Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Good News: Life Through DeathJohn 12:20-26
“Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25)
Many people consider the term “life” as the quality of individual existence. Especially in our individualistic ideology of living, life connotes the span of years a person lives. Its quality is often assessed on the basis of “success,” people achieve. However, according to the Bible, life is a gift from God and should be cherished. It is an opportunity to develop a relationship with God, with others, and to serve the Lord and other people. Therefore, the quality of life depends on the ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ that extends to the gift of eternal life. St. John portrays Jesus as the source of life. Verse 21 introduces the impact of people’s desire to meet Jesus.
Seeing Jesus means abandoning other dimensions of one’s existence characterized with fear, greed, anger and resentment. Human guilt and disappointments, attachment to power, wealth, and reputation; our obsessions, compulsions, and emotional agendas impair our relationship with God, and fellow beings. However, encounters with Jesus leads to overcoming one’s idea of self-sufficiency. Often, people’s search for relationship with Christ is misunderstood as entering into contact with those who possess the good news of the kingdom of God. However, today’s text suggests that more than the eloquence of the messenger, it is the salvific interference of Christ that people seek for.
Jesus’s answer to Philip, and Andrew declares the imminence of his death. He announces that the hour has now come, in contrast to his earlier answers as “the hour has not yet come,” (John 2:4, 7:30). This is the hour of the cross. Jesus’s answer to the query of Greek youngsters may denote the expansion of Johannine understanding about the recipients of salvation. The analogy is interpreted as Jesus is the grain of wheat that falls into the ground and dies so that it bears much fruit (12:24). Jesus explained this in relation to discipleship (12:25-26): His followers must also lose their lives even as Jesus would lose His. Such death with a purpose is portrayed as entry into the glory of Christ. The arrogant works of sinners are rendered meaningless by the cross, revealing Jesus' grandeur. By serving as the ultimate illustration of God's perfect love and justice, the crucifixion demonstrates Jesus' splendor as well. Therefore, death that brings life for many is venerated as engaging with Christ and accepting one’s vulnerabilities. Our brothers and sisters in Manipur, who suffer in the name of their faith in Christ, challenge us to revisit our relationship and commitment to the faith in Christ. Can we accept suffering?
Lord, we glorify you for everyone who dare to believe in You as the savior amidst various sufferings, and challenges to be firm in faith. I commit myself to be a witness of God’s salvation. Amen
Thought for the Day
How can I give up myself for the glory of God?
Rev. Dr. Pramod Zachariah
Epiphany MTC, New York