Even though we’re still in the book of John, something is different. Jesus has demonstrated seven major miracles, each one demonstrating Jesus is the true Messiah. But He has completed His miracles, and now he will elaborate on His death and what it means for gentiles. But before we go there, I want to review the 7 miracles because I didn’t know until this week that each miracle fulfilled a purpose –
- Jesus turned water into wine (John 2). This seems like such a minor miracle compared to the miracles to come, especially compared to those listed in the other gospels. You know the story; Jesus is at a wedding, and they run out of wine. His mother says, “Jesus, please help.” Jesus first responds that his hour has not yet come – a phrase Jesus repeats often in the early books of John. And then He turns water into wine. This isn’t a party trick, it’s full of symbolism, of things yet to come –
- They brought Him stone jars full of ceremonial water used for cleansing in the Old Testament. He turned the Old ceremony into the new ceremony, cleansed by the wine which Jesus would later say represents His blood. And this New Testament wine is better than the Old Testament ceremony. And a reason to celebrate our wedding in Revelation yet to come.
- Jesus healed the official’s son (John 4). The Roman official asks Jesus to heal His child, and says Jesus doesn’t even have to show up physically because the Romans believes He is the son of God and can do it where He stands. Jesus demonstrates His grace, freely available to those who believe in faith.
- Healing at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5). A man was unable to heal himself, despite following all the rules and laws to obtain healing. He had in need of a savior, to do for him what he had failed to obtain through his own attempts.
- Jesus fed the 5000 (John 6). An incredible miracle recorded in all four gospels. Man wanted lunch, and Jesus says the bread of life will fill you with abundance for eternity.
- Jesus walked on water (John 6). In the story, the men were afraid of the rough seas and they couldn’t make any headway toward their destination. With Jesus, trouble and strife disappears and they are able to reach their destination. Everything is possible in Him.
- Jesus healed the blind man (John 9), but more, Jesus demonstrates that faith in Him makes everything clear, but when you reject Him, you remain in spiritual darkness. The Pharisees asked, “Did you heal a blind man?” and Jesus’ response is essentially, “This man can see but you are the ones who are spiritually blind.”
- Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11). It is a mirror of our resurrection yet to come. Lazarus was a friend to Jesus, and Jesus raised him to eternal life, just like He will one day raise us to eternal life.
And now that Jesus has completed His miracles so that we may know He is the son of God, we arrive in Jerusalem, six days before Passover. Throughout His miracles, Jesus has said at least four times, “my hour has not yet come.”
II. Greeks for Jesus
So let’s start today with John 12:20-22 –
Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
These Greeks have came to Jerusalem to worship at the Passover festival. When they heard about Jesus, they sought him out and asked to see him. Who were these Greeks, and why did they come to see Jesus?
These “Greeks” are Gentiles or other non-Jewish people. They probably came to see Philip first because Philip had a Greek name, although Philip himself wasn’t Greek. The fact that they were in Jerusalem to worship at the Passover suggests that they were proselytes or God-fearers, Gentiles who had converted to Judaism or were curious about the Jewish faith. These Greeks may have heard about Jesus and his teachings and wanted to learn more about him.
The arrival of the Greeks is significant because it shows that Jesus’ message was not just for the Jewish people but for all people. There’s nothing in the scripture that says Jesus met with the Greeks, but Jesus’ response was immediate. He says in John 12:23,
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
This is a turning point in the Gospel, a point of no return for Jesus. At least four times in the gospel of John, Jesus says His hour is not yet here. But now, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
I’m not sure the disciples fully understand at this point, but Jesus is foretelling His impending death and resurrection, which will bring salvation to all people, not just the Jewish people. It will bring salvation to the Greeks who have come to ask. What exactly is this hour Jesus speaks of?
III. His Hour Has Come
Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus frequently references “his hour,” and scholars have interpreted this phrase in a variety of ways. Some argue that it refers to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, while others suggest that it encompasses his entire ministry, from his birth to his ascension.
In the context of John 12, however, it seems clear that “my hour” refers specifically to Jesus’ imminent death. By declaring that “my hour has come,” Jesus is acknowledging that his mission on earth is nearing its end. He has come to fulfill God’s plan of redemption, and his death will be the ultimate expression of his love for humanity. But He is also going to explain via a parable that we’ll discuss in a moment that His death will not be a defeat, but rather a necessary step in bringing about new life and growth.
When Jesus declares that “my hour has come,” He is acknowledging the significance of his impending death and foreshadowing the ultimate purpose of his mission. Jesus has come to lay down His life for the sake of others and to fulfill God’s plan of salvation.
IV. Parable of the Grain of Wheat
Then Jesus goes on to explain this in a parable, John 12:24-26,
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. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Jesus says that a grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die in order to bear fruit, and he prophecies that he will be lifted up from the earth, a direct reference to his crucifixion. Jesus is the grain of wheat; His death and resurrection is necessary to result in a great harvest of believers. Jesus explains that those who love their lives will lose them, but those who hate their lives in this world will keep them for eternal life. He is calling on his followers to follow his example of self-sacrifice and service to others, even if it means giving up their own desires and comforts.
