20Some Greeks had gone to Jerusalem to worship during Passover. 21Philip from Bethsaida in Galilee was there too. So they went to him and said, “Sir, we would like to meet Jesus.” 22Philip told Andrew. Then the two of them went to Jesus and told him.
The Son of Man
The time has come for the Son of Man to be given his glory. 24I tell you for certain that a grain of wheat that falls on the ground will never be more than one grain unless it dies. But if it dies, it will produce lots of wheat. 25 If you love your life, you will lose it. If you give it up in this world, you will be given eternal life. 26If you serve me, you must go with me. My servants will be with me wherever I am. If you serve me, my Father will honor you.
Aslan, the Christ-figure of CS Lewis’s Narnia tales, is a good lion but not a safe lion. Some Greeks discovered Jesus is likewise good but not safe. They came expecting an intriguing conversation and instead were told to give up their lives and serve him wherever he goes.
Jesus wasn’t interested in meeting people to satisfy their curiosity. He didn’t want people merely interested in him. He wanted their total commitment! But it’s risky to give control of your life to someone when you don’t know where they intend to go.
Jesus’ demand may sound harsh, but he frequently used hyperbole (extreme exaggeration) to emphasize a point. For instance, when Jesus said to cut off a hand that causes you to sin, he didn’t mean to disfigure yourself but to take forceful steps to overcome temptation. Giving up your life means to exchange your priorities for his. We give up our life (one Greek word) as an individual to obtain another life (a different Greek word) that is spiritual, eternal and that experiences God.
Many people today are like the Greeks. They want Jesus on their terms. But Jesus isn’t like that. You can’t pick and choose how you’ll follow Jesus. He demands everything. Did the Greeks think they could come, converse, and go home unchanged but with an interesting experience to talk about? Who knows? But we do know Jesus doesn’t give them that option.
When you encounter Jesus, you must decide: Am I just interested in an experience or am I willing to commit? In one way, committing to Jesus is risky because you don’t know what will happen. But because Jesus is good, you can trust him with your future. Letting go of my life changed everything, and it’s all been good, even when it’s been tough.
Lord, you were 100% obedient to your Father. You prayed “Do what you want, and not what I want.” Help me adopt your desires as my own, so that I will be an effective servant. In the name of the Faithful and True, Amen.