Palm Sunday has come and gone. Jesus is now in Jerusalem having come in pomp and honor, riding on the colt of a donkey. The people cheered and spread palm branches before Him. It was an exciting spectacle.
But today is Monday, the last week of Jesus' life on earth. His disciples must be taught all of it in a hurry. Today's reading covers the purpose of His death and the manner of His death.
The chief priests and teachers of the law are plotting against Him, looking for some excuse to kill Him.
From the moment the physical body of Christ was conceived in Mary, it was destined for this hour. It was purposed by God from the beginning. Before Adam and Eve ate the apple in the garden, God knew that Jesus would save the world by His death and resurrection.
He tells them that a kernel of wheat must die to produce more seed. As a farmer's wife, I can tell you that wheat harvest is a terrible, awful, stressful, wonderful, fulfilling, exciting time. The fruit of a year's effort is being realized. For grain farmers, it is their one payday a year. Everything hinges on how well the wheat produces.
Much of the wheat harvest is "dead-ended." It goes to the elevator to be sold. It will be used to make flour or cereal or livestock feed. It will be used up - consumed in one way or another.
Some portion of it, however, is held back for seed for next year. That goes into a separate storage facility, where it is cleaned of debris and treated to be resistant to fungus and insects. Then it is planted again. Here we plant wheat usually in September and harvest generally in June. From planting to harvest is about nine months - depending, of course, on the weather.
The feelings Jesus has at this time are somewhat similar to the emotions connected with harvest. Jesus says the time has come for Him to be glorified. Then He says His heart is troubled. And then "Father, glorify Your name."
The humanity of His heart recognizes the coming break will be hard on His disciples. His divine knowledge tells Him that ultimately it is for the disciples' own good that He leave them. It is a terrible, awful, stressful, wonderful, fulfilling, exciting time.
And He obliquely warns them that He will be crucified. His term is "lifted up." This entire week will be filled with preparation for Friday.
Help us to sort out Your truth amidst our conflicting emotions. Grant us the vision to see through the parables and understand Your teaching.
In Jesus' most precious name.