John 12:20-26 If Anyone Follows Me

For all the anyones and whosoevers like me

John doesn’t go into the details of the daily happenings during Jesus’ last week. Instead he takes us into the personal moments. The first of those moments is when some Greeks seek to meet with Jesus. My bible helps tell me that this is the beginning of the inclusion of the Gentiles in Jesus’ ministry from John’s record. We know Jesus went into Gentile areas during His ministry on several different occasions, including feeding the 4,000, but now they are numbered in the “fruit” Jesus speaks of.

I’m curious how many people approached Philip in that group. We know there were at least two but have no idea how many more. I wonder too why they approached Philip. Was he someone they recognized or was just in the right place at the right time? Another question I have is why did Philip go tell Andrew instead of going directly to Jesus? Was Philip afraid Jesus would turn him down because these men weren’t Jewish? Was Philip deciding if he even wanted to bring their message to Jesus? Did Andrew encourage him to approach Jesus? Did Andrew have a closer relationship with Jesus because he was Peter’s brother? Did they perceive there was a “pecking order” among Jesus’ disciples?

Jesus didn’t scold them for bringing Him the request, but neither did He rush over to meet with them. Were they following Philip and Andrew? Did the first part of Jesus’ answer leave them scratching their heads? That portion wouldn’t be truly understood until after Jesus’ resurrection.

The last part of Jesus’ answer sounded hopeful for this group of Greeks. “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also” (verse 26a). Did Philip and Andrew interpret this to mean that Jesus would meet with these men if they wanted to be His servants/followers too? This portion of the answer appeared to have a “here and now” application.

On this side of the promise we understand Jesus’ meaning about the wheat. He would be that perfect wheat and bear fruit in untold numbers. He is still producing it today. But it took His death to make that possible. Not even the Jews would have been able to access God without Jesus’ death. Their rejection though opened it up for all! We will see more of this a little later.

I am VERY grateful that Jesus included Gentiles like me in His answer here. At this point He opens His arms to “whoever” and “anyone.” I am an “anyone” and am GLAD to be included!

“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (verse 25). Sometimes when things are becoming frustrating or overwhelming to me I say “I love my life, I love my life, I love my life” with increasing growls in my voice. I’m certain this is NOT what Jesus was talking about. He is not saying that you can’t have joy in this current life or that it is all horrible. He was saying that anyone who loves what this world has to offer more than they love Him, they have no place with Him in eternity. He has to be our number one. You can’t serve Him and the world. This is an “either or” choice, just like “repent or perish.”

Father God, I do love my life because I gave it to You and Your Son. I love the fact that I can share Your love with others. I love that You have given me a beautiful family that I can point back to You. They are not all currently looking where I’m pointing, but that doesn’t change my determination to show them You and Your love every day. I fully believe that You are working in their hearts and that I WILL see the results of that. I don’t know if I will ever see the “results” of Your letting me share this way, but I trust You in that area too. Please forgive me for becoming discouraged and lazy at times with sharing Your word. I do love You and want to follow wherever You lead me. Thank You Jesus for including me in Your plan! I’ll gladly be an anyone or a whosoever!

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