Jesus is enjoying the most exhilarating moment of his life. He has just finished being the guest of honor in the Palm Sunday parade. His archenemies, the Pharisees, have finally admitted defeat by saying that the whole world has gone after him and there is nothing that they can do about it. For this poor and wandering preacher and teacher from Nazareth, this is his shining hour. But the opportunity for his highest honor is yet ahead. We read that certain Greeks who are visitors in Jerusalem request a private audience with him. Imagine. The glory of the Greeks is his. What more could he ask of life? Wait. A shadow darkens the skies and the shudder of death ripples through the soul of Jesus. He does not respond to Greeks. Instead he confesses the tension that he feels between his will to live in the glory of the Greeks and his will to die for the glory of God.
Hear him once again in this passage of Scripture speak his tension. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground it abides alone. But if it die, it brings forth much fruit." Jesus has no trouble handling the acclaim of the masses who shout "Hosanna" and wave the palm leaves. Even the reluctant commendation of the Pharisees does not faze him. But to be sought by the Greeks, this is the temptation that tests the very depths of his soul. We could appreciate the glamorous enticement for an unschooled carpenter from a despised town suddenly coming to the attention of the aristocrats and the intellectuals of the ancient world, the Greeks. If we have any clue to the personal ambition and human vulnerability of Jesus, this is it. Here is where his cross begins. Here is where death and life come into tension. Here is where our salvation is placed upon a pivot.
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