Tuesday 11 April 2017

Bible Book:

“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (v. 24)

John 12:20-36 Tuesday 11 April 2017

Psalm: Psalm 71


Today is Tuesday, the third day of Holy Week. This part ofJohn's Gospel recorded the events of the last days of Jesus'ministry. Even though the disciples did not especially want tolisten and did not understand, John's account in these passages hadJesus preparing them for his death. It is as if he wanted to givethe disciples tools to interpret the events that would come.Meanwhile, the political pressure to silence Jesus was growing.

Part of Jesus' appeal to people was his earthy, everydaylanguage. Talking about his death and resurrection, he usedexamples from the natural world and analogies that everyone couldunderstand. So instead of speaking of concepts with technicalnames, he made a simple analogy: to grow, a grain of wheat must beburied in the ground, and split open. It must be lost entirely forit to grow into a sheaf of wheat, bearing in its turn many moregrains. Would we grieve the loss of the single grain of wheat?Perhaps. Yet the point of the grain is make more grains. It is itsessence, its natural purpose and best life.

Jesus' disciples would grieve his death deeply. Even as theybegan to experience the joy of his resurrection, they missed hispresence and wished for the return of their friend. It is unnaturalnot to grieve the passing of someone we love, with whom we haveshared experiences, purpose, and friendship. And yet, our lives tooare grains of wheat to fall in their own time, Jesus taught. Notbefore time, and not to no purpose. Embracing this simple idea wasJesus' definition of eternal life, expressed in verse 25: "… thosewho love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in thisworld will keep it for eternal life".

Jesus used common sense in his teaching: keep walking while youhave the light, because it is fading (verse 35). Alongside hisconfused disciples this week, while the light fades towards GoodFriday and his death, we study his words and still try tounderstand.

To Ponder

  • If you have a belief in eternal life, what part does that playin grief at the death of a loved one?
  • Do you think Jesus knew and understood in advance what wasgoing to happen to him? Why? What difference do you think thismade?
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