20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up[a] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
- John 12:32The Greek for lifted up also means exalted.
Today many people really want to see Jesus. Many have been to churches, some have even come to campus groups but are dissatisfied with their experiences - they really want to see Jesus. Jesus pointed to the reason he has come to the world: Scripture read and drama have introduced this to us.
In Jn 12 there was a world assembly in Jerusalem around passover. The gentiles wanted to meet Jesus, in the midst of the religious experience. Compare the gentiles with the Pharisees and religious leaders. Today there are many who come to religion but not wanting to see Jesus: they come for miracles, for experiences and even for health and wealth. Some so called miracles are neither possible or necessary. When I was younger my hair looked like an Afro - when my hair began to recede I did not want to look hairless, so humanly speaking I started wearing hats until it became a hat BECAUSE I saw that to seek a miracle in trying to avoid the unavoidable was foolishness. People waste so much time in seeking the miraculous in order to shortcut work or avoid age. Foolishness. Jesus has greater priorities in his ministry.
The gentiles seek Jesus and so they come to Phillip who takes them to Andrew who goes to Jesus. Seed and fruit are always linked. When a seed dies it produces growth, leaves, flowers, fruit - the seed that dies must die to germinate and die. In the NIV it speaks not about fruit but about many seeds - we all too often focus on the fruit but Jesus focusses on the seeds, which produces more and more. Life for others only comes through the death of the first seed. The life of Christ through his death comes to us in power.
To love my life means that I am so caught up in my comfort that I lose my focus on His plan and His people. For instance we live in an age where celebrity culture, plastic surgery, accumulating wealth, seeking comfort are pursuits which illustrate that life in our selves is life away from God. Jesus says do not even worry because your heavenly father loves you: we must not make an idol of our own lives. There is a call for those who would follow him. IN the context when Jesus says 'whomever' it really means all are invited, but not an indication that all will be saved.
Jesus speaks of God's glory being made real in His life. The cross is the path of God's glory - The Father speaks: His glory has been made plain in Jesus. The Father points to the cross - the Son speaks of the Father. Jesus speaks of judgement and the destruction of the evil one. Jesus will be lifted up in order to bring people to know God. Jesus points the crowd to the cross - because this is the height of His ministry. Darkness will look like it is winning but in the ultimate victory of darkness over the Light of the World, The Lamb to be slain, will be founded the final destruction of darkness itself.
What should this passage mean to us today? Philip and Andrew present these gentiles to Jesus. What do we emphasise when we speak about our ministry, our work? This ministry is the pathway to the cross. No resolutions, no moral codes, no philosophical commitments can change people - only, ONLY, the Lord Jesus: it is only the cross that Jesus unites us with God, unites us to one another. At the foot of the cross of Christ the ground is level and we stand equalled under the grace of God - no rank or privilege under the cross. There are many who have died in the work and under the work, they have been like this seed producing more seeds. The traditions of the death of the first Apostles speak volumes of the pathway of suffering: if we will follow Jesus, we must not edit the cross out of Christian discipleship. The Cross is inescapable, essential, relevant and powerful. A student from an islamic home had a dream of a light from her pillow to the heavens, it frightened her. The second time she had the dream the light split into a cross. On the third day the light split into the cross and had an Arabic inscription "Jesus Christ is the Son of God". This is how she came to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. We have all been called to follow the Lord Jesus, if he is to be Lord then there can be no compromise in our commitment to the cross.Daniel Bourdanne comes to pray that we will not forget the power of the cross - but that we will focus on the power and the beauty of the cross; that we will remain faithful to the message of the cross and resurrection. That we will live out the implications in our lives, families, groups, societies: suffering is hard but by God's Holy Spirit we can endure and even die should we be called to it. Asking God to help us to see a glimpse of the glory that we are going to live in and now live for.
We close the evening with a view of a postcard from Krakow - a summary of the walking tours taken by the delegates yesterday afternoon
Postcard from Kraków from IFES World on Vimeo.