A Season of Transition, a Season of Prayer — Please join us each day at 11:30 a.m. in offering a personal but collective prayer for our congregation. Today’s focus for prayer is: Jesus wept for the city of Jerusalem. Today we pray for that holy city torn apart by division and turmoil.
Scripture: John 12:20–26
Key verse: 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Reflection: While Jesus was living the disciples didn’t understand what he was about. Even when he avoided parables and metaphors and said things directly the disciples would often miss his meaning. It wasn’t until after Jesus’ death and resurrection and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that the disciples started to connect with what Jesus had taught them.
He was very clear in the days before his crucifixion that he was heading for an untimely death. Yet the disciples didn’t want to or couldn’t hear his words. One of the conversations they did remember was a conversation between Jesus and some Gentiles. Gentiles were non-Jews and often represented the larger world beyond the nation of Israel. The fact that Gentiles were seeking out Jesus was a sign that Jesus’ teachings were for the whole world.
Remember, he told them, a grain of wheat cannot bear fruit until and unless it is buried and dies. Only then can its life have value. Only then can its death be transformed into new life. Only after death and resurrection can we see how God took the end of Jesus’ life and transformed it into a new beginning – not just for those in Jesus’ day, but for all people, everywhere. If a grain of wheat dies and falls to the earth, it bears much fruit. How much more then can Jesus’ death and resurrection bear new life?
The disciples didn’t get it and neither do we – this great paradox of life and living – that for new life to emerge, life as we know it has to die. So it was for Jesus. So it is for us.
Prayer: O God, you bring new life even from the dead. Out of no hope, raise us to hopefulness. Out of despair, raise us into joy. Out of death, raise us to new life. In the name of the one who died that we might have life, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Author: Von Clemans
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].