Monday, March 4, 2024

           John places Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem in chapter twelve of the gospel that bears John’s name.  As you probably know, John’s gospel has twenty-one chapters so around half of his gospel is devoted to Jesus’ last week, death, resurrection and post-resurrection appearances and words.  In John 12, some unnamed and anonymous Greeks approach Philip with a single request.  These Greeks want to meet Jesus.  Philip and Andrew shared this request with Jesus.  The Lord said in reply, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, 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. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me” (John 12:23-26).  We find some important truths in Jesus’ words.
            First, Jesus acknowledged that the moment of His death had come.  It was time for Him to be “glorified.”  The glory would be revealed in the perfectly innocent and sinless Son of God satisfying the justice of God and paying the price for the sins of the lost and rebellious people of the world.  One man, Jesus alone, would make atonement for the sins of the world and reconcile lost men and women to the Father.
            Second, Jesus gave a simple and brief example of a kernel of wheat.  We could think of this kernel as a seed.  Now a seed on a shelf or in a package remains a seed.  It does not grow.  It feeds no one.  It does not reproduce.  It merely remains in the package.  But if a kernel or seed falls to the ground and is buried or planted in the ground, then it grows and multiplies and produces a countless number of seeds and plants on and on and on.  The possibilities are limitless.  Likewise, by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, millions of people are saved and given everlasting life.  By dying and being buried in His grave, Jesus rose and gave life and hope and joy to all who believe and trust in Him. 
            Third, Jesus teaches us to lose our lives for His sake.  The idea is to live for Him, to surrender to Him and to walk with Him.  We are not to live selfishly merely seeking to please ourselves.  If we choose Christ over ourselves in this world, we are promised an eternal life in the world to come.  We are to love Christ more than the world and more than all the things that the world could ever give to us.  In Luke 9:24-25, Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”  If we live for Christ, we are promised that we will die in Christ.  If we die in Christ, we are promised that we will live forever by Christ. 
            Fourth, Christ promises that those who follow Him will be with Him.  “The Father
will honor the one who serves me,” (John 12:26b).  When we follow the Lord, we can
hear and know His Word.  Many voices in the world today can claim to be the way or the truth or even promise us life.  Many who quote Jesus never knew Him.  But we can follow Jesus as we listen for His voice and Word.  We need a shepherd today who can lead us and who is worthy of being followed.  Christ walks ahead of us and leads us and we obediently follow Him.  We can trust and distinguish His voice above all others.  And usually, the Lord speaks to us through His Word.  We cannot really claim to be following the Lord if we are not reading and studying His Word. We know we can hear our shepherd through the words and pages of Scripture. 
            Perhaps you can begin preparing for Holy Week by listening for the Lord’s voice and by reading Scripture more diligently and devotedly.  There is no magic wand or secret ingredient for growing in faith.  We are fed by Christ and nourished by Him as we walk with Him and enjoy His Word.  The Lord gives us the truth we need each day as we seek Him.  Your experience of Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter will be blessed and enhanced if you begin to prepare yourself now for those special moments of faith and truth.  Spend some time in the gospels and see how Jesus lived and invested His life and time in the last week.  We want to be so faithful and so ready that we say, “Yes, Lord, I will,” even before we know what He is asking of us.  No matter what the Lord may ask of us, we must always say “yes.”  Yes to Christ.  Yes to His leadership.  Yes to His will.  We sign up to do anything the Lord wants us to do.  The greatest or most important gift we bring to the Lord is availability—just being ready to do or to be whatever He says.  Have a great Monday!  Remember you can share our worship any time at YouTube.Com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.

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