Friday, August 24, 2012

Are You Ready To Die?

 Reading from the Book of John 12:20-25
John 12:20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

At this moment, Jesus had just made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, something prophesied 500 years earlier by the Prophet Zechariah. Large crowds of Jewish people in the city for the Passover Week had just cheered Jesus’ entrance, celebrating the arrival of the prophesied Messiah. Amidst the commotion, a group of Greeks wanted to meet Jesus. When the Disciples informed the Lord, His response taught a profound lesson about His mission and the life of every Christian believer who ever lived.

Many of the people who were following Jesus expected Him to establish an earthly Kingdom for the Jews. This was the moment many had been waiting for. Jesus had performed many miracles, He had taught with the wisdom of the prophets. But the pinnacle would be taking back Jerusalem, which at that time was under Roman occupation and retuning it back to the Jewish people who had lived there for centuries. This would be glory! But when Jesus spoke of being glorified, He was not referring being an earthly ruler.

Jesus uses a simple metaphor to make a very profound point. When the “corn of wheat” or a kernel of grain falls to the ground and withers, the seed is released which brings forth new plants and fruits. This is what Jesus had to do as well. This was the ultimate mission of the “Servant".

Jesus had to die because in His death He took the punishment for our sins. It allowed the wrath of God that every person deserves and has hanging over them for their sinning, to fall on Jesus in our place. With every wound He received on the cross, He was bearing the guilt, shame and sin of all of humanity. And in His death we can be “healed” from the death sentence of Hell all people receive as sinners who are clearly guilty in the eyes of a just and Holy God.

In His death, we literally obtained a way to eternal life. And the fruit is shown in the people coming to seek Him. Who wanted to know the way to salvation. Who wanted to know the way to Heaven. The explosion of the Christian faith throughout the world following the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus are the amazing fruits of His death.

And here is the challenge for the reader or listener. Are you in love with your life on Earth? Are you clinging to living life your way, continuing in sinful behavior and following your own personal desires over pursuing God and His righteousness? If so, then Jesus gives a strong warning: you will lose your life. Many people claim to “follow Jesus” or that “I’m not religious but I follow the teachings of Jesus” but being a true follower of Christ takes more than that. We are to “hate” our lives. What does this mean? It means realizing that we are sinners who have repeatedly and willfully violated God’s laws and as a result stand guilty before Him. And all sinners are destined for eternal damnation. Thus being willing to give up our personal agendas to put faith in Jesus and let His desires take over our lives. To let what pleases God become what pleases us. It means choosing a life of Biblical purity over casual sinning. We do not have to literally die. We have to crucify our former sinful past that only seeks worldly pleasure.

This is what Jesus commanded to strangers who desired to see Him and His glory. And He asks the same of you. Not only will faith in Jesus give eternal life, it gives the new believer a chance to help save the souls of others because now that person can go into the world and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Living a life for Jesus is the “death” that we must all be willing to endure. This is how Jesus is glorified. And the seeds of the Gospel that we can then share with others can bring in much more fruit to the Kingdom of Heaven. So beloved, are you ready die?

1 comment:

Gods Modern Day Martyr said...

Thank You, Jesus, for bearing my griefs and sicknesses, for carrying my pain and sorrow, for being wounded for my sin and obtaining peace and well-being for me. I declare today that by Your stripes, I am healed.