Lent Devotional Day 28

Day 28
Tuesday, March 21

John 12:20-36

20 Some Greeks were among those who had come up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and made a request: “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew, and Andrew and Philip told Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “The time has come for the Human One[a] to be glorified. 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. 25 Those who love their lives will lose them, and those who hate their lives in this world will keep them forever. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me. Wherever I am, there my servant will also be. My Father will honor whoever serves me.

27 “Now I am deeply troubled.[b] What should I say? ‘Father, save me from this time’? No, for this is the reason I have come to this time. 28 Father, glorify your name!”Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”29 The crowd standing there heard and said, “It’s thunder.” Others said, “An angel spoke to him.”

30 Jesus replied, “This voice wasn’t for my benefit but for yours. 31 Now is the time for judgment of this world. Now this world’s ruler will be thrown out. 32 When I am lifted up[c] from the earth, I will draw everyone to me.” (33 He said this to show how he was going to die.)

34 The crowd responded, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Human One[d] must be lifted up? Who is this Human One?”[e] 35 Jesus replied, “The light is with you for only a little while. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness don’t know where they are going. 36 As long as you have the light, believe in the light so that you might become people whose lives are determined by the light.” After Jesus said these things, he went away and hid from them.

These verses, when first reading them at face value, feel like a tall order that Jesus places in front of us; especially when using powerful words such as “love,” “hate,” and “serve.” Is Jesus asking us to hate our lives in order to keep our life? What kind of life would that be if we hated it?

Thankfully, I do not believe that Jesus is speaking in so simple terms.
For me, and where I am in my faith journey, I take Jesus telling the crowd that “those who hate their lives in this world will keep them” as an echo of the notion to being in the world, but not of the world. So not to “hate” our lives (for love is surely stronger than hate) but to live a fuller life in Jesus Christ. Christian mystic Thomas Merton explains it well in saying, “It is only when we are detached from ourselves that we can be at peace with ourselves”. Essentially, when we forego living only for ourselves and serving our ego we truly begin to live a life of love and peace. Jesus exemplifies how to live a life that magnifies that divine love through serving others in the name of the Father.

I find that my love for this life is at its most bountiful when I approach life in thanksgiving to God. When I hear a bird sing, when the wind causes my windchimes to stir, when I see a stranger smile; I am witnessing the presence of God. Life with Jesus turns the mundane into miracles.

This worldly life is only temporary, but life with Christ is everlasting. The breath of the Holy Spirit gives us a new life worthy to truly love. Life with Jesus is better, and I believe that. I hope to hold on loosely and let go lightly to my “dead” life of this world and to embrace a resurrected life of love and service through Christ Jesus.

My Sweet Lord, thank you so much for the opportunity to come unto your word with a curious mind and an open heart. Thank you for sending you son, Jesus the Christ, to live and die so that we may be given a life that is truly worthy of love. May we, through your love, exemplify a life of love and service that brings you the honor and the glory. You are amazing, God. You are worthy of all praise. May we seek you and see you in this life so that we may be where you are. It is in your heavenly name that we pray. Amen.

By Zach Adams

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