“His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.” – John 12:16
John presents the events from the last days of Jesus to enable his readers to realize that the crucifixion is the means by which Jesus was to be glorified. Earlier in the chapter he described how Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus’ body for burial. Her act was not a show of ostentatious extravagance but an act of costly, but humble worship. This anointing gives us quite a sobering perspective on the triumphal entry into Jerusalem for that event made it seem that the complaint of the Pharisees was correct: that everybody was following Jesus and wanting to proclaim Him King. Most of the people shouting His praises were expecting a Messiah who would be a mighty warrior King. But He had come to Jerusalem to die on the cross, the death of a heinous criminal. His way to glory was through His own death.
Thus, as John points out, most of the Jews rejected Him. They did not want a King of peace and a King who was a humble servant. They wanted a miracle worker who would provide them with signs and wonders. They wanted a political leader who would overthrow the Romans not the Kingdom of darkness. They could not accept glory that was not achieved by the usual means and rejected Christ. Many of those who did believe chose to keep their faith quiet lest they suffer the outrage of their fellow Jews. Yet even those who believed failed to understand and so their weak faith would be sorely shaken by the crucifixion.
The question for us to ponder is how we respond to Jesus in our culture, in our social milieu, in our neighborhood, or in our family. How often have we hidden our faith from others so they would like us! And how many times have we lied about Jesus so our friends or co-workers would not mock us! Jesus went to the cross for them too. They need to know the truth from us.