Sunday 25 March 2012

Bible Book:

"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it does, it bears much fruit." (v. 24)

John 12:20-33 Sunday 25 March 2012


This passage, chosen for Passion Sunday, the next Sunday but onebefore Good Friday, is full of themes common to John's Gospel.There are echoes also of sayings of Jesus in the other Gospels.Compare verses 25 and 26 with Mark8:34-38, and verses 27 and 28 with Mark14:33-36.

Throughout John's Gospel, Jesus reveals God's glory (see John1:14), but most clearly on the cross. That will be the way bywhich God draws all people to the gift of eternal life (verse 32,compare with John 3:14-15). So the request of some Greeks(not Jews by birth, but sympathisers who have come to Jerusalem inthe Passover pilgrimage) to see Jesus is a sign that the time hascome.

Verse 25 provides rather a stark contrast to the preceding verses,but we should not interpret "hate" in the modern sense ofself-hatred. The choice is between prizing all the things we havenow and being prepared to let them go for a deeper and moreenduring life.

Jesus' death will not be the end but the prelude to a newbeginning, just as the burial of a seed leads, in time, to a greatharvest. It is a principle that applies equally to those who wouldfollow Jesus; new life comes from the death of the old.

This is not an easy message, and throughout John's Gospel there arethose who refuse to believe or simply, as here, fail to understand.Judgement (in this case, the testing and division of people intothose for and those against) has taken place from the beginning ofJesus' ministry. His crucifixion will be the supreme act ofjudgement, and the greatest test of faith, making faith impossiblefor some, while to others it will reveal God's glory.

It will not be an easy path for Jesus, but it is what he has comefor, and by it the forces of darkness and evil will be overcome(verses 27 and 31).

To Ponder

What implications do verses 24 and 25 have foryou at this point in your life?

Does the crucifixion of Jesus make it easier orharder to believe in a loving God? Why?

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