The significance of this parable lies in its connection to the core message of Christianity. Jesus’ death and resurrection represent the ultimate act of self-sacrifice and love, demonstrating God’s desire to save humanity from sin and death. Through his death, Jesus provides a way for all people to be reconciled to God and to receive eternal life. The parable of the grain of wheat emphasizes that this salvation is not attained by pursuing one’s own desires and interests, but by putting God and others first.
Jesus’ death and resurrection and the need for self-sacrifice and service in the Christian life is not for Jesus, it’s not just for the disciples, but for all Greeks and gentiles and believers. By being a willing sacrifice for the sins of all men, Jesus provided a way for all people to be saved and reconciled to God. Jesus calls us to be like Jesus. Be willing to emulate his example of selflessness and love.
Verse 27-33, Jesus says
“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. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
The voice from heaven serves three main purposes. First, as a divine confirmation of Jesus’ identity and mission. Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus claims to be the Son of God and the Messiah, but these claims are met with skepticism and opposition from many. The voice from heaven, therefore, serves as a powerful affirmation of Jesus’ divine status and purpose.
Secondly, the voice from heaven provides encouragement and strength to Jesus as he faces the difficult road ahead. Jesus knows that his mission will culminate in his death, and he is troubled by the prospect of the suffering that awaits him. The voice from heaven assures him that God is with him and that his ultimate purpose will be accomplished.
And thirdly, the voice from heaven also serves as a public demonstration of God’s power and glory. The fact that the voice is audible to those around Jesus means that it is not a private experience or vision, but a tangible manifestation of God’s presence. This public display of God’s power would have been a powerful witness to those present and would have bolstered their faith in Jesus as the Son of God.
V. Believe and Be Saved
Such a powerful miracle, a voice from above, should be enough to convince the most difficult of believers, but if you think that, you haven’t been paying attention to these lessons in John. The people’s reaction in verse 29 and 34 is essentially, “What was that noise? Who is the voice talking about?”
I think Jesus feels compassion to those that are listening, and he tells them solemnly in verse 35-36 how to live during this Passover week.
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. 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.
“Walk in the light.” What does it mean to “walk in the light”?
Jesus urges us to “walk in the light” so that we may become children of the light. Jesus warns us about the coming judgment and urges us to believe in Him before it is too late.
The phrase “walk in the light” is a metaphor for living a life of faith and obedience to God. Just as physical light illuminates and guides our path, spiritual light illuminates and guides our lives. Walking in the light means living in accordance with God’s truth and living a life that reflects his character.
Jesus’ call to walk in the light is a call to live a life that is characterized by truth, goodness, and love. This life is in contrast to the darkness of sin and unbelief. By walking in the light, we become children of the light, which means that we have been transformed by God’s grace and are now ambassadors of his truth and love in the world.
Jesus’ call to walk in the light is also a call to follow him. Jesus says in John 8:12,
“I am the light of the world.”
By following him, we are led out of the darkness of sin and into the light of his grace and truth. Walking in the light means living in relationship with Jesus and allowing him to guide and direct our lives.
VI. Some Continue to Walk in Darkness
But in John 12:37, it is clear that, despite many signs and wonders that Jesus had performed, there were still people who did not believe in him.
Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.
Why do some people reject Jesus despite the evidence of his miracles and teachings?
Some reject Jesus because of their own personal biases and beliefs. Many of the people who rejected Jesus were religious leaders who were threatened by his teachings and the attention he was receiving from the crowds. They may have been more invested in preserving their own power and authority than in recognizing the truth of Jesus’ message.
Some reject Jesus because of their own spiritual blindness. Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus emphasizes the importance of spiritual discernment and the need to have a receptive heart to understand the truth. Those who do not believe in Jesus may simply lack the spiritual discernment or openness to recognize the truth of his message.
But I think most reject Jesus because He challenges their own beliefs and way of life. Jesus’ teachings on love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice can be difficult to accept, particularly for those who are invested in a worldly or selfish way of living. Belief in Jesus comes with strings attached. Will you reject living according to your own ways, or will you reject living according to His ways? Many don’t want to change. They have to give up the sins they know are wrong but have come to love and depend on . They are a slave to their sins.
Jesus has proclaimed that his hour has come, and urges those who hear Him to believe in Him before it is too late. Despite the many signs and wonders he had performed, there were still some who did not believe, and Jesus warned that those who rejected him were rejecting God himself.
God knew that the rejection of His son would come. John 12:38-40 quotes from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah,
This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”
For believers today, this passage serves as a reminder of the importance of having faith in Jesus and following him as the light of the world. It is a call to walk in the light, to live a life characterized by truth, goodness, and love, and to allow Jesus to guide and direct our lives. We are reminded that believing in Jesus is not a matter of intellectual assent alone, but requires spiritual discernment and a receptive heart.
For non-believers today, this passage serves as a warning of the consequences of rejecting Jesus. Just as those who rejected Jesus in his time were rejecting God himself, so too are those who reject Jesus today rejecting the truth and love of God. The scripture calls usl to turn from the darkness of sin and unbelief and to embrace the light of Jesus.
Walk in the light, to live a life that reflects God’s truth and love, and to follow Jesus as the light of the world.
To God be the glory.
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