Summary: Jesus predicts his own death on the cross and again declares His Deity.
2 7 2016 “Jesus’ Own Prediction” John 12:20-36
In our last study we ended with the hyperbole by the Pharisees in John 12:19: “See, this is going nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after Him!” Now this was an exaggeration since the WHOLE world did not go after Jesus; the leaders certainly did not “go after Him” since they had planned to kill Jesus one way or another.
Today we look at John 12:20: Now there were certain Greeks (that is, Gentiles) among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." 22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus. Here we see the fulfillment in part to John 1: 11: “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Many of the Jews, Jesus’ own people rejected their Savior, His message, and his gift of grace and salvation, but we see certain Greeks were being drawn to Jesus: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Jesus’ exclusive ministry to the Jews is coming to a close; after His death, the Gospel focus would include the Gentiles throughout the world. These Greeks evidently are non-Jews but yet religious people who came to Jerusalem to participate in the Passover. We can only assume that being polytheistic in their beliefs, they were attracted to the Passover event and desired to participate in order to appear “religious” and “cover all their bases”.
Verse 23 continues: But Jesus answered them, (that is, his disciples who brought this request to Jesus) saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
Jesus knows every detail of His death which is to come even before any of it comes to pass. Jesus predicts His Death in no uncertain terms: His death would be CERTAIN, yet His death on the cross would be His greatest glory, His greatest honor. His excruciating sacrifice would earn Him the greatest esteem (glory) in the universe as the Lamb of God slain for sinners. What an unusual way to achieve glory in the eyes of the world.
Here Jesus, the Bread from Heaven , uses the example of a wheat seed to demonstrate His own sacrifice: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” Jesus’ death would be fruitful! He would be the first fruit of those who would believe in Him. The fields would be white for harvest because the Gospel news of Life in Christ would be sown throughout the world. In predicting His own death, Jesus’ death would bear much fruit. If He didn’t die arise from the dead, there would be no message to proclaim. There would be no forgiveness and no good news…No fruit would ever be realized…but we know and believe that He indeed DID arise from the dead because we are the firstfruits of those who indeed believe in Him for forgiveness and life.
In a similar way, Jesus explains in verses 25-26 says, “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” For Jesus the way of the cross was the furthest thing from self-preservation; in the same way, if you delight in the things of earth more than in the things of God, you are not heading to Heaven. Your delight on earth will be your delight in the hereafter. Jesus’ statement here actually begs a question for us to answer: Who is my master? Who am I serving? What is my earthly delight? Is my earthly delight my Heavenly Father and HIS will or am I following MY will? Jesus actually explains His Death in terms of DISCIPLESHIP and SERVANTHOOD. Following Him involves the cost of discipleship which is the denial of self in following Jesus’ example.
A Death to bring GLORY
Jesus continues in verse 27: "Now My soul is 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 from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." 29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him." 30 Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die. “