The cross on the hill of Calvary became a symbol that is loved and treasured. You have heard the phrase, as ugly as sin. If sin is the ugliest thing is the world, then that which forgives and cleanses it has to be the most beautiful thing in the whole world, and that is the blood of Jesus. Jesus so transformed the cross that it became the central theme of Christian belief, both in terms of preaching and singing ministrations, the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world is as well the theme of the song the saints sing in heaven.

When Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the whole city was in uproar. The Pharisees were so much amazed that they said to one another in verse 19 “Look the whole world has gone after Him.” Then to buttress the depth of their impression, John tells of some Greeks who wanted to see Jesus. They were Gentiles who had become converts to Judaism, and to the one true God, for verse 20 says that they came to Jerusalem to worship at the feast. This was the last public event in the life of Christ that John recorded before Jesus’ crucifixion. When Philip and Andrew told Jesus some Greeks wanted to see Him, He answered and said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

All through His ministry, He was fond of saying that the hour had not yet come. He said this to His mother at the wedding of Cana, “My hour has not yet come.” He repeated the same word to His brethren, “My time is not yet come.” And again we read, “No man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come.” And once more, “No man took Him, because His hour was not yet come.” Now, all of a sudden when some Greeks wanted to see Him Jesus announced that the hour has come. The countdown in God’s timetable of salvation was about to be completed, and the zero hour had arrived. The central hour of all history was approaching, and when it was over, the most crucial act for time and eternity would be completed, and God’s purpose fulfilled. The beauty of the cross is the wonder of a finished project, plan, and purpose.

Just as the principle of life by way of self-sacrifice applies to all seeds in nature, so the principle of bearing the cross as a means to abundant life applies to all men. In verse 25 Jesus says, “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” The world say that self-preservation is the law of life, but Jesus says we must go beyond this law into the higher law, where self-sacrifice is the way to life. People who seek only to preserve their life and refuse to risk it, or invest it in the lives of others, live alone like a seed in a box. They reason, “The wider one’s sympathies, the bigger target one offers to the arrows of fate.” If you fall in love, your chances of being hurt are greater. If you have children, they are far greater. The more you get involved with people, the more you open yourself up to heartbreaks. The only way to escape all of these, is to live for self alone. Love your life only, and no other, and then your problems will be fewer, and your burdens lighter. This is the logic that leads to loss of life. But Jesus is saying, the way to abundant life is in following the principles of the cross, which is self-sacrifice.

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