Silence and Stillness before God (2 minutes)
Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me. “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.”
Jesus expected his death would be required to bring life. During the Passover feast Jesus’ disciples were asked by Hellenistic Jews named as “some Greeks” if they could see him. This prompted Jesus to explain in four different ways how he must die to bring life. Things like, “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, produces many seeds” (vs 24). Following this He honestly admits His soul is troubled (vs 27). He knew He was to go into a troubling time where he would be asked to freely lay down His life. All of His life was a series of obedience accumulating to this moment. This personal response to our suffering did not exempt Jesus from distress. Contrasted to us sometimes we are troubled for less than holy reasons (to put it nicely). It is often difficult to distinguish between the tension of our fear vs the tension of the opportunity to lose our lives and follow Him so we may find our calling. In this process we have our soul worked deeply. Pushing through the resistance of our fear, through resentment or despair and willfully partner up to God is our ideal goal. We must resist looking for a shortcut and give into the kneading at our souls. Like bread requires kneading to become soft, so we need our hardest parts to be kneaded like bread so we can rise up.
Question to Consider
If obedience is a collection of moments in which ways could I confess my distress and reaffirm my decision to trust, and follow Christ?
Father, Your troubled state reveals to us that we too can be troubled, yet full of faith. We confess we often let our hearts be troubled and remain alone even though you are always near. Forgive us when we seek to solve Your work too quickly and on our own. As we go about our day, lead us to surrender. Thank you for Your work in our lives and Your deep love for us.
Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)
The 40 days of decrease blogs have been inspired by the book “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chole.