Season 3 Sweet Selah Moments Podcast, Sweet Selah Moments Podcast

Backstories Matter – Episode 34

Season 3 Sweet Selah Moments Podcast
Season 3 Sweet Selah Moments Podcast
Backstories Matter - Episode 34


Join Nicole and Sharon as they journey back to Palm Sunday and then … even a little further back, in order to understand some back stories. Have you ever changed an opinion about someone or something after learning more about their backstory? Let’s talk about the importance of knowing context when we read the Bible and … when we are tempted to judge our fellow humans!

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We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a co-operative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes can be found at and at Thank you for joining us.

Read the transcript for Backstories Matter

Speaker 1 (00:01):

Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. Spring is on its way and with it the very special Easter season. We hope this Easter series will refresh you as you stop for a little moment and listen in. This Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.

Nicole (00:28):

Welcome to episode 34 Backstories Matter. We are going to be looking at the last days of Jesus’ life on earth during the next six weeks as we enter the wonderful Easter season of the Christian Church. It’s got to be one of the most important of all our holidays, Sharon, probably the most important. Sharon, how do you celebrate Easter as a family?

Sharon (00:47):

I love Easter. I really do. And partially, because I think it is the highlight of the Christian calendar for the year. Without the resurrection where would we be?

Nicole (00:58):

Yep, exactly.

Sharon (01:00):

Well, some of my favorite memories, sunrise service, because I’m a morning person, I love especially getting out to the beach and watching the sun rise and singing songs of worship and praise. I love, love, love that. I also love the Good Friday service in a different way. Fasting, praying, just remembering again, the tremendous gift of Christ’s sacrifice and blood literally poured out for us. And then, you know, some more secular things. I loved a new dress every Sunday. Not every Sunday, wouldn’t that have been nice? Every Easter Sunday we’d have new dresses and new little hats and little white gloves.

Nicole (01:45):

Oh, how cute.

Sharon (01:46):

Oh, it was so fun. And I think the most unique tradition, because my mother’s British, is we make homemade hot cross buns. My British grandmother’s recipe from the late 1800’s. So actually that’s my great grandmother’s recipe.

Nicole (02:04):


Sharon (02:04):

And they’re the yeast kind.

Nicole (02:06):


Sharon (02:07):

Because you know, you don’t have the yeast for Passover, but then you’ve got the fullness of the rising of Jesus. It’s just so cool. So just the smell of hot cross buns rising brings back such joy to me and I still do it. And so does my mother and Mary, my daughter has carried on making that old recipe.

Nicole (02:29):

Oh, I love that.

Sharon (02:29):

Although, you know, Mary? It’s gotta be gourmet. So she’s got the orange cranberry variant, and the lemon almond variant, because Mary can’t just follow a recipe the way it’s done. She has to mess with it a little bit.

Nicole (02:44):

(Fancy) That’s awesome.

Sharon (02:45):

But that was consistent in our house to have the hot cross buns. And it was consistent for us to do the sunrise service and the Good Friday. So all of that together, chunked in to make us really stop and notice that this is a high and holy day. How about you?

Nicole (03:04):

Yeah, that’s so cool. Well, we just recently came across hot cross buns about two years ago.

Sharon (03:11):

You did?

Nicole (03:11):

Yeah. I’d seen them but. I never really investigated them. So I was like, Oh, we’re getting hot cross buns. So I bought them and brought them home. We opened them and the kids are like, ew, these are gross.

Sharon (03:20):

That’s cause they weren’t my British grandmother’s hot cross buns!

Nicole (03:26):

I was like, no, these are holy, eat this. We need your grandmother’s recipe. Does that recipe have like bits of like fruit cake?

Sharon (03:30):

No, nope.

Nicole (03:30):

Okay. The hard fruits? Anyway, they were not impressed. They didn’t like that at all.

Sharon (03:35):

Oh. Yeah.

Nicole (03:35):

But I suffered them, you have to try it though it’s for Good Friday.

