Since we’ve discussed the Triumphal Entry before, we’re going to skip ahead to a narrative which isn't found in any of the other Gospels. I almost would’ve expected to find this in Luke, since he loves to point out when Gentiles and other outcasts come under Christ’s beneficent attention.
These Greeks were God-fearers, Gentiles who believed in the God of Abraham, but who weren’t ready to undergo complete Jewish conversion. They were barred from entering through the first barrier past the outer courts, and Christ had, at the beginning of his ministry, emptied their official worship place of the distractions of merchants. If we’ve worked out the events of the last week accurately, he'd just cleared out the temple for the Gentiles a second time. And now they wanted to meet Jesus. Again, notice that every time Andrew is mentioned in Scripture, he’s introducing someone to Jesus.
We don’t see exactly how Jesus received the Greeks, but we do see his general reaction. It’s a theme we see repeated in John’s Gospel over and over: Jesus’ “time” had not yet arrived. He was on the Father’s timetable, and it was going to be followed to the last second. Now some God-fearing Gentiles come to see him, and that’s the point at which he says that his time to be glorified has now arrived. Why?
We can only make a guess, since the Master doesn’t explain his cryptic statement. Here’s mine. Jesus, throughout his earthly ministry, had served mostly Jews. There were a few exceptions, but only a few. After his death, this would all change. His last words before he ascended told his disciples that they'd be his witnesses to the utmost corners of the world. And this was a precursor of the New Beginning. This was why he'd come, and it was about to be fulfilled.
And how was it going to happen? Just like a seed, he was about to “fall to the ground” and die. Unless this happens, no harvest. But once that seed gives up its life, it produces a hundred or even a thousand-fold. It multiplies past all reckoning and all accounting.
And just in case you think this is just talking about Jesus, there’s more to come. This is a Kingdom principle. It applies first to our King, but to a much lesser degree it applies to everyone else within it. If we give up our life, we’ll find it. If we just horde our life to ourselves, then that’s the only “harvest” we’ll see. But when we see a life given over to the Savior, a life which reckons itself a “living sacrifice,” the possibilities are endless. And the rewards are boundless as well. Again, to a much smaller degree, his pattern is ours: Submit to the Father, doing your utmost to glorify him, and he will—at the right time and in the right way—lift you up in return.
I love the perfect tension we see here in the nature of Christ. In his humanity, his heart is “troubled.” “Troubled.” Right. When you realize what he’s going to go through in just a few days, that’s quite an understatement, isn’t it? But in a pattern which culminated in the Garden, he submitted his natural desires to the will of the Father. You can sense in these words his frustration and fear, but it’s overwhelmed by the desire to see the Father’s name glorified.
And this cry was answered in an audible way. There are only three times in which the Father publicly spoke to his Son: Here, his baptism, and his transfiguration. When our hearts are in line with God’s purpose (to see his Name glorified), he'll respond. Regrettably, even when he reveals himself in such a public way, the people don’t all respond in the way they should. Not that he isn’t speaking clearly, but our ears need to be unclogged.
Father, you’re speaking all around me. That’s not the problem. The problem is my deaf ears, my hardened heart. May my priorities be in complete sync with yours: The glory of your holy, awe-inspiring Name.