John 8:21-30 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jesus Foretells His Death
21Again he said to them, I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come. 22Then the Jews said, Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, Where I am going, you cannot come? 23He said to them, You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.[a] 25They said to him, Who are you? Jesus said to them, Why do I speak to you at all?[b] 26I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him. 27They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. 28So Jesus said, When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he,[c]and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. 29And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him. 30As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
The cross is looming in the distance. We walk through Lent toward it.
Today we hear Jesus say to the Judaeans that they can't come with Him and we wonder if the same thing is true of ourselves. This going to the cross business is hard business.
We'd sure love to think of Jesus' teaching in a halcyon way harkening us back maybe to a warm and kind kindergarten teacher who taught us valuable life lessons and tousled our hair before we drifted off to our afternoon nap under the blanket of warm sunlight streaming from the window that framed our next adventures on the playground.
But this teacher, though boundlessly kinder and more loving than any kindergarten teacher, teaches us here a much more critical life lesson: If we don't follow Him, we will die in our sins.
The crucial question to which we come face to face again during this Lenten season is: Who is this teacher? Jesus always brings us back to that. And again, Jesus answers that question by pointing to the Father. But this time He throws us something new and we are caught off guard. This time He says when He is lifted up on the cross we'll know who He is.
We aren't getting our hair tousled here. We aren't getting warm milk on the way to our nap where we dream of the games we'll play on the playground just outside the window.
We are hearing...
[ctt template="7" link="uKdzZ" via="no" ]If you don't follow me, you'll die; and, if you follow me, you'll die. This going to the cross business is hard business.[/ctt]
The choice is stark because outside one window of this classroom is aplayground disguising death, and outside another window we spy a dark cross in the distance disguising life and the Kingdom of God.
The cross is looming in the distance.
There are some areas of our life that we don't really get to see Jesus until we take them to the painful death of the cross.
A single question for reflection today...what areas of your life do you need to go to the cross with in order to truly see Jesus for who He really is?
Spend some significant time of reflection on this question and put into action what steps take you to the cross.
Image by Eric Vondy