Sharon (03:38):

This is very important.

Nicole (03:39):

So we did the hot cross buns, even though I’m the only one that actually enjoys eating it. And then this last two or three years, I found this cute little crafty thing cause my girls love crafts and to engage them, I have to find something, you know, hands-on. I send them outside. They love going outside and they gather all these little supplies, like some sticks and rocks and moss. And we make this little resurrection garden. I just put it on a plate, like a paper plate or plastic plate. And we build the little tomb scene. We’ll take a baby food jar and put moss over it. And we’ll find a little white cloth and put it in the tomb and find a little rock to roll in front of it. Just so cute. But as we’re doing it we’re kind of thinking about it. We made little crosses out of sticks and we found a little lamb and talked about the Lamb of God. And we kind of did it one time on a whim and it was a hot mess. It was just, you know, nothing beautiful or Pinterest-y. We put it in the center of our table for that week and it was just so beautiful to look at it.

Sharon (04:36):

I love that. An object lesson.

Nicole (04:36):

Yeah. Instead of my fancy, you know, Easter centerpiece we had this cute little handmade, messy dirt resurrection garden, but the kids loved it and they were part of it. And for me in our season of life it’s you know, involving the kids in it too.

Sharon (04:52):

So important. Right.

Nicole (04:53):

Yeah. Just that stopping. And then the Jesus Storybook Bible is one of our favorites that we read with the kids and they again have a great quick little one week printout where you read different stories.

Sharon (05:03):

Oh, that’s a good idea.

Nicole (05:05):

Yeah, and it’s simple and one day you read it in the dark, like on Good Friday. And then one day you rip a cloth. So no prep, super simple, just get them and yourself to stop, get familiar with this story again and prepare our hearts for Jesus’ coming.

Sharon (05:18):

I love that because I feel like there’s lots of ways to prepare children for Christmas. And there are less for Easter. So these are good ideas.

Nicole (05:22):

It’s hard to find. There’s not much. Yeah. But I love Jesus Storybook Bible. If you just go to their website, you can print off their little read-through.

Sharon (05:31):

Oh, I like that.

Nicole (05:32):

But that’s it. We keep it pretty simple, you know, but I just love those, those, are my two favorite things we did.

Sharon (05:35):

Oh, those are wonderful. That’s so fun. And I’m glad we’re talking about it now because anybody listening has plenty of time to go find moss, right?

Nicole (05:43):

Oh, yeah. Go dig around for some rocks. Keep it simple.

Sharon (05:46):

That’s so cool. All right then. Well we are going to try to backtrack today because it’s on Backstories Matter to events that took place before Jesus’ death and resurrection, but that had a huge bearing on it. Backstories matter, and they help us understand a story better. So before we read today’s passage, let’s just talk about backstories for a moment. What is a backstory? And have you ever revised your opinion about someone after you learned their backstory?

Nicole (06:17):

Oh, absolutely. Well, I think first of all, I think a backstory is probably somebody’s, like a person’s history? So the experiences and things that happen to them that have made them into the person that we might know presently. And honestly there are very few people that haven’t changed in my eyes since learning their backstories, especially people that maybe upon first meeting that I find to be unkind. Their backstories are always worth hearing in order to understand where they are now and to be able to see, you know, where they came from and to give them grace in that journey.

Sharon (06:52):

Yes, yes.

Nicole (06:52):

I need that because I’m hoping to give that to others.

Sharon (06:54):

Yes, exactly so. It’s so much fun when you realize everybody has a backstory too.

Nicole (06:58):

Right. And I love hearing people’s stories. Oh, tell me your marriage or tell me your story of this. I love people’s stories. Plus, as believers, it becomes our testimony.

Sharon (07:07):

It does.

