And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 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. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:23-25 ESV)
An immeasurable blessing of the Christian faith is that were not just given words to follow, but an example to follow in our precious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Christian’s desire to sacrifice one’s own life does not come from any power within ourselves, but from our Lord and his example that defies the logic and values of this world. In his kingdom, the last shall be first. In his kingdom, the humble will be exalted. In his kingdom, losing your life is the means by which you gain it.
Here, Jesus speaks about the counterintuitive nature of his own upcoming death and resurrection. It is only through dying that much fruit will come. If the Son of Man chooses to take up the sword and destroy his enemies, he would destroy the very ones he came to save because they would still be lost in their sins. However, if the Son of Man allows the sword of God’s wrath to fall on his own neck, his own people will be saved. This is the secret of the Christian church. We win souls for Christ not through making others suffer but rather by allowing ourselves to suffer for the sake of others.
It is marvelous to watch a great leader exercise his authority and enact justice in his land. But it is awe-inspiring beyond words to see a mighty, eternal king give up his power and sacrifice himself for the good of those whom he loves. And because of his humility, God has exalted him to the highest place and our Lord Jesus Christ now rules from his throne forever and ever. Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! Who has known his mind or who can offer him counsel?
Brothers and sisters, as we approach this Easter season, let us celebrate the king who came in humility rather than power. On Palm Sunday, he rode a donkey not a warhorse so that we might become his children and not his defeated foes. As we think of the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter, let us be attentive to how the Lord would have us lay down our lives in humility, so that by our dying to self, others might find true life.