"Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very 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. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor." - John 12:20-26
After raising Lazarus and being anointed “for burial,” knowing the Sanhedrin is out to get him; after his entry to Jerusalem riding an ass with the crowds shouting “save now;” and his visit to the temple where he overturned the “forex cheats” in the court of the gentiles right before Passover; Jesus knows it is time “for the Son of Man to be glorified;” and some Greeks come asking the Greek-named Phillip, “please sir, we would see Jesus,” and with Andrews assent, the door is opened for an audience. The one who told the parable of the sower (from whence we get the word Seminary) again remarks that grain only produces fruit after it has been buried, and he clarifies that one must not love his life but give it up to serve him, to be his follower, and to be with him. Indeed, the word “martyr” comes from the Greek word for “witness,” and of course, starting with Stephen, “the martyrs were the seeds of the church.”
Is this the “take home” from this passage? Is the one who entered Jerusalem as the Messiah going to shepherd his flock to slaughter? Well, we certainly all will die, and let us hope we are following Christ when we do; but he also allows us to pray “do not bring us to the time of trial, but deliver us from the Tempter.”
I’ve been told that many pulpits have posted inside the verse “Sir, we would see Jesus,” to remind the preacher of that awesome call to proclaim the one who gives his life for all.
We are not the captains of our ship; as the bumper sticker retorts: “If God is your co-pilot, you need to trade seats.” We find our life by coming to see, to hear, and to follow Jesus; to forgive each other, to serve one another, and to give ourselves away to a needful world; and “that our joy may be complete” to love one another; for in so doing we will be seen as followers of Jesus.
God of grace, you have shown us Jesus who calls us to follow, love and serve. We pray that we will not be a stumbling block to others, but through your Spirit, may we, as disciples, help them to the open door; in Jesus name, Amen.