Our Gospel reading is John 12:20-33, taken today from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; these people then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and were making a request of him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip came and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus. But Jesus answered them by saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. The one who loves his life loses it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. “Now My soul has become troubled; and what am I to say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” So the crowd who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “ An angel has spoken to Him!” Jesus responded and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for yours. Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.” Now He was saying this to indicate what kind of death He was going to die.
Jesus teaches that those who cling to earthly things are missing the heavenly blessings God has for them. He tells them “The one who loves his life loses it”, an interesting way of saying don’t get too attached to material things and that these can draw us away from God’s plan for us. He wants us to see the true riches in store for those who hear and obey.
He promises that “the one who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life”. It doesn’t mean we are meant to be miserable here, but that this is only temporary. As the old hymn says “this world is not my home” and God has a much better place prepared for us.
Jesus assures us that we are God’s beloved children, now and forever. If we listen to His message and share it with others, we become part of His work. When we earnestly seek to do His will, we can understand the difference between life here on earth and eternity with Him.
Gracious God, You call us to better things and better lives than we can have on our own. Help us to see the gifts You have for us and to use them for Your purpose. Amen.