Lectionary Year B
April 9, 2000
John 12:20-33

Step II: Disposition


This pericope reports some Greeks’ interest in Jesus provoking what, at first, seems like a soliloquy by Jesus. He takes this opportunity to address several related matters. He even engages in dialogue with God and speaks of judgement and eternity. (DR) It appears to be some form of proclamation


So Jesus takes the Greeks’ interest as indicating the time is ripe for addressing his death and other’s responsibilities leading to eternal life? When he asks how he is to deal with his troubled soul, is he answering first inappropriately to continue conversing with the Greeks and others around there then? Surely he knows the right answer to that question. Or, is he trying to forget his mission? Is the voice from heaven for those who escape judgement? Is the editorial explanation in the last verse accurate?

The Greeks want to see Jesus. They tell Phillip. He tells Andrew. They both go and tell Jesus. Jesus lets that interest stimulate his talking about his mission, his death and eternity. He also confesses some of his own discomfort. He asks, rather rhetorically, how he could deal with his troubles. He suggests one way we recognize as questionable and then he admits the reason for his uneasiness/incarnation. Before many more statements, though, Jesus seems to be addressing, at least rhetorically, God. Thereupon, though, God responds, as if to correct Jesus’ missing a point of what God has already done that Jesus suggested God be doing. God’s voice seems to the bystanders (the Greeks, still?) to be either thunder or an angel. Jesus corrects their misunderstandings and begins referring to the future, even to eternity. He also mentions servants and followers of his. Then lastly, the editor, apparently, informs us why Jesus spoke thus.

1. What particular event made Jesus proclaim that "the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified?" Was it because the Greeks had come seeking him?

2. What does it mean to "hate your life?" How would the Greeks have interpreted this kind of proclamation?

3. Were Jesus' words "lose your life" a prohecy about what would eventually happen to his disciples?

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