Friday, April 22, 2011

John 12: Snapshots of the Passion

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. In the emailed version of this Good Friday blog post for the One Year New Testament Blog, I include as an attachment some remarkable photos of a Passion sculpture sent to me by my father-in-law, Clarence Carlsen of Gansevoort, NY. Clarence found these photos on the Internet and passed them along to me. As an accomplished amateur photographer from his days in the Army of Occupation in peacetime Germany, he knows a good picture when he sees one. Thanks, Clarence, and Happy Easter to you and Helen Ann!

The photos provide visual impact for John 12:23-28 from, in which the Lamb of God describes his values and passions:

Jesus Predicts His Death
 20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.    27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
   Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up[g] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33

I think that the idea of giving up the power to compell in favor of sacrificial service is at the core of Jesus's will for Christians in family, work and government. It is an upside down, transformative way of looking at things, because we have been standing on our heads so long that it seems normal. As John Michael Talbot sings: Behold now the Kingdom, see with new eyes.

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