Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him." (John 12:20-26 ESV)
These are Jesus' words the day before his crucifixion. The Greeks visiting Jerusalem, and requesting an interview, would certainly be an open door for wider ministry into the Mediterranian world. Yet he knows he must turn away -- his earthly ministry is over. As a 30-something rabbi it would seem his life and influence would be tragically cut short.
Yet the death of this Grain of wheat -- the Seed of the woman (Gen 3:15), the Seed of Abraham (Gen 12:7) -- would bring a worldwide harvest of redeemed souls. And this, through the cross of his death. Countless multitudes, and I myself, are part of that fruitful harvest. And on the third day, the disciples realized that everything had changed, and the new creation had begun!
Alistair McGrath once said that one of the lessons of the cross is that "faith means believing in advance what will make sense only in retrospect."