To die - or not to die?
For reading & meditation: 2 Corinthians 6:1-13
"' as dying, and behold we live '" (v.9, RSV)
Today we ask: What is the meaning of this strange spiritual paradox that before we can live, we must first be willing to die? The best illustration of this truth can be seen in the passage from John 12
that we read on the first day of our meditations and which we will now look at in greater detail. One day a group of visitors from Greece arrived in Jerusalem, and hearing of the fame of Jesus sought out Philip, one of His disciples, and said to him: "Sir, we would like to see Jesus" (John 12:21
). When Philip informed Jesus that some Greeks wanted to interview Him, this precipitated a spiritual crisis in our Lord's heart: "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified ' unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" (John 12:24
). Why should the Greeks' simple request precipitate such a crisis in Jesus' heart - a crisis in which dying or not dying seemed to be the vital issue? Could it have been that He sensed that the Greeks were coming with an invitation for Him to bring His message to Athens - the centre of philosophy and learning - where it might be more readily received? Did He sense that in wanting to interview Him, they were going to say: "Sir, if You go on the way Your face is set, the Jews will kill You. Don't stay here in Jerusalem and die: come to Athens and live"? If this was the situation, then how dramatically it would have underlined the issue that was constantly before Him - to die or not to die.
Blessed Lord Jesus, it is clear that I face a similar issue to the one You faced when here on earth - to die, or not to die. Help me, dear Lord, for I can only face it in Your strength. Amen.
For further study:
1. How did Paul view life?
2. What analogy did he use?