Holy Tuesday – Philip of Bethsaida

You can listen to this reflection here. The gospel for Holy Tuesday is here

This Holy Week, Water Daily will look at the readings appointed for each day and reflect from the perspective of one the people on the fringes of the story. We too are on the fringes of this story – and we are invited to come into its heart this week. May these holy men and women draw us closer. 

Philip of Bethsaida: People always wanted to see Jesus; what was so different about these Greeks, that their request should cause Jesus such sadness?

I wasn’t even sure I should bother him when they approached me. I mean, a LOT of people wanted to see Jesus – not all of them friendly – and he seemed tense and tired. So I checked in with Andrew, who’s closer to the inner circle than I am. Together we went to Jesus. And his response surprised me. “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” I didn’t know what that meant but then he looked at us with what seemed like resignation, and added, “I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

I couldn’t pretend not to know what he was talking about – the rumors of plots against him have been flying for weeks now. It got a lot worse after the Lazarus business. The leaders are not happy with Jesus’ popularity, or his miracles. And now even Greeks in Jerusalem for Passover want to see him? This attention is not good.

Or is it “good” in a much bigger way? Jesus keeps hinting at a mission broader than we can imagine, that God is up to something huge. Could something good be accomplished by the death of one as amazing as Jesus? Whom I believe to be the Anointed One, the Messiah himself? What kind of fruit might he bear if he dies, like a grain of wheat?

Is he talking about us too? Are we all called to be grains of wheat, broken open so the life of God can break out? “Whoever serves me must follow me,” he said. “And where I am, there will my servant be also.” Well, I am his servant. I can think of no greater purpose for my life than to serve Jesus. I will stay as close to him this week as I can, and hope against hope he’s just speaking in metaphors…

How about us? Are we willing to stay close to Jesus this week? What do we find most unsettling about the whole story of Holy Week? Is there a part you routinely want to avoid? Why do you suppose that is? 

I pray that we might walk closely with Jesus this week, allowing him to be real in our lives – not the suffering crucified one, but the risen Lord of heaven and earth, bearing abundant fruit through us.

You are welcome to join Christ Church for online worship at 7 this evening – here is the link. Our Holy Week line-up of mostly online services is here.

© Kate Heichler, 2024. To receive Water Daily by email each morning, subscribe hereHere are the bible readings for Holy Tuesday. Water Daily is also a podcast – subscribe to it here on Apple, Spotify or your favorite podcast platform.

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