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John 12:20-33 Jesus lost his life in love for your life for his Father’s glory!

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Once, the founder of a family run popcorn company gave it over to his son. The son chose to package every kernel the company had into microwave bags of popcorn to sell thinking that he would make a lot of money, but when all the kernels were gone, the son had nothing left and the company was lost. Jesus was not like the popcorn company founder’s son. Instead, Jesus used his life like a kernel that is planted, sprouts and produces many kernels. In love for our lives, Jesus lost his life as he was lifted up on the cross to die for our sins and in his resurrection guarantee us eternal life in heaven. This was God the Father’s plan, and we give him glory or praise for his plan that saved us.

The future of the company would have been different if the son had understood his father’s plan. The founder of the popcorn company understood that some kernels could be sold for eating, but some needed to be kept for planting to produce a continuous supply of kernels. In our Gospel reading from John 12, Jesus showed that he was the Son of Man who knew his Father’s glorious plan. John 12 picks up with Jesus in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover festival during the week he was put to death.

We read that many were curious about Jesus because of his teachings, miracles and notoriety among the Pharisees, 20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

The title ‘Son of Man’ indicated that Jesus is the miraculous offspring through which the Son of God became man; Jesus has all the attributes of a human and God. Jesus shared his purpose as the Son of Man with the next words, 24 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. Jesus’ purpose was to destroy the devil’s work through his death and resurrection. These Greeks who wanted to see Jesus had been blessed with the gift of faith to trust that Jesus, the Son of Man, had not come only for the descendants of Abraham, but Adam and Eve’s descendants, for all people.

As with the Greeks who wanted to see Jesus, you are one of the many lives produced by Jesus’ death and resurrection. After Jesus shared his purpose, he made a parallel point describing the lives of his followers in John 12 as 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Jesus taught that his followers would struggle against their love for life in this world. The Greek word used here for ‘love’ is the word for love between friends. Our sinful nature causes all of us to have a natural affinity for worldly things. This is not an all-out warning against having friends, a car, home, job, hobby or favorite team or TV show. Jesus warns against an affinity for the ungodly. Your love for this world will cause you to lose your life and suffer in hell away from God’s love when you remove God from how you interact with the worldly.

You are here to serve God in how you view everything and everyone. God wants your thoughts and feelings to match his in that you hate your self-destructive, abusive, perverse, selfish, prideful, sinful, etc. life that robs you of eternal life. He wants your soul to be troubled by this ungodly world, and God wants you to see Jesus as the only source for eternal life in heaven.

Jesus was lifted up on the cross for all to see his work for us. As the Son of Man, Jesus is God, the source of life, and man, flesh and blood, able to die. He knew the culmination of his work to save us was near and it weighed heavy on him as we read in John 12, 27 “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. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Jesus felt the weight of the coming sacrifice, but his love for his own life did not keep him from serving his Father in heaven. Jesus came to this world for a reason and his work to save the world would give glory to God the Father.

And we read, Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. As a testimony to confirm Jesus’ words, God the Father spoke from heaven affirming all the work Jesus had done to give glory to God in his miracles and teaching, and the work he would do in his suffering, death and resurrection to bring his Father glory. Then, 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

These words of the Father, as with all of Scripture, have been spoken and recorded for our benefit. The Bible records the prophecies made about Jesus and his careful fulfillment of them so that you can be sure the sinful world has been judged and the devil driven out. Jesus lifted up on the cross fulfilled the words from our Old Testament reading from Isaiah 43, 1 But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Jesus’ life was the payment given to redeem your life. The Father wanted his Son to be your source for life when fear overwhelms you after losing in your struggle not to fall back in love with this world. It is because of Jesus that God calls you by name and calls you “mine.”

Like the Greeks in Jerusalem for the Passover, you will see Jesus. When you see your worldly life as attractive, following Jesus becomes difficult. We want to be able to love our life in this world and look forward to eternal life, but you cannot have both. The world has been judged, so love for it means rejection of God. You cannot have both, just like one kernel cannot be used for both food and to plant to produce more kernels. Each day as you struggle to submit to God’s will and obey his call to serve him, look to these words from our New Testament reading from Hebrews 5, 7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Here again we see that Jesus struggled with death, but overcame his struggles. He was tempted but did not sin. As Jesus submitted to the Father’s will each time he was tempted to turn away from his path to the cross, but kept going toward it, he learned and lived out a life of perfect obedience. Jesus lived decades in this world giving glory to his Father in heaven and became the source of eternal life. With Jesus as our source for eternal life, he is also our model as we struggle to live out these words from John 12, 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Your future has been changed because the Son understood the Father’s plan. The foolish son of the popcorn company founder wasted all the kernels because he loved the prospect of selling all the kernels for a onetime payout. Jesus was not like that son. Jesus obeyed his Father’s will to die on the cross and rise to provide eternal life to many just like a kernel that falls to the ground and dies produces many seeds. Jesus’ obedience to his Father’s will is your assurance for eternal life. Follow Jesus as one who does not have an affinity for the worldly and ungodly. As a child of God the Father, serve Jesus who lost his life in love for your life for his Father’s glory. Amen.

Gunnar Ledermann

I’m passionate about Rockwall’s vibrant community and actively engage with local non-profits and community organizations, including the Rockwall Chamber of Commerce, the City of Rockwall, and the Downtown Rockwall Association. My background includes a bachelor’s degree in Classical Languages and a master’s degree in divinity. Currently serving as a pastor at Divine Peace Church in Rockwall, I also enjoy spending time with my wife, Marinda, and our three children.

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