JOHN:The Gospel of Heartfelt Belief

Looking For Jesus

John 12:20-50

Jerry A. Collins



We have a rather large garden in our yard. Mysteriously, we have had two trees die this summer and have had to tear them out of the garden. No growth and no new foliage. Their limbs had hardened and the leaves had wilted and turned a dead brown. Right now there are two bare spots in the garden where they used to add to the beauty of the garden area. Once they had life and vitality but now lifeless they can no longer produce. Yet, we are going to learn that there is a death that actually produces more life because of the death. Not a dry and lifeless existence but a new quality of existence that never ends. We are going to learn that Jesus death will produce much more life from the discourse of John 12:20-50.


The Greeks mentioned here include the last segment of mankind represented in this chapter. Jesus, Judas, 12 disciples, intimate friends, pilgrims at Passover, residents of Jerusalem and Judea, those witnessed Lazarus resurrection, those opposing Jesus and now these Greeks. Reminds us in vs 19 of the statement of Pharisees Look the whole world has run off after him. They want to speak with Jesus. Their inquiry prompted Jesus to talk about His impending death. He refers to His hour as coming vs 23. He refers to this hour or time 13 times in John (2:4; 4:21, 23; 5:25, 28-29; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 16:25; 17:1). It is a reference to the special period in Jesus life when he was to leave this world and return to the Father (13:1) which is the time he will be glorified (17:1). This is accomplished through his suffering, death, resurrection and ascension. On Jesus pathway to glorification lies the cross and it is just ahead now that these Greeks are inquiring about him. It will bring him renown because his death is necessary for a harvest vs 24. Like a grain of wheat placed in the ground and dying there to only produce more grain so Jesus death will produce new life. He cannot be the Savior without first dying in our place. The presence of these Greeks reveals (1) that whether Jew or Greek Jesus death in sinners place is only way of salvation. If they wanted a Savior then Jesus must die. (2) to be saved as gentiles, Israel must first reject Jesus as Messiah so the gospel can be promoted and brought to rest of the world. To the Jew first and also to the Greeks Rom 1:16. Jesus does not give these Greeks an audience yet because it is not the time for him to be revealed as savior of all of the world until he dies on the cross. It was his time to die there but not the time to proclaim the gospel worldwide. That time is soon to come but right now it is his glorification through the cross. God is progressively revealing more and more of His plan to us as the Bible unfolds.

This principle of dying that precedes and produces life is extended to us, His followers in vs 25-26. A disciples must hate his life will like the grain of wheat produce more new life and new fruit. Following the example of our Savior means following him in denying ourselves, taking up His righteousness and ambitions for us and by doing so later follow him in honor and glory too! Our problem is that we need to be delivered from ourselves. We can be our own worst enemies when it comes to following Christ. If you want to enter into the Fatherís favor, then enter into Jesus humiliation. We do that when we determine to glorify God with in our lives. When we see God as the source of all good things. Jesus always saw His Father as the source of His mission. Our eyes must be on Him and not on us and to use the resources he gives us to glorify Him even more.


Jesus reference to his agony about the impending cross reveals that on at least two occasions, here and in the garden, he agonized over the immensity of the suffering that awaits him on the cross. Jesus is omniscient knowing all that ahead. Considering the options before him, Jesus commitment is to fulfill the purpose for his coming to earth vs 27. This alone will glorify the Father. A divine declaration follows and we have three occasions where God the Father spoke audibly to His Son (1) Baptism Matt 3:17 (2) Transfiguration Luke 9:35-36 (3) Rejection here. is there anything else God could have done to convince men that Jesus indeed was the Messiah, the Savior of the world (healed, raised from dead, audible testimony, teaching, fulfilled prophecy). Jesus tells them that this voice was for them not him vs 30. Jesus did not need reassurance of His Fatherís approval. He wants us to know that in a short time Satan is about to lose His authority as the ruler of the world. He will be driven out of the way by Jesus and the cross. Of course the world still lies under his influence but Jesus glorification marks the ultimate demise of his person, power and plans and will be accomplished when history plays itself out. Jesus death by lifting up on a cross will allow not only Jews but also those from every tribe, language, people and nation to come to him vs 32 (Rev 5:9). While the people stumbled over Jesus meaning about being lifted up vs 33-34, Jesus deals with this tension by stating that there is a very real moral and spiritual issue at stake vs 35-36. (1) Jesus warns Jews that there is only a little time left to accept him as their messiah. (2) To every person since that there is a finite limited time which each person has opportunity to respond to the Light of the world; after that only comes darkness. Ones response to the Light decisively determines ones judgment for eternity. Still the case


There are only two choices we can make about Christís earthly death. (1) Unbelief which was persistent since they still refused to believe vs 37. They had not only decided not to believe but persisted time and again. It was unbelief in spite of the signs Christ performed. It was also prophesied that Jesus opponents could not believe and quotes Isaiah 6:10 to show that as judgment God blinded their eyes and closed their mind. Since they would not believe, then they could not believe. The alternative is to believe the testimony, evidence, signs and teaching. The one who believes are led out of Satans kingdom and its consequences vs 46. They receive eternal life too 50.

1. Cannot separate Jesus works from His words. All of them necessary

2. Salvation requires the cross. First a Savior then a king. Spiritual then eternal.