A-midst all the malicious scrutiny and opposition of the religious elite hell-bent on destroying Jesus, a group of foreigners, God-fearing outsiders, came to Philip with a request:
Sir, we wish to see Jesus. John 12:21
The contrast was startling.
He came to His own and those who were His own didn’t receive Him. But as many as received Him, He gave the right to become children of God. John 1:11,12
The episode echoes the events surrounding Jesus’ birth, the madness of King Herod determined to destroy the Child and the wise men travelling far to see and worship Him.
Jesus offers no sugarcoated promises to the seekers, neither then nor now:
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. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. John 12:24,24
The way, the only way to life and fruitfulness is through death.
Death to this old, crusty shell of a life of isolation, fear, insecurity, hypocrisy and greed.
Death to pride and independence.
Death to the shriveled up quasi-life of my right to my rights, my point of view, my claim to justice, fairness, pursuit of happiness, recognition, reward and reputation.
But out of these millions of gut-wrenching deaths - all wrapped into the one death of the Son of Man once-for-all - comes a new life, an indestructible life of love, freedom and forgiveness. Life where grace and mercy are greater than sin and punishment… Where we are overwhelmed by the glorious surprise, the outrageous marvel, for we are not orphans, we are not bastards anymore. We have become beloved children of God in Christ.