Todays readings… 2 Chronicles 10&11, Ezekiel 45, John 12
In John’s Gospel today we read that although Jesus “had done so many signs among them, they still did not believe in him” [12 v.37] This surprises us, but the main reason for this unbelief lies in the “difficult” things he said, such as, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” [v.25]
What did Jesus mean? We can understand some that are stricken down with a debilitating disease or grievously injured in some accident saying they now hate life – although even in those situations many still cling to life hoping there will be some improvement, some medical miracle. Their urgent background thought is probably because they believe this life is all there is – and – as the saying is – while there’s life there’s hope for better things.
Against this background of human attitudes we ponder the nature of the attitude of those who really believe in Jesus. “Though he die, yet shall he live,” Jesus told Martha concerning her dead brother Lazarus. And Martha replies, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” [11 v.24, 25]
Then Jesus makes another strange statement, “everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” [v.26]. It is necessary we develop the ability to think in the language the Bible uses, then the meaning soon becomes clear. In passages like 1 Cor. 15 v.6, 18 we see that believers who “have fallen asleep” means those who die with the hope of resurrection. When Jesus told his disciples “”Lazarus has fallen asleep” [11 v.11] they misunderstood what he meant.
Similarly, the word “hate” needs to be understood in the way Jesus uses it! Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” [Luke 14 v.27]
We need to ask ourselves, ‘What are the most important things in life for me? What tops the list? If we love the apparently fascinating things we are surrounded by day after day – where do we ‘stand’ in the sight of God?
The more we really love God, “life in this world” is seen in its’ proper perspective of being eternally meaningless, unless we are developing a day after day relationship with God and His Son.