The segment of the Gospel we read this weekend resonates many major themes of John presented in an artistic and sophisticated manner. Shortly earlier in these Jerusalem episodes, the author has mentioned that many Jews had approached Jesus; now Greeks came to ‘see’ him. This is echoed in the later pronouncement of Jesus about the Son of Man being raised up and attracting all to himself.
Jesus’ response to the Greeks’ request mentions God’s glory, which is further spoken of in the word from heaven in response to Jesus’ anguished prayer. At the centre of the mysterious dialogue lies the figure of the wheat falling into the ground, life springing from apparent death.
The biblical concept of ‘Glory’ points towards the effective use of God’s power for the salvation of humanity. So, the glorification of Jesus is the place where God is working definitively. In John’s theology this is the Cross, the place where Jesus is ‘lifted up’. All people are drawn to the Cross through the fascinating presence of God’s love. They see Jesus in the sense of believing in him. The example of the wheat-grain echoes the same element of life which triumphs. The servant of Jesus is invited to follow Jesus and to share in this death-life journey of faith with the assurance that the Father is ever faithful.
Canon Francis Brown