World English Bible translation
12:20Now there were certain Greeks among those that went up to worship at the feast. 12:21 These, therefore, came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, "Sir, we want to see Jesus." 12:22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn, Andrew came with Philip, and they told Jesus. 12:23 Jesus answered them, "The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 12:24 Most assuredly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. 12:25 He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life. 12:26 If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there will my servant also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
After Jesus rode into Jerusalem there were people in the city who requested to see Him. These people are called "Greeks" and they had come up to worship at the feast. It is unclear if they were "God-fearers" (Gentiles who were attracted to Judaism but who had not taken the final steps of conversion) or whether they were Gentiles who were simply curious about Jesus. In either case, they came to Philip. Philip is portrayed in the Gospel of John as one who brings people to Jesus. In the first chapter, he brings Nathanael. Here he brings "certain Greeks" to see Him.
What they wanted to discuss with Jesus we will never know. What He tells them when He sees them, though, is a beautiful thing.
Jesus knew that the time had arrived when the plan of God would be coming to its fulfillment. He said it was time for Him to be "glorified". When we think of someone being glorified, we think of honor and fame being given to them. There is certainly that aspect to what Jesus is saying. But, Jesus has something more important in mind. "The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified" because the time had come when the plan of God would be fulfilled. The glory of the Son of Man was to do the will of God the Father.
We know this because of Jesus' next statement. "Most assuredly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit." The glorification of the Son of Man will come when He dies, and "bears much fruit". It is the realization of God's plan that will bring glory to Him.
"He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life." God's economy is a paradox. The more we love this life, the less God will affect and touch our hearts. Those who love this life have no need for God. The life that they live today is their only reward. But, those who long for something better, those who long to understand the eternal and touch the face of God, will be given a better and eternal life. There will always be unease in the hearts of God's children until we rest at peace with Him.
"If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there will my servant also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him." This saying might appear to be unrelated to what goes before it, but it is not. Jesus is moving towards His death. His death is the only means of "bearing much fruit." He did not love this life, He looked for the life to come. And, He says that His servants will follow Him. We must be willing to follow Jesus, even to the cross. Even through the cross.
Through the cross lies a life, eternal life, with the Father. When we have given up our own lives and are willing to take up the life of Christ we are truly His servants. As long as we desire to hang on to this life, as long as we love this life more than Him, we will never be His servants. When we are willing to die with Him, then we can live with the Father.
It's a question of loyalty and love. What do we love more, this life or the life that God has promised us? Are the joys and the riches of this life so grand that you would be willing to trade everything that God is offering for them? Are you willing to be a servant of Christ, even if it means following Him to the cross?
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