John 12:12-50: Where is your Worth?
The great irony and foreshadowing of this portion of chapter 12 is found in the crowd. A week before Jesus’ crucifixion a great crowd comes out to worship Him as king by laying palms at the feet of the donkey He rides on. Verse 16 tells us the disciples did not yet understand what was happening. Verse 19 tells us the Pharisees see the “whole world” is going after Him.
This celebration is a short section of verses in comparison to the worship Jesus receives in the birth narratives of Luke. Instead of drawing out this Palm celebration, John, the writer of the gospel, shifts his writing to Jesus talking about his death.
It is a strange change of tone. A group of Greeks who came to town for Passover ask Philip if they can see Jesus and instead of entertaining them, Jesus decides to talk about the purpose of His death which is His glorification. He uses a farming metaphor, a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and remains a single seed unless it dies. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
He goes on to describe the individuals that choose to follow Him and what is required, the willingness to lay down their lives and to serve. On that individual, the Father will bestow honor.
Jesus reflects on his own troubled soul but shares his purpose in glorifying the Father. A voice from heaven responds. The crowd hears this voice as thunder, some thinking it was an angel.
Suffice it to say the conversation gets stranger as Jesus addresses various reasons people have for doubting. What John is displaying in the 2nd half of chapter 12 is Jesus drawing a line in the sand. There is light and there is darkness. Jesus has previously suggested that choosing human praise or human wealth in favor of the Kingdom of God is a choice for darkness.
The reason He speaks is to show us the way of God the Father and urges his listeners to accept those very words. Accepting the Word brings one into the light. His Word is also meant to be the final say regarding ones worth.
But if Jesus’ word is so plain, why is it so difficult? Hardness instead of humility. The temptation to harden is sometimes hardly resistible. The challenge of celebration and sting is humility. When I my accomplishments are celebrated, do I stay humble? When I suffer rejection or hurt, do I save face and stay humble and accepting and loving.
The way to stay humble in the face of sting and celebration is through knowing our worth to God as created and beloved.
For you and I, we are worth more than our weight in gold, we are worth the weight of sin on the Son of God, He knew it then, He declares it now.