Loving life? Or Hating It?
When Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey for the Passover in John 12, we see Him recieve a heroes welcome fit for a military leader. Why? Because the Jewish people thought that He was going to be the saviour, sent from God, that would upend the Roman empire that was ruling over them.
But guess what? God's view of giving these people freedom was quite different to what they expected. He was going to give them freedom from the very thing that kept them seperate from truly knowing the God that created them. In doing so, Jesus did so for us too and all humanity forever.
What Freedom Looks Like
"Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, 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. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life." - John 12:23-25
In this passage Jesus highlights majorly significant truths about Himself and about us.
1. He had to die for us to live. Like how a grain of wheat has to die in the ground before it germinates, Jesus also had to die on the cross, under penalty for the wrongdoing of all humanity, in order for the fruit of salvation to be brought forth. It Jesus did not die, we would all still have to answer for our sin before God one day. But because He died on our behalf and sprang forth in life from death when He rose again, we are forgiven before God of our wrong doing by putting our faith in Jesus and are brought forth into true life.
2. Our time on earth will end, but life can continue eternally. Jesus warns us to not get too attached to life here on earth because everything we are amassing for ourselves, evering we are building and aquiring and seeking will be over one day. Even in the blink of an eye, right now our lives could change.... a job is lost, someone dies, there's a serious accident, a family member goes astray. But He encourages us to look eternally and build things of eternal worth by most highly prizing and valuing living for God.
John Calvin put it this way:
"We ought to despise life so far as it hinders us from living to God; for if meditation on the heavenly life were the prevailing sentiment of our hearts the world would have no influence in detaining us."
What Will People Think?!?
Through our passage we see a number of senior Jewish leaders actually starting to believe in Jesus but then not confessing Him because they feared the rejection that might happen if they did (John12:42-43).
They are effectively gaining their orientation in life from the people and culture around them rather than from the God that made them, knows them, loves them and designed them for a purpose.
This is not a phenomenon unique to these ancient jewish leaders. It is an attitude that is active in our lives right now. In short: we do it too!
We Are Pilgrims
Consider a time when you went on holiday. You explored everything there was to see and really made the most of the place. Now think about where you live. Do you make the most of where you live now? Do you throw yourself into it like you do when you visit a new place?
Probably not! This passage challenges us to pass through life as pilgrims. Yes, we invest in our communities but the prevailing sentiment of our hearts is that Jesus is number one. As pilgrims bound for the heavenly life, we will end us being bolder and less hindered in making the love of Jesus known in the place where we live.
The invitation of this scripture is for us to come to God in prayer and ask Him these questions:
1. What area of my life have I been knowingly or unknowling holding back from You?
2. Why am I holding that area back? It could be a fear, a wrong belief, an attitude or assumption.