Monday of Holy Week
185. Jesus explains why he must die: John 12:20-36
John wrote this gospel for the world (John 1:29, 3:16, 4:42, 6:33, 8:12) and wanted to include the visit of these Greek seekers of truth. They were "other sheep" outside the Jewish fold (John 10:16, 11:51-52). Philip had a Greek name. Perhaps that is why they approached him.
Jesus knew that His time had come, and things were moving very fast now. It was time for the Son of Man to be glorified. Glory is a key word in the rest of the gospel of John, especially in the coming "Upper Room Discourse" (John 12:28; 13:31-32; 14:13; 17:1; 4-5, 22, 24).
Jesus uses the visual picture of the seed to illustrate that the path to glory involves death. The seed, by itself, is useless, but if it goes into the cold, dark earth. It must submit to this so that it might grow and sprout and bear fruit. We must surrender too, as Jesus did. We have a fruitful life when we follow Jesus Christ in death, burial, and resurrection.
Jesus called men to "follow" Him (John 12:26). The Amplified Bible reads, "cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying." WOW!
Jesus was in turmoil about becoming sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21), but He needed to be lifted up on a cross to "draw all men unto Himself" (John 12:32), to glorify the Father (12:27), and defeat Satan (12:31).
The people were still confused: How could the Messiah die? Was He the Son of Man of Daniel 7:13-14? If He died, how could He have an eternal dominion?
Jesus encouraged them to put their intellectual musings aside and believe in the Light (John 1:4, 9; 8:12; 12:46) and become sons of Light while there was still time!
186. Most people do not believe in Jesus: John 12:37-43
Most did not come to the Light! Isaiah had prophesied of it long ago in Isaiah 53. Many of John's metaphors and themes are from Isaiah. Compare Isaiah 61:1 with John 8:36; 58:8 and 42:7 with 9:39; 40:11 with 10:1-21; and 43:19 and 45:22 with 10:16.
187. Jesus summarizes his message: John 12:44-50
A number of the basic themes in John’s Gospel run through this message: God sent the Son; to see the Son means to see the Father; Jesus is the Light of the world; His words are the very words of God; faith in Him brings salvation; to reject Him is to face eternal judgment. In fact, the very Word that He spoke will judge those who have rejected it and Him! (The Bible Exposition Commentary, Jn 12:37)
A Grain of Wheat and Discipler's Prayer
I cannot even remember why I flipped, but I did. It was fall term of my senior year of college, and I had no idea about my future, and I was really stressed. I flipped out on the phone with my discipler. I cannot even remember what triggered it.
I thought, for sure, she would cut me out of her life, but I found this typed page in my mailbox later that night. I still have it framed and on my wall. It brings tears to my eyes even to read it today. It came from a heart that cared and wanted me to grow to be like Jesus, just as Jesus cares for us and gave His life for us so that we might conform to His image:
I want you to be one of the best [wo]men that ever lived—to see God and to reveal Him to men. This is the burden of my prayers. My whole being goes out in passionate entreaty to God that He will give me what I ask. I am sure He will, for the request is after His own heart.
I do not pray that you may 'succeed in life' or 'get on' in the world. I seldom even pray that you may love me better, or that I may see you oftener in this or any other world—much as I crave for this. But I ask, I implore, that Christ may be formed in you, that you may be made not in a likeness suggested by my imagination, but in the image of God—that you may realise, not mine, but His ideal, however much that ideal may bewilder me, however little I may fail to recognise it when it is created.
I hate the thought that out of love for me you should accept my presentation—my feeble idea—of the Christ. I want God to reveal His Son in you independently of me—to give you a first-hand knowledge of Him whom I am only beginning to see. Sometimes more selfish thoughts will intrude, but this represents the main current of my prayers; and if the ideal is to be won from heaven by importunity, by ceaseless begging, I think I shall get it for you.She wrote under this:
"The words belong to--Forbes Robinson (of Cambridge) writing to a friendbut they express my heart'sdesire for you –and, I trust,
yours for me.I love you
because of Jesus,Sheryl19 Nov. 1980
What hit me more than anything was the picture she drew at the bottom of the page:5:25 p.m."
That simple grain of wheat falling unto the earth still gets me so many years later.
Die to live.
Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross to show us how to truly live. We surrender all. Amen.