From John 12 - "Jesus told them, 'The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you truly that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat; but if it does, it brings a good harvest. The man who loves his own life will destroy it, and the man who hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. If a man wants to enter my service, he must follow my way; and where I am, my servant will also be. And my Father will honor every man who enters my service.'"
The entire blueprint for our life-in-Jesus is given in this paragraph. Let’s rephrase each part, just to make sure we understand His statements, and then tie it back together so that it’s ours, so we possess it.
“The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” – The glory of Jesus is His death and, along with it, His Resurrection and His Ascension. So, immediately, we’re in an inverted economy because, in the world, only living out your own life is what really matters.
“I tell you truly that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat; but if it does, it brings a good harvest” – Again an inversion: Death results in more life. And, with that, He also gives an important part of the lifestyle of what He’s about to call the Way: “a good harvest”; the absolute importance of the multiplicative effect of our self-death.
“The man who loves his own life will destroy it, and the man who hates his life in the world will preserve it for eternal life” – The barrier-to-entry for following Jesus is death – death of your old life, death of your self-life, death of your self-concern, self-focus, self righteousness, your whole “Self.” If you have missed that to this point in trying to follow after Jesus, miss it no longer.
“If a man wants to enter my service, he must follow my way” – What is the “way” of Jesus? JESUS. His actual life, with its mannerisms, affections, delights, struggles, loves, hates and complete abandonment to the Will of the Father. It is walking precisely as He walked during every day of His life before arriving at the Cross of Calvary. But how can we access that? How can we reach out and touch and know a Way that rests on the other side of the Cross? By going right through His death on the Cross. The barrier-to-entry for our salvation is Jesus’ death; the Cross is the doorway through which we walk and where we trade our life for His life, His Way. (Does this all sound a bit morbid and grim? Well, keep reading for the payout!)
“And where I am, my servant will also be” – And also so beautifully true: “Where my servant is, there I am.” We don’t deal with an external rule that judges and condemns our efforts; we walk with the Indwelling Way who recreates His life in us. And we even have a cheering section while we Abide in Him…
“And my Father will honor every man who enters my service” – It’s a simple thing to walk in the good pleasure of the Father when His perfect Son has taken up residence in us. Seeing us, the Father now sees Jesus.
And the path to all this goodness and glory? His death, our death. And the reward in all this? His Life, eternal Life.
All glory to you, Jesus!