Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, 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.Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my soul 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. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
There were crowds flooding into Jerusalem for the Passover. All capable adult Jewish males were required to make this pilgrimage to present their offerings before God, in remembrance of God’s redemption of the firstborn of each household during the plague on the firstborn (Exodus 23:14-17). Amidst the many gatherings in the temple courts, there were some Greeks who had come to seek God as well. Perhaps they had heard of the God of Israel in their travels. Perhaps they even heard about the recent miracle of Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead! But standing in the temple courts that day, they couldn’t go any further in their pursuit. They would not be allowed any farther into the temple for they were uncircumcised, not of the covenant. The Lord says in the book of Ezekiel, “No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites” (Eze 44:9). But still, they ask Philip, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus” (John 12:21).
As I meditated upon today’s passage, I marveled at my Savior’s love for the lost. He holds true to his word that “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13). Jesus’ response to the request of these Greeks is a declaration that it’s time for the Son of Man to be glorified. But it’s not a glorification stemming from a display of power or invincibility, but it’s a glory flowing from the greatest sacrifice, from the truest love. His heart was troubled, but he did not seek to save himself from the coming suffering. Rather, Jesus prayed that his Father would glorify his name.
Jesus purchased our atonement and we are justified before God. Because he became the slain lamb that redeems us, we are saved and forgiven. He is the mediator of a new covenant, and he has removed from us our hearts of stone and given us hearts of flesh. Jesus loved those Greeks and he loves us. He laid down his life so that we could be free to live to glorify God! Brothers and sisters, let us follow him and serve him, for where he is, his servant also will be, and there is no place better or more fitting or more rewarding than to dwell in our Savior’s presence!
Note: Each day’s devotional is written by a different member of the GRC family.