March 30, 2021
By: Bishop Dan Selbo
From NALC Lenten Devotional

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. – John 12:20-26

Today’s passage, in John’s Gospel, is one that comes not long after Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, not long before He is to go to the cross and pay the price for our sin, and just prior to the washing of His disciple’s feet on Maundy Thursday. It is also one in which the request being made leads to a challenge for life.

The Scriptures do not tell us who these Greeks were. It appears as if they were converts to the faith and if not yet, at least, wanting to find out more. And so, they came to Philip and asked if they could possibly see Jesus. Philip told Andrew, Andrew and Philip told Jesus, and Jesus responded with an answer that continues to challenge us today.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,” Jesus said, “it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” His answer was pointing to His own death. In a few short days He would find Himself upon a cross. And it would be upon that cross, in the death of that one “seed” that all who would come to faith and follow would find life.

He was also, in His response, pointing to the only way in which those Greeks would ever be able to truly “see” Jesus. If you want to see Jesus, you need to follow Jesus. And if you want to follow Jesus, then you need to be willing and ready to sacrifice your own life for others and for Him, as He was for you. What was true for them is also true for us. There is no true life apart from a willingness to sacrifice. And there is no true sacrifice greater than a willingness to die. Jesus sacrificed it all for you. He offered His life and went to His death, so that we might have life and find life, even as we die.

Prayer: Jesus, we thank You for Your willingness to die and for giving us a way to truly see You. Guide us in our faith, that our own desire to sacrifice for others would help us see You. Amen.

Lenten Response: Be intentional today in finding ways to sacrifice for others, with a heart of thanks for the One who sacrificed it all for you.

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