Today’s Reading: John 12:23-50
These passages bring us to the end of Jesus’ public ministry. That is, from this point on, He will be teaching His disciples and close followers in private. But this is also only the end of the first half of John’s Gospel of Christ. The entire second half will concern Thursday’s Passover meal through the resurrection and appearances just beyond.
By your best guess, if the story of your life were being written out in 21 chapters, what chapter would you be on right now? Not all, but most of us would find ourselves in the second half of life. We might even be on the last paragraph of the last chapter and not even know it.
Yet, the story of our lives is written in two parts: one extremely short chapter called, “Before I was baptized,” followed by all of the rest. A first chapter of fear, darkness, and death is summed up in a very few words and then chapters and chapters of life in the forgiveness and hope that is Jesus Christ follow. The dividing point between our life of death and our life of Christ is faith in Jesus, found in the moments, seconds even, it took to pour water over you in the Name of the Holy Trinity. This is but an extension of the moment Christ called out, It is finished! from the cross and died, and another moment, a few days later, when Jesus rose from the dead. How long do you think it took Jesus to rise from the dead? An instant? Yet, have we used up even a small portion of the words needed to praise and extol that moment?
In the reading for today, when Jesus hears that Gentiles are asking to see Him, He immediately identifies a new chapter has begun, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be gloried.” It is crucifixion talk. He says, “… for this is the purpose I have come to this hour.” A chapter is about to begin that will be the greatest of them all, a chapter that will be included in our lives as well. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.”
Read these few words from John’s Gospel and know that in Christ Jesus though a few chapters of your life lay behind you, volumes uncountable stretch before you. With Christ’s return, the Day of Resurrection, and the New World before us, there are not enough books in the world to record what is yet to come.
For at the end of chapter 12, as chapter 13 is about to begin, Jesus says of those who believe in Him, “For I did not come to judge the world but to save it.”
Prayer: Father in Heaven, You sent Your Son to add not a few hours, a couple of chapters, to my life. You sent Your Son to be lifted up on a cross and die in my place that my book of life would have no end. In Baptism You washed me clean of sin and death and now I will live a life of praise and thanksgiving to you forever more. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
This devotion was written by Rev. Dr. Mitch Otto, pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Coralville, IA.