eat today was created because something died in order to give you life-giving nourishment. Jesus put it like this, "...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." Bread. Meat. Vegetables. Wine. All of these are signs and symbols of God's restorative, resurrecting work.
As we continue through Holy Week, we will find more and more opportunities to affirm the truth of the restorative, resurrecting work of God in the world through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We will also find more opportunities to live into that truth with our own lives.
Jesus said a lot of difficult things to people--challenging things that were sometimes hard to understand, and even harder to embrace. But one of the most challenging things that Jesus ever said is contained here in today's lectionary passage from the Gospel of John chapter 12 verse 25: "Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life."
When you hear this passage of Scripture without the context of selfless sacrifice, and without a full understanding of the way the restorative, reconciling power of God works, it seems like an impossibility. Jesus is simply offering further affirmation of the truth of God's power--how when something (in this case the "love" of ordinary life) dies, something else (the discovery of eternal life) has a chance to live.
In other words, when I finally decide to let my notions of what is most important die, what's most important to God in my life will flourish and live. When I let my ideas about happiness, success, power and love fall to the floor, what rises are God's plans for true happiness, true success, true power and true love.
May you experience the death of your desires, purposes, dreams, and notions of grandeur. May you also experience the resurrection and restoration of those notions made new and reconciled with God's desires, purposes, dreams and glory. May you know the joy of eternal life lived to the fullest, right here, right now, today and tomorrow. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.