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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


John 12:20-26 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: the same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honor.

Opinions vary considerably when it comes to identifying these certain Greeks ...that came up to worship at the feast (of the Passover). Some say that they were actually Jews that had relocated from Palestine and now lived in Asia Minor, Greece, Macedonia, or other Greek-speaking countries. Others contend that they were Gentiles that had become disenchanted with paganism, preferred to worship the one God of the Jews, assembled in the temple's court of the Gentiles, and had come to Jerusalem especially to meet Jesus, whose fame for performing compassionate miracles for the sick and afflicted had spread into all countries. Still others say that these Greeks were proselytes that had submitted to all Jewish rites, including the rite of circumcision, were accepted into the Jewish faith, and observed the Mosaic Law of God. Most bible scholars tend to believe the latter - that they were Greeks that had become proselytes of the Jewish faith. This could possibly be indicated since it is said that they came to Jerusalem to observe the Passover feast.

The text says that these Greeks desired to see Jesus. The indication is that they were not satisfied with mingling with the multitudes that normally gathered around Jesus, but instead wanted to meet with Him privately. Therefore, they approached Philip, who told Andrew of their desire. Both of these disciples were from Bethsaida of Galilee. They probably spoke the Greek language and seemed to have been known by these Greeks, who some contend, came from the same region of Galilee. Their request was, Sir, we would see Jesus. The word translated "see" seems to mean more that to observe His appearance. Their real desire was to talk with Him, ask questions, and hear the doctrine that He taught. When introduced to these Greeks, and understanding the reason for their desire to hear of His doctrine, Jesus immediately informed them, as well as Philip and Andrew, of the fundamental tenet on which God's plan of eternal salvation is to be offered to the world - to both Jew and Gentile. He began with the event that was to take place only a few days hence, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Again a translation clarification is needed. When Jesus referred to "the hour" he did not mean a specific hour of the day, but of a time in the near future - "the hour"of His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary.Also, while still here on earth, Jesus often spoke of Himself as the Son of man, rather than His spiritual title, the Son of God.

The contention of most Jews remained firm. They thought that the Messiah would surely come, establish His kingdom on earth, rule over the Jewish nation, defeat the Gentile nations, and bring them into their servitude. This statement of Jesus to these Greeks completely destroyed that errant premise. Only days after this, Jesus affirmed His glorified death on the cross of Calvary when He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify Thee: as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him (John 17:1-2). With great emphasis, Jesus explained this great spiritual truth using a well-known fact of nature. A seed can be stored in a granary for many years, but while there, serves no useful purpose, either as food or as a productive seed. For it to be fruitful, it must be buried in the ground, decompose with its body serving as food to nourish the germ, initiate growth, emerge from the earth, grow into a new plant, and produce multiplied hundreds of new seeds of its kind. So would the death of Jesus bring forth much fruit. They would be known as Christians - followers of Christ and His doctrine. And like Him, we must also die to our worldly-driven lives, be born again into a life of love for God and all mankind, and serve and follow the example He left us, in order to receive the gift of God, promised by Him, of eternal life in Heaven.