During His last visit to Bethany Jesus had attended a “resurrection” celebration party for Lazarus. Many friends of Mary, Martha and Lazarus had come to participate. Perhaps some who had not been there when Lazarus had been raised to life by Jesus came to see for themselves. There he was, reclining at the table, eating, laughing, enjoying the company. Many (it could be that John actually meant all) believed and put their faith in Jesus.
The next day the party went to Jerusalem to continue at the Feast. The enthusiasm was so robust that on the rutted, dirt path that led to Jerusalem they laid down palm fronds for the donkey to step on. They cried out in cheers of, ” Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” Even some outlier Greeks came and asked friends if they could also meet Jesus.
Details leave some things to the imagination. However, Jesus felt He needed to say something. What he had to say seemed almost out of place in the celebrative climate. He seemed to want to tell the multitudes that had gathered about the kind of life to which Lazarus had been raised. Jesus is seeing that resurrection is a call to serve God. It is a way to show who God is and what he is like. Isn’t that really what glorifying God is all about, showing who He is?
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies it bears much fruit.” Whose life is He talking about? His own? Mine? Both? The crowd leans back to put a bit of distance from words that don’t quite fit the party ambiance.
“He who loves his life will lose it. But he who loses his life in this world will have it into all eternity.” ……. I think it’s both.
In the end, what really makes life sweet? What makes our heart sing with joy any more than hearing the invitation of Jesus, “Follow me.”?