Nicole (07:07):

And it’s cool to see how God has changed us along the years. So they’re important,

Sharon (07:12):

They are very important. I remember one woman that came to our church and had only been coming a few times. I met her through teaching The Christianity Explained course, so she just started attending. And she said to me, one Sunday in the lobby, she said, I don’t fit here. I don’t fit here. I don’t fit here. She said, everybody’s so perfect. Oh, and I’m looking, I’m looking around and I know the backstory. I know the mother who has a child that’s out of control. And I know the woman who had an abortion and regretted it. I know the stories of these people. And of course I didn’t tell her.

Nicole (07:48):

About your list and go, this one…

Sharon (07:48):

But I said, Oh no, no, no, no, no, everyone here has a story. Everyone here is broken in some ways. And that’s how we knew we needed a Savior.

Nicole (07:58):


Sharon (08:00):

You super-belong here because this is a place for people that are broken and need mending.

Nicole (08:06):

Oh Yeah. You know I think that should be our first go-to. If we see someone we think is perfect or has it altogether that means that we need to get to know them because we are dead wrong.

Sharon (08:14):

Yes, we are dead wrong.

Nicole (08:15):

Because we don’t actually know their stories.

Sharon (08:17):

Exactly so. And sometimes the ones that seem the most perfect and put up the veneer the most are the most fragile.

Nicole (08:23):

Oh, for sure. And have the most pain inside.

Sharon (08:25):

Right, right. So we just, we need to know the backstory.

Nicole (08:28):

Yeah. It’s crucial.

Sharon (08:28):

We really do. And today we’re going to do it. So, all right, today, our focus is going to be on Palm Sunday, but in order to understand it fully, we will start reading a bit before that amazing event takes place. And we’re going to read a little bit after it too, in the Gospel of John. There’s a whole lot more to talk about than just palm branches waving. And I can’t wait to dig deeper. So friends, this is our Sweet Selah moment where we stop to listen deeply to God’s word and let it soak into our minds and hearts. So listen with us. As we read John 12:1-29.

Nicole (09:07):

John 12:1-11: – “Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus, the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of Nard. And she anointed Jesus’s feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance, but Judas Iscariot, the disciple who’d soon betray him said, ‘That perfume is worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and money given to the poor’. Not that he cared for the poor, he was a thief. And since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself. Jesus replied, ‘Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me’. When all the people heard of Jesus’s arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. Then the leading priest decided to kill Lazarus too for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.”

Sharon (10:20):

Next section, John 12:12-19: – “The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted ‘Praise God’.” (Sharon: Which I mean, I’m so used to seeing the word ‘hosanna’; that’s weird, different translations.)

Nicole (10:42):

Me too. Where’s ‘hosanna’?

Sharon (10:43):

“Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord, hail to the King of Israel. Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said, don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt. His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy, but after Jesus entered his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written down about him. Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead and they were telling others about it. That was the reason so many went out to meet him because they had heard about this miraculous sign. Then the Pharisees said to each other, there’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him.”

Nicole (11:32):

The next section, verses 20 through 29, “Jesus predicts his death. 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 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 it’s 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’, when the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder while others declared an angel had spoken to him”. Wow.

Sharon (12:46):

You know, for years, Nicole, I totally missed the indisputable fact from reading all four gospels, that Jesus was well aware of his approaching death long before he was arrested. How did I miss that? Well the disciples missed it. So I missed it too.

Nicole (13:00):

Right. It’s easy to.

Sharon (13:01):

It was no shock to Jesus. Not even when he got arrested because he already knew then. But long before he knew that that was going to happen. In fact, we’re going to go back a little bit more in John at the beginning of chapter 11. And I’m going to start reading a little before verse four, a man named Lazarus was sick basically, but when Jesus heard about it, he said, “Lazarus’ sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the son of God will receive glory from this. So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. Finally he said to his disciples, let’s go back to Judea. But his disciples objected. Rabbi, they said, only a few days ago, the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?” All right. So let’s just look at this for a minute. It’s obvious from this passage that going back to Judea was going back into danger. The disciples were like, Whoa, you sure you want to do that? This did not go well for you last time. But yet of course Jesus did go. And the only reason he delayed wasn’t that he was afraid of going back.

