Faith Daily | 30 March 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Until Thursday Evening
Almighty and everlasting God,
of your tender love towards us
you sent your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ,
to take upon him our flesh,
and to suffer death upon the cross,
that all should follow the example of his great humility:
that we may both follow the example of his patience,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: John 12: 20-36
20Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very 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. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
27“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. 34The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd David
I wonder if Phillip and Andrew expected the reply they received to their question on behalf of some people who said “We want to see Jesus”. They probably did not expect to hear about His death, but yet Jesus’ unexpected reply actually answers their question.
It is now not long before Jesus’ crucifixion, and it is time to announce that He is soon to die, and to explain the meaning of His death.
“Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into His glory. 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. 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. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honour anyone who serves me” (John 12:23-26 NLT)
I believe the message here for us as we enter Holy Week was well expressed in these words: “Somehow death and seeing Jesus are intimately related. To see Jesus is more than looking at Him. It is more than just believing the things He said and did. We follow Christ as participants not spectators. If we want to see Jesus we must learn to die.” (from a sermon: “Dying to see Jesus”)
St Paul often spoke about dying to all that displeases God in our lives (eg Galatians 5:24). But perhaps he encapsulated all that it means in my favourite verse in the Bible. It is Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (NKJV)
In Romans 6:10-11 St Paul tells us that when Jesus died, He died once to forever break the power of sin, and through His resurrection He now lives. And so as people of faith, we are able to appropriate that freedom in our lives. We have not lost sin’s presence all around us, but we can consider ourselves to be free from its power, and able to live lives that like the grain of wheat that is buried and dies, produce a plentiful harvest for God’s Kingdom. We need to keep reminding ourselves of this truth.
And may we be blessed and challenged, as I have been, in reflecting on Colossians 3:1-4.
Holy Week is a time for us to deepen our understanding of what the death of our Lord means for our lives.
FINAL PRAYER: Adapted from World Council of Churches
May the love of the Lord Jesus draw you to himself.
May the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen you
in his service.
May the joy of the Lord Jesus fill your spirit,
and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit, be upon you
and remain with you and those whom you love
now and for evermore.