Text: John 12:23-26
And Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’ John 12:23
Between the time Jesus entered Jerusalem on Sunday to the day He was crucified on Friday, Jesus spent His last remaining days with His disciples explaining to them what was to take place. Up to this point, Jesus’ disciples still did not fully grasp Jesus’ hour (John 12:16). In John 12:23, we enter into a conversation Jesus is having with Andrew and Philip, though the other disciples may have been in hearing range of this conversation. Jesus tells them the hour has come for the Son of Man (the Messiah) to be glorified.
Death on a cross was anything but glorification in the 1st century; it was humiliation, being the cruelest of all deaths, one reserved for slaves. Yet, in the hands of God, the cross became the means of self-glorification. Jesus, though innocent, by offering Himself sacrificially for the atonement of the sins of the world, glorified the Father on the cross as well as Himself.
He explains the result and purpose of His glorification in verse 24 with the example of a seed. By so doing, Jesus communicates that death is necessary for the reproduction of life. He must die so others can have eternal life. Jesus goes on to tell His disciples that this principle has implications for anyone who follows Him.
When Jesus says, whoever loves his life loses it, He is referring to a love of self that is idolatrous and thereby self-destructive. Any love of self that is stronger than love for God is a denial of the lordship of God that naturally results in death. Therefore, Jesus said we must hate our lives in the sense that we deny love of self that makes us lord. By loving God more than we love ourselves, we inherit eternal life. If we love Him more than we love ourselves, we will naturally serve and follow Him (v. 26), and we are promised that in the end our Father will honor us.
How often do we try to serve God in the church without following Him by living in obedience? Would we be willing to follow Christ to the cross? Are you in danger of idolatry by putting your own wants and needs before the call and lordship of Christ? Today, reflect on the glorification of God on a cross.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)