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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Jesus Predicts His Death – John 12:20-33

Seeking Greeks (Gentiles)

          Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. V20 A remnant of Gentiles came to worship Jesus at the Feast of Passover. They could come into the Temple only as far as the Court of the Gentiles and no further. Perhaps some of the Gentile merchandizers had seen Jesus turn over the tables of the moneychangers and merchandizers, and their interest in Jesus was peaked. Jesus did not turn these gentiles away even as He also embraced women to be His disciples. Jesus came into the world to provide atonement for all.
            These Greeks went to Philip and said, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”v21  These seeking Greeks would be the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ going out to the whole world. These seeking Greeks wanted to see Jesus for themselves. They are seeking the Truth. We can hear about Jesus but until we experience Him and see Him for our self, our vision is dim.
            Jesus is no longer physically on earth except in His Body of believers. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit work through true believers. Do people see Jesus in you? It is through our actions, words and deeds that Jesus is seen. We are His ambassadors. In other words, we represent Him which means that we are to emulate Him.
            Jesus responds to these seeking Gentiles in an unusual way. He predicts His death.

The Hour

            “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” V23  Jesus tells Philip that the hour  of His glorification has come. It would come in the form of His death on the cross. Previously, Jesus had said that His “hour had not come.” (see John 2:4) His glorifying God would come at a cost. Jesus was willing to pay the ultimate cost to defeat evil and give us the power to fight it.Jesus came to glorify God in everything He did and spoke. Glorifying God was more important than His own comfort. He knew why God sent Him to earth. Jesus saw His death as glorification rather than tragedy.
            Satan and his evil host are still carrying on their evil deeds but His doom is sealed. His hour will also come when He will be thrown into the lake of fire forever to eternal damnation. Jesus will soon be raised to eternal life in Paradise after His death. Those who love and follow Jesus will also be raised to eternal life in Paradise with the Godhead.

Kernel of Wheat

          Jesus used a “natural” kernel of wheat to illustrate the way to fruit and multiplication. “I tell you the Truth, 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.” John 12:23  Again, Jesus uses the “natural” to teach “spiritual” truth. Until a seed is dried out and then buried in the ground, does it bring life. Jesus too had to die for sin and be buried before He could bring spiritual life to all who believe in Him. He had to die to the flesh to live in the Spirit. The same is true for His followers. We must willingly let Jesus and the Holy Spirit put our fleshly. sinful ways to death so His righteous spiritual life can take root in us. Those who let the Seed of God – the Word – take root in us through willing obedience and faith and the power of the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit of the Spirit and will bring others to Jesus for eternal life. Others will see Jesus in us. In the “natural,” the plant or the fruit of a tree has the seed within that produces more fruit and more seeds. The same is true in the “spiritual.” When the spiritual seed of the Word of God – both the written and the Living Word Jesus – abides in believers through faith and obedience, it produces the fruit of the Spirit that produces more seeds and more fruit.
            Gardeners are methodical in their methods. They place seeds in rows neatly at the right depth and distance apart. But, Jesus the Sower of the seed (Word) in the parable of the Sower, casts His seed in all kinds of terrain – even the hard to reach places. He asks us to do the same. He wants all to have the opportunity to hear and receive His Word. He wants people to understand it and bear fruit.  Not everyone will receive it, but those who love and follow Jesus have the responsibility of sharing His Word regardless of how others respond. Cast the seed of His Truth whenever and wherever you can, and pray that it lands in soil that is receptive.
            Jesus said that we are to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Matthew 6:33
            Jesus goes on to say in John 12:25, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (see also Ephesians 4:24) When we give our earthly life – our selfish ways and ambitions --to Jesus through laying down our fleshly ways and obeying His Word and ways, we breathe His life into us, produce fruit and bring others to Jesus. The Word reminds all true believers that they "have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. As we allow Jesus to recreate us into His image and likeness, we will be of eternal value to Him and the Father. People from every nation, tribe and tongue will be drawn to Jesus through the life and actions of His true followers. Loving our earthly ways and life will result in losing life, but hating our fleshly life and its ways and taking up Jesus’ ways will give us eternal life beginning right here on earth. We are to value heavenly interest far above those of this earth. Our citizenship is in heaven – a higher realm. Peter said, “What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” 2 Peter 11-12 

Follow Me

          Jesus goes on to say, “Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.” John 12:26 To follow Jesus means that we walk in the ways that He walked – grace and Truth, faith and obedience to the will of the Father. Everything that Jesus did while on earth was to bring honor and glory to His Heavenly Father. Following Jesus includes self-denial and taking up one’s cross. Those who truly follow Jesus will be honored by the Father as the Father honors Jesus because of His perfect obedience to His will. Jesus wants us to develop spiritual character – God’s ways in motion.

                   (To be continued)

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