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FAITH: In finding the true meaning of life

Brad McKenzie

“Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, 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. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If 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.

“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. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So 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?” So 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. While 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.” John 12:20-36 ESV

At this point of John’s telling of the Gospel, we find Jesus in Jerusalem, at the Temple, but existing in the shadow of the cross. He knew his time was short and the reality of His crucifixion was upon Him. This is why He responds this way. With this, we see how drastically different His view of the cross was from the Romans.

For Jesus, the Cross was victory, not a horrific punishment. For the Romans, and the leaders of the Jews who wanted Jesus dead, the cross was a instrument or disgrace and shame. But for Jesus, He would be obedient to death, even death on a cross. This hour coming was the reason Jesus came out of His glorious existence in eternity to a human life determined to be one of servanthood and sacrifice.

Jesus speaks to the people in agriculture ways they could understand. In order for a grain of wheat to become a stalk of wheat to be harvested, the grain has to die. Friends, Jesus gave His life in death so we can have life, not just eternal life, but life right now! Oh I’m so glad He loves us!

Jesus is telling these Greek friends there is more to Jesus than seeing Him, more to His message than His words. There is an eternal purpose much greater than Jesus’ earthly existence. It is to give His life so we can Have life. The caveat is, we also must lose our concept of life and all we typically value in our sinfulness in order to gain life given to us in Jesus.

I heard a story about a preacher who was asked to preach at the funeral of a rich man of the town who had been a church member, but had broken every law of God and man and was living in sin and in drunkenness. Many of the man’s rich friends were in the congregation that day. For the service, the pastor decided to preach a gospel message! He then stepped down to the casket and he talked about what sin will do for an individual and that it will finally send a man to hell.

At this point, people were becoming very uncomfortable. Then when he invited them to pay their last respects by viewing the body and said, “His life is past; he lived it up; he is through. He despised God and he turned his back on Jesus Christ.”

The preacher then looked at everyone and said, “This is the way each one of you is going to end up unless you turn to Jesus Christ.”

I’ll let you take from that story what you want, but it is simple, a life given fully to Jesus finds the true meaning of life!

As we get closer to Easter, I would like to encourage you to call someone this week and encourage them. Pray for them and tell them they matter to Jesus! Let’s prepare for Easter and for the life Jesus has given us! You are Valued and Loved, Pastor Brad

 

Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.