|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:20-26 In attendance upon holy ordinances, particularly the gospel passover, the great desire of our souls should be to see Jesus; to see him as ours, to keep up communion with him, and derive grace from him. The calling of the Gentiles magnified the Redeemer. A corn of wheat yields no increase unless it is cast into the ground. Thus Christ might have possessed his heavenly glory alone, without becoming man. Or, after he had taken man's nature, he might have entered heaven alone, by his own perfect righteousness, without suffering or death; but then no sinner of the human race could have been saved. The salvation of souls hitherto, and henceforward to the end of time, is owing to the dying of this Corn of wheat. Let us search whether Christ be in us the hope of glory; let us beg him to make us indifferent to the trifling concerns of this life, that we may serve the Lord Jesus with a willing mind, and follow his holy example.
Verse 20. - Now there were certain Greeks among those that went up to worship at the feast. Τινες implies a group, and a larger company of these ἀναβαινόντων, who were and are in the habit of going up (perhaps were still doing it even when John, before writing his Gospel, had first put the narrative into words). They went up with a view to worship in the feast, that is, there were burnt offerings and thank offerings which they were allowed to present. This shows that they were not heathen nor uncircumcised Hellenists, whichever view of that word be accepted.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And there were certain Greeks,.... "Hellenes", so called, from Hellen, a king of that name, as Pliny says (r) These were not Graecizing Jews, or Jews that dwelt in Greece, and spoke the Greek language; for they were called not Hellenes, but Hellenists; but these were, as the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions render it, Gentiles; and were either mere Gentiles, and yet devout and religious men, who were allowed to offer sacrifice, and to worship, in the court of the Gentiles; or they were proselytes, either of righteousness, and so were circumcised, and had a right to eat of the passover, as well as to worship at it; or of the gate, and so being uncircumcised, might not eat of the passover, yet might worship at it; which latter seems to be the case, by what follows: for these were
among them, that came up to worship at the feast; of the passover, which was near at hand: these were among those, that went forth to meet Jesus, and that attended him to Jerusalem, who were come up out of the country to this feast; and these came along with them to worship at it, to offer their sacrifices, and join in prayer, though they might not eat of the passover.
(r) Nat. His. l. 4. c. 7.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Joh 12:20-36. Some Greeks Desire to See Jesus—The Discourse and Scene Thereupon.
20-22. Greeks—Not Grecian Jews, but Greek proselytes to the Jewish faith, who were wont to attend the annual festivals, particularly this primary one, the Passover.
The same came therefore to Philip … of Bethsaida—possibly as being from the same quarter.
saying, Sir, we would see Jesus—certainly in a far better sense than Zaccheus (Lu 19:3). Perhaps He was then in that part of the temple court to which Gentile proselytes had no access. "These men from the west represent, at the end of Christ's life, what the wise men from the east represented at its beginning; but those come to the cross of the King, even as these to His manger" [Stier].
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