“Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, 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. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. ” (John 12:20–26, NIV)“Now there were some Greeks…”
What an interesting observation. Keep in mind that we are in the midst of preparation for the Passover Feast and there are thousands upon thousands of people who were arriving for the celebration. Jesus has already entered into town with a hero’s welcome as large masses of people laid palm branches at His feet and cried out in loud shouts, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
And then, almost as a side note, John tells us that there were some Greeks who went up to worship at the feast who wanted to see Jesus. Now we know this seemingly insignificant inquiry was actually a huge turning point in the Life of Jesus because up until this point, Jesus had consistently informed His disciples that “the time has not yet come.” And now, in response to having been told about the Greeks, Jesus says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
What is so special about the Greeks? What was it about their inquiry that triggered this response from Jesus?
Perhaps we can get a clue from early in the life of Jesus. He calls His disciples together and He gives them instructions about how to spread the good news of the Messiah who came to seek and save that which was lost. He says, “Do not go to the Gentiles (Greeks), and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
You see, God came to call His chosen people to repentance. Not because He didn’t care about the others, but because they were established by God with a specific purpose in mind. God had set them apart, made them a great nation, so that they could represent and usher in the promised kingdom of God. The people of Israel were to be the megaphone through which Jesus would announce His plan and purpose for the world. And yet they turned from the blessing of God to do what was right in their own eyes. They lost sight of their mission and became a people who were righteous in their own eyes. They no longer depended upon God for redemption and so they rejected the offer of their Redeemer – Jesus.
And as a result, those that Jesus originally told His disciples to avoid, now became those most interested in seeking His truth. The rejection of the Jews swung the door wide open for Samaritans and Greeks. The time had arrived for the Son of Man to be glorified so that anyone who believes in Him shall be saved. From this point on, there was neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for all became one in Christ Jesus.
Some might look at this and suggest that Jesus had a “plan A” to usher in His kingdom through the nation of Israel. However, since they rejected His offer, He went to “plan B” to fulfill His mission. We should not make such an assumption. Jesus knew how the Jews would respond, and from eternity past, He has never deviated from “plan A”. He cannot deviate from doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons. He only gives His very best…He knows no difference.
So you need to know, the same is true for your life. God is not restricted by your choices. He knows every decision you will make before you ever make it. In His perfect way, He has the ability to miraculously work all things together for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. He will always offer you His very best. Will you choose to follow Him or seek instead to do what is right in your own eyes?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)