April 10| John 12:12-27
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Is Trouble Coming?
by Elaine Pierce
There is so much to talk about in this passage. I could focus on the fickle crowds, who greet Jesus with shouts of "Hosanna" and then five days later scream loudly "Crucify Him."
I could focus on how threatened the Pharisees were about Jesus' increasing popularity. They see the huge crowds and they say, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!"
I could talk about what an atypical leader Jesus is. What leader tells his followers that "the man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life?"
But, just for today, let's look at Jesus' words in verses 27 and 28: "Now my heart 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!"
This verse is a reminder that Jesus experienced all the temptations that we do:
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)
Being troubled is not a sin, and it is a great comfort to know that facing death by crucifixion was troubling to Jesus. But if Jesus had not followed the path that God had laid out for him, he would have sinned. And, as we know, Jesus followed that path to the cross.
When have you found yourself troubled? Has a friend betrayed you? Have you had a health scare? Have you lost a loved one way too early? Have you lost a job? Sometimes our troubles are brought on by our own sinful actions, but other times, troubles come through no fault of our own. "He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45). Our response to trouble is what matters: do we run to the Father, or do we try to solve things on our own?
Jesus cried out "Father, glorify your name!" Let us do the same. Let us praise him in the sunshine and in the rain.
Lord, I come to you in times of trouble and in times of joy. Help me to live a life that is worthy of your calling, but when I fail, help me to confess my sins and come to you anew, ready to serve you. Thank you for the gift of life, and help me to glorify you in thought, word and deed. Amen.