Summary: Using John 12:20-26 I talk about genuine servanthood. (A pre-mission trip sermon.)
What A Real Celebrity Looks Like
Intro: Our world is mesmerized by celebrities. We want to know what they wear, eat, do on vacation, who they are marrying or divorcing. Maybe its because we sometimes think celebrities are almost superhero. Maybe we want to see ourselves in them. I come from a small town called Brackettville. There’s not much to this town but there is one thing that puts us on the map. There’s a place called “Alamo Village” where many western movies are made. We’ve actually had some very popular stars come through there: John Wayne, Kenny Rogers, Travis Tritt, Reba Macintire. I think it was my senior year in high school when a certain movie was being filmed and Drew Barrymore was in it. My best friend made it his mission to meet her. And you know, because of his persistence, before the movie producers and actors and directors packed up and went back to Hollywood he was able to meet her! He just had to meet her.
Many go out of their way to get up close and personal with someone “famous.” That’s what we see here in John 12:20-26. In this context Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. He had just raised his friend Lazarus from the dead (among other miraculous events). A large crowd greets him on the road and throw a parade/party for him. This crowd was convinced that Jesus was their political Messiah! He was going to save them from political injustice. It was quite the parade.
As we focus on our text tonight we see in verse 20 that some Greeks who were on their way to worship at the Feast came to Philip with a request. The request was, they wanted to see Jesus. Maybe it was because they wanted to get his autograph, or maybe it was because they were ready to follow him. Maybe they realized that what Jesus was preaching wasn’t just for the Jews but for the whole world! (See verse 19).
Philip tells Andrew about the request then both Philip and Andrew tell their Master about the request. But Jesus doesn’t just give an outright answer. Why didn’t he just give a simple yes or no? How he responded was much more important than that.
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” What he meant by that was the appropriate time had come for him to fulfill his mission. It was the opportune time because now the world (symbolized by the word “Greeks”) were ready to see him. Then he goes on in verse 24 and says, “I tell you the truth…” By the way, when Jesus says this you better be paying attention. “…unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Jesus makes a profound statement about himself and his purpose using the kernel of wheat illustration. You see, unless his body falls to the ground and dies (and buried) there is no way there will be a harvest. Unless he goes to the cross, what these Greeks really need (instead of an autograph or their picture taken with Jesus) will never attain. His death produces a harvest of life, hope and purpose for us! Glory comes through death.