Nicole (14:09):


Sharon (14:09):

It was that he needed Lazarus to be dead.

Nicole (14:12):


Sharon (14:12):

Isn’t it amazing?

Nicole (14:13):

I love that story.

Sharon (14:14):

He wanted to show that he had power over death before he died and had the ultimate power over death.

Nicole (14:22):


Sharon (14:23):

Isn’t that stunning?

Nicole (14:24):

That’s amazing.

Sharon (14:25):

Yeah. He just, he wanted to show it. So he wanted to show people that he could raise Lazarus from the dead. It wasn’t enough to heal him from the brink of death. No, Jesus raised him from the dead knowing full well, what a sensation that would cause. How it would lead to crowds and how those crowds would lead to his arrest.

Nicole (14:44):


Sharon (14:44):

Yeah, because from the very beginning, if you look at the book of Mark, particularly, Jesus was always saying at the beginning, don’t tell people I just healed you.

Nicole (14:51):


Sharon (14:52):

Because he knew that the swelling of a crowd in a time where the Romans were a little nervous about the fact that they were occupying a country would not go well with the authorities, either the Roman or the Jewish authorities. So, so there you go. But just as an aside, I just want to ask you this, as we’re talking about Lazarus dying.

Nicole (15:13):

I know, crazy story.

Sharon (15:13):

Do you think he wanted to come back?

Nicole (15:16):

Do you know, I’ve asked myself that every time I read that. I’m like poor Lazarus. He would’ve been like, wait, what? Oh no. Why am I back?

Sharon (15:24):

I know. I know. And then they want to kill him again right away.

Nicole (15:27):

I know… like, ‘just leave me dead’.

Sharon (15:30):

I’ve often wondered that when he came out of the grave, did God prepare him and say, this is temporary and I’ll send you right back?

Nicole (15:38):

Right, like don’t get too excited. Or is there like an in-between? I don’t know. Was there like a holding…?

Sharon (15:42):

It’s fascinating.

Nicole (15:42):

It makes you wonder, like what happens. Cause yeah. I just wish. Those are times when I wish the Bible gave more details. Like, what did he say? Was he like, Oh boy. Or did he talk about it? Or did God say keep it quiet?

Sharon (15:52):

Yeah. Or did the second time he died feel fine because he already knew?

Nicole (15:57):

Oh right. I bet he wasn’t afraid.

Sharon (15:58):

I think it would have helped with that.

Nicole (16:00):

Oh I definitely think so.

Sharon (16:00):

Okay. So this time please don’t bring me back again.

Nicole (16:02):

Right. Is this for real, like for sure? Can I really go?

Sharon (16:05):

So fun to think about and where he was and how God helped him understand that he had to come back.

Nicole (16:12):


Sharon (16:13):

Cause I would think that, you know, leaving the weight of an earthly body would feel so good and coming back into it again, it would be harder.

Nicole (16:23):

Yeah it would be harder than before cause you knew what was there.

Sharon (16:25):


Nicole (16:27):

Well too, I knew when he, I knew that Jesus waited for Lazarus to die, to show Mary and Martha and the people there that he had power over death too. They’ve seen him heal. They’d never seen him raise a man. I never thought of it as a precursor to his death. Like, okay, you’ve seen me heal, do this, do that. But now I can raise people from the dead. So almost like comfort them and prepare them. Like I’m going to come back from the dead.

Sharon (16:48):

That’s right.

Nicole (16:49):

Cause he kept saying it, but no one really caught on.

Sharon (16:51):

Nobody caught it. Nobody caught it. But he knew.

Nicole (16:53):

That’s really cool.

Sharon (16:53):

And he was thinking about it right from the start.

Nicole (16:56):

Yeah. Yeah, really neat.

