For a different take on the crucifixion for Good Friday, read this. It’ll mess up all your friends…
I was pondering this verse for a Holy Week sermon:
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. – John 12:23-26
I’ve been thinking about the idea of power lately. Our world thrives on it. And to me, this passage kicks our worldly idea of power squarely in the teeth.
We grow up in a world that hardwires us to see life as a series of goals and accomplishments and rewards. The more that people love us and respect us the more important we become in our own eyes. We introduce ourselves at social functions according to what we do professionally or maybe what we’ve accomplished in the past…but rarely do we honestly introduce ourselves for who we truly are: people riddled with mistakes, shortcomings, and as people who desperately need Jesus.
The world trains us to thrive on becoming someone at the expense of others. It trains us to take the power we are given through wealth or status or natural talents and leverage that for our own gain. Power is something to be exerted. Power is something to be controlled. Power is something to be used. This view of power flows over into what we think about God. Often times, rather than seeing ourselves made in God’s image, we make God in our image. We see him as controlling and concerned about his reputation. We assume that since God is all-powerful, he must feel the need to show us just how powerful he is at all times. After all, he’s God! And if we were God, that’s what we would do.
But then there’s Jesus. Jesus did not exert power for his own gain, did he? He could have. But rather what we see him doing throughout the gospels is spending his supernatural life and resources for the benefit of others. Matthew 8 says that he was moved with compassion before healing and restoring the masses. The same passion and drive that we would use to climb the corporate ladder, Jesus used to save the lost. And when he was given the chance to display the power of God in its fullest sense, he did so in a way we would have never conceived. He died. We preserve ourselves at any cost. Jesus gave his life away.