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March 21, 2021

Divine Action is the Way of Self-Suffering

Pastor KJ Kim

John 12: 20-33

In today’s passage, Jesus had to explain about his own death regarding what is to happen but also what it means. One more time Jesus tried to tell them what his mission really was, and that reminds us what our mission really is and is going to be. I name it as “divine action.”

Those were the two choices Jesus laid out for his disciples and us, the same two available to Jesus as his time and hour had come. And two choices Jesus encountered were not a just A or B question but as it was said about Jesus, “His very soul was troubled.”

The first choice Jesus had was the way of self-protection, which was closed to suffering. If Jesus chose it, he could do several things. He could stop walking around in public and go underground instead, hiding and running away from those who tried to arrest him.

If, on the other hand, Jesus loved something more than his life, then, there was a second way given to him. It was the way of self-suffering. No matter what it cost, Jesus knew how he had paid a price for all the things he had done.

A grain of wheat cannot grow unless it dies. That is how Jesus put it. For the seed to do what it was meant to do it has to be given up. It has to fall into the dirt and has to be buried. It has to sit down there in the muggy dark until its hour comes.

Now, the time and an hour has come for us. Today’s passage tells us about how each of us has a grain of wheat which is our lives that is graciously and freely given by Christ Jesus’s death on the cross.

Like Jesus, our souls may be troubled when we have been struggling with the two choices
Jesus laid out for each of us between the way of self-protection and the way of self-suffering.

However, when we are willing to deny ourselves in Christ, when we are willing to show people what it meant not by just telling them about it, but by living it out, the grain of our lives may be buried. It is what divine action means.

It is how God breaks open hard hearts so that people may be made new. It is how God cracks open closed lives so that people can know about what it means to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Then, people may know who we are as believers and a faith community through our willingness to live out the way of the self-suffering.


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