Jesus made His way into Jerusalem with the praise and adulation of the crowds on Palm Sunday. And when it was over, the people went home and the Pharisees said to each other, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him” (Jn. 12:19).
They were wrong and they were right. For all their singing and declarations of Jesus as the Messiah on that day, Israel was not following Christ. But the world was beginning to be awakened to Him.
The next day the Israelites were at home, but some Greeks (Gentiles!) came to the disciple Phillip and said, “We wish to see Jesus.” Israel was not interested, but the world was, as the Pharisees indicated, beginning to be interested in Him.
So where might they see Jesus? The glory of Jesus is seen in the cross of Jesus (v. 23). Throughout His ministry, Jesus had been preparing the disciples for the eventuality of the cross — “the Son of Man must be lifted up” (v. 34; cf. also Mt. 16:21). But what is the significance of this cross? What are the results of the cross? What does the cross accomplish? Jesus points to four works that would be accomplished at His death.
First, the world is judged (v. 31a). This is not final judgment, but it is to say that the world is no longer victorious (cf. 16:33). Christ is supreme. And all men are under and facing final judgment if they do not repent (16:8-10).
Secondly, Satan is destroyed (v. 31b). He is thrown into the outer darkness, his destiny of dethronement and defeat fully assured (Mt. 22:13; Heb. 2:14). He still is laboring seeking to destroy all that He can (1 Pt. 5:8), but His doom is secured.
Thirdly, all manner of men are compelled to believe in Christ (v. 32). Not all men will believe, but of all those who believe, all of them will come by the compelling ministry and work of Christ (6:37, 44).
Finally, the benefits of the cross have already begun (v. 31). Note the emphasis on the word “now.” While all the benefits of Christ will be realized fully at a later time, what He gives has already begun under the current ministry of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
In all these things, Christ is glorified. The world wanted to see Christ. And they were directed to the cross and what would happen when Christ died. Would you like to see Jesus, too? Then look to the cross.