20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24 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. 25 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. 26 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.
27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28 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.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine.31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
34 The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”
35 Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. 36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”
After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.
John 12:20-36 New Living Translation (NLT)
Yesterday we looked at Jesus being anointed by Mary. The next thing in John’s narrative is Jesus’ triumphant entry. At the end of the story the Pharisees are particularly concerned “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him.”
Jesus is now in Jerusalem for the Passover and apparently some Greeks had heard about Jesus and they wanted to see this man for themselves. It is now that Jesus announces that he will die to set the plan of salvation in motion. Jesus uses the illustration of a wheat kernel planted in the ground. Just one kernel of wheat will produce many new kernels. Jesus singular death produced many new kernels of Christ followers. But then Jesus reminds us that if we want to be a Christ follower, we must lay down our life – we must lay down our dreams – we must not care about life in this world – we must pick up his cross and follow Christ and serve Him.
Even now almost a week before his crucifixion, Christ calls to his Father and asked to be saved from the events to come, but he also realizes that it is the only way to salvation. At that moment, the Father speaks from heaven. Perhaps to strengthen his son, but perhaps also to remind the people who have gathered that Jesus is the promised Chosen One. John tells us that the voice was for our benefit – to remind us that Jesus will indeed be lifted up on a cross to die for the sin of the world.
The people are confused – the Messiah is supposed to live for ever and yet Jesus says that He will die? How could this be? Jesus doesn’t reply to that question instead repeats that he will soon be gone, but then reminds his followers to walk in the light of Jesus. As we approach Good Friday and the death of Jesus, let us be reminded to walk in the light of Jesus.