Summary: finding Jesus
John 1220-33 We want to see Jesus.
What have you always wanted to see? I have always wanted to see the Northern Lights – now I hope I pronounce this right – the Aurora Borealis. Not much chance of it happening though – you have to go somewhere like Alaska to see it. Anyway there may be other things that you would just love to see. In our gospel reading this morning some Greeks come to Philip, probably because Philip is a greek name, even though he is Jewish and they ask to meet or to see Jesus. John does not tell us anything more about these men, in fact he does not even tell us if they meet with Jesus. They come maybe out of curiosity, maybe they have heard about Jesus and his miracles or his wonderful teaching – but they come and they seek out Philip and ask him to introduce them to Christ Jesus. John tells us that Philip goes to his brother Andrew and that together they go to Jesus and tell him that there are some Greeks wanting to meet him.
Look at verse 23 and Jesus reply to this request. What in the world is he talking about here? Some men have obviously travelled a great distance to speak with him and he says ‘now is the hour come.’ What was Jesus speaking about here? Well turn with me if you would back to John chapter 2 and the wedding at Cana in Galilee. Look at verse 4 – look at what Jesus says when his mother requests he do something because the wine has run out. ‘My hour has not yet come.’ But now by chapter 12 the ‘hour’ has come. What was this hour? Well the answer to that is found in the remaining verses of the passage we read together this morning.
Verse 24 using the analogy of a grain of wheat Jesus speaks about death and about life coming out of and from death. A little earlier he had told the people the parable of the Sower and he had explained its meaning to his disciples. He explained how the seed was the Word of God and how it entered all sorts of soil with mixed results. Now we know from John chapter 1 that Jesus is the Word of God made flesh and he is the seed which now will die so that through the resurrection new life might be available to sinful man. Jesus says that the seed must die, be buried in the ground and die so that new life, abundant fruit might come forth. He says that the seed must lose its own identity, its own life, in order for the plant to grow and bear fruit – abundant fruit.
Verses 25-26 Jesus moves then to speak about what his disciples, and all those who would follow him, must do. He basically says they must die to self in order to gain life, eternal life. You see self is at the heart of all sin. Self-love and self-centredness are the very kernel of idolatry. They refuse to acknowledge the sovereignty of God and they rely on self and not God for life. Jesus says therefore that if you are going to be follower of his you had better follow his example. And what was that example? It was the way of the cross. The denial of self and the obedience to and of the Father’s will, even unto death. The result of following his example is that we will receive eternal life. In fact Jesus says the servant will be where he is and where he is is glory – the glory that the Father bestowed on him as the Son of God – who died, rose victorious and ascended on high to the his right hand. To be where Jesus is is to receive glory from the Father but it can only be gained by way of the cross.
Verses 27-30 Jesus now goes on to speak of the anguish of his soul at the prospect of death. Here is the battle which has raged in the heart and soul of the saviour from the moment of his birth. Here is the battle which satan tempted him with in the wilderness – to go another way other than the cross. Jesus’ humanity is horrified at the prospect of death but his desire to obey the Father’s will leads him humbly to pray that his Father would be glorified. How will the Father be glorified? The Father is glorified when his Son obeys him, right to Calvary. Jesus has now turned to the journey before him. A journey which will take via Gethsemane to Calvary to the tomb to resurrection and ascension to the Father’s right hand in glory. Christ says to the disciples and to the Greeks who came to see him – life, eternal life comes only through death. He knows he is now coming to the fulfilment of his purpose in coming to this world. He knows the hour of his death is at hand. He knows that Judas will betray him and Simon deny him. He knows that these 12 men who have shared his life for the past three years will all desert him at the hour of his death. Such thoughts terrorise his mind and yet he prays Father be glorified!