Again and Again: Jesus Will Draw All People to Himself
John 12:20-33 (NIV)
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up[a] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
Jesus enters Jerusalem along with thousands of religious visitors. The Pharisees are very angry and feel powerless and some “Greeks” want to meet with Jesus.
1. Jesus Identity: Who is he?
Jesus presents his death, he is the grain that needs to die, in order to “have much fruit” and it is us, humans who will be the fruit. (v. 24)
2. The cross signals…
A. A judgement to the world against human rebelliousness and sin with the cost paid by Jesus. (v.31)
B. A judgement against “the prince of this world” satan. In spite of his personal agony, Jesus courageously remains firm in his commitment to God’s Mission.
C. All have a place with Jesus V.32
3. Jews are surprised by the “All”.
The idea that ALL people were welcomed was a gigantic shock and surprise against all their assumptions and practices.
4. Christianity has grown across the world and today…
A. 33% of the total world’s population are Christians (2.4 billion)
B. The Center of Christianity has shifted to the Global South
C. Strategies are actively mobilizing new mission fields.
5. God’s Kingdom is far bigger and better.
Small Group Questions
- Where do you feel most alive? What makes you feel spiritually alive? What could you do to increase your experience of both?
SPIRITUAL PRACTICE - Prayer of Lament
In this season of Lent, we are learning to express ourselves honestly before God with our Prayers of Lament. By examining our tendency to focus on ourselves in times of hardship or suffering, this prayer practice helps us turn our focus to a holy, merciful, and faithful God. In turning toward God we align our hearts with God’s heart, open to receiving whatever God desires for our lives and our world. Use this simple 4-step model and Psalm 119 as a guide for reflection. Our desire is to deepen our understanding of lament as we walk with Jesus to the cross. At the end of this practice, consider sharing a portion of your prayer with the group as an expression of your heart. Review the instructions before you begin.
Prepare our hearts: Read Psalm 119:9-16 aloud. Listen for words that capture your attention.
Individual Reflection: Spend time in silence, then journal your response to the prompts.
1. I will turn to God with confidence.
We put our trust in God’s character revealed in scripture and God’s faithfulness to us in the past. Our confidence in the goodness of God leads us to turn to God in the present and trust him for our future.
Reflect: I praise you, Lord God, for I have seen you…
Silently Pray: Lord, help me examine my heart so I can honestly open myself to you.
2. I will open my heart to God with complete honesty.
We share ourselves with God freely without fear or shame by naming all our emotions, fears, complaints, sadness or anger that arise within us because of the impact of a broken world and our own broken lives.
Reflect: Lord Jesus, I cry out to you for the places of sin, separation, oppression, darkness or abuse that I see …
Silently Pray: Lord, help me to empathize with those who are suffering and align my requests with your heart.
3. I will ask God to intervene and repair what is broken.
Because our hearts break for all that is not right, we will lay our requests before God. Boldly we will seek God’s justice, truth, and mercy to come on earth as it is in heaven.
Reflect: Please Lord, with my whole heart I seek you to…
Silently Pray: Lord, I worship you and trust you in all things, your glory is all I desire.
4. I will lift my voice in praise and worship.
We are in awe of God’s majesty, overwhelmed with the greatness of who God is as sovereign and who we are as his beloved children. We will welcome his plans, receive his love, and offer our praises again and again, even before our requests are granted.
Reflect: While I wait for your plans to unfold, I will worship you as the one who …
Silently Pray: Lord, send me out to share your good news in the world, as I trust in you.
Group Sharing: If you are willing, share one or all of your responses with the group. How has this practice of Lament helped you draw near to Jesus during Lent? In what way has it opened your eyes to the world?
Read John 12:20-33 aloud.
- What stands out to you from this week’s scripture or message?
- What was the perception religious people had of the promised “Messiah”? In what way is Jesus a challenge to their expectations? How does Jesus challenge your expectations?
- What does Jesus say will be true for those who follow him? What do you think Jesus wanted the disciples to “see”? How can we be sure we are seeing and following this Jesus?
- What do you think Jesus means when he speaks about loving or hating our lives? How does this fit with your understanding of following Jesus?
- In what way does this passage reveal Jesus’ lament: his confidence in God, his honest feelings, his request for God’s intervention, and his ultimate surrender to God’s will alone? How does this give you a willingness to embrace lament as part of your growing intimacy with God?
Challenge: Reread vs. 24 and 32 in context of the whole passage: How is everything Jesus says a response to the Greeks who are asking to see him? Who are the “Greeks” in your life who are asking to see Jesus? Commit to praying for them during Holy Week.
PRAYER AND BENEDICTION
Pray for one another: How can we pray for you?
Oh Lord, our Lord, there is so much to fear when we try to save our own lives, help us to see the true you, so that our lives reflect your light in the darkness. As we are filled to all the fullness of Christ, we pray that others will see you and know you for themselves. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
DAILY PRACTICE: Spend time with God daily in Solitude, Scripture, and Prayer. (See Lent Reading Plan, Playlist & Resources online) Offer your lament to God as you pray for those in your life you want to see Jesus.