By Way of a Cross

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me” —John 12:26, NIV.

Doesn’t this verse sound soooooo good? Yes, Lord, I’ll serve you. I’ll follow. I’ll be where you are.

My Scripture reading program for this year only gives me one or two isolated verses each day—a dangerous thing because it’s possible to miss the point of the passage when I look at it apart from its context.

I thought I should look this one up.

Jesus has already entered Jerusalem on his first, and last, donkey ride. Though the occasion was triumphant, the crowds appreciative, and new interest in the gospel sparked, the Lord immediately hauled His disciples down from their “cloud nine.” The interest in Christ’s message came from an unexpected quarter, some Greeks who were in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. They asked to see Jesus. We can assume from the answer Jesus gave to their request that He was challenging them to count the cost of really "seeing" Him, of discipleship, before they signed on the proverbial dotted line. Here’s the context of verse 26.

Jesus replied: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, 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. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Now is my heart troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name! (vss. 23-28)

Follow you to a tribunal? Be beaten and spit on? Hang with you on a cross? I don’t think that’s what the Greeks wanted to hear. It’s not what we want to hear either, and looking at verse 26 outside of its context doesn’t give us any inkling of what following Christ is going to mean. Reading that one verse, we can fill in the blanks and see nothing but sunshine and roses. The sun dims and the petals fall off the roses when we consider what Jesus was telling His followers.

The Father honors those who accept the challenge. The Lord’s final statement: “Father, glorify your Name!” resulted in a voice from heaven: “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

Last night I read these words from Psalm 138:2, “...you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

Our greatest desire as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ should be to bring glory to God’s name because that’s what He values. What accomplishing that may mean to each of us, only God knows. But if Jesus glorified God by way of a cross, it is likely that our path to bringing Him glory will take us in the same direction.

But, oh the joy of bringing God glory and being honored by Him for having done so!

Comments

  1. That's some of the hardest kind of following, isn't it? But Jesus did it for us - how can we not do it for Him? Thought-provoking, Lynda.

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  2. Thought-provoking, indeed! I wiped the tears away as i finished reading this. Thank you, Lynda, you are a blessing!

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