In this half-Chapter:
1-11: Jesus Anointed at Bethany
12-19: The Triumphal Entry
20-36: Jesus Predicts His Death
For God’s Sake:
As the Son of God, Jesus did all things with the main purpose of bringing honor and glory to God. He never did a single thing that did not accomplish this goal. Even when it came to laying down His own life, He did it gladly and voluntarily because He knew that it would ultimately glorify His Father.
In this chapter, Jesus talks about how it is “time for the Son of Man to be lifted up.” This is just another way to say that the time was coming for Him to die on the cross. Typically, you would think that if someone knew his death was coming soon, he would be doing all he could to live it up and enjoy the last moments of his life for himself. Instead, Jesus’s prayer was, “Father, bring glory to Your name” (John 12:28)
If Jesus knew there was more to life than living for Himself, even when it came to the final moments before His death, then maybe what He was living for was pretty important, and we would do well to pay attention to it!
Jesus uses the illustration of a seed falling to the ground and says that unless it dies there will be no more life that comes from it, but if it dies it will bear much fruit. Now, Jesus isn’t actually interested in teaching His disciples the ins and outs of farming here. What He is interested in is the growth that happens in the lives of His followers and the glory that is brought to God through it.
Jesus is alluding to two types of death here. The first type of death that causes wonderful things to come is Jesus’s own physical death. He knew that by going to the cross and personally receiving the punishment for the sins of the world, there would be wonderful and eternal life that would come for all who believe in Him.
The second type of death is “death to self”, which means giving up our own wants and desires, not being so self-centered, in order for wonderful things to happen in our lives and the lives of people around us. In this chapter, a woman named Mary made a sacrifice that embodied this idea of “dying to self”. She had something very costly that she could have sold for a lot of money to improve her lot in life. Instead, she decided to use it to clean Jesus’ feet. Not only did she use her expensive perfume, but she also used her own hair to wipe His feet. Mary definitely died to herself, sacrificing something of great value as well as her own comfort and pride, and glorified Jesus through it.
Die to YOURself:
As followers of Jesus, we are instructed to die to ourselves. Our greatest concerns are not to be for ourselves. How many days we can get on the hill, having the top of the line board or the sickest new pair of goggles, or our reputation (which may lead to blowing someone off to maintain a status) are NOT what should concern us. Our greatest concern ought to be bringing glory to God and allowing God to use US to change the lives of people around us.
This obviously requires a bit of self-sacrifice. Just like how the seed that never dies and falls into the ground will never produce any type of fruit, neither will you have any impact on those around if you are only focused on yourself. Unfortunately, the snowboard industry is all about how good you can make yourself look in the eyes of people around you.
Don’t cave to that mindset. Like the SFC Brah-verb says, “Be a selfless example in our selfish culture, and you will stick out like a sore tailbone.” Follow Jesus’ example. Die to yourself, and watch God do amazing things!