I imagine some will think I over simplified in the last post that three types of people and their reactions to Jesus are the whole of what's wrong with the world.
"What about murder and sexual immorality?" asks the mom without taking her eyes off twin daughters catching and eating or chasing the missed flying candy from a Christmas parade float.
"What about the loss of our national heritage as a Christian nation?!" the Tea Partier demands.
"What about greed and injustice?" queries the lawyer from the local Legal Aid Society.
If the John 12 refection is viewed in comparison with the following verse:
all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and
the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 1 John 2:16 NAS
...and the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness is factored into this study, a masterful unity of thought is clear. (See Matthew, chapter 4)
The Lust of the Flesh
At the height of a forty-days-fasting hunger, Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread. Jesus refuses to do so stating life is not in bread alone but in the words, the meaning, found in God. In so doing He ruled over the desires of the body in favor of obedience demonstrating authority over the lust of the flesh. Thus Jesus both models and explains the ability to make meaningful decisions in line with life in God in contrast with succumbing to innate physiological drives of the human body we fallen humans like to justify as our basic needs. Seeking gratification of the body as the point of life through the varied sensual measures of the palate, a sated stomach or fulfilled loins are the "lusts of the flesh".
The crowds or masses in John 12 represent the wild swings of opinion that ride on this lust. When one lives for body gratification as the meaning of life, highs bounce up with expectation, lows deepen with deprivation and manipulative behaviors of appearing interested in what is expected while secret motivations protect one's love of the dark abound.
The Lust of the Eyes (do not confuse as what lust of the flesh wants to view)
Next Satan invites Jesus to prove His value in the eyes of God. Satan tells Jesus to throw Himself from the top of the temple that God would then send angels to protect Him. Jesus refuses and states that would be a test of God. Religious Christian behavior attempts to raise the value of the adherent through self-righteous works. If the adherent has achieved the level of holiness demanded by men, it is falsely believed the individual can expect God to save or protect. People surrendering to this sin also expect to be honored for their piety. This is a "lust" of the eyes, since it means that the person so inclined "sees" him or herself as valuable for their religious practice. The heart of such a person is idolizing the self.
Clearly the Pharisees of John 12 are afflicted by this area of sin.
The Pride of Life
Last, Satan asks Jesus to receive payment of the wealth, beauty, and power of the "kingdoms" on earth by holding out to Him the "glory" of these. Kingdom is a political term that refers to the way in which organization of political power can maximize the productive power of the people within the kingdom. The modern state or nation is a "kingdom" whether it is an absolutist-leaning government such as Saudi Arabia, a constitutional monarchy such as the United Kingdom, or a democratic republic such as our own US.
The Greeks in John 12, who are today regarded as the primary root of Western Civilization, represent the Pride of Life sin. From the Greeks, Western Civilization derives its respect and love of analytical thought, the arts, and the power of organization of an involved constituency. The Greeks produced direct democracy as the means of political power and organization of society; they gave voice to ideas of scientific observation and philosophic expression of wisdom, and crowned it with a symmetrical and expressive art in architecture, sculpture and theater. In our modern corporate world, this power of organization is tied to profit. Greed and glory of achievement are the fruit of this sin.
All that is wrong with world, indeed, is in the story where Jesus starts His walk of passion to the Cross.
He did it for all of humanity.
Think about this: In the story He made no attempt to "minister to" or evangelize any of the groups represented.