For this Sunday, Lent 5B, John 12:20-33
I don’t think I have ever met anyone who didn’t think Jesus was a masterful teacher. His words continue to leave us inspired, encouraged, and challenged. The teaching John captured in the Gospel for this Sunday, John 12:20-33, is a great example of such teaching. One of the great paradoxes he used is here in chapter 12, as well as noted by other Gospel writers. John’s words:
Very truly, I tell you, 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.
Read the entire portion here at Oremus Bible Browser.
This whole idea of losing to win, of dying to live, of sacrificing to save runs counter to reasonable living. It goes against the grain of humankind’s basic instinct to survive. It is devolution. Many in the crowd that day walked away scratching their heads, confused by the words and disappointed in Jesus. I am sure others in the crowd understood what Jesus said and reckoned him a madman. And a few, I am sure, of those who came to see Jesus were inspired, encouraged, and greatly challenged as they began to follow the teacher and his new teaching.
Three aspects that stand out to me from this one paradox are:
1.) We love to think only of ourselves and what we can enjoy in this lifetime rather than considering how we can be seeds for future fruit.
2.) Laying down your life makes no sense to those who are trying to save it.
3.) Real living is found only in real dying.
I’m still chewing on these as I prepare for Sunday. Something tells me I’ll continue to do so long after Sunday.