Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
John 12:23 NIV
There were some Greeks who had come to worship during the Passover festival, and they approached Jesus’ disciples, requesting the opportunity to see Jesus (John 12:20-22). Jesus’ response to their request seems strange on the surface. But their request, and Jesus’ response, are actually connected.
Glorified on the Cross
The hour had come for Jesus, the Son of Man, to be glorified. But what Jesus had in mind here was something quite different from what we would ordinarily think of as being glorified. He was referring to his upcoming crucifixion. It was on the cross that he was glorified.
That the cross was the hour he was referring to is made clear in John 12:27:28. His soul was troubled by what was coming. But it was for that very hour, the cross, that he had come.
Later in this discussion, in John 12:32, Jesus said that when he was lifted up, he would draw all people to himself. John explained that the “lifting up” was referring to the cross. But it also refers back to the hour of Jesus’ glorification and his response to the Greek seekers. It is because of the cross, and what happened there, that we have the opportunity to meet Jesus and experience his salvation.
The people who witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion saw it as the end. His followers mourned while his enemies rejoiced. But appearances were deceiving. In Colossians 2:13-15, Paul tells us that when Jesus went to the cross, he canceled the charges against us, and triumphed over the spiritual forces of evil. The prince of this world was cast down (John 12:31), and Jesus was enthroned over his kingdom. It was not the end. It was only the beginning. The kingdom of God had come.