In working my way through John, we see the theme of belief coming up over and over again. This is the reason for the writing of the book (see John 20:31). However people coming to understand and believe that Jesus was the long prophesied Messiah and God in flesh wasn’t a good thing for everyone. The Pharisees had a big problem with it. Why? See John 11:47-48
“What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
This is the real issue – this is why the Pharisees are coming up against Jesus so strongly. If too much of a stir was caused, and too many people came to believe in who Jesus was they would lose the temple, their semi-autonomous status with Rome, and perhaps closest to their hearts – their status and prestige of being the religious rulers of Israel. Obviously this totally misses the point that Jesus came so that their people might be reconciled to God – they didn’t care about that!
The parallels to our lives are clear – God requires that we surrender everything in our lives to his control, that our lives would now be joyfully used for his glory and not our own self-serving purposes. I can clearly recall resisting God many years ago when he was drawing me towards him, as there were things in my life that I was fearful I would lose by coming to Jesus and I didn’t want to give them up. This is common as I counsel with people who are stuck in sin and life isn’t going well, yet they will not surrender all of their lives to him they want to hold onto parts of it. That’s not how it works.
Jesus says this later in John 12:25-26 “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world (in other words, loves Jesus more than his earthly life) will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”
To follow Jesus as his disciple means that everything in your life is his, what are you afraid of losing? Turns out, when you lose your life, you actually find it’s true meaning and purpose.