(This passage is also referenced in Matthew 26:14-19, Mark 14:12-16, Luke 22:7-13)
As we read today’s verses it helps our understanding to remember that one of the themes in John’s Gospel is that Jesus the Messiah is the Saviour of the World, not only the Redeemer of Israel – John 1:29 tells us so and John 3:16 affirms that! In Chapter 8:12 John records that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”. Furthermore we should not miss the fact that John’s Gospel conveys the wonderful truth that Jesus will bring “other sheep” into his fold and Salvation will be offered to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
Apparently the Greeks who came to the Passover Feast may well have been accustomed to attending worship regularly. They were, so the original text indicates, “God-Fearers”, not one-off investigators or just curious visitors, but probably Gentiles who attended the Synagogue and were obviously looking for the truth! We do not know for certain if these Greek visitors actually met Jesus, but they are a great example to us. The Jews had wanted a sign from Jesus, but these men wanted to see and talk with Jesus, a man with a reputation of bringing healing, forgiveness and peace to people. Do we fall into that trap of only wanting to see signs of God’s mighty power, or do we truly seek Jesus Christ to know Him and continually learn from His words and actions?
The main theme of Jesus’ message is the Glory of God v.23, 28, as He anticipates the cross where He was to be crucified. Jesus used the example of a seed having to be put in the dark, damp earth to die, so that it could fulfil its purpose. This illustrates an important spiritual truth that there can be no glory without suffering, and no fruitful life without death. We have to learn to surrender before we know any victory.
Jesus pleaded with the crowds, “Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light” v.36. He knew that He did not have long to remain on the earth, and one can sense a feeling of urgency in what he said. As this chapter ends we read with sadness that even after all the amazing miracles of Jesus and his powerful teaching, the “religious” people failed to recognise Him as the light of the World, the Messiah the Jews were waiting for. Does Jesus have first place in our lives and our thinking?
Lord Jesus, help us to portray Your love, Your patience and Your actions in all we do and say. Amen.