"For Your Benefit"
After Jesus's triumphant entry, a group of Greeks came to the house of Phillip and sought to see Jesus--possibly because they had heard of his many signs and wonders; possibly because of the greeting He received upon entering Jerusalem, and maybe because of the many rumors that surrounded Him as the Jewish Messiah. Either way, they came, and Jesus used the opportunity to teach them about Heavenly things, hoping to draw them to him.
He starts off in verses 23-28 by explaining to these Gentiles what it means to be a follower of His--it means aligning your will to the Will of God, dying to self, and being born again. It means a change in perspective--but even more than that. It means a complete change of heart--a willingness to forsake the worldly things for the eternal things of God. In so doing, we follow the path that Jesus trod and the example that He set. We tenderly accept His will for our lives.
Just as these Greeks are learning of these weighty spiritual truths, John tells us that a voice from heaven confirmed what Jesus was teaching:
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, "I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again." 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
What an incredible thing to have occurred!
But Jesus, instead of pointing to this occurrence as some kind of "proof" that He was the Messiah, Jesus instead points (once again) to what is to come:
30 Then Jesus told them, "The voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself." 33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
The voice, then was an aid for their faith--but it was not what Jesus wanted them (or us) to place our faith upon. Jesus was still pointing everyone forward to the coming resurrection as the thing to look for--the thing that was constantly being indicated--constantly, and with every other sign being pointed to and emphasized.
Like usual, though, the crowd did not understand. This time, it was because they had a fundamental misunderstanding about what the Messiah would do:
34 The crowd responded, "We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?"
35 Jesus replied, "My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. 36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light."
After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.
The truth was that Jesus Christ, the Messiah was not going to live forever, but would be the master of death. They were seeking after some eternal person who would continue on the earth with them forever--but Jesus tells them the truth--that He would not be staying forever, but would be leaving them. That they needed to walk in the Light when they had it with them, because there would be a time coming wherein the Light would be removed, and they would need to continue in the Light themselves--become children of the light.
Become children of God and be born of the Spirit.
As we lead up to the crucifixion of Christ, we continue to see a number of things very clearly: First, that Jesus Christ came for the purpose of dying and resurrecting to save us all. He didn't come in order to do other things--those other things were done so that we would believe what He ultimately did at Calvary. Second, that God wants us to believe in Him and yield our wills to Him. Jesus Christ as our example, this means far more than paying lip service to a belief in the Lord--this means a complete change of the heart. A full surrender, that God can then use for His Glory.
And lastly, that even with all the signs and wonders, even with all the voices from heaven and all the teachings and all the prophesies, the Gospel remains incredibly simple: Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is all there is to it. If we can truly understand firstly who Jesus Christ is, and second what it is He accomplished on the Cross, we will have all the knowledge that we need in order to serve Him in spirit and in Truth. The rest--the signs, the wonders, the prophesies, are given for our benefit. They are not the ultimate point and they are not what we should be focusing on--they are given so that we can have faith to accept the Truth of the resurrection.