The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey's colt!”
His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”
Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.
God is love. Jesus is God. Therefore, if you want to know what love is, look at Jesus. If you long to be transformed, changed, and made new, look at Jesus.
We Wish To See Jesus
In our text, some Greeks wanted transformation. These were “God-fearers”, Gentiles, that were drawn to the passover in Jerusalem by the attractive power of Israel’s faith. They “wish to see Jesus” (verse 21).
We don’t actually know if they ever got the meeting in person. But John records Jesus’ answer (verses 23-26). Jesus is saying, “you can see me on the surface, but do you really want to see me in my glory? Do you want to see me at the deepest level? Then look at what I am about to do. What I am about to do (die on the cross and rise from the dead) will show you much more than a physical meeting right now will.”
True Love Always Involves Death
If you want to understand love, you have to look at Jesus. In John 15:13 Jesus will say, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus uses an analogy of a grain of wheat (verse 24). This is the way life works. This is the way that life and transformation works. The old has to die in order for the new. This is true in marriage, habits, and eventually our bodies.
If you want to see Jesus you have to follow the path of Jesus’ life. His life is like the letter J - it goes down into death and then up into His resurrection. Jesus says that this is what He is about to do and He invites us to join Him in it. If we want to know/believe Jesus, we must follow Him and His life path (verse 26).
We are called to die - to take up our cross. It is dying to our own comfort and security. This is radical and impossible on our own. The ways of Jesus are low, slow, and hidden - like seeds in Jesus’ parables. This is the opposite of our world today.
Jesus Comes Alive To You As You Love
If we are going to love one another, we must die to ourselves (Philippians 2:3-8). Christ will not come alive to us unless we seek to do what He says - love! He asks us to love our neighbor, spouse, God’s people, the immigrant and foreigner, the widow and orphan, the prisoner, and our fellow believer. As we take baby steps into the ways of Jesus we realize how real Jesus is - He really is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
Until you begin to love like Jesus, He will remain blurry to you. This is true for many of us. We hear about Jesus but haven’t heard Him or seen Him because we haven’t obeyed His Words (James 1:22). As we do the Word we begin to see Jesus. He is blurry to us until we wash the feet of others (John 13:14-15). If your teacher does this, you should do the same. If you want to taste and see that God is good - do the things that Jesus said and did.
Do you agree with that statement, “True love always involves death”? Why or why not?
Do you think it is possible to really, truly experience transformational love apart from following in Jesus footsteps? Why or why not?
Rick said, “Jesus comes alive to you as you love”. In other words the revelation of Jesus nature and character becomes real to you as you obey his call to love. Think of some episodes or seasons in your life when this has been proven to be true. What were the circumstances and what did you learn?