“The road less traveled” is from a poem written by Robert Frost in 1916. Frost, by his ownadmission found that following such a road made all the difference in his life. A little over one hundred years after his work was published, the truth contained within is still powerfully self evident.
Jesus followed such a road as he journeyed toward Jerusalem for the final time. During the Lenten period repentance and preparation, John 12:20-33 invites us to reflect upon the difference that Jesus’ chosen path had made in the lives of all who believe - all who have followed along that pathway of suffering, sacrifice and surrender...through death to life.
Who are the Greeks who wish to see Jesus? They are probably gentile “Godfearers”, proponents of Judaism who’ve yet to undergo conversion that have heard of Jesus and wish to learn the same lessons as the disciples. The Greeks learn that the road to glory is marked by humiliation, that the grain of wheat must die in order to produce fruit, that it’s the one who loses their life who will find it, and it’s through obedience and suffering perfection is achieved.
The Greeks of John 12 have heard about Jesus’ power and now they learn the secret of this power - what author Robert Capon calls the left-hand use of power. Jesus will save the world by dying for it-undergoing starkly horrific suffering. Jesus will not be Savior through ruling by winning, but win by losing. Jesus will reign through his complete surrender and abject defeat. The road that Jesus travels leads to laying down his life in self-giving love and sacrificial love.
The way to view Jesus-and to enable others to see him through us-is to travel along the less traveled road as a follower and not as an admirer. Admirers remain detached from a safe distance; they serve as long as there is no demand, no risk, no cost.
Are we followers or admirers? We have to choose whether we will our life in a safe, sterilized appearance of Christianity that is acceptable to the ourselves and the world around us, or whether we will follow Christ along the road less traveled. Each of us must choose.
- Rev. Colby