MEDITATION ON JOHN 12:20-26 JESUS PREDICTS HIS DEATH - SARAH-EMILY STEINHARDT, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Jesus Predicts His Death
Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
I love the last part of verse 24 here, “But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” It is often so difficult to see and realize that in death, there is life – both in nature, in humans, metaphorically, wherever we may seek to find it. The dormant winter grass yields lush green growth in the spring. A burned patch of field yields gorgeous flowers. We may choose to die to old habits not serving us, for a healthier, new approach or perspective. Sometimes relationships even die, and hopefully through that pain we gain perspective and strength on the other side. Is the death part easy? Pretty? Without grief? No. Yet if we allow it to do so, it will produce life.
My dad died in 2006 after his body was ravaged by cancer. He was a life-long organ donor, with the organ donor sticker on his driver’s license. My family didn’t think much about this fact until he had passed and we were now asked for permission for those organs as we made burial preparations. We were told cancer victims didn’t always have much available, but we still said yes, knowing my dad would have liked helping someone else. Time went on, and imagine my family’s shock, surprise and overwhelming emotion when we received a letter, months later, telling us that my father’s eyes had been donated. His corneas had given someone back the gift of sight. The kernel of wheat, fallen to the ground, died and produced many seeds. How powerful! What seeds has death produced in your life?
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of Jesus. Thank you for his death, and the seeds and life that he has produced in his willingness to sacrifice himself. Help us to be willing to die to ourselves – to see that old, sinful nature on the cross and crucified with Christ. Use that death to produce fruit that honors you, God! Help us to be at peace with death, knowing that in you, death means life everlasting.
Submitted by Sarah-Emily Steinhardt, the Member Engagement Coordinator of St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
Various Clergy and members of St. Augustine contribute to authoring the blog on a variety of topics.