Let me make this clear: A single grain of wheat will never be more than a single grain of wheat unless it drops into the ground and dies. Because then it sprouts and produces a great harvest of wheat—all because one grain died.
“The person who loves his life and pampers himself will miss true life! But the one who detaches his life from this world and abandons himself to me, will find true life and enjoy it forever! If you want to be my disciple, follow me and you will go where I am going. And if you truly follow me as my disciple, the Father will shower his favor upon your life.
“Even though I am torn within, and my soul is in turmoil, I will not ask the Father to rescue me from this hour of trial. For I have come to fulfill my purpose—to offer myself to God. So, Father, bring glory to your name!” Then suddenly a booming voice was heard from the sky,
“I have glorified my name! And I will glorify it through you again!”
The audible voice of God startled the crowd standing nearby. Some thought it was only thunder, yet others said, “An angel just spoke to him!”
Then Jesus told them, “The voice you heard was not for my benefit, but for yours—to help you believe. From this moment on, everything in this world is about to change, for the ruler of this dark world will be overthrown. And I will do this when I am lifted up off the ground and when I draw the hearts of people to gather them to me.” He said this to indicate that he would die by being lifted up on the cross.
People from the crowd spoke up and said, “Die? How could the Anointed One die? The Word of God says that the Anointed One will live with us forever, but you just said that the Son of Man must be lifted up from the earth. And who is this Son of Man anyway?”
Jesus replied, “You will have the light shining with you for only a little while longer. While you still have me, walk in the light, so that the darkness doesn’t overtake you. For when you walk in the dark you have no idea where you’re going. So believe and cling to the light while I am with you, so that you will become children of light.” After saying this, Jesus then entered into the crowd and hid himself from them.
Even with the overwhelming evidence of all the many signs and wonders that Jesus had performed in front of them, his critics still refused to believe. This fulfilled the prophecy given by Isaiah:
Lord, who has believed our message? Who has seen the unveiling of your great power?
And the people were not able to believe, for Isaiah also prophesied:
God has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts to the truth. So with their eyes and hearts closed they cannot understand the truth nor turn to me so that I could instantly cleanse and heal them.
Isaiah said these things because he had seen and experienced the splendor of Jesus and prophesied about him. Yet there were many Jewish leaders who believed in Jesus, but because they feared the Pharisees they kept it secret, so they wouldn’t be ostracized by the assembly of the Jews. For they loved the glory that men could give them rather than the glory that came from God!
Jesus shouted out passionately, “To believe in me is to also believe in God who sent me. For when you look at me you are seeing the One who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world so that all who trust in me will no longer wander in darkness.