“What a blessing!,” comes to mind when we get something unexpected, like some sort of divine kiss of approval from above. We often attribute the word blessing to financial gifts, help from family/friends, or even a prime parking spot.
Some see having a family, marriage, and children as a blessing. While others feel blessed with successful work projects, or a pat on the back, from a superior, for a job well done.
These are all blessings! But what if I told you that having a blessed life means so much more that this? Much more than prosperity, happiness, serenity, a loving family, perfection and a stamp of approval from others.A blessed life means so much more than prosperity, happiness, serenity, a loving family, perfection, and a stamp of approval from others. Jesus reveals blessing beyond human comprehension. Click To Tweet
We live in a world saturated in ancient philosophies. Ancient Greek thought tells us that there are no gods who control the destiny of life on earth. They concluded that man himself can use his own brainpower to decipher the laws of the universe and become master of all nature. They believed in a universal set of natural laws that explained everything to do with life, the universe, and everything from human politics to the weather.
These schools of thought produced Alexander the Great! He saw everything in the world for himself, conquering whatever empires that were in front of him. Roman emperors came to regard Alexander as the epitome of leadership, strength and courage, while Egypt raised him to the status of Pharaoh. Alexander the Great is what the Greco, Roman and Egyptian world calls Blessed! Their confidence was in mankind’s power over the natural world.
Jesus breaks into this scene to teach a radically different perspective on blessing.
Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover festival during his final week on earth. Some Greek converts to Judaism came to His followers asking if they could ‘see’ Jesus. He gave them what seems like a confusing answer to their request:
Saying; “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain (fruit). He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in the world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour.” (John 12:24-26)
What in the world is Jesus talking about! We need to know a little bit about Jewish festivals and the meaning behind them to understand this parable/teaching.
Passover is the celebration and commemoration of when God passed over the Israelites homes in Egypt, that were painted with lambs blood on the door frames, saving those inside from the Angel of Death.
Festival of Weeks is a wheat festival that follows exactly 7 weeks after Passover with an offering of ‘first fruits’ of the wheat harvest to God. This commemorates the Torah given to Moses on Mt. Sinai 49 days after leaving Egypt and is called Shavuot.
*Shavuot lines up with Pentecost for Christians … more on this in a bit.
We need to remember that Jesus is talking about how He – The Son of Man – is going to be glorified. He is directly contradicting the Greco/Roman/Egyptian thoughts on attaining glory and blessing.
He has just entered the city riding a donkey. They celebrated His entrance calling him The King of Israel! Many saw Him as a political/military leader. They were expecting Jesus, as Messiah, to be the next Alexander the Great! A Messiah who was foretold by the prophets of God over 55 generations, going all the way back to Abraham.
But Jesus teaching isn’t talking about human glory. He is taking them much higher than that. He is lifting their perspective, and is about the show them the Glory of God – a blessing beyond our comprehension!The Glory of God is a blessing beyond our comprehension, visible in Jesus the Messiah! Click To Tweet
The Glory of God
The glory of God is His divine light, beauty, and spirit that emanates from His character, from all that He is. In a word it is His splendor!
You see, Jesus is trying to say that He is both THE sacrificial lamb (covering blood) for death of the Passover, and THE wheat offering that will produce a harvest of ‘first fruits’ to God. First Fruits that are not laws written on stone tablets, but the Holy Spirit (The Spirit of God) to live inside them/us. A Spirit that is far above human thoughts or ways.
The blessing of the gift of the Holy Spirit It’s not won by military might or political maneuvering. It is given through faith in the work accomplished by and through Jesus on the cross, through His death and resurrection.
The glory of God is seen in that He ordained Jesus to be a sacrifice in our place. A perfect sacrificial lamb that is resurrected by the power of God. It is an act of love from Him to us to redeem us to Himself, by creating New Eternal Life within us by His Spirit, filled with Himself. We are given honour by God when we follow Jesus example of sacrificial giving for the benefit of others.Jesus teaches that human glory lasts only a moment & is lonely, but His Glory is eternal & connected! Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces much grain. Click To Tweet
We are eternally blessed when we lay down human philosophies that tell us we can become great in our own power to gain glory for ourselves alone. Jesus gave the Greeks what they asked for; to ‘see’ Him for who He really is, the Messiah, revealing what real glory is all about. Likewise he wants to lift our eyes and heart up in faith to ‘see’ the majestic Glory of God revealed in His Divine act of Love toward us in Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son.
God Bless You!!