Sunday 21 March 2021

Bible Book:

‘...unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.’ (v. 24)

John 12:20-33 Sunday 21 March 2021

Psalm 119:9-16


This passage follows Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, about which the Pharisees disparagingly remark that the "world has gone after him!" in verse 19. In noting this John is ironically telling us, despite all opposition, of the inevitable salvation of the whole world. Today’s passage starts and ends with this theme when we are told that some Greeks want to speak to Jesus in verse 21 and in verse 32 when Jesus says that his coming crucifixion is the moment when all people will be drawn to him.

Philip is a regular go-between, having introduced Nathanael to Jesus in chapter 1. Now he is  making sure the message about the Greeks gets to Jesus. However, Jesus is not terribly interested in meeting them. Instead, he sees their request as a sign that his moment of sacrifice has come. Jesus uses the beautifully simple metaphor of a grain of wheat to describe the process of self-denial that is expected of him and his followers. He talks also about his servants following him and being where he is. It is an invitation to participate in the process of dying and rising again so that life can be multiplied.

 In John’s Gospel, Jesus’ struggle to do God’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane is not recorded. Instead, Jesus says here in verse 27 that his soul is troubled, but rather than explicitly asking God to take away his suffering, Jesus asks a hypothetical question about whether he should do so. He then hears God’s voice from heaven, something that also doesn’t happen in Gethsemane but is reminiscent of his baptism in the other gospels. But Jesus tells us that this voice was not for his sake but for the sake of the people who heard it. For John, Jesus is more resolute in this moment, offering us a picture of Jesus that emphasises his divinity over his humanity.


To Ponder:

  •  What do you learn from Philip?
  • Jesus said, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." (verse 32). What is the Church’s role if any, in this process?
  • In verse 26 Jesus says "Where I am, there my servant will be also." What does it mean for you to be where Jesus is today?
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