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John 12:20-26

May 4, 2014

The overall context and purpose of Johns gospel is pretty straightforward: These
are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that
believing ye might have life through his name (Jn. 20:31). He raised Lazarus from
the dead and proved that He has power over death. Shortly after He was anointed
by Mary in the presence of Lazarus to prove He was aware and prepared for His
own death. Following that He rode into Jerusalem, not only to fulfill the
prophecies, but also to show that He was in control of all the events surrounding
His crucifixion. He knew what awaited around every corner and went willingly.

Now we come to the third section of chapter twelve where He has a conversation
with some Greeks. It seems so insignificant, but when we realize its one of the last
few things were told about before His death, we know it must be extremely

The Gentiles Come to Christ signifying the end of His earthly ministry

And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the
The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee,
and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
Philip cometh and telleth
Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
And Jesus answered
them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.

There are some Greeks who want to meet Jesus. Theyve come to worship and it
seems they believe enough about Him that they at least think Hes worth meeting.
For some reason they cant get to Him so they ask one of His disciples who in turn
asks another. Were not told why Philip didnt take them straight away, but He
didnt. Whats most important here is what Jesus says: The hour is come, that the
Son of man should be glorified.

What does He mean by this?

Johns gospel has been building up to this point. Several times Hes said the hour
is not yet. The Jews wanted to kill Him but it wasnt time yet. Now these Greeks
come looking for Him and Jesus knows the hour is at hand. Take note that
immediately following this conversation Jesus He takes His disciples into the
upper room for what He knows will be the last supper. The hour is come to die so
that He can be raised glorified:

The purpose of Christs death illustrated in nature

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground
and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

A spiritual principle is illustrated by nature. If you take one kernel of wheat and
bury it in the ground youll find something amazing: inside that kernel is
everything needed to produce much fruit! It dies but it has life within thats set free
at death!

Paul preached this same thing regarding the resurrection:
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they
Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it
may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
But God giveth it a body as it hath
pleased him, and to every seed his own body (I Cor. 15:35-38).

The spiritual application of the illustration

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world
shall keep it unto life eternal.

Keep going with the illustration: if you dont put the kernel in the ground it wont
produce. In the same way, if you want to hang on to this life at all costs then you
dont have the eternal life that comes after. Jesus gave us an example: let this life
perish in faith knowing that something far greater comes after to those who

Thats why He says, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take
up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and
whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it (Mt. 16:24-25).

Paul says we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with
him, that we may be also glorified together.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this
present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed
in us (Rom. 8:17-18).

The point is that this life an all the things in it are secondary to the future promise
of glory in Christ. But what does it mean? How does it affect the way we live?

The practical application of the illustration

If any man serve me, let him follow me;

The first thing I want you to notice is if any man serve me. What does it mean to
serve Him? God doesnt need anything; we cant really do anything for Him. But
think of what Hell tell the disciples in chapter 14: If ye love me, keep my
commandments (v. 15). To be Christs servant is to be His slave. To be His slave
means to obey His commands. If we are His servants, if we are His slaves, we will
follow Him.

What does it mean to serve and follow? Keep in mind that Hes not talking
about people who do ministry projects while walking in purity. Hes talking about
His death and resurrection and the fruit it brings. Now, if youre His servant by
faith, and by faith you obey His commands, then follow Him; follow Him in His
example; follow Him into the grave! See that all the toil and sweat for riches and
glory are for nothing. Set your minds on things above and consider this world and
all it has to offer is nothing but rubbish compared to knowing Christ.

The reward is great:

The promises for those who obey

and where I am, there shall also my servant be:

This is the first promised reward for those who follow Him. He is with us and we
are with Him. It makes me think of Christ being in heaven at the right hand of the
Father. It makes me think of Him being on His throne above and how our lives are
hidden in Him.

Its also helpful to see that shall speaks of the future. You know, this life is hard
and painful just as Solomon taught in Ecclesiastes, but when our work is done and
our own hour comes we leave this body and we go to be with the Lord. There we
will be with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We will be in heaven, we
will be glorified, and we will be satisfied. Who hopes for what he already has? Its
only then that we will be truly alive!

But theres a second promise to those who follow Him:

if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

The idea of being honored means we are estimated to be of worth. Its a little
contrast isnt it? We hold this life to be worthless but we are counted worthy by
God. Why? Because we believe in His Son! We love the One He has loved. Were
united to Him and of the same family. We belong to Him and do His will. There is
no more wrath or condemnation; no one can ever separate us from His love and no
one can ever take away His honor. Its for this reason that:

#1- We have no fear of death.
#2- We wait patiently knowing our reward comes after.
#3- Were not too attached to this life or the things in it.
#4- We hold fast to Christ knowing in Him alone is true life.