Tuesdsay of Holy Week, March 26

Tuesday, March 26 in Holy Week

Scripture: John 12:20-36

20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28 Father, bring glory to your name.”

Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.

30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.

34 The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”

35 Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. 36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”

After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.

Some thoughts:

     Some insight into Jewish festivals will help us understand the significance of this passage. Passover, as you know, was one of three pilgrimage festivals which required every male to come to Jerusalem for its celebration, though women were included. Passover lasted one day and was immediately followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Leaven always represents sin in the Bible. On the day of Unleavened Bread, our sinless Savior was buried. The Feast of First Fruits immediately followed on the first day of the week (Sunday) following the Sabbath and marked the beginning of the seven weeks of seven leading up to Pentecost. A green shock of barley was waved before the Lord on that day since this was the very beginning of the harvest season, which culminated seven weeks later at Pentecost. The dependency on the Lord God for a fruitful harvest was central in the celebration.

       So, when Jesus referred to a kernel being buried in the soil and dying in effect and then producing a stock of barley which produces many kernels, he was in effect proclaiming what he was the “kernel to be buried” and what the result will be, “a plentiful harvest of new lives.” Jesus went on to say that anyone who loves being above ground (loves this world) rather than dying to themselves and being “planted,” will lose everything eternally. That is why baptism by immersion is a symbol of being “buried in Christ.” Apart from John who died of old age, all the rest of the disciples died as martyrs.

     Jesus then asked the very real question, “Should I pray that the Father would save me from this ordeal?” Notice the phrase, “when I am lifted up from the earth.” God the Father then raised his Son from being “planted” in the tomb and in that resurrection, Jesus leads forth all of those who have died in Christ. The prince of this world, Satan, is eternally, permanently defeated. Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:20 that “Jesus was the first fruits of them that slept. Jesus was the first one to lead a great harvest of God’s people who will be resurrected from the dead at the end of the age. God’s redemption works through these great festivals and brings the certainty of the resurrection through the defeat of sin, death, and evil. Every phrase that Jesus speaks has ultimate implications for you and for me.

Music: “Since by Man Came Death” Academy of St. Martin in the Field

 “Goin’ Home” Sissel

Prayer: O God, quicken to life every power within me, that I may lay hold on eternal things. Open my eyes that I may see; give me acute spiritual perception; enable me to taste Thee and know that Thou art good. Make heaven more real to me than any earthly thing has ever been. Amen. —A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, p.59