John 12:20–50. Jesus Is Glorified. Part II.

Key Notes: The seed theme in the NT. The voice of the Father in Jesus' public life. His assertion of dependence on the Father.

In part I, Jesus was glorified in the anointing of Mary of Bethany. 12:1–11
Then Jesus lead a joyous parade into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. 12:12–19

In Part II, Greeks came seeking an appointment! 12:20–26
Jesus was glorified by the voice of the Father. 12:27–29
Jesus lifted up will  draw all men to Himself. 12:30–34
He is the Light all must follow. 12:35–36
Some believed in Him. 12:37–40–43
Isaiah had seen His glory centuries before. 12:41
Jesus’ glory is His subordination to the Father. 12:44–50

John said earlier “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us, full of grace and truth; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Son of the Father.” (Jn.1:14). In this chapter we get glimpses of His glory and His humanity in the rapidly concluding public events of His life.

12:20–26  Greek proselytes coming to Passover turned in to see Jesus. They found a disciple with a Greek name (Philip) and he and Andrew brought them to Jesus. Jesus saw in their coming a sign that the climax of His life was near. He would soon die. But like a seed planted, His death would not be a loss, but a tremendous gain, with billions of seedlings—spiritual offspring generated—Jews, Greeks and Barbarians, the many from all nations.

The New Testament uses the seed theme in three ways.

*In the sower and the seed, the emphasis is on receptive soil for the Word of God to take root. Matt.13
*In Paul’s description of the Resurrection, the body of a believer buried is likened to a seed planted. The homely nut will bring forth a glorious tree. The resurrection body will be wonderful. ICor.15:35–41
*In Jesus’ special case, the seed by itself is a lonely thing,  but planted, it will reproduce itself many fold. So His death and resurrection will prove much more beneficial to the world than His life of service. Those religious groups that content themselves with the teachings of Jesus, sell themselves short.

But Jesus’ death is meaningful for the disciples who are to follow. They would almost all be martyred, so that giving up one’s life in order to save it was quite literal. But there is a second level,  in which all believers are iunited with Christ in His death and resurrection, awakening to new life in Him. Rom.6:1–10

12:27 So this was for Him a time of exaltation and also of deep distress. Suddenly, Jesus was overwhelmed by the thought of His soon death. He prayed: "Father, save me from this hour! No. This is why am I here. "Father, glorify your Name.”
And the crowd heard God’s voice promising to glorify His Name again. Was it thunder? Was it an angel? But the voice was for the sake of the audience.

The voice of  God was heard three times during Jesus’ life.
“This is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased” at His baptism. Matt.3:17.
“This is My beloved Son with whom I am well  pleased; listen to Him.” at the Transfiguration. Matt.17:5.
“I have glorified it and I will  glorified it again. “ when Greeks came looking for Him. Jn.12:20.

12:31–32  Two persons are related in sharp contrast. Satan is cast out. Jesus is lifted up. Jesus’ statement “But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Lk.22:53) is ironic, because Satan’s success proves to be his defeat. He triumphs over Christ and disables himself in the process.

12:33–36 Now the crowd understood what He meant by being lifted up. But, they argued, the Christ abides forever on the throne of David. (Isa.9:7). And the Son of Man is a figure of victory (Dan.7:13) over His enemies, not dying on a cross. Who is this Son of Man? Jesus’ answer was indirect. They should stay with Him, stay in the light, and become Sons of the Light.

12:37–43 John gives us a commentary. He says most did not believe, but that even some of the authorities did--Pharisees and Sadducees, priests and scribes. He quotes two passages from Isaiah decrying Israel’s widespread unbelief. The first is the introduction to the Servant Poem of Christ as our Substitute (Isa.53:1), and the second is God’s indictment given to Isaiah when He saw Christ in his temple vision. (Isa.6:9,10). At first they did not believe (12:37), then they could not believe (12:39) because their hearts were  hardened. It is called “judicial hardening” as in Pharaoh’s case. Exod.4–12

The vision of God in Isaiah 6 is as exalted as any in the OT with the possible exception of Ezek.1–3. It was the Lord,  high and lifted up, with the train of His robe filling the temple and with angels glorifying Him. And here John says that Isaiah saw Jesus and wrote about Him. (12:41). This is one of our most important supports for the doctrine that OT appearances of God are of Jesus in His pre-incarnate form,  a point that has been made many times in these notes.

12:44–50 The final piece of the chapter is Jesus’ renewed declaration of His dependence on the Father. He says it five times.

            "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me."
            "He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me."
            "I have not spoken on My own authority."
            "The Father who sent Me has Himself given Me commandment what to say."
            "I say as the Father has bidden Me."

What were  the disciples thinking?

Jesus anointed with spikenard for burial?
Jesus goes into Jerusalem like a king?
Jesus will die like a wheat seed in the ground?
Our Master will be lifted up on a cross?

It was a hard time to follow Jesus. It is always hard to follow Jesus.