There was once a time when the world knew not of its Savior. Yet there was hope because it had been foretold that a child would be born and called Emmanuel – God is with us. In Lent, we prepare for his coming anew. During this season, we discover for ourselves the call of salvation and the promise of eternal life.
The time had come.
The rulers of the world were coming for Jesus to cast judgment on him for his alleged blasphemy and treasonous acts. While the authorities zealously pursued the elimination of their chief nemesis, Jesus prepared to glorify God in fulfillment of his divine mission. Knowing what was about to come, he told his disciples:
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24 – 25)
The disciples were anxious about what this meant. Surely, Jesus could do something to save himself from a cruel and punishing death. He saved so many others with his miraculous works, wouldn’t he save himself? Jesus saw how concerned they were and said to them:
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.” (John 12:27 – 28)
Jesus tells them this is the moment and this is the reason why he was sent to earth. He repeats his commitment to glorify God and then the Voice comes from the skies in response:
“I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again!” (John 12:29)
The crowd of people are stunned by the sound of the heavenly voice. They wonder if it is an angel speaking to Jesus. Jesus responds:
“This voice has come for your sake, not mine.” (John 12:30)
Jesus has told the people that eternal life would come to those who were ready to lose their life in the world. He is prepared to glorify God by proving the truth of eternity in God’s heaven. But how?
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from death to life will draw all people to him and to God. That is the message of Jesus. That is the reason he was sent by God. The resurrection is not a matter of faith, it is the living witness of Jesus Christ risen. It is heaven revealed.
And what of those who relish their life on earth above all else and do not follow Jesus? How are they to be judged?
“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” (John 12:47 – 48)
Jesus is the Word of God. And here are the words Jesus proclaimed to the disciples, to all of us:
“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life.” (John 12:49 – 50)
Eternal life in Heaven has been revealed to us through the resurrection of Jesus. And Christ is the way there.
These Gospel stories are re-imagined in the book series:
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