Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus replied, “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. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light,before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
There are so many inspirational teachings in this passage that one devotional could not do it justice. And yet, I am drawn most of all to reflect on the overarching theme of Jesus predicting His imminent death and what that means for you and me.
First, because Jesus foretold what is to come, it gives us hope and assurance that God is sovereign over every situation and knows its outcome. Jesus did not let the ominous horror of His impending crucifixion deter Him from His mission of love to save His people: “No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour” (v.27b). We can then take to heart verses like Romans 8:28 and 1 Corinthians 10:13, reminding us that God knows why we suffer trials even when we do not. And in His love, it is ultimately for our good.
Secondly, in v. 24, Christ explains how the sacrifice of one can produce good for the many. There is no doubt that Jesus’ sacrifice was the ultimate one, yielding the greatest impact. Yet if I am faithful in the little things I do for my family, co-workers, friends, and church, it will likewise “produce many seeds”. Paul echoes this in 2 Corinthians 9:6.
Finally, we are reminded of the urgency to live dependent on and abiding in His Spirit. “Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you.” (v.35) Jesus walked the darkest path there ever was when He was separated from the fellowship of the Father. We need to take His warning to heart because He knows what true darkness is–eternal existence without any of the light and grace of God. But a life that strives to be in His Word, in fellowship with a community of believers, connected in constant prayer, and engaged in habitual worship defines the life that walks in the light.
Prayer: Lord, may Your light shine ever brighter in my life that I would not be drawn into darkness. May it expose areas in my life where I am not allowing You to be Lord. But may it also illuminate my path in life so that I can trust You, knowing You already paved that way when You bore the cross for me and foretold Your resurrection and victory over sin and death! Amen.
Note: Each day’s devotional is written by a different member of the GRC family.