Sharon (16:56):

So fascinating. Well, all right, let’s go to the main passage. We diverged there a little bit cause I couldn’t resist. Nicole, you read the passage in John 12 where Jesus and the disciples were hanging out with Lazarus and sisters at that dinner, kind of celebrating, I guess. Can you summarize that section for us then? And remind us what happened there and then why was this particular backstory important to Palm Sunday?

Nicole (17:21):

Yeah. So it’s kind if neat cause they’re all sitting and eating. And I love that Lazarus was there and he ate with them. It just showed that he was like, he’s alive and whole.

Sharon (17:30):

Totally alive. He was not a ghost.

Nicole (17:31):

Yeah, he was just like, all right back to normal life. But it was really interesting to me at the beginning of all of that is that Mary anointed Jesus. I wonder if she was paying attention and she caught on that he was going to die soon.

Sharon (17:41):

I’ve wondered that too.

Nicole (17:42):

Because that’s a pretty significant thing to do to somebody. I know we get the benefit of looking back through history, seeing all the different gospels together and we can see fairly clearly his plan laid out from the beginning and sometimes we’re baffled at the disciples. They didn’t catch on, but we have prophecy fulfillment explained as we read it now. So it’ll say like, he rode the donkey, prophecy fulfilled. So we have that to help us, which is super helpful.

Sharon (18:08):

Yes. And they did not you’re right.

Nicole (18:08):

And they did not. Yeah. So I think that makes it easier for us too. So from then on, it’s just amazing to see all the fulfillment of prophecy. Everything happened just as it should. Even if we cringe a little watching it all unfold, leading him closer and closer to his death. Now that’s always tough, but everything worked out according to the plan, even Lazarus’ death, and Jesus bringing him back from the dead. You had mentioned, there wouldn’t have been so many people there to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem or even such fanfare if news of a dead man raised to life hadn’t spread. It’s just so amazing to see how it all came together. Every little side story, every little detail, all weaving together to intricately form the big rescue plan for all of us. All leading and pointing to his sacrificial death and glorious resurrection.

Sharon (18:55):

Isn’t it fascinating. Yes.

Nicole (18:57):

Yeah. All those little details.

Sharon (18:58):

Including that anointing for his burial before time. Yes. And he was thinking about his death then because he said leave her alone. She’s actually preparing me for my burial. I think Nicole, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, I think that there was a turning mentally in him. All right, here we go.

Nicole (19:19):

The starting of the last events.

Sharon (19:19):

Wait. God’s told him to wait two days so he waits, even though he loves them. And then he turns his face really toward the cross at that point. And so, you know, he’s thinking about it. Of course, he’s thinking about it all the time. It’s the greatest sacrifice of all time and it cost him. So fascinating.

Nicole (19:38):


Sharon (19:38):

It makes perfect sense to me that he’d be focused on the burial at that point because he’s focused on the whole thing. He knew his days were numbered.

Nicole (19:45):


Sharon (19:45):

And we know from the Garden of Gethsemane, that it was something that in some measure he dreaded. It wasn’t like he, part of him was eager. Hebrews says for the joy set before him, he endured the cross. So he had the joy of what was going to come after, but he still had the get through the worst part of all ahead of him. So, so, okay. Then we have the triumphal entry with palm branches, and praises ringing out and he’s called the king, which is a dangerous thing to call someone in the age where there is no king but Caesar.

Nicole (20:18):


Sharon (20:19):

So this is a big deal. And there are throngs of people coming out. They’re telling each other, this guy raised Lazarus from the dead. I was there. I was helping Mary and Martha mourn. And all of a sudden Jesus shows up, they open up the tomb and he’s walking out with his grave clothes on. Would you not tell that story if you had seen it?

Nicole (20:39):

Oh I’d be spreading that one.

