Lent 5 John 12:20-33

March 17, 2024

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.


“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. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.”


1. How do the Greeks try to see Jesus? What response do they get? From Philip? From Andrew? From Jesus? John does not tell us who is included in them. Whom do you imagine that Jesus is addressing here? Andrew and Philip? The Greeks? Others? Who might be hearing these words? How do you imagine Jesus’ audience responding to his words? What questions do they ask one another? What do they ask Jesus? What do they ponder inwardly, not daring to ask anyone? How might someone hearing Jesus’ words resolve to change their behavior, their priorities, their perceptions?


2. Where in the world around you do you see someone who wrestles with what to hold on to and what to give up in their daily living? How do they determine what must die to make room for something new? Where do they look for guidance in making those decisions? What makes them hold on to things as they are? What might they have to risk to make a change? 


3. What do you know of your own soul being troubled? What choices or challenges disturb your sleep or gnaw at you during the day? What is there within you that must die in order for your soul to bear fruit? What is it within that must be followed and served at this point in your life for you to find eternal life? In what ways might you be honored for choosing to serve? What is the cost and the promise of such service? 

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Weekly Contemplation is edited and excerpted from Reading Between The Lines. The Educational Center publishes lectionary based resources for youth and adults, groups, individuals and clergy for both short course study and annual subscriptions.

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