Fifth Sunday of Lent – John 12:20-33
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Last week we read John 2:13-22 that pilgrims travelled to the temple before Passover to purify themselves in order to participate in the festival. When Jesus finally arrives in Jerusalem, in verse 12, he continues attracting a large crowd and it causes the Jerusalem leaders to fear a Roman retribution (John 11:47-53). Many people had heard about Jesus, and today’s gospel reading begins with the desire: “We wish to see Jesus”. There are some “Greeks” and they want to see Jesus. We don’t know who they were, whether they were Greeks who had converted to Judaism so they are there for Passover? or maybe they were just Greeks passing through and they heard the stories about Jesus? We don’t know but they pass a message through Phillip. “We would like to see Jesus.” Also, I’m not sure what the Greeks were expecting when they went looking for Jesus. Perhaps they hoped to hear his teaching or receive healing. That’s what many people looked for when they came to see Jesus. Whoever they were, I don’t think they or the disciples were prepared for Jesus to speak of his death or his troubled soul while they came. I’m not sure that they expected to hear God’s voice like thunder or to be told that they must hate their life in this world. But I’m sure that they didn’t expect to hear that the Messiah would have to leave them and they probably didn’t know what he meant when he said the Son of Man would be lifted up.
Anyway, they wish to see Jesus. So Andrew and Philip go to tell Jesus that the Greeks want to see him. And then instead of Jesus smiling, shaking hands, or patting shoulders to welcome them, he says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” And in verse 24: 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. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.