Sharon (20:41):

Oh, you’d be spreading that word. And everybody’s like, ‘What, no?’ ‘Yes, I was there.’ So it’s a big deal. They’re all running, running, running to wave at him as he walks into Jerusalem. But then he doesn’t walk. He chooses the donkey. So Zechariah 9:9 says this, “Rejoice Oh people of Zion, shout in triumph Oh people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious yet he is humble. Riding on a donkey, riding on a donkey’s Colt”.

Nicole (21:15):

What an image.

Sharon (21:15):

What an interesting juxtaposition. He’s King, but he’s not coming on a war horse. He’s not coming with sword drawn. And you know, an army behind him. He’s not that kind of King yet. He will be someday. He’s coming in humility to serve us by saving us. And the donkey was important for Jesus to underline to people that had ears to hear and eyes to see, he’s coming in humility. He’s not coming with that fierce wrath that we’re going to see described in Revelation where it’s like, that’s it. Evil’s over. It’s done. And I’ve come to make things right.

Nicole (21:55):


Sharon (21:55):

That’s happening. But this one is the sacrificial coming. So, unbelievable. So here he comes, the one who is about to become the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Wow.

Nicole (22:08):

That is a beautiful picture.

Sharon (22:09):

Isn’t it? Just something else. I am also fascinated, Nicole, by what Jesus said right after he gets to Jerusalem after all the shouts and the fanfare and the adoration. So when we get to John 12:20-29 we read words again that are so powerful. He was focused even then on the end game. I mean, they’re all like, Oh, I want to see him. In fact, you’re going to read this in a second, but these Greeks are coming saying, Oh, can we meet him, can we meet him? Like, Whoa, this is so exciting.

Nicole (22:41):

Do you know him?

Sharon (22:41):

You know, but he wasn’t focused on people going, ‘Wow, it’s Jesus’. He never cared what men thought. He always was about what God thought. And he knew that the very same people who were like, ‘Wow, it’s Jesus’ were going to be shouting, ‘Crucify him’ later on the same week. So read those verses one more time so that we can talk about them.

Nicole (23:01):

Starting in verse 20, “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 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. When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder while others declared an angel had spoken to him”.

Sharon (24:06):

Hmm. What a passage and what a bizarre answer to the Greeks that are like, ‘hi, we wanted to meet you’? Unless a kernel of wheat dies. You know?

Nicole (24:16):

Right, it’s kinda like, Oh really?

Sharon (24:18):

I think he was trying to disabuse them really quickly of the notion that he was a military thing.

Nicole (24:24):

Oh yeah.

Sharon (24:24):

So my favorite verse is actually verse 24, where is it? I’m reading the wrong one now, hold on. I tell you the truth. Here it is. ‘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.’ And I’m just picturing, you know, my hand with one little seed in it, you look at it and you’re like, how can that ever be anything else?

Nicole (24:49):


Sharon (24:49):

It’s too tiny to be this big stalk of wheat with lots of little seeds in it. You know, it’s too tiny to feed any. How does that feed people?

Nicole (24:59):

It doesn’t do anything.

Sharon (24:59):

It doesn’t do anything. It’s just this hard little tiny thing. And that principle is so good for us to understand. What one little thing can do and what happens to the seed? It’s buried deep in soil. It’s in gunk and dark and muck. And then somehow it blossoms into what it was supposed to be. And in the same way, Jesus walking on earth was awesome but the harvest of eternal life only came when he died. When he was deep in the soil and then from that one eternal life, Jesus, came, all of ours. That huge, huge harvest. So of course that’s where his mind was at. And of course that’s what he said. And even the fact that it was a weird thing to say would help them remember it. Right?

Nicole (25:46):

That’s true. It would definitely stand out in their minds.

Sharon (25:49):

Oh my goodness. Hi, we came to say, you’re cool and you’re talking about seeds and death. Weird, but they would remember. Well, they would remember. They did cause it was written down.

Nicole (26:00):

Right. Oh, wow.

Sharon (26:02):

It’s just so cool.

Nicole (26:03):

It is super cool.

Sharon (26:03):

How about you? What verse stands out to you?

