John tells us that some Greeks—some foreign born practicers of Judaism—have made their way to Jerusalem to take part in the upcoming feast of the Passover. While there, they seem to have heard about Jesus and his teachings and the miracles he has done. Maybe they saw him when he came into the city riding the donkey amid the shouts of “Hosanna!” Perhaps they overheard someone at the local coffee shop talking about Jesus raising of Lazarus from the dead, which happened just couple of days before. Regardless of how they found out about him, these people know they want to meet Jesus in person. So they seek out Philip, the most Greek sounding name out of the lot, and make their request. “Sir,” they say, “we wish to see Jesus.”
Philip finds Andrew, and they in turn go and speak to Jesus. Instead of replying to their request—John doesn’t tell us if those Jewish Greeks met with him—we hear Jesus respond that the hour has come for him to be glorified. He then uses a metaphor from agriculture to tell us what he means, describing how a grain of wheat—a single seed—gets buried in the earth and dies. If we stop and think about it, we know this about seeds in general. Seeds of any kind—be they apple, sunflower, or pumpkin—dry out and are useless, unless, of course, they get planted into the ground. And once they get planted something miraculous happens. With moisture and sunlight, a single pumpkin seed can produce a whole vine full of new pumpkins—anywhere from six to twelve per seed. In turn, each of these pumpkins themselves will produce about 450-500 more seeds. Through the single seed dying, a tremendous amount of new life results.