Our Gospel lesson is John 12:20-33, taken today from the New International Version (NIV).
Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “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. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
Jesus shares a human concern while speaking about His death, asking His followers “what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour'” (v. 27). As we have learned, Jesus is human just as we are, and would naturally have reason to ask to be spared. If He were not human, His obedience to God and sacrifice for us would be meaningless.
However, He immediately adds “No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (v. 28). Jesus knows what He is called to do and though He will suffer for us, He obeys God. His relationship with the Father is stronger than fear.
Today, we seem to live in a fearful time. We are afraid for our health, our society, our world. Was it any different in Jesus’ time? As we pray “Thy will be done” let our connection to God give us strength and hope to face our fears through His grace.
Loving Lord, we are weak on our own, but we know You are mighty to save. Help us to be confident in Your promise, bold in our witness, and strong in Your love. Amen.