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As we approach the end of the Lenten season, our gospel reading this week from John 12:20-33 offers a profound glimpse into the heart and mission of Jesus. In this passage, we find Jesus grappling with the weight of His impending death while also revealing the transformative power that comes through laying down one's life.

The scene opens with some Greeks seeking to speak with Jesus, a subtle indication that His message and influence were spreading beyond the Jewish community. When their request is brought to Jesus, He responds with a powerful statement: "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." (v. 23) 

But what does Jesus mean by being "glorified"? He goes on to explain using an agricultural metaphor: "Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (v. 24) Jesus is showing that true life and fruitfulness come not through clinging to self-preservation, but through self-sacrifice. He is foreshadowing His own death, burial and resurrection.

In the following verses, Jesus wrestles with the anguish of what lies ahead, saying "Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour." (v. 27) Jesus, fully divine yet fully human, experiences the same fear and dread that any of us would feel in the face of suffering and death. Yet He resolutely chooses obedience to the Father's will, knowing that His sacrifice will defeat the powers of sin and death and draw all people to Himself (v. 32).


So what does this mean for us today? The central principle Jesus teaches here is that the pathway to experiencing the fullness of eternal life is through dying to self. As He says, "Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life." (v. 25) This isn't a call to despise the gift of life itself, but rather an invitation to let go of our own self-centeredness, earthly ambitions and comforts for the sake of Christ and the gospel.

What might this "dying to self" look like in our daily lives? It could mean:

  • Offering forgiveness to someone who has deeply hurt us
  • Sacrificing our time, resources or reputation to serve others in need
  • Surrendering a cherished dream or desire to follow God's leading
  • Humbling ourselves to put others' needs ahead of our own
  • Enduring suffering, persecution or loss for the sake of our faith

Dying to self is never easy, but as we embrace this sacrificial way of Jesus, we open ourselves up to the miraculous resurrection life that He offers. As we decrease, Christ increases in and through us (John 3:30), producing a harvest of righteousness and drawing others to Him.

Friends, as we walk through this Lenten journey, may we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. May we find comfort in knowing that He understands our fears and struggles, and strength in His promise that those who give up their lives for His sake will find true, abundant life. May we, like Jesus, have the courage to say: "Father, glorify your name!" (v. 28), trusting that God will bring forth beauty and new life from even the darkest of places.