St Mark’s Lenten Thoughts: Tuesday in Holy Week

Holy Week—Tuesday

Isaiah 49:1-7 Psalm 71:1-14 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 John 12:20-36

In the days before He is betrayed, Jesus spends his time in a last impassioned effort to explain what is about to happen and why. We often think of the second coming described in Revelations as the hour of final judgment, but as recounted by John 12:20- 36, Jesus tells the crowd, (which includes Greeks as well as Jews) that “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself (v. 30-33).” It is a final urgent effort to explain how to get the most out of life now. “Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you (v. 35).”

A 2007 study about what makes people happy found that we become addicted to our own pleasures, and we have to do more and more to be satisfied. According to the study, the best way to increase happiness is to do acts of selfless kindness, to pour oneself out to those who are in need. Research showed that an unselfish life of service gave a sense of meaning, of being useful and valuable, and of having significance. This is exactly what Jesus has been trying to get his followers to understand. The Greeks have come to see Jesus. He tells them if they want to know what He is about, they have to do more than see; they have to follow his example. He is telling them when they surrender their own life, they will find what it means to genuinely live. Instead of seeking happiness by pursuing our own desires, he calls us to set aside what we think we want and say, God, what do you want from me?.

The readings for today pointedly summarize the teachings of Jesus. The message is hard to ignore without willful effort: become a servant, put others first, be humble, and surrender to God’s will. This is how we live truly every day. Judgment day is not some day; it is now. “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified (v. 23).” Jesus tells the crowd, anyone who loves this life will lose it, and anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Because Jesus died and arose in glory, by following the path of service, humility, and faith, we, too, are glorified today and forever more.

Laura McLemore

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