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Some Greeks want to see Jesus.
John 12.20-22 – 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.
The desire of the Greeks to see Jesus should be written on the heart of every preacher, every worship leader, every teacher and every church leader, “The people wish to see Jesus.” When people actually see Jesus, they have potential for a life-changing relationship that will last to eternity. They want to see Jesus, not the personality of the leader.
The request of the Greeks notified Jesus that his hour had come.
John 12.23-26 – 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 honor.”
Jesus came into the world to reveal what God is like (John 1.18). To accomplish this, he could only reveal the Father as he completely obeyed him, even to the point of death.
The Apostle Paul understood Jesus’ complete obedience to the Father like no one else. He wrote,
5 “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2.5-8)
Jesus did not grasp to hold to his divine nature. Rather, he emptied himself of it and became a humble servant of the Father. His obedience led him to death on the cross. Because of Jesus’ obedience, we know the true, loving nature and character of God.
Paul didn’t leave us out of living in humble obedience to the Father. He wrote, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2.5).
Jesus and Paul stated a universal principle of life. If we want life entirely for ourselves, life will escape us. When we give up the self-life, we will gain abundant life.
Service work in Alcoholics Anonymous
For a moment, let’s examine the value of service work in AA. Many of my friends have told me that service work is extremely valuable to their continued sobriety. I see AA service work as a good example of living beyond our own self-centered desires.
I read a study (Helping Others Get Sober) by a Brown University professor that provides survey data on how much service work helps the alcoholic and addict.
Dr. Maria Pagano’s studies have shown that addicts who help others, even in small ways — such as calling other AA members to remind them about meetings or making coffee did and can significantly improve their chances of staying sober and avoiding relapse.
She writes, “For years, people have found that helping others can have a profound impact on health and happiness. According to a 2010 survey on volunteering, 68 percent of the 4,582 American adults surveyed said that volunteering made them feel physically healthier, 73 percent said it lowered their stress levels, 77 percent said it improved their emotional health, and almost all respondents said it made them happier.”
Stephen Post is quoted in the same article. “When you are involved in helping others, it blocks off destructive emotions and impulses. You can’t be ruminating or feel hostile and bitter if you’re feeling moved by helping someone else.”
The value of AA service work should not surprise us. After all, the wisest Being to walk the face of the earth said, “Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12.25).
Jesus teaches us by both his words and actions.
Jesus wants his followers to actually follow him. We follow him when we are willing to lose our lives by completely following his directions. The benefit of following Jesus in self-giving obedience is the abundant life he came to give us (John 10.10).
Making coffee and picking up chairs at an AA meeting is an excellent place to begin. The above article demonstrates how beneficial that can be. Jesus went beyond any of us in his humble obedience to the Father. He went all of the way to the cross.
Jesus’ death and resurrection has provided the best life possible for millions of people over the centuries. The magnificent life we are able to live is the product of his humble obedience to the Father’s will.
The Apostle Paul ends his description of Jesus’ work in Philippians 2 with these words.
9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2.9-11)
If you have never taken advantage of Jesus’ gift to you, please pray this short prayer. “Dear Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I ask you to forgive me for all I have done wrong in my life. I invite you to enter my life and live with me as my very best friend. I want to follow your directions for my life. Thank you for your love.”
This Easter Sunday, we praise Jesus today for his work on our behalf. We dedicate ourselves to follow him in a life of self-surrender and obedience to the Father, knowing this is truly the path to abundant life.
Dear Jesus, you have truly shown us the way. We want to follow you and live in humble obedience to the Father. We know that is the only way to experience the abundant life you came to give us. We exalt you and give you the highest praise.