Psalm 119:9–16; Haggai 2:1–9; John 12:34–50 (read online ⧉)
Haggai’s message was to encourage people who were feeling worn regarding the temple and its rebuilding. While the people of Israel were rebuilding their lives, the restoration of the temple was not moving as well. There is the political climate regarding the difficulties that would arise with the surrounding powers with the temple rebuilding. For those who were old enough to remember, Haggai reminded them of the glory of the old temple, trying to stir them up so that they could invigorate others. Through Haggai, God reminded them that he was faithful and that things could be great again, should they do their part to honor God through rebuilding his temple. God would then fill his temple with his glory.
This God’s glory in the temple paradigm was to be cataclysmically changed with Jesus. God could no longer be viewed as distant, but now very much present. Like all huge changes in thinking, it was going to be painful and jarring. The pain of transition would begin with Jesus betrayed and hung on a cross. Jesus foreshadowed what was to occur, but the people seemed to have a sense themselves as they proclaimed that the Messiah would remain forever; a not-so-subtle dig that if Jesus ever died he was not the Messiah.
Jesus did not allow the nay-sayers to change his story. With his declaration equating denial of him and his words was denying God the Father and his words, Jesus made it clear that their understanding of the Messiah was not complete.
He ultimately answered their challenge with:”…I know that his commandment [Jesus’ obedience to death] is eternal life.” John 12:50
In other words, only by dying will Jesus actually become the Messiah who remained forever.
1. What is your reaction to Jesus’ obedience being death?
2. When you think of martyrs who also were obedient, what is your response to their choice? Why?