Summary: Having heard & observed, these Gentiles were attracted or drawn to Jesus & they wanted to believe in Him, they wanted to "know" Him. Jesus therefore challenges them & us - to die that we might live
JOHN 12: 20-26
SIR, WE WOULD SEE JESUS
Jesus public ministry was coming to a close and a variety of things were unfolding. Jesus had just entered into Jerusalem to the shouts and praises of the huge crowds [2-2 ½ million] present in the city for the Passover celebration. Though people had many different opinions of Jesus, a crowd of them were ready to proclaim Him king, but the Lord refused to accept the political role they wanted Him to take.
Today's text opens with a group of God-fearing Gentiles (Greeks) who have come to worship at the feast. But they are more than just curious visitors or one time investigators of Judaism, they are seeking the truth. They approach Philip with an appeal to "see" Jesus. To their credit, they did not just want to physically see Jesus. They did not just want to learn more about Jesus. Having heard and observed, they were attracted or drawn to Him and they wanted to believe in Him, they wanted to "know" Him. Jesus therefore challenges them and us to die that we might live (CIM).
FIRST, LIFE COMES THROUGH DEATH, 24.
SECOND, LIFE COMES THROUGH AN EXCHANGE, 25.
THIRD, LIFE COMES THROUGH SERVICE, 26.
As we approach our Lord's description on the kind of death He would die and how we can truly come to know Him there is a preparatory thought in verses 20-22. "Now there were certain Greeks 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"
Some Greeks or Gentiles who had come to worship at the Passover came asking to see Jesus. They came to Philip, although John does not say why, it may be because Philip has a Greek name. [Philipos, means "a lover of horses."] They said, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus." They were persistent seekers who were doing all they could to come to Jesus. [Not being Jews they only had limited access at the Feast.]
Philip apparently was perplexed also about what to do so he consulted Andrew (v. 22). Andrew had no doubt. Andrew did what he always did. Every time we meet Andrew in the Gospels he is bringing someone to Jesus (1:41-42. 6:8-9). Obvious, at least to him, the right thing to do was to bring these foreigners to Jesus.
What Jesus makes clear is that the coming of the Greeks [in some way] communicated to the Lord the fact that the climax of His work on earth was at hand! Because in verse twenty three Jesus' startling response is, "But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified." Up to this point His Disciples, have heard Him say over and over, "My hour has not yet come." The first occurrence is at the Wedding in Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle when his mother came to Him and asked Him to do something about the wine for the wedding feast. Jesus said to her, "…. My hour has not yet come," (Jn 2:4). In the seventh chapter of his Gospel, John tells us that Jesus told his brothers to go on up to the feast at Jerusalem but that he was not going up because "My hour has not yet come" (John 7:6). And, in the eighth chapter, as He is speaking in Jerusalem and the opposition against Him is increasing, John says, "No man laid hands on Him to arrest Him, because His hour had not yet come," (Jn 8:20). Yet now, when a handful of Greeks strangers come and want to see Him, suddenly, to His disciples' amazement, He is greatly moved and says, "Now My hour has come. The time has come for me to be glorified." This event seems to be to Jesus like a great clock striking the hour, a momentous moment of His life when all that He had lived for is ready to be fulfilled.
[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.
He was not to be glorified by subjecting kingdoms on the earth so that they would grovel before the conqueror's feet. The words speak not [thoughts] of conquest but of sacrifice and death. When Jesus says He will be glorified He means He will be crucified. In His death, resurrection, and ascension His glory is revealed.