“Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (v25)
This verse is one of those verses that many of us struggle with. Life is a gift from God, and we should be thankful for it, we are thankful for it. Yet Jesus tells us to hate our life. He tells us that if we love our life we will lose it, in other words, if we live a worldly life we will die, but if we live an otherworldly life we will have eternal life. But hate is a difficult word, what does it mean? In fact, the Greek word used here for ‘hate’, has connotations of ‘reject’, and that makes much more sense. Jesus is asking us to reject a worldly life in favour of an otherworldly life.
Crucially, what it means for each of us to reject a worldly life is for each of us to work out before God. We cannot presume to know what God is speaking into the heart of another. In Jesus we have an example of someone who rejected a worldly life right to the end, and in these days of Lent we journey with him through his hard, final days. May he be an inspiration to us as well as salvation for us.
Lord of the cross,
you rejected a worldly life,
you accepted a life of discipline and difficulty.
While your feet were firmly planted on earth,
your head looked to the heavens.
While your body embraced humanity,
in dirt and dust and blood and pain,
your spirit resided in the heavenly places.
Help us to leave behind the things of this world
which fail to satisfy.
Help us to know in our hearts
what you call us to.
Help us to walk with you
in the heavenly places
until death becomes
simply another step on the road
of our everlasting fellowship.
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.
27 ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ 30 Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people[a] to myself.’ 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.