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31 March 2015

Read today’s Gospel Reading: John 12.20-36

Jesus has entered Jerusalem to a rapturous welcome, and loud shouts and praises to God. All the attention was on him. This seemed to be the arrival of a conquering hero. Hosanna!

For many Greeks and Romans in the time of Jesus reputation was everything.  The Greek word for glory (doxa) also means 'reputation'. But 'the Son of Man's' reputation will be made in a surprising way, that is by dissolution and death. He will be 'lifted up': John explains that this means he will be crucified.

A friend described a canoeing expedition through the rapids, that involved going over some waterfalls.  As the current carries you to the top of the waterfall, you have to make your decision. Do you choose to stay with the current that will take you over, or head for the bank and safety? If you go with the flow, then you have no idea how you will land in the pool below, or whether your landing will be safe. Making the choice means taking the risk.

Jesus pursues a path of great risk - including his reputation. Are we too prepared to risk all?  To turn our backs on some things that on the surface seem life enhancing, for the sake of things that will turn out to be lifegiving through and through?   For the joy of fellowship with God? 

‘Very 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.’

May God make us fruitful as we follow Jesus, who did not turn back from love being crucified, and so won for us our freedom and salvation.

Today’s Gospel Reading: John 12.20-36

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very 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. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

‘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. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler 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 indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, ‘We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?’ Jesus 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. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.’