SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Jesus has dinner with some people, including Lazarus, whom he recently resurrected.
- Jesus then heads into Jerusalem, and people lay out a "red carpet" of palm branches, which a prophet named Zechariah from the Old Testament had predicted centuries earlier.
- One of Jesus' favorite nicknames for himself was the "son of man" (a reference from the Old Testament book of Daniel, chapter 7, verses 13-14, that indicated that Jesus was God and judge of the world). In this chapter, people question what he means by "son of man."
- In verse 40 there is a quote from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. The point isn't that God doesn't want people to understand and believe, but that some people stubbornly refuse to listen or believe, and God allows their hearts to be hardened towards him.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- In this chapter Jesus says in verse 24, “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.” This is true of Jesus' death: He will be killed, but it will produce many "seeds" (it will have a lasting and multiplying 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 serving God and others first in their life will be taken care of by God and have a real impact in the world.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Are you focused on serving yourself (your agenda, your wants) or on serving God and others? If you put yourself first you will ultimately lose life. But if you focus on serving God and others you will find life - real life on earth and eternal life in Heaven. So, honestly, which is it for you? How could you, this week, put God and others above yourself?