5th Sunday of Lent 25.3.12. John 12.20-33

14 03 2012

Glory Seekers

The theme of looking and seeing remains with us from last week.  The passage starts with Greeks who want to ‘see Jesus’ and ends with a reference to the revelation of who he really is in his full glory: the man on the cross, lifted up for all to worship.

John 12.20-33

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

27 ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ 30Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

Reflections and Questions

‘went and told’.x2  v22  It seems very convoluted here, stilted. We can’t see what the problem is.   Sure enough, the message gets through in the end. But it was not as straightforward as it seemed.

Why did Philip need Andrew’s support? What if Andrew had not accompanied him?

‘if it dies it bears much fruit’. v25 This is the sort of phrase that sticks in the mind. literally. We don’t connect it up emotionally or practically. ‘Nice idea’, we think, ‘good comment’, ‘very true’. But we don’t trouble with the thought that maybe we need to do the grain of wheat thing ourselves.

What is the grain of wheat that must die in your life or ministry?

‘now my soul is troubled’. v27  Notice the honesty.  We know that Jesus knew and prayed the psalms.  It comes through not in only in the direct quotations but also in the spirit of his praying: direct, open, raw, pithy, blunt. In  a word, riveting.

What would the intercessions on a Sunday morning be like be like if Jesus led them?

‘glorify’, ‘glorified’, ‘glorify’. v28  ‘I have’ and ‘I will’, says the voice from heaven. It is speaking of the past and the future. And yet the pressure here is on the present moment. The hour has come – now.  There is some subtle stuff going on here regarding time. 

How do you see the past, present and future of glory fitting together?


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