Read John 12: 20-36.
His time on earth was coming to an end. Those near him could sense the change in his tone of voice and somberness in his words. He was preparing them for the inevitable.
Yet, people were still just wanting to get a glimpse of the man or to hear his voice; they weren’t just Jews, but now even Greeks were asking to see him. The time of signs and wonders was over. Only one sign remained–the sign, the cross.
Jesus told them that by dying, many seeds are produced. Out of his death, countless many would find life. Yet, they still didn’t understand. They just wanted to follow him.
He told them how hard that would be:
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.
What was that service? What did it require? He said it in the previous verse: hating one’s life in this world in order to keep it for the next.
If we keep reading the next few verses, you can feel the agony Jesus was already facing as he neared the cross. Yet, even in the struggle, he knew it was required to provide salvation for mankind.
But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to my self.
I cannot imagine the struggle that Jesus faced in giving himself over to death on our behalf, and yet, he tells me that to serve him, I must follow his example. I too, must surrender myself as dead to this world, in order to claim life in that which is to come.
How can I compare my struggle with this world, this flesh, with that which he faced for me? I can’t, I simply can’t. So, I must stop trying to lead, stop moving ahead of his plan, his timing, and submit to his will. When I allow him to lead, I experience such joy and pleasure walking in his light. Why is it that I strain against it so?
The darkness easily overshadows the light when it stands alone, but when one light joins another, they become brighter and stronger in dispelling the dark. For me, that’s the secret. I try to do things on my own, without first consulting the light of his Word for guidance. Then I try to do it in isolation, without the encouragement of others in the Body of Christ. Both of these tendencies lead to an inability to follow in service.
Help me, Lord, in my weak estate. Draw me deeper into your Word and into your Body, that I can go forth in confidence to follow you in service to your Glory.
Are you running ahead or following behind? Are you struggling against the desires of this world that cast shadows on the light he seeks to shine through you? Give way to his leading and find the strength to live in the light to his glory.