This year I’ve started using the Moravian Daily Texts to guide my reading of and meditation on Scripture. On Sundays they simply follow the Revised Common Lectionary, and this is a devotional thought I wrote from today’s readings of Jeremiah 31:31-34 and John 12:20-33.
Jeremiah prophesies a day when God will come and live with his people in such an intimate way that he will literally be inside them, his law written on their hearts and minds, each and every person, from the greatest to the least, knowing Him personally and walking with him intimately.
This is the new covenant that God would make with his people, and it was beginning to take place in the Gospel passage we read today (John 12:20-33).
The Greeks at the festival tell Philip, “We want to see Jesus,” signifying that indeed “the whole world has gone after him,” as the Pharisees exclaimed in frustration just a few verses before. Jew and Gentile alike were wanting to see Jesus.
Jesus takes this as a sign that “now is the time for the Son of Man to be glorified.” But his glorification wasn’t going to be a regal procession leading to an earthly throne room, it was to be a shameful procession to the execution grounds, where he would be “lifted up” on a cruel Roman cross. But this is the “upside-down” way the kingdom works: you produce much fruit by being a seed that goes into the ground and dies. Power comes through weakness. True life comes only through death.
Because Jesus embraced the upside-down dynamics of God’s kingdom, he was raised to life and is now available to all who call on him. He is the Christ of all ethnic groups, of “whosoever will,” of the last who are first and the first who are last in human orders. He is the light that gives light to everyone who is in the world. Jeremiah’s prophecy has come true: we can all know him. Jesus has gone cosmic, and through the Holy Spirit is personally available to everyone who asks, like the Greeks asked Philip: “We would like to see Jesus.”
As Dallas Willard says,
Jesus Christ is present in this world… and is available to all who would seek him. His crucifixion and resurrection announce the end of human systems and stand in judgment over them. He is the man on the cross calling us to join him there. He makes himself available to individuals who hear of him and seek him. In many forms both inside and outside the church, with its traditions, symbolisms, and literature, he is simply here among us. He is in his people, but he does not allow himself to be boxed in by them. He calls to us by just being here in our midst. There is nothing like him.
This means Jesus is available to you, today. Ask him today for eyes to see what he is doing around you. Then step out in faith and join with him in the work!