20Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23And Jesus answered them,“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.24Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me,the Father will honor him.
27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father,save me from this hour’? But for this purpose 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 that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. 37Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”
41Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. 42Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
44And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45And whoeversees me sees him who sent me. 46I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”  John 12:20-50  

Today finds Jesus back among the crowds, being sought after, being questioned.

Being doubted.

Many seem to be seeking. To be looking for answers. They have seen him perform countless miracles. They have seen him heal lepers and the lame. They have seen him raise Lazarus from the dead. They want to believe. But he does not quite fit the picture they have of the Messiah. What they have learned about the Christ.

They don’t believe in him. Even so, they cannot stop following him.

Mixed into this crowd are many religious leaders who do believe in him. But they won’t admit it. At least not yet. Because it’s still too dangerous. To their rank among men. To their reputation in the community. To their standing in the synagogue.

Even so, they stay close. They follow him. They listen to him, seeking his wisdom, longing to know him.

But there are some new faces, too. Outsiders. Curious onlookers who want to meet him. Who want a chance to talk to him. Yet they approach his disciples, not him.

And in the middle of it all, there is Jesus. Jesus who is God. Jesus who is man.

Jesus.

Jesus who knows what is coming. Jesus who comes to save and not to judge. Jesus who comes to suffer.

Jesus.

Jesus who will willingly suffer in order to save. And though his human soul is deeply troubled, his existence as the Son of God pushes him forward.

By his Light he casts out darkness. By his obedience he brings glory to the Father. By his sacrifice he defeats the ruler of this world.

But it is no easy sacrifice. 

Golgotha  (image courtesy of Bartek Ambrozik on sxc.hu)
by his sacrifice, there is hope
(image courtesy of Bartek Ambrozik on sxc.hu)

Already I see the struggle he faces. His words give me a glimpse of his humanity. He is deeply troubled. Would that he could be saved from the cross. From the suffering.

But then how would we fare?

Unless a grain of wheat falls. Unless the seed dies. Unless.

Unless the Savior, this Jesus, my Jesus is lifted up, nailed to the cross, the world remains hopeless. The crowds continue to yearn, to seek, to doubt. You and I stumble through darkness, through sadness, at the whim of the ruler of this world.

Only when he is lifted up will all who seek him, need him, believe in him be gathered to him.

Only when he is lifted up will the enemy be defeated and darkness pushed back.

Only when he is lifted up will we know God again.

He has walked among us. He has laughed with us. He has cried with us. He has healed us. He has performed miracles in front of us.

Even so, his purpose is beyond us.

It is beyond here. It is beyond these few moments.

Because it is eternal. It is not about a single moment in the middle of a crowd that is seeking, doubting, wanting, wondering, wishing, needing.

It is about him. It is about Jesus.

It’s about approaching him directly. It’s about following him without fear. It’s about finding truth and knowing God.

It’s about life.

Abundant life and eternal life.

It’s about life lived in grace. About life lived in hope. About life lived in victory.

It’s about a life, my life, lived with purpose. On purpose.

Because he lived out his purpose. And I was part of his purpose.

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