John 12:20-36 (ESVST)
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.
There is a bit of a debate around these Greeks that are being referred to here in this verse. Some say these are Gentiles who beleived in the God of the Jews, who might or might not have converted to Judaism and were coming to worship. Others beleive that these were Hellenists, meaning Jews who during the dispersion, were taken as slaves and their descendants were now living in other places. These would be the descendants of those Jews who were taken. Either way, these were not your normal Jews that were found in Jerusalem. One thing we know for certain is that they came to worship.
21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “ Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
These Greeks asked Phillip that they wanted to see Jesus. Philip told Andrew and they both went to tell Jesus.
23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Here Jesus is referring to his death. Jesus is saying the time is very near for the Son of God to be glorified, meaning that the time is very near for him to be crucified. The reason I say that Jesus is referring to his death is because:
John 17:1 (ESVST)
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “ Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,
This is when Jesus was praying in the garden just before he was arrested.
John 16:32 (ESVST)
Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.
Again here Jesus was reffering to the time when he will be arrested and his disciples fleeing from him and Peter even denying him.
24 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.
Jesus here is reffering to the benefit to us and the reason why he must die. His death will bear a lot of fruits and because of it, we will all be saved. Through Jesus’s death a lot of people will be saved.
25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 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.
Read with Matt 10:39; Luke 14:26-27 and Phil 3:8, one can see that Jesus means that if anyone wants to follow him, he must accept that he will suffer just as he has. Jesus is simply saying that being a Christian comes with hardships and suffering and those that want to be Christians, must expect these hardships and sufferings, and persevere.
27 “ 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. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven:“I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
Jesus here is thinking about his death and his soul is troubled. Although Jesus is God, he was in a form of a human being and it is normal for anyone to be troubled if they knew they were facing imminent death. Jesus says, I could ask God to save me from this death but, this is the reason why I have come. Then Jesus says that God must glorify his name. I beleive that Jesus is saying that through his death, God’s name will be glorified. God then answered and said that he had already done it and he will do it again.
29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “ This voice has come for your sake, not mine.
Although the crowds that were there heard it, they did not fully understand it. Jesus explained to them that the voice came for their sake. I believe that Jesus said this meaning that because they have heard the voice, now they might beleive that he was sent by God. This is the same thing that Jesus said when he was about to raise Lazarus and was praying to God
John 11:42 (ESVST)
I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
Jesus’s death will eventually lead to the Holy Spirit coming to the world and one of the works of the Holy Spirit will be to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement.
John 16:8 (ESVST)
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
Jesus’s death will bring an assault on the ruler of this world who is the devil. He will be defeated and his hold onto us will be loosened.
John 16:11 (ESVST)
concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
By lifted up, Jesus means that when he is crucified on the cross and killed, his death will save a lot of people who will beleive. It is through his death that people will be saved. This lifting up does not refer to being raised to heaven as most people may think. I say this because of the response from the Jews in verse 34 below. The Jews understood him to mean being killed. Also when one looks at these verses below, one can see that the lifting up refers to his death on the cross.
John 3:14-15 (ESVST)
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Isaiah 52:13 (ESVST)
He Was Pierced for Our Transgressions13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.
34 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?”
Here the Jews may have quoted from Isaiah 9:6-7; 2 Sam 7:16 or even Dan 7:14. These are the verses they might be reffering to when they talk about the law. Again as I said above that, the Jews understood him to mean his death when he said lifted up.
35 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. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
The Unbelief of the People
When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.
Jesus’s responce was simply that he will still be among them for a while and while he is among them, they must beleive. Jesus said this knowing that the time will come when he will be killed and for that time, the light which is him, will be switched off for a while. They must beleive now while he is there with them so that when he is killed, they might not be deceived by the devil which is the darkness. Those who refuse to beleive in the light might be deceived by the darkness and may not become the sons of light. After saying these things, Jesus left and hid himself.