The heart of a true disciple will trust in Jesus no matter the cost.

The Demands of Discipleship

Throughout John 12, we have discussed different groups who have various viewpoints about who Jesus is and why He has come. In John 12:20-26, we are introduced to another group of people.

These people, the Greeks, are viewed as outsiders from the Jewish perspective. They may have felt they could not even approach Jesus without an introduction due to their position as Gentiles. They were considered by the Jews as dogs, worse than even the Samaritans, and unworthy of redemption.

However, God made it abundantly clear in Genesis 12:1-3 that in Abraham, all the families of the earth would be blessed. Although there were many cultural obstacles for these Greeks, they could come freely to Christ. It was the personal demands of a Christ-follower, not their culture, that would give God glory.

Discipleship Is Designed by God

In John 1:9, we see that Jesus is interested in Gentiles, being the Light that enlightens every man. In John 1:29, John says "behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Throughout John and in other gospels, Jesus makes it plain that the inclusion of Gentiles was God’s design all along. It was in plain sight even though it was against what the Jews thought and wanted.

There is physical evidence of God’s design even in the building of the Temple. Between the outer court where Gentiles were permitted and the inner court of the Jews, there was a partition, a dividing stone wall. But by Jesus’ blood on the cross, that barrier, that dividing wall, was broken down. God is interested in more than just one person or one group of people. God is interested in the world -- and so much that He has given His Son, Jesus. Nothing is outside of God’s plan.

Even the disciple, Philip, that the Greeks came to, had a Greek name. That was by God’s design. God orchestrated every part of this situation to bring the Greeks to Him.

Discipleship Comes at a Cost

Jesus teaches that it is not in spite of His death, but because of His death that He will be glorified. The Bible tells us that Jesus came not to be honored, but to suffer. He is the Lamb of God, taking away the sins of the world. In John 12:32-33, we see that Jesus must be lifted up.

Christ modeled this servant nature, then says, "If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also." We may not be mocked and spit at and hung on a cross, but we must be willing to be humbled. As a disciple, we cannot think we will have it any differently.

As Christ-followers, we must apply this to ourselves that we will expend great cost in following Jesus. We can look at a seed and understand that we must die before we can be fruitful.

Discipleship Has an Eternal Reward

Be ready to bear great cost in discipleship, remembering Jesus’ words: "If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him." Even in our suffering, we will be glorified with Jesus. We can trust that if anyone serves Jesus, the Father will honor him.

Application Points

Do you have the type of discipleship that gives up all, dying to self like a seed in the ground, so that God will cultivate fruit in your spirit?

  • God uses all of your background -- your family history, ethnicity, culture. It can all dissolve within the blood of Jesus. He will use it to bring Himself glory and to bring others to Him. But equally, your background will not separate you in any way from being one in Jesus Christ, becoming the family of God.
  • If anyone serves Jesus, the Father will honor him.
  • The heart of true discipleship is trusting God, no matter the cost.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • Isaiah 53
  • John 1:9
  • John 1:29
  • John 3:16
  • John 4:42
  • John 8:12 – Jesus is the Light of the world
  • Matthew 10:5 – Attending to Israel first
  • Eph 2:11 – Gentiles reconciled to Christ
A Quote to Ponder:

“No alien may enter within the barrier dividing wall around the sanctuary and the enclosure. Whoever is caught on himself shall he put blame for the death which will ensue.”
-- Inscription on the Temple wall, according to Flavius Josephus, Jewish historian