20There were certain Greeks from those who had gone up so that they might worship at the feast. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilea and they asked him, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” 22Philip came and repeated it to Andrew, and Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus. 23But Jesus answered them saying, “The hour has come so that the son of man might be glorified. 24Very truly I tell you, if the grain of wheat does not fall into the ground and die, it alone remains. But if it does die, it bears much fruit. 25The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. 26If anyone wants to serve me, let him follow me. The servant will be wherever I am. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
27Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ But it was because of this that I came to this hour. 28‘Father, Glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, I have both glorified it and I will glorify it again. 29The crowd that was standing there and heard said it was thunder, but others kept on saying, “An angel spoke to him.” 30Jesus answered and said, “This voice didn’t come for my sake, but for yours. 31Now is the judgment of this world, now will the ruler of this world be thrown out. 32And as for me, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 33But he said this indicating what type of death he was about to die. — John 12:20-33
It’s Friday, the day we traditionally start winding down. Thank God it’s Friday! This is not the time when you want to be burdened down with new requests and new tasks. Some of them might make you work overtime tonight, or might even involve coming to work on the weekend. I certainly don’t blame you for those thoughts. It’s hard to get through that last stretch just before you get to rest.
In our passage today, Jesus is nearing the end. He’s on the final stretch, though he knows things are going to get worse before they get better. Nonetheless, people are crowding him and placing demands on his time. Here is this group of Greeks, presumably proselytes, who wanted to see Jesus.
How does Jesus react? He begins by pointing away from himself. It is time for him to be glorified. To us, those may seem to be contradictory, but they’re not. To Jesus revealing his Father’s glory was the way in which he would be glorified. That would be the greatest glory. But then he points to the hard part. If we want to reveal the Father’s glory, we’re going to have to die to ourselves, and put our lives totally in God’s hands.
For Jesus this comes down to the split between what he is about to do, and what he, as a man, might ask from the Father. Should he ask to be spared? Should he ask God to do something that will show just how high he is in his Father’s estimation? What exactly should he say and do?
Jesus comes up with a simple answer. â€œFather, Glorify your name.â€ Now there is a simple prayer. It’s also a prayer that gets an answer.
Too often on our spiritual â€œFridaysâ€ we decide that we don’t have the time to pray for someone, or we don’t have the energy to witness to someone. But it’s not necessarily a high energy thing. The problem is that we feel the need to do something more spectacular. I know the temptation to pray a â€œteachingâ€ prayer, showing people just how it’s done. As if I actually knew!
But we can follow the example of Jesus here and use a one liner. As you hear a question about your faith, or have an opportunity to demonstrate the presence of Jesus in your life, how about just saying, â€œFather, Glorify your name!â€ You don’t need hours of time and an order of worship to pray for someone. It can be as simple as, â€œLord, bless my friend Joe.â€
Your friend doesn’t need to know how great a spiritual warrior you are. My friend doesn’t need to know I’m a Bible teacher and I read Greek and Hebrew. What they, and others like them need is a glimpse of God’s glory. The less of you and me that’s present, the more of Him they will be able to see.