Summary: the 38th installment from our series on the Gospel of John. Here we look at the Greeks who came to see Jesus and how this is a turning point in John's Gospel, as the Lord prepares to give His life for the sin of man.
We would See Jesus (John Part 38)
Text: John 12:20-26
We’re continuing on with John’s Gospel this morning, so if you have your Bibles, go ahead and open them up to John 12. While you’re turning there, let me just set the stage for you by giving you the context of our passage this morning.
Jesus has just entered Jerusalem with a massive crowd of people singing His praises. Probably tens of thousands of people are shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Even the King of Israel!” So this is a political uprising on the scale of a Trump rally! No joke! It’s actually nice to be able to point to something we can look at in our present time, as a way of comparing what was going on here. I mean; these crowds at the Triumphal Entry might as well have been wearing M-I-G-A hats… Make Israel Great Again, because that’s what they thought Jesus had come to do. And what’s interesting… really interesting… is that the powers that were in place, reacted the same way that they do now. THEY FREAK OUT!
If you look back at verse 19, the Pharisees were like, “Look, the whole world is going after him!” Jesus was messing everything up! He was upsetting their apple cart. They saw their whole, well-orchestrated, racket being ruined by Jesus. No more kickbacks from the Roman government. No more defrauding the people through the corrupt temple tax. No more comfort zone, and easy, living. The Pharisees see all of this; and in one sense, they’re right. The Romans are going to take notice of it at some point, and have to do something about it. So the Pharisees were getting desperate. They were getting worried. Everything that they had done to try to keep Jesus on the fringes, and to try to subdue His ministry had failed. And they had tried a lot… false and phony narratives, saying that Jesus was a Samaritan, that He was demon possessed, that He was a blasphemer, and a whole bunch of other lies that they made up, out of thin air, to try and damage Him and His character, and His ministry, and to try to keep people from jumping on the Jesus bandwagon.
And I’m not trying to be political here… I’m really not… what I’m trying to do; is to get you to see that if you want to get a good sense of what was going on here in our text, then take a look around at what’s going on today. You’ve got the entrenched powers that be – the Pharisees, who would rather see their own nation of Israel remain in bondage to the Roman Empire, just so that they can continue to enrich themselves off of fraud, and deceit. You’ve got the masses, who are totally wrong about what they think Jesus has come to do. They think He’s a political leader… Their next great king. But they themselves aren’t interested in dealing with their sin, and their own spiritual failings. They want political peace and security, and economic prosperity, because when you have that, it’s easy to put God on the back burner. And the thing is – both of them, the Pharisees and the large crowds, both of them are totally wrong about what Jesus had come to do, and what His mission and purpose was.
So that’s the background… that’s the context for our text this morning. Let’s go ahead and look at it… We’re in John 12:20-26 (READ).
Now John had just mentioned in verse 19 before our text, how the religious leaders, the Pharisees were at their wits end… they were done with Jesus… they had come to the point of complete rejection. And then verse 20 opens up with the introduction of a group of Greeks.
NOT PEOPLE OF JEWISHI ANCESTRY, OR OF JEWISH NATIONALITY – GREEKS!
And John tells us that these particular Greeks were going up to worship at the feast. Now Bible scholars have typically called these Greeks “God Fearers”. And let me just… really quick… give you some background information on the “God Fearers”. God fearers were Greeks who had rejected the false religion of the Greek’s… they had rejected the false religion of Rome… they were no longer polytheists, but had come to believe in one God… specifically the God of the Hebrews – Yahweh. In other words, through logic, reason, observance, and through the hearing of the Old Testament Scriptures, they had come to believe in God.
But they weren’t accepted as Jews, because they didn’t convert to Judaism… they just acknowledged that the God of the Old Testament was in-fact; the one true God, the Maker, Creator, and the one and only true God!