Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
John 12:20-36 (NRSV)
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”
After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.
At the core of the drama of Jesus’ final week is the question of his relation to the crowds, not just to the Jews, but to some Greeks and by extension to all people. In a nutshell, what was at stake in this incident was the issue of diversity, inclusivity, and multiculturalism in the gospel. Jesus’ response “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit,” has been related to his death and resurrection. However, in the context of the passage it points towards the very practical issue of how to deal with multiculturalism in today’s global world.
Those of us committed to serve Jesus must follow him (verse 26) in resisting the ethnocentric and power-driven trends of our culture and walk in his light so that the darkness, which is the fear of and hatred directed at “the other,” may not overtake us (verse 35). Unless our lives, ministries, and churches become open to this pattern that Jesus exemplified, we won’t recognize the difference between a “lifestyle of abundance” and a “way of life abundant.”
God, my soul is troubled. Your invitation to hate my life in this world puts me at odds with all that surrounds me. Help me to glorify your name as Jesus did. Amen.
Go with God.