The Rev. Melissa Hollerith
Today’s Gospel: John 12:20-36
“Sir, we wish to see Jesus,” they said to Philip. It seems like a simple request, but Jesus’ answer is not simple. I don’t know what answer Philip and Andrew thought they would hear, but I doubt they expected to hear about death. But, death is the answer Jesus gives.
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.
Somehow death and seeing Jesus are closely connected. If we want to see Jesus then we must learn to die, dying to all the parts of our life that act as barriers to seeing Him. For me that list might include: fear, the need to be in control, and the need to be right. For others that list might be: anger, disappointments of the past or the need for power or wealth. Basically, to see Jesus means dying to our own self-sufficiency. We let go of our life and let God give us life. It seems so simple. Alas though, it is not.
The work of dying is hard. That is what this difficult week is all about. Holy Week teaches us through Jesus’ death that death is not the end. Thank God. Through Christ’s death we know we gain life.
So, do we want to see Jesus? If so, we need to look for the barriers and blockades in our lives, those places that blind us to Him; and, each one of those needs to die. Each one of those is a grain of wheat that contains much fruit. We must let that wheat fall to the ground and die, and then, then we will be able to see Jesus. Let us walk through this Holy Week knowing the outcome that is possible for our lives.
Prayer by: Charles Crozat Converse and Joseph Scriven
What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer! Amen.