Read John 12:12-36
12The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Blessed is the King of Israel!"
14Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
15"Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt."
16At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
17Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!"
20Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." 22Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, 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. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!"
Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." 29The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." 33He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
34The crowd spoke up, "We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this 'Son of Man'?"
35Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. (NIV)
Here we have Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. John gives us a picture of two different crowds coming together. There is the crowd with Jesus entering Jerusalem and the crowd coming out to see Jesus. The second crowd had heard he was coming and probably came for a multitude of reasons. Some were just sightseers while others probably had a genuine interest in Jesus.
But it is how Jesus uses the Pharisees to make a very pointed statement about Christ. John, early in his Gospel has Jesus telling Nicodemus that it was because God so loved the world that Jesus came. Now John uses the words of the Pharisees to say, “Look how the whole world has gone after him.” John completes the circle with these two images.
John then puts this story about Greeks seeking to talk to Jesus to reiterate that the whole world would seek Jesus. We only find this story in John’s Gospel. And we know that the Greeks at this time were known for their desire to travel to seek truth about many things.
Jesus’ response to these Greeks is a strange one. But when we realize that the Greeks were known for seeking knowledge, it is as if Jesus is saying, you came at the right time. This is his time to be glorified. He is saying that he is going to die and out of his death is going to be a great new life.
In verse 32, Jesus talks about how he is going to be lifted up and draw all people to him. Someone many centuries ago noted that Jesus died in the only way this was possible. He died with his arms outstretched as if to welcome all to him.
Jesus finally makes a statement about darkness is coming, so walk while you have light. I find this so true in our lives. All too often, we don’t prepare for the darkness in our lives by building up the faith we have in the good times. It is hard to strengthen one’s faith in the midst of a storm. It is in the storm that one needs to have a strong faith already at hand to withstand it. I have seen the impact over the years of those who had this faith and those who did not and how that helped or didn’t help them get through a time of trouble.
As you think about Christ’s death, how are you drawn to his love that came out of that suffering. Jesus calls us to hate this life? What does that mean for you? Does it give you a sense of purpose to seek God where life is found? Does it give you calling to serve? Has your faith helped you whether storms in your life?
I pray that as you seek God, you are comforted by his love and find the live he calls you to.
Blessings and Peace