John 12:20-36

The conversation that takes place between Jesus and the disciples during this passage of Scripture includes some of Jesus’ most challenging words, in my opinion.  He is not interested in speaking vaguely in these last days before the cross.  It is His intention that the disciples and anyone else who puts their faith in Him would understand the necessity of His death for growth and life to come forth. 

But He doesn’t stop there.

In a few brief words, He lays out what it means to follow Him.

Hate your life in this world and you will keep it for eternal life.

Following me means serving me.

“And where I am, my servant also will be.” (John 12:26)

Those words are tough ones for me to hear.  It is difficult for me to let them pierce my heart.  Because the truth is that most days I can hold my life (or what I want it to be) in a death grip.  I am far too self-serving.  And I do not always like to go where Jesus is.  He dwells in places that can be uncomfortable and often require more than I have to give from my own flesh.  Sometimes I prefer to bring Him along to the places I would like to be in order to justify my weak-willed living. 

The cross was not a half-hearted effort.  God did not buy us back at clearance price.  He gave Himself.  What more could He give?

And in this conversation with His disciples, I think He’s communicating in advance that His sacrifice will demand all of us.  Throughout Scripture, God is always looking for undivided hearts.  Jesus drives the point home here – He is looking for undivided lives that flow out of wholehearted affection for Him.  Those who trust in His sacrifice will be called to a thoroughly radical life, reflective of His radical love.

It brings to mind the last verse of the old hymn,”When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”:

“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my life, my soul, my all.”

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.  (II Corinthians 5:14-15)