Lenten Readings: Famous Jesus
Ever meet someone famous?
Sometimes it doesn't go as you plan. You bring a pen. A shiny piece of memorabilia. You hold up your Smartphone to show your capabilities for a quick photo.
And they ignore you. They move along with their bodyguards right past you as if you don't exist.
It's much different than the kind and loving boy-next-door he plays on TV.
In today's reading from John 12, a group of Greeks come looking for Jesus. He was like a celebrity at the time. Famous for his teachings and his miracles. I'm sure they were super excited to meet him. But maybe...it didn't go quite like they planned.
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 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. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Can you imagine? The Greeks meet this celebrity who begins talking about death. A strange metaphor about a seed implying his death and the death of those who follow him. Then, the promise of eternal life.
A little strange.
But what was stranger was what happened next.
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
Incredible. Remember this is before the days of the microphone and hefty sound systems. In fact, it's before the days of electricity in general. That means that trickery is right out.
The voice from heaven WAS REAL.
More importantly, it meant that what Jesus was talking about was real. God was giving his divine seal of approval to everything that Jesus had said and did!
This means that YES, Jesus would die. YES, Jesus' death would be a payment for sin. YES, he would rise again. YES, those who put their faith in him as their Savior would have eternal life too!
Just as a seed planted into the ground grows up, produces more seeds, and produces more plants, so would Jesus' death and subsequent resurrection produce more seeds of faith and more living plants. So Jesus' would go into the ground, but then he would spring us. His resurrection would then sprout seeds of faith that grew up into eternal life!
BOTTOM LINE: His death and resurrection means that you too will live eternally!
I guarantee this was not what the Greeks expected from this celebrity. Maybe, all they wanted, was a handshake and a selfie.
But Jesus gave them so much more. He gave them hope.
He gave us hope.
PRAYER: Dear LORD, help me to see you as more than just an important historical figure. Teach me to see you as the divinely sent Messiah. My true, one, and only God. Help me to put my trust wholly and firmly in you. Amen.
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