Today we're back in the book of John. He has dinner with his buddy Lazarus, whom he just resurrected, and then strolls into Jerusalem. On the way into town many people, having heard about Lazarus, lay down palm branches for Jesus to walk on. It turns out that Jesus rode in on a colt, which was predicted hundreds of years earlier by a writer named Zechariah. In Jerusalem Jesus talks to crowds of people about following him before he’s gone. During this time God responds to Jesus audibly. Some people said that the voice thundered while others said an angel spoke. Either way, it was probably a little weird, but this is a cool reminder that God speaks in different ways.
One of the things Jesus says to people in this chapter is, “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.” Going with the theme of the section, Jesus could be talking about his death. That when he is killed by humanity he will produce many seeds, i.e. have a lasting impact on the world. But Jesus also applies this principle to his followers when he says, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Jesus is saying that someone who puts themselves first in their life will, in the end, lose everything. Conversely, someone who puts God and others first in their life will be taken care of by God.
Jesus is telling us that God doesn’t want our religion. Instead, God wants us to love him and other people; to love in such a way that we die and produce many seeds. How are you doing at loving other people in this way? What do you need to work on and how can you push yourself to grow in this area?
-Written for Verve by Mike Zimmerman