Day 367 | Sunday, 21 March 2021
Day 367 | Sunday, 21 March 2021
It is now officially SPRING, and we have all made it through another winter. YEAH!!
The assigned Scripture lessons for this the 5th Sunday in Lent are Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51:1-12, Hebrews 5:5-10 and John 12:20-33.
John 12 is where we find Jesus’ teaching about his death. I am using the Message below. Verse 24 is one that we often hear at a funeral. A more familiar reading might be this one from the CEB: “24 I assure you that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
This is Jesus’ last teaching before his crucifixion. If I were to purchase a package of seeds and just put that package on the shelf, what good would it be. I have to plant the seeds to achieve any product. The more I plant the more they produce. If we hold on to who Jesus is for us and what he means to us, what good is that? As disciples, we have a responsibility to spread who Jesus is and what He means to us.
“In the synoptic gospels, following Jesus requires self-denial, even a willingness to take up one’s own cross. Would-be followers are told that losing one’s life is the way to find (Matthew 10:39), or save (Mark 8:35), or keep (Luke 17:33) it. John 12:25-26 sounds like the synoptic gospels’ sayings relating discipleship and self-denial, but in the context of John, something else is in view.”
“In John, following Jesus is the path of abundant or eternal life (see also John 10:10 and 10:27f.). Also in John, the word “hate” means “reject”; it usually refers to what the world does to Jesus and by extension, to his disciples (see also John 7:7; 15:18-19, 23-25). So when Jesus says, “Those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25b), he is encouraging others to follow his lead in hating (or rejecting) this world’s definition of life as a small and isolated existence. He will not — and his followers should not — grasp and hold the seed and thereby fail to bear much fruit.”
20 There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast.
21 They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: "Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?"
22 Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus.
23 Jesus answered, "Time's up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24 "Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.
25 In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal.
26 "If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you'll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment's notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.
27 "Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? 'Father, get me out of this'? No, this is why I came in the first place.
28 I'll say, 'Father, put your glory on display.'" A voice came out of the sky: "I have glorified it, and I'll glorify it again."
29 The listening crowd said, "Thunder!" Others said, "An angel spoke to him!"
30 Jesus said, "The voice didn't come for me but for you.
Lord, as we continue our journey through Lent, help us to bear much fruit for you as disciples of Jesus. Hear our prayers this day. Amen
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Rev. Douglas Knopp, Pastor Emeritus