Jesus Predicts His Death – John 12:20-33 – Meaning and Commentary

1. Introductory prayer

I calm down and I feel the presence of God in me. I ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit to open the word of God, I accept it and allow it to fulfill my mission in me, in order to become more and more what I am in Holy Trinity. Then I ask God for this prayer, in my own words, or with those that are here…

Lord Jesus, may I be wheat sown in the earth and may I be reaped for you. I want to follow you wherever you lead me. Give me fresh hope and joy to serve you all the days of my life.

2. Reading – Listening: Jesus Predicts His Death – John 12:20-33 – Meaning and Commentary

Jesus Predicts His Death

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip, in turn, told Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up[a] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

3. Thoughts on the Gospel: Jesus Predicts His Death – John 12:20-33 – Meaning and Commentary

Shortly before the Jewish Passover, Jesus announced to his disciples that “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (Jn 12:23). The Son of Man is the prophetic title for the Messiah (Dan. 7: 13-14). In his time, the Jewish people waited for the Messiah to free them from the oppressive rule of Rome. But Jesus came and set people free from the worst oppression — the bondage of sin, Satan, and death. He came to lead us into a new allied relationship with God that will not end in death but will lead us to eternal life.

Jesus knew that the only way to the decisive victory of the Kingdom of God on earth would be through the fidelity of love, even though it would mean suffering and death on the cross. He described his willingness to die on the cross as an “hour of glory” (Jn 12:23), when he would fulfill the Father’s will – to live love always and everywhere – and carry out the mission entrusted to him. He saw his death as a triumph over the powers of sin and the forces of darkness. The real enemy is Satan, who persuades man to resist God and his commandments. But Jesus trusts him and lives to the end of the commandment of love and thus saves us from servitude to evil.

Choose from a variety of T-shirts - See more...

Jesus used the parable of the “kernel of wheat” to show how God gives life through suffering. The seed is in itself lifeless and has little value. Only when it is destroyed, it is buried in the ground, can it rise to new life and bear fruit.

When Jesus predicts His death, He talks about dying wheat seed in order to bear fruit, He is talking about his death and its fruits. Through it, we are liberated and receive new life in the Holy Spirit. His cross frees us from the tyranny of sin and death.

Death leads to life. When we “die” to ourselves (our sinfulness, introversion), we receive God’s forgiveness and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, who sets us free to love and serve others and faithfully follow Jesus Christ. He promises that we will bear much “fruit” if we choose to give up ourselves for Him and accept His will for our lives.

The term he hates, which he uses when talking about who His student is, means “to love less than …”. This means that I love what leads me to Jesus and to live in His way, in his Spirit. In this way, he invites us to completely surrender to Him and give up everything that could hinder us from doing so.

4. Meditation – thinking

About everything I have read and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think:

  • Jesus, too, was agitated on the path shown to him by the Father. But he trusted the Father and the relationship they had. In what part of my life I live could I invite Jesus to accompany me in a time of agitation, search, helplessness, fear for myself?
  • If I know that Jesus Christ has already won the battle and there is already a new life in us that we find when we let go of our performances, where could I open my heart to a new perspective?
  • I take some time to praise God, who has already thrown some “seeds” in my life into the dark, damp and dirty earth and created a new life from them. I try to remember a few seeds and especially the plants that have grown.

5. Personal Prayer

In the next moments of silence, I talk about this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God).

6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God

Now I let silence be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me. Perhaps from this silence, I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…

7. Action

When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving, and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (write down your insights for concrete action).

8. Prayer at the end

Jesus Christ, Son of Man and Son of God, you overcame death with love. Thank you. And thank you for being with me every time I wander in the dark, I get lost when I feel like I can’t stand it or that I have to battle alone. Thank you for opening my eyes that you have already walked this path for me. I can let go because you’re showing me a fresh start and holding my hand. New plants are already growing from the seeds that have died – what a joy it is to see that you, my Beloved, are giving your life!

9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection

This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:

  • How was I feeling when I started praying?
  • What happened during the prayer?
  • What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
  • How did I feel about the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
  • What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others, and me to him and others?
  • How did I finish my prayer?
  • What did I receive for my everyday life?
  • In the end, I can write the lessons, findings, and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
  • Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. With a prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.

Lectio Divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home –

Text from the Bible – New International Version (KJV)

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!