Lenten Devotional: April 11
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 honour.” John 12:20-26
The Gospel According to John is often quite a mystery. And this passage is no exception. Scholars believe this incident occurred between the time Jesus entered Jerusalem and the Last Supper. Greeks, who many believed had converted to Judaism (or believed in the Hebrew god), wanted to converse with the rumored Messiah.
Jesus knows that men are coming for him. Many scholars say that Jesus anticipates this as the time he fully reveals his divineness through suffering, death, and resurrection; that he spreads God’s grace by falling and coming back to life more fully like a sprouting seed; that clinging to an empty life is meaningless without God.
I like to absorb this passage on a more personal level. It is so easy to get caught up in life’s demands and noise. In fact, life’s stresses can be overwhelming. Jesus shows us that if we try and take on all of life’s challenges alone, we cannot grow or get ahead. By taking up the nourishment God offers us in the soil, we can sprout and grow and be strong. We ultimately lose our life without God, but more fully live and learn to be happy with the grace that God is always offering us.