Against the volatility of that week, the caution shown by Philip and Andrew becomes understandable. At any other time and place a request to see/meet with Jesus wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. An observable interaction in Jerusalem just before the Passover with the potential to send His message beyond Jewish borders and the stakes suddenly get higher for both the Jewish authorities and for Jesus.
Just like the arrest of John the Baptist, which was the catalyst for Jesus to begin His public ministry, this event feels like a catalyst or an expected sign that confirms that This is The Passover for Jesus, the Passover when He will be sacrificed.
Just like the Baptism in the Jordan, and the Transfiguration, this event includes a theophany; an audible response from God the Father. While the Transfiguration happened in private, and the Baptism may or may not have had more than one witness, this theophany is public.
Therefore what Jesus is saying here carries great significance.
What we have in this passage is a glimpse into how Jesus approached His Passion, and what kept Him committed to seeing it through despite the frightening personal cost.
Unless a wheat grain dies, it does not produce a rich harvest.
Only by surrendering His life will the better, eternal life be attained.
Only by His death are the powers of evil overthrown.
Only by His death does the conquering of each heart for the Kingdom begin.
Only by His death is ultimate victory accomplished.
Verse 31 deserves special attention:
“Now sentence/judgment/justice is being passed on this world; now the prince of this world (satan) is to be driven out/cast out/ejected.”
This is a mission statement, a declaration of war, and a declaration of victory.
The purpose of Jesus is to drain the whole world of evil.
He definitively did this on Calvary.
The decisive battle is won, and it is a victory that keeps on growing.
Jesus began changing the world and began draining the whole world of the swamp of evil on Calvary.
In each era of history since then, He has continued to drain the swamp of evil and advance the kingdom of God.
Jesus is still draining the various swamps of evil today.
Every day we can declare with Him, ‘Now the prince of this world is ejected’.
Today we can declare with Him, ‘Now the prince of this world is ejected’.
And it’s true.
In our own era the swamp of evil has become boldly visible to extents and complexities never before seen.
Jesus is still about His mission of draining the swamp, and a major victory is immanent.
Sometimes an enemy has to be lured out of the shadows before it can be vanquished on a massive scale.
This seems to be what is happening in our era.
So do not be dismayed.
The plan to massively vanquish evil is in operation.
Jesus will attain His full purpose.
‘Today the prince of this world is ejected.’