Death Precedes Victory
Monday, March 29, 2021
Elizabeth Villwock, Communications Coordinator
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 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. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” ,29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. 34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” 35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
What does it look like to follow Jesus? In this passage, Jesus tells us it is losing your life so you may gain eternal life. In Galatians 2:20, Paul puts it this way: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (NIV).
Jesus was sent to this earth to be the sacrifice for our sin. He lived a perfect life so we could be reconciled to him. Days before his death, Jesus tells us he will soon die so the Father may be glorified. His soul is troubled with the pain that lies ahead, yet Jesus is determined to live in obedience to the Father’s will.
In Christianity, we experience two kinds of dying in our spiritual lives.
The first is when we come to know Jesus. This is visually represented in baptism – we symbolically die as we are immersed in the water and are resurrected with Christ when we emerge.
The second is an ongoing death as we continue on our journey of sanctification. Sanctification is the process we undergo to become more like Christ. Jesus tells us that if we desire to serve him, we must daily die to our selfish desires so we can follow him.
How is the Holy Spirit at work in your heart? Are you taking time to daily read your Bible, listen to what God has to say and prayerfully repent and reflect on all that God is doing?
Dying to self is not a choice for those who desire to follow Jesus. Not one of us can come to know Jesus, unless we are willing to crucify our old lives and begin to live in obedience to God.
What a challenging reminder this is! We must continue to choose to lay down our lives as we seek to become more like Jesus. May we lean into the hard things and lay down our selfish desires in this life knowing that God will use them to glorify Himself!
Jesus, thank you for coming and paying the price for my sins so I may have a relationship with You. Holy Spirit, point out the things in my life I need to lay at the cross. I desire to follow you, God. Change me to become more like you and use me to glorify your name! Amen.
- What stands out to you in this passage?
- How have you seen God use a difficult time in your life for his glory?
- What do you need to choose to lay down today in order to serve Jesus?
Needed Supplies: dirty penny, cup, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ cup vinegar
Add the salt and vinegar to the cup. Have your kids examine the dirty penny and make some observations. Place the penny in the cup and let it sit. While it sits in the solution, continue with the lesson below.
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
- What is sin?
- Sin is anything that goes against God’s will. Jesus took the punishment for our sins so that we could live with God forever. The Bible says that we have all sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory; everyone except Jesus (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
- Why did Jesus need to die for us?
- Jesus led a perfect life. He was fully God and fully man. Jesus had to die to break the cycle of sin and death.
After five minutes, remove the penny from the cup. You will notice the penny is clean now!
- What are some changes that happened with the penny?
- The penny represents sin in our lives. We are sinful but because Jesus died for us we can now accept him as our Savior and receive his forgiveness. Jesus washes away our sin and makes us new and clean, just like the penny!
Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to die for us. We confess that we have sinned. Please forgive us and make us clean like the penny. Amen.