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April 15

20  Now 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.’ 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 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.
John 12:20-24

Some sage has observed that the wood of the cradle and the wood of the cross are hewn from the same tree. Jesus’ cradle in Bethlehem is linked to his cross on Calvary. The cross cast a shadow over Jesus’ cradle. In fact, without the cross there would have been no cradle. Jesus came into this world to die so that others might live, and live eternally.

You ask a tour guide how far it is from Bethlehem to Calvary and he will tell you that it’s not far, only about eight kilometers, or five miles. You ask a theologian to tell you how far it is from Bethlehem to Calvary, and he will tell you that it’s not far, because the cradle and the cross were forever joined in the heart of God. Jesus knew that he had come to die, and he lived each day understanding his mission and attuned to his Father’s timing.

Today’s text marks the turning point in Jesus life as he declares, “The hour has come.” Repeatedly throughout his life Jesus had declared that his hour had not yet come (John 2:4; 4:21, 23; 7:30; 8:20). But now that critical hour has arrived. Since even the Greeks are seeking him, Jesus knows that the time has come for him to lay down his life for the sin of the world.

It strikes most of us as strange that Jesus would speak of the laying down his life as the hour for “the Son of Man to be glorified.” But the Son of God, who deigned to become the Son of Man, thinks of glory in a different way than we do. We think of glory as gaining more and more for ourselves; the Son of God thinks of glory as giving more and more of himself. We think of glory as lifting ourselves up high, the Son of God thinks of glory as being brought down low. He comes to us as a baby in a manger and the Suffering Servant on the cross. Thus for God the supreme hour of his glory, the supreme hour of manifesting who he truly is, will be in his pouring out his life for us on the cross.

Do you long to know what God is really like? Then, look at the cross! The cross is the revelation of God’s glory. God is glorified when Jesus like “a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies.” He is glorified by his death, giving to you and me life.

Like the Greeks who came seeking Jesus, so we pray today: “We wish to see Jesus!


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