A Light to the Nations . . .
Isaiah 49:1,5-6 NLT
 Listen to me, all you in distant lands! Pay attention, you who are far away! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.
 And now the LORD speaks— the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant, who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him. The LORD has honored me, and my God has given me strength.
 He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Reflection . . .
It was prophesied that Jesus would be the one who would be a light to the Gentiles. In the gospel reading for today, we see one of the first evidences that Jesus welcomes all nations to himself, to God.
John 12:20-28 NLT Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus. Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels— a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me. “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.”
In His welcoming of others, He uses the imagery of a kernel of wheat, like any seed it needs to planted, it needs to die in order to be raise to something life producing. The message is the same for everyone: Loving our lives in this world only leads to loss of life. Our lives are meant for His purposes. Let’s consider these words so aptly written:
Often when our souls are troubled and problems abound, we tend to pray prayers such as, “Lord, fix this situation so I won’t have to suffer or have problems! Make everything go smoothly in my life! Please remove the obstacles I’m facing today!” But Jesus, in view of his impending suffering and death, aligned himself with the Father’s purposes. While he prayed in Gethsemane, it was only natural for him to ask that if it were possible, he might not need to face the unspeakable torment that was to come. But his greater priority was not his own comfort; it was doing his Father’s will and agreeing to what would bring glory to his name.1
Jesus too had to die in order to accomplish His purpose. We too must die to ourselves in search of His purposes for our lives, to find freedom and bring glory to His name!