For those who love, nothing is too difficult, especially when it is done for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Ignatius
SCRIPTURE & DEVOTION: John 12:20-33
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. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
I love how we see such boldness in the Scripture! Have you ever seen anyone famous - in real life? Perhaps a TV star, or a singer? Some of us are bold and unafraid - and will walk right up and talk with that person. Others - not so much. We don't want to "bother" them. We don't think they would want to talk to us.
The Greek people in this passage wanted to see Jesus - up close and personal. Greek culture was different from that of both the Romans and the Jews and sometimes those cultures clashed. While it's likely they stood out as different, they had one thing in common. They had come to worship God. AND they wanted up close contact with Jesus. So they got the "stage manager" or "agent" and put in their request. But we never know why - because this encounter apparently was some kind of signal for Jesus, some kind of sign that NOW is the time. For Jesus says again - Now is the time for the Son of Man to be glorified, to be lifted up. It's going to happen SOON.
And to make sure they get it - He uses a quick illustration. A kernel of wheat that must be planted and then will produce many seeds. Each kernel must go through that process or it will remain just that - ONE kernel. Jesus Himself is the "kernel" that will die and produce many "seeds." He then describes what that looks like in real human life. It looks like dying to self - choosing to give up "our life" - those things that we think are ever so important. Serving Jesus means following Jesus. While following Jesus brings us peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, following Jesus can also be hard.
Bob Goff says this: "Following Jesus means climbing, tripping, dusting ourselves off, and climbing some more. Faith isn't a business trip walked on a sidewalk; it's an adventure worked out on a steep and sometimes difficult trail."
We are on a steep and difficult trail right now. We don't even remember getting on the trail. We have no idea what's around the next corner. But Jesus has promised that as we follow Him, we will be honored by God. We don't serve to earn God's honor, he honors us AS we follow Him. He sees our heart, our motivations, our feeble attempts to love and serve Him, and still He goes to the cross. For each one of us.
Jesus went through the process of being the ONE kernel, giving His life for me, and for the whole world.
Am I willing to go through the process of being ONE kernel in order to produce many seeds, knowing that the process looks like death? Am I willing to surrender? I want to be.
God, the prayer of my heart is that You would make me willing. Make me willing to surrender my selfish desires and make me more aware how I can serve You by serving those those around me.