Not everyone in Jerusalem for the Passover was Jewish. Some Greeks had also come and wanted to see Jesus. And Jesus taught them. He spoke about His impending death which was on His mind. He had been teaching, and doing miracles for about three years telling people about the love of the Father. Now it was all coming to a close. But the end of His earthly ministry would be the beginning of The Last Days and the opportunity for every person to come to Salvation. Jesus taught the Greeks and the Jews that had found Him about the death He was about to face. Verses 23-26 read,
“And Jesus answered them, “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 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”
Jesus spoke as He often did in a parable. And what He says is truly awesome news for us and for the Greeks. Jesus referred to His death as His glorification. It was truly the perfect reflection of God’s love for us. When Jesus died on the cross He revealed God absolutely and completely in His perfect love.
And then compared His death to that of a grain of wheat, though the grain dies alone the crop it produces is much bigger than the lone grain implied. And with each subsequent crop the harvest grows larger. And Jesus didn’t hold back. As soon as he described His own death, He alluded to us, His followers giving up our lives for Him as well. He said we would have to choose Him or the world. If we choose to give up our worldly lives, we will gain eternal life. But if we do choose to follow Him, we have to be willing to truly follow and do everything Jesus did up to and including giving up our lives.
But it comes with a promise. “If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” That is deep! It’s huge! The Father, Our God, Our Creator will honor us! He honors us through our union with Christ. He honors us by transforming us to Christ’s image. When we serve Christ, we become one with Him with the promise of God’s presence always with us. And so the Father honors us by giving us His Son and His Spirit.
Jesus continued teaching and He expressed His feelings about what was coming. So often people paint a picture of a stoic or even a detached Jesus. But Jesus was not apathetic or cold. He was passionate about The Father and passionate in His love for us. He fervently threw the money changers out of the temple. He compassionately healed the sick. He lovingly fed the hungry. He cried at the death of His friend. And He tenderly brought people to a place of repentance and belief. He did not face His fast approaching death without feeling. In verses 27-28 Jesus said,
““Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
Jesus knew how awful His death would be but He also knew that it was His purpose and so rather than forgo it, rather than ask the Father to save Him from crucifixion, He chose to glorify Him. It is not a sin to feel the angst and difficulty of the sacrifices made for God. It is in remembering their purpose that we can go through it. That is how Jesus managed it. He took His eyes off Himself and put them on the big picture of God’s purpose, which is God’s glory. And the Father answered Jesus so that everyone could hear! “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” God was glorified in Jesus birth and life and He would be glorified in His death and resurrection. It wasn’t Jesus who needed the audible comfort. It was the listeners. Jesus continued teaching in verses 31-33.
“Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.”
When we read this, we understand that Jesus was talking about conquering Satan and bringing the offer of salvation to the whole world. But the crowd listening didn’t completely understand that. Many of them accepted that Jesus was the Christ, but they still thought He would have an earthly eternal kingship. They couldn’t reconcile what He was saying to their preconceptions of the Messiah. Jesus was saying He would be lifted up from the earth alluding to His crucifixion and His ascension and they thought He would be king and rule Israel forever on earth. So Jesus answered them in verses 35-36.
“So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
They had Jesus with them. They had the chance to believe right then and there. The choice was and is to believe in Jesus Christ and walk in the revelation of truth and love or to reject Him and be overcome with darkness, to be blinded to the truth. Jesus urged them to believe so that they could become sons of light, light themselves to reveal the truth to others.
So many people just couldn’t believe. They had Jesus, the perfect image of God right there in front of them. They had seen the great works He had done. They had heard the deep truths He had taught. They had seen the good He did. They had even heard the voice of God confirm Jesus Christ. But they didn’t believe.
But many people did believe. But too many of those who believed Jesus didn’t confess it. They were afraid to say it publicly because they didn’t want to be kicked out of the synagogue. They couldn’t even sacrifice their place in the synagogue for Jesus, they certainly weren’t willing to sacrifice their lives. Verse 43 describes them like this,
“for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
What is your response to Jesus? Do you believe? Do you confess to everyone that Jesus is Lord? Are you willing to give up your worldly life to follow Jesus? Do you seek honor and glory for and from God or the glory that comes from man?