We enjoyed our virtual coffee time on Sunday. We laughed a lot and shared interesting experiences. But as we moved into the time of sharing prayer requests, it was obvious that in just one week many very significant, even heavy, prayer requests had arisen. Many people are now praying for friends and loved ones in difficult circumstances. It is good to know that we support one another in prayer in difficult times.
As John follows Jesus through the final week leading up to Jesus' crucifixion, he takes us to today’s account in John 12:20-33 (Click to read or listen). Some foreigners, having heard of Jesus' fame, asked to be introduced to him. Jesus’ reply was one they surely could not have understood, but was one for the consideration of the ages: the paradox of death and life.
"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."
Applying this to himself, Jesus boldly embraced the paradoxes: the seed that dies produces much fruit; by his death Jesus defeats the devil; Jesus draws people to himself to be saved by being raised up in horrific death.
Jesus says the same paradox exists in our lives as well: we must reject our self-made lives and accept the life that only Jesus offers; we shun our lives to gain eternal life. In so doing, we are freed from the slavery of the fear of death (Heb. 2:14-15).
In this time of global pandemic fear, we need Jesus. Jesus did not shy away from the reason he had come to that hour of death, but embraced it. In so doing so—in so dying—he lived the most fruitful life that has ever been lived. Jesus was glorified in life, in death, in newness of life. So, even with a troubled heart, he went resolutely to the cross.
So we, too, go resolutely through this week towards Easter, knowing that death is not the end of the story, but the means to life. Take a moment and look outside and see the evidence of this paradox in the new growth of Spring. Thank Jesus for embracing death. Thank Jesus for conquering your fear of death. Thank God for new life in Jesus.
Our song today, suggested by Bill vG, is "Death Be Not Proud" by Audrey Assad.
In closing, let’s pray together as Jesus taught us to pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Take this blessing with you today: