top of page

Backwards and Upside Down

Why can’t faith be logical? Why does it seem like Jesus speaks in riddles to be confusing? In Mark 4, Jesus’ disciples ask Him about why He teaches using parables, and He responds, “‘they may indeed look but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand.”

Other times, Jesus says things that seem like the opposite of what we might expect. When describing the parable of a landowner who paid workers equally who had given unequal amounts of work (Matthew 20), Jesus says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” In the Apostle Paul’s introduction to his first letter to the Corinthians, he remarks that, “the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Finally, in our Scripture passage for this coming Sunday (John 12:20-33), some people want to see Jesus, and Jesus responds saying, “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. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

Look but not perceive; hear but not understand; the last are first and the first, last; foolishness but not foolishness; if it dies then it multiplies; love, hate, die, live. It seems like so many things are backwards and upside down. Is this confusing for anyone else? I’d like to think that sometimes I get things right, but as I contemplate some of these words of Scripture, I wonder…

As we move toward Holy Week, we consider Jesus who CHOSE to travel to Jerusalem, even though he knew he would be killed. God’s plan for the salvation of the world centered upon his son being subject to capital punishment. These aren’t exactly the plans I would have devised. Yet, this is what God did.

I think about the image of grains of wheat. We can harvest it, grind it, and make it into a meal. But if we plant it, bury it, get rid of it, then it has the potential to grow and multiply and become much more. This way of thinking requires a long view. This way of thinking requires delayed gratification. This way of thinking requires effort and discipline.

Are there things in my life that I want to hold onto tightly, but they would bear much fruit if I could let them go? Do my own assumptions and expectations limit my ability to produce? The things that are right in front of me are easy to grab onto — they don’t require faith. Letting go and trusting God’s provision is much more difficult. It asks me to take a longer view and gaze beyond myself. I can’t make room for God’s promises if my hands are full, holding onto what I have.

God, grant me the faith to let go.  Amen.

Very Truly,

Pastor Adam

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page