How to Avoid Dying | April 2

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Today's Gospel is another tense interaction between Jesus and the Jews (for John, "the Jews" simply means all those religious that opposed Jesus, not all of the Jews). It all comes to a climax as the Jews press Jesus about having seen Abraham.

"You are not yet fifty years old and have seen Abraham?" they ask sarcastically.

Jesus responds, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM."

Woah. Following this response the Jews picked up stones in order to murder him. Why? Because in saying "I AM," Jesus claimed to be God Himself. Remember when Moses spoke to God at the burning bush? Moses asked God's name. God replied, "I AM." That's where the name "Yahweh" comes from. It is built from the Hebrew for "I am."

One of the most convicting questions I ask myself day after day is, "Do I believe that Jesus is who He says He is?" Do I act like God became man and has a plan for my life? Do I act like He suffered and died for my redemption? Do I act like my decisions and actions have eternal meaning? Often the answer is no. That should make me weep.

Yet Jesus offers us a new chance every day. "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death." Jesus doesn't mean that we will never die, in fact he promises that we will. What He seeks to save us from is the eternal death that separates us from Him. 

In fact, in a divine paradox the way to escape death is by dying. "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit" (John 12:24). 

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?'" (Matthew 16:24-26).

My challenge for  you this day is to pray about what this means for your life. Eternal life with God means death to self. There is no other way. However, in another beautiful, divine paradox, in dying to ourselves God will animate us to be the fullest expression of ourselves. We don't disappear into God, we come alive in Him.


-Amanda Nobis, Director of Evangelization