Jesus announces it is time to begin His journey to the cross. Will you follow?
John 12: 20-29
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip *came and *told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came and *told Jesus. 23 And Jesus *answered them, saying, “ The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. 27 “ Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘ Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “ An angel has spoken to Him.”
For this whole week in the scriptures, things seem pretty hectic. This is the biggest holiday in the Jewish tradition and there are many people coming and going in Jerusalem. The events that unfold are connected and fast paced. It is kinda hard to find good “stopping points” to talk about.
The first part of this is somewhat funny to me. Andrew and Philip tell Jesus that some Greeks have come to see Him and He answers with “the time has come.” Was the presence of the foreigners the final sign for Jesus to begin His walk to the cross? Maybe He was just waiting for the disciples to return from where they were to announce that it’s time to “roll out.” After having just read the Apostle Paul’s discourse on Christ’s salvation being for the Gentiles as well as the Jews in Romans 11, I believe that Jesus was waiting for Gentiles to arrive to also witness His crucifixion. Until now, the Jews had been God’s only chosen people, but Jesus’ ministry illustrated that God loves all people (yeah, even the Samaritans) and it was for all mankind that He was about to die.
Verses 24-26 seem out of place, don’t they? This usually means that we need to stop, reread, and figure out how they actually go together. I can’t imagine how it seemed to those listening to Him speak at the time, given that they did not yet full understand what was about to happen. I’m sure some people thought, “there He goes babbling on in parables again.” The three verses actually repeat the same thing. The grain of wheat is the worldly life, which in dying will bear spiritual fruit. This is why He says that if we cherish or love our worldly life as a priority, then once we fall dead, that’s the end of the story. However, if we detest our fleshly desires and purposely die to sin, we will be reborn in Spirit. How is this accomplished? By following Jesus (verse 26).
Jesus knows what is about to happen. We watch “The Passion of the Christ” and wince when Jesus is whipped. Imagine knowing that this was about to happen to you. You can already feel your flesh being torn off, your blood running down your face. Doesn’t seem like a fun experience to look forward to. However, just as He taught Peter to keep his gaze affixed on Jesus in the incident on the lake when they walked on water together, Jesus keeps His eyes focused on the goal: fulfilling the purpose God gave Him on earth.
God then reaffirms Jesus’ purpose. Isn’t this refreshing? To know that as we seek out God’s purpose for our lives, He will continually reaffirm our calling if we begin to question it? What is it you are questioning in your life? Have you asked God for affirmation of His purpose for you? Are you still clinging to your worldly life or are you embracing His spiritual life that He has given you?