Summary: How was Jesus able to get through the external and internal struggles on his way to the cross?
Iliff and Saltillo United Methodist
March 13, 2005
Fifth Sunday of Lent
“A Kernel of Wheat”
INTRODUCTION: At the time of this scripture Jesus was well on His way to the cross. His public ministry was coming to a close and a variety of things were unfolding. A crowd of people from many different places had gathered for the Passover Feast. The people in the crowd had many different opinions of Him. The Jews were upset because people were following Jesus. They were plotting how they might go about killing Him. They said, “Look, how the whole world has gone after Him.”
In the opening of today’s scripture some Greeks, Gentiles who had come to worship at the Passover, went to Philip and said, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” They were seekers who were sincere people but they only had limited access at the Feast. They probably approached Philip because he was from Bethsaida where there was a large settlement of Gentiles. Maybe they recognized Philip and Andrew as having Greek names who would be more receptive and less likely to snub them.
Jesus did not answer their request directly. Instead he said, “The HOUR has come for the Son of man to be glorified.” You will remember in another scripture Jesus said, Mine HOUR is not yet come” (John 2:4) Today’s scripture is the first time He has said, “the HOUR is come that the Son of man should be glorified.” He also says it again in John 17, “the HOUR is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son may also glorify thee.”
What did he mean by this? Was it an hour like 9:00 in the morning or 1:00 in the afternoon? Why did Jesus answer this request by saying, “the HOUR has come for the son of man to be glorified when up until this point he would always say, My HOUR has not yet come?” The Greek word used here is hora which is “a point of time or a season when an appointed action is to begin” --Jesus was looking ahead to the cross--the event that all history had been building up to--the one main event that he had come to earth for in the first place--to be the Savior of humankind. It was now time for the EVENT to come to pass.
When these Greeks (Gentiles) came and requested to see Him, He was pleased about it because they were some of the first Gentiles who were being brought into the harvest. He considered them “firstfruits” of the great harvest of Gentiles that was to be brought into the kingdom of God. At that point Jesus explained what is about to happen at the crucifixion when He tells them, “except a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (vs. 24).
He is saying it won’t multiply--it won’t produce a crop for the future--it won’t be productive, but if it is planted it will grow and multiply and produce a great harvest. The message he was trying to get across to these people was that HE was the ONE KERNEL of wheat--He was on His way to the cross to die, be buried, and be resurrected to new life, and if He did this there would be a great harvest of souls--now and in future generations. It would be the opening of the Gospel for everyone--not just the Jews alone but for all people. He sees the Cross that was soon going to bring them in.