Nicole (26:06):

Verse 27 is so beautiful. To see both sides of Jesus in one verse. You can see his humanity as he knew what was going to happen. And he was probably really dreading it. It was a pretty awful way to die, but you can see right after that, you can see him the God side of him surrendering, even though he could easily have escaped his fate. He had submitted in obedience to a painful death in order to bring glory to his Father.

Sharon (26:31):

Yeah. Yeah. It’s both there. It’s like, I, I don’t want to do this, but, but this is the reason I came.

Nicole (26:37):

Right. There’s everything in that one verse, his humanity, his God-ness, and then his submission to God for glory.

Sharon (26:41):

Yeah, and then he submissed.

Nicole (26:43):

(Laughing) That’s the past tense.

Sharon (26:43):

Submitted and beautiful, beautiful to see how he set his face towards Jerusalem and just kept going.

Nicole (26:56):

Yeah. One step at a time. One day at a time

Sharon (26:58):

So, so when Jesus waited, to summarize, and then went to Lazarus, an entire chain of events occurred. What we do affects our tomorrows, doesn’t it, just like it did him? Our backstories matter too. If I get up in the morning and determine, for example, to be my own boss for the day, refusing to ask God for his help, I will often say things that have consequences negatively or end up in tears because I messed up so badly. But if I start the day dying to self and yoking myself to Jesus, then my quiet little backstory of that simple surrender starts such a better path toward a better and more satisfying day of accomplishing God’s will.

Nicole (27:41):


Sharon (27:42):

So, so, so cool. I remember when I was probably your age, I was listening to a Steve and Annie Chapman song and the chorus says this. “It would mean so much to me if you’re the only one they see.” And I actually hated it, I’m like, wait a second. I kind of want them to see me a little bit. Some. I said, ‘I don’t like this Lord’. You know, I had the worst three days of my life, after that. I cannot even tell you, Nicole. It was like God removed himself from giving me the spirit-led-ness.

Nicole (28:19):


Sharon (28:19):

I was awful. I’m not kidding! And I’m like, Oh, I’m really not that attractive. Okay, come back, please come back. I want him to be the legacy not me, you know?

Nicole (28:32):

You kind of forget how much is him and not us sometimes.

Sharon (28:37):

We forget. It’s Him. Any love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is because of him.

Nicole (28:43):

It’s all from him.

Sharon (28:43):

It’s all from him.

Nicole (28:44):

Yeah, and in those days when we live out in our flesh, we very quickly remember how miserable we are without him.

Sharon (28:48):

Yes we do. Yes we do. And he just sort of removed himself and said, ‘Go ahead. See what you think. Do you really want them to remember you?’ Oh no.

Nicole (28:56):

Never mind.

Sharon (29:00):

Cause I’m not that attractive without you. So, Oh boy. Well, I need to pray and close this out, but man, I just love our Savior who was willing to turn his face towards something super hard and like a seed, plant himself in that earth for our sakes. Oh Father, as we continue to draw closer and closer to Easter, make the words of these scriptures come to life for us, help us to see Jesus’ progress toward the cross. Help us to see the sacrifice, help us to see the crowds, help us to remember well what you did for us on that day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Nicole (29:42):

Wow. I may never attend a Palm Sunday service quite the same way again. It’s sobering and wonderful to think of how Jesus chose to die for us, knowing full well the cost. I am so glad we’re taking time to dig deep into this most important story. And I hope you have learned and gleaned new lessons along the way as well, friends. Come back next week for episode 35. We’ve called it Choosing the Hard. We’ll explore John 13 a bit then. Until then please consider leaving a review for us and donating to our ministry. So far, we have kept these podcasts free of advertisements and we hope we can continue to do so, but we do rely on your support. So go to and help us continue this ministry. Thank you friends. May God bless you and guide you this week.

Speaker 1 (30:35):

We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a co-operative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes can be found at and at Thank you for joining us.


You can download and print the transcript here.


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