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Death is Near

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John 12:20-27

Introduction:  These Greeks may have been converts to Judaism.  They approached Philip, who had a Greek name and was from an area where lots of Greek people lived.  It is possible that some of them knew him or at least had seen him in the area where he lived.  He got Andrew and they all went to Jesus.  Jesus’ response was indirect.  It is like he said, “I’m so glad to see you fellows.  You are the sign that the end is near.  And all people, not just you, will come to know me because of my glorification.”

I. The hour has come    vs. 23

     A. Before chapter 12 it was always, “My hour has not yet come.” (2:4, 7 times in John); from this point on “It is time.”  (Chapter 12 begins Jesus’ last week of life on earth.)

     B. The coming of the Greeks was a sign of the nearness 

          1. 10:16

          2. Isaiah 42:1-9

     C. Son of Man

          1. Daniel 7:13

     2. In Daniel 7:1–8 the writer has been describing the world powers which have held sway, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Medes and the Persians. They were so cruel, so savage, so sadistic that they could be described only under the imagery of wild beasts—the lion with the eagle’s wings, the bear with the three ribs between its teeth, the leopard with the four wings and the four heads, and the terrible beast with iron teeth and ten horns. These were the symbols of the powers which had hitherto held sway. But it was the dream of the seer that into the world there would come a new power, and that power was to be gentle and humane and gracious, so that it could be depicted under the symbol, not of a savage beast, but of a man. This passage means that the day of savagery would pass and the day of humanity was coming.

That was the dream of the Jews, the golden age, when life would be sweet and they would be masters of the world. But how was that age to come? It became clearer and clearer to them that their nation was so small and their power so weak, that the golden age could never come by human means and human power; it must come by the direct intervention of God. He would send his champion to bring it in. So they thought back to the picture in the book of Daniel, and what more natural than that they should call the champion the Son of Man? The phrase which had once been merely a symbol came to describe a person.

Between the Old and the New Testament there arose a whole series of books about the golden age and how it was to come. Amidst their troubles and their sufferings, in their subjections and their slaveries, the Jews never forgot and never gave up their dream. One of these books was especially influential—the Book of Enoch and it repeatedly speaks about that Son of Man. In Enoch the Son of Man is a tremendous figure who, as it were, is being held in leash by God. But the day will come when God will release him and he will come with a divine power against which no man and no kingdom will be able to stand, and smash the way to a world empire for the Jews.

To the Jews the Son of Man stood for the undefeatable world conqueror sent by God. So Jesus says: “The hour has come when the Son of Man must be glorified.” When he said that, the listeners would catch their breath. They would believe that the trumpet call of eternity had sounded, that the might of heaven was on the march, and that the campaign of victory was on the move.  William Barclay

     D. Glorified

          1. δοξάζομαι 1. praise, speak words of glory; 2. honor, attribute a high status; 3. glorify, attribute high rank; 4. be wonderful, be of exceptional value

          2. To the Greeks, the glory was that they, too, could become a part of God’s kingdom

          3. To Jesus, the glory was accomplishing His purpose:  dying for humanity   vs. 27

II. Jesus’ death

     A. Parable   vs. 24

          1. “a corn of wheat” (KJV) means a seed of grain

          2. Life emerges out of death.

          3. This probably has a double meaning

              a. Jesus died and was resurrected

              b. We die to become a disciple and receive eternal life

     B. Jesus death lead to glory   vs. 23; Revelation 5:9-12

          1. For Himself

          2. And the honoring of humanity by their admission into God’s family

III. The disciples’ death    

     A. “He who loves his life will lose it.”    vs. 25

          1. Not the kind of love that takes care of the body

          2. Love that treasures life and its comforts above spiritual things

3. The man who, for the love of his temporal, physical life, becomes a loser of eternal life.   Believer's Study Bible

          4. The man who loves his life is moved by two aims, by selfishness and by the desire for security.    Barclay

     B. “He who hates his life will keep it.”   vs. 25

          1. To “hate his life” means to be so committed to Christ that he has no self-centeredness, no concern for himself. The Bible knowledge commentary

          2. To love and to hate was a Greek way of saying “first” and “second.”  If you put your life on earth first, you will destroy your spiritual life; but if you put it second, after your spiritual life, you will have eternal life.

     C. Serving Jesus   vs. 26

          1. Means putting life on earth second

          2. Means following Him to the cross, if necessary

          3. The honor we receive is being admitted to God’s family

Conclusion:  Jesus is clearly teaching that death leads to life, for Him and for us.  Since that is true, why do so many of us spend our time seeking things of this life instead of things of eternal life?  (Things like:  junk food, watching TV, trying to immigrate)

Plaisance Church.  ECD, Guyana.  October 1, 2006.  AM.

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