Hating Life and Following Jesus

Up until this point in John 12:20-36a, Jesus had said that his time had not yet come, but now, here it is. 

“And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

John 12:23

Jesus’ time on earth was coming to an end, and he would soon face an excruciating death. Yet, his death would not be done in vain. It was to bring about new life. Jesus explains, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (vs. 24). Through his death and resurrection, there would be much new fruit that would bring glory to God. This fruit would learn to hate their temporal life and follow him.

Hating Life

Jesus goes on to say, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (vs. 25). To be honest, in the past, when I read this verse I’m a little confused by what Jesus means when he says we must “hate” our life in this world. 

Do I long for the day when Christ returns, when there is no more sin and death, and when God is eternally glorified? Yes. 

But do I enjoy the life I’m currently living? Do I love my family and friends? Do I have fun? Yes, yes, and yes. 

Does that mean I’m being disobedient to what Jesus is saying here? I don’t think so. 

I was encouraged by David Guzik’s commentary on this verse. He said, “We are called to hate our life not in the sense that we disregard it, but in the sense that we freely give it up for God. Our life is precious to us, especially because it is something we can give to Jesus.” Do you agree?

Following Jesus

Next, Jesus explains that whoever serves him must also follow him. This is something I have been convicted of recently. Am I following Jesus or am I asking him to follow me? Sometimes it is easy to get off course, and we may not even realize that we have. We can be doing things with the best intentions, but if what we’re doing is not Jesus’ way then it’s pointless.  

“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”

John 12:26

Are you following Jesus or asking him to follow you?

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