Greetings to you! The theme for our morning’s meditation is “The magnetism of the cross”.
Magnets show us that opposite poles attract each other and also that they have the power of attracting iron to themselves. The cross of Christ also likewise shows us that one of the most cruel and crudest forms of punishment in the Roman world turns to become the means of redemption for all humanity.
The cross under Roman rule was reserved for people who revolted against the regime and were accused of sedition. However, this harsh and cruel punishment that was meted out to Jesus on the cross has become the centre of our faith. Jesus always knew that the way of the cross was the way of salvation and so his focus was always about heading to the cross.
The cross continues to attract people towards Jesus and in this morning’s passage we will be looking at some people who were attracted to Jesus and the cross. In John’s gospel this event is recorded after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. John records for us that there were some Greeks who had also come to Jerusalem to worship at the Passover festival.
These Greeks came to Phillip with a request that they would like to see Jesus. Phillip went to Andrew and the two of them told Jesus about them. These Greeks were probably God fearers who were attracted to Judaism but were repelled by its nationalism and requirements such as circumcision. Jesus attracts these people towards himself. John does not tell us anything more about these Greeks but it is an indicator that Jesus came for the whole of humanity.
Jesus then tells them that the ‘hour’ for the Son of Man to be glorified had come. In John’s gospel the ‘hour’ refers to the death of Jesus. Jesus states that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone: but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Jesus uses this illustration to talk about his own impending death, knowing that it is only through his sacrificial death on the cross can all humanity enjoy the fruit of salvation. Jesus continues by challenging his disciples that anyone who loves their life will lose it while ‘Anyone who hates their life will keep it for eternal life’. ‘Whoever, serves me must follow me: and where I am my servant also will be’.
In other words, Jesus is saying that if our focus is only on loving the world then we will lose eternal life, but if we give our lives for the sake of Christ and the gospel then we will gain eternal life. Loving our own selves which is governed by our natural instinct is the same as loving darkness because our inclinations are only evil all the time. A life independent of God is a life lead in darkness.
Following Christ is the way of the cross and therefore it is the path of suffering. Suffering leads to glory in the life of his followers. Following Jesus involves bearing one’s cross - that is willing to suffer and to die for the sake of the gospel.
We are also called to die to our sinful selves and live for God. Jesus then talks about the very purpose for which he came, which was to suffer and die and glorify the Father. A heavenly voice immediately said, “I have glorified it and I will glorify it again.” The voice reminds us of the transfiguration and baptism where the heavenly voice affirmed the Sonship of Jesus.
Jesus then tells his disciples that the crucifixion will begin the judgement of this world and the ruler of this world, Satan, would be thrown out. Satan is the head of the supernatural and ungodly powers that are working all the evil in this world. He is the personification of darkness and tries to overcome the light and wishes to keep the world in the realm of darkness.
He is described as the ‘Devil’, ‘liar’ and the ‘father of lies’, and a ‘murderer’ from the beginning who wants to rule over people. He does not allow them to believe in Jesus or worship the one true God. But now his time has come to an end with the death of Jesus. Human beings have been liberated from the power of the evil one through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus then says that when he is lifted up from the earth, he will draw all people to himself. He was aware of the type of death he was to undergo. Jesus then challenges his followers to walk in the light so that darkness would not overtake them. While they have the light, Jesus, they are allowed to believe in him so that they may became sons and daughters of the light.
The cross continues to attract each one of us as a magnet. Though on one side it may be seen as a symbol of defeat on the other side it is the symbol of victory. The prince of the world Satan or the devil has been defeated on the cross and Christ proclaims freedom to each one of us. We have to appropriate this freedom by believing in Jesus Christ. Jesus is also the light of the world and if we believe in him, we become the children of light and therefore are called to walk in the light.
We can only walk in the light by the power of the Holy Spirit that he gives us. May God truly help us come close to him and walk in the light.