Pastor Nick preached on John 12:20-26 this week and challenged us to ask ourselves how we "see" Jesus. The Greeks who were looking for Jesus stand out against the gospel narrative as unusual in the political landscape of the time. In a culture where there was separate "worship" for the Gentiles at the Jewish temple, these men were a picture of all who want to know God. They were coming near and it was causing a tension in the story.
Let's talk more about this together.
Read this from the Bible together:
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Some key statements and questions put forward that are important for us to talk about…
“Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” When we see Jesus in this text he is haunted by the fact that his "hour has come", but remains hopeful that his impending death will produce many more seeds for the kingdom. Where are you currently holding the tension of being haunted and hopeful in your own life? How does the arrival of the Greeks in this pivotal moment give you confidence that Jesus' death means all are invited to look for him?
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." All of John has been slow playing this announcement, but in this text Jesus finally declares that his hour has come. What is profound about the relationship between the unexpected entrance of the Greeks (Gentiles) and Jesus' declaration that his march to the cross has begun?
But if it dies, it produces many seeds. When we see Jesus we can not look past the cross. Jesus had to die so that the seed of his life would never cease to produce fruit. What does it mean to be someone who follows in Jesus footsteps at this point in the story? Why is acknowledging the need for death important to the life that produces many seeds?
"These Greeks become a picture of all who want to know God." Unless you are Jewish, you are a Gentile in the story of Jesus. In what ways is the Christian church guilty of also trying to keep others out who don't fit the cultural norm? Much like Phillip and Andrew, what is your "screening process" in deciding who gets to see Jesus or not?
“'The power of sin and death is as empty as the tomb." Why does knowing that Jesus was ultimately resurrected make this passage powerful? Why do you think this is helpful information for anyone choosing to lay down their life for Jesus?
"Nails did not hold Jesus to the cross, love did." Why do you think God chose to use his Son's haunting death to tell the most hopeful story the world has ever heard? What nails (injustice, pain, suffering, shame, humiliation) in your own life might be negatively affecting your faith? What if those very things are what produces love for "all nations" like it did in Jesus?