Tag Archives: giving up

Receiving – and Giving

Part of the fun of a holiday is finding out before you go, where are all the places you might want to see.  Not necessarily the tourist traps, but the places that hold a fascination for you, things you want to find out about.

And so the question lingers, what do you want to see?  What is important for you to discover?

If you go to a festival, perhaps like Greenbelt (highly recommended!), or any music festival, you have to decide who you want to hear, what you want to learn?

And so in life – who do you want to hear?  Who are you going to listen to?  Who would you like to meet?

Some Greeks Want To Meet Jesus

20Some Greeks had gone to Jerusalem to worship during Passover. 21Philip from Bethsaida in Galilee was there too. So they went to him and said, “Sir, we would like to meet Jesus.” 22Philip told Andrew. Then the two of them went to Jesus and told him.

The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up

23Jesus said:

The time has come for the Son of Man to be given his glory. 24I tell you for certain that a grain of wheat that falls on the ground will never be more than one grain unless it dies. But if it dies, it will produce lots of wheat. 25If you love your life, you will lose it. If you give it up in this world, you will be given eternal life. 26If you serve me, you must go with me. My servants will be with me wherever I am. If you serve me, my Father will honour you. 27Now I am deeply troubled, and I don’t know what to say. But I must not ask my Father to keep me from this time of suffering. In fact, I came into the world to suffer. 28So Father, bring glory to yourself.

A voice from heaven then said, “I have already brought glory to myself, and I will do it again!” 29When the crowd heard the voice, some of them thought it was thunder. Others thought an angel had spoken to Jesus.

30Then Jesus told the crowd, “That voice spoke to help you, not me. 31This world’s people are now being judged, and the ruler of this world is already being thrown out! 32If I am lifted up above the earth, I will make everyone want to come to me.” 33Jesus was talking about the way he would be put to death.

Now a group of Greeks have heard the commotion.  They were in Jerusalem during the Passover and must have heard all about this Jesus – and they want to know more.  So they say to Philip,

We would like to see Jesus

Yet more people from the “outside” who recognise that in Jesus something special is happening…

Can you imagine someone coming up to you and saying to you that they wanted to meet Jesus?  What would you say to them?  How would you introduce him?

For Jesus is not just an interesting exhibit, or a famous person to meet – he is bringing a whole way of life.  Meeting him turns lives around and upside down.

So Jesus, again, takes the opportunity to tell people that following him is as much about giving as receiving.  For a grain of wheat to multiply and grow, it has to first die that it may split open and produce.  Serving Jesus is about going with him his way – which means giving up our way.

This is clearly a struggle for Jesus – God’s new way was not easy – even for his own son; but that is the way that brings the new life, the new way God does promise.  The giving up and lifting up of Jesus, is what will truly enable people to see that.

Lent is a challenge.

Do we want to meet Jesus?  Do we want to hear what he has to say?  Can we give up our ways for his ways – even when that means struggle and sacrifice?  What are we doing to lift Jesus higher where we are – that others may meet him too?

Tom Wright’s prayer for today (p 112):

Lord Jesus Christ,

lifted up on the cross,

draw us

and all the world

to follow you,

to serve you,

and to glorify God

 

This year, I am again following the BigRead using Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone – Mark.  I’ll reflect here – if you’re following it too, or even if you’re not, please share with me.

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Getting not Giving

 

When I was younger, I was convinced that becoming a Christian would make my life dull and boring, that there would be so much to give up that it wouldn’t be worth it.

Many people continue to think that following Jesus is about what you have to give up – not what you will receive; about having your own personality taken from you.
There seems to be a similar attitude to Jesus by the evil spirit in this account.  He meets with Jesus, and is immediately worried that he will be destroyed.
Well the spirit might be about to be destroyed, because it is not good for the man, but the man certainly isn’t going to be destroyed, he is going to be released.

Jesus comes not to destroy, but to free.

Perhaps the man had come to see his whole identity by what bound him and held him; perhaps he was frightened to let go; maybe he was worried by what might replace it if he did – but Jesus reassures him, that whatever he loses in his encounter with Jesus will make his life better not worse.
How about us?
Are there things we cling on to that are effecting our lives, that would be better handed over to God?
He will take them and deal with them. Our lives won’t be diminished, but opened up to all God has to give us.

Thank you lord
that you seek only for us to have fullness of life.
Thank you that you take the bad things from us
and replace them with good.
Forgive me
when I try to cling on
to things which I am better without.
Today,
now,
I hand them to you.