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HG130 John 12:20-50

Harmony of the Gospels  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  19:33
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John 12:20–50 NIV
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. 34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” 35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. 37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. 42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God. 44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. 47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
In today’s passage and here on in until April we are going to be in the last week of Jesus’ life up to the resurrection. That is because a 1/3rd of the gospels are in this week. He has just come into Jerusalem with His triumphal entrance on what is called ‘Palm Sunday’. If you had not heard of Jesus before then you would now in Jerusalem.
The beginning of Jesus’ life has the wise men from the East come to worship and see Jesus, now at the end of His life we have wise from the West who also want to see Jesus. And though He was told that they would see Him we do not know whether they did or didn’t. The reply seems abstract and unrelated: Now is the Son of Man glorified. Whether for Jew or Greek or us the way we come to Him is no longer face-to-face but through the cross. Unless a seed dies. Unless He dies there is no room for growth but in His death there is much fruit. And indeed He follows it up by saying that we have to follow Him, where to? The cross. If we love this life then we will not be willing, if we love this world we will not have time for Him let alone be willing to die for Him.
Now came the crashing and crushing feelings upon Jesus knowing what was before Him. When He says take up your cross, for Him it was a literal one. Something that had been planned somehow somewhen in eternity past, long before creation and the fall was now drawing ever closer and the dread of it was very troubling. Yes, Jesus is God and He is also fully Man who feels as we feel and can have stress even though He knew what He was doing but it is not something He wanted to do for who here would invite pain and conflict if you could avoid it? Only, He couldn’t avoid it for it was why He had come to earth to be born like us and if He had decided that the price was too much for Him then we would all still be headed for hell and the full wrath of God upon us for we would still be in our sins and its consequences. No, even though the premium to be paid was so high He needed to do it to insure us against the risk of damnation from the presence of God forever.
We would be doing Jesus a disservice if we think it was the physical pain that he was to bear that He was truly troubled about. Oh, indeed, the suffering of Him in His body, of the torture of a crown of thorns on His head, nails through His hands, the flagellation of His back, its’ soreness against the cross, the lifting Himself up to gain a breath of air. Yes, this was most troubling but still not as much as knowing the true terror that was to befall Him. He said that it was His heart that was troubled for He would bear our sin and for the first time ever, and I mean ever, He would be separated from His Father as a result. Why? Because, as it says in:
2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
His death was then infinitely able to forgive every sin for He is an infinite being who paid the infinite price.
When we remember all that Jesus has done for us we can be comforted that He cares so much for us. He came to save us and in so doing proves that whatever is going on in our lives He will be there to help for we can always look to Jesus. And what did He say later in the week?
John 14:1 NLT
1 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.
31
Now is the judgement of this world. This is an interesting thing that Jesus said. Now is the judgement of this world? How is that? Is it not yet to come? Actually it is both then and to come. In a very real sense what Jesus did on the cross was to bring judgement. And it was Jesus who received it instead of the world. Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Now, it is not strictly for sin that people will be judged for on the last day, that is, unless you have rejected Jesus’ offer of full forgiveness. In effect it is what we have done with Jesus that will decide whether we are headed for Hell or for Heaven. Either way the death knell had been sounded for Satan, he has been defeated and his time is short.
32-33
And Jesus indicated very clearly that He was to be crucified. The people around knew that was what He was saying though they did not fully get that He was talking of Himself. The people did not have a complete idea of who the Messiah was to be for they had not taken into account the suffering servant passages especially in Isaiah.
And what did Jesus say about being crucified? Let’s hear the words again
John 12:32 NKJV
32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
What was in His mind would have also echoed in all those who knew the story of their people that when in the desert and the people had sinned by complaining against God and Moses that God sent snakes into the camp. I have never watched the film ‘Snakes on a plane’ and I don’t have much in a way of a fear of snakes though healthily I would stay away from them - but I cannot imagine the fear in the camp when these deadly snakes came into the camp and they must have been numerous that there did not seem to be a way of escape, and indeed many were bitten and died. What is also clear is that they didn’t die immediately so the sound of their cries would have gone up. And Moses went to God and asked for mercy and so we find what happened in
Numbers 21:8–9 NIV
8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
All you had to do was look and you would be saved, if you didn’t you died. Were you going to trust or not? Were you going to take the opportunity or not to be saved? It was entirely up to you. The bronze snake on a pole drew all those who had been bitten and it would be ridiculous not to avail yourself of relief. But, perhaps, there were those who trusted themselves or their homemade health remedies or thought if they stick it out they would be OK in the end. But it was only those who looked at the snake that lived. It was the only way.
And now we can see how relevant the words of Jesus are. If I am lifted up just like the bronze snake then if people would simply look to me, trust me, take the opportunity that is before them, make the choice then they would be saved for it would be ridiculous not to avail yourself of forgiveness and eternal life. But, of course, we know that not all will look to Jesus and think that they are not that bad and in the scales the good outweighs the unrighteous acts they have done, and maybe their homemade religion and mishmash of beliefs will get them through or perhaps, like the atheist can live without any spiritual guidance or spiritual being and that their hope there is nothing after death will mean they’ll be OK in the end. But Jesus is the only way. He is drawing all people to Himself in that He is the only way to be saved.
We should have as our aim to do good in the world so that we can reflect Jesus who went round doing good - and this is all well and good but it is not this that will save them. We will have helped them in their temporary needs but the more important spiritual and eternal needs will not have been met. We may even tell them about God and who He is, we may even speak of Jesus and all the amazing good He did and His heroism in the face of adversity but unless we tell them about Jesus and him crucified it will be a complete waste of time and effort. It is when we lift Jesus high by talking of the fact He was lifted up from the face of the earth onto a cross which is where He became the sin-bearer, the One judged in our place where His blood, every drop was bled for us. It is here and here alone we must all come and it is to here, this central point in the history of the world, that all are drawn to. It is here that all have to decide whether they are going to look to Him or not.
Preaching the Word: John—That You May Believe The Effect of the Cross Upon the World (vv. 31–33)

A little boy wanted a model sailboat. So he began saving his money until finally he had enough. He went to the toy shop and picked out his kit, making his selection with great care. He spent weeks perfecting that boat, and finally when it was finished, he took it down to the lake. It sailed beautifully—right across the lake and out of sight. Naturally the young boy was distressed and began a frantic search. But despite his efforts he was unable to find his boat. Several weeks later he was walking past a store window and to his amazement saw his boat with a sizable price tag attached to it. He went in and told the owner, “Sir, I would like to have my boat back.” The owner said, “Well, I’m sorry, but I paid good money for it. You will have to pay for it.” That poor boy worked and worked until he finally got enough money together, again, and bought his boat back. As he walked out of the store, he said, “Now you are twice mine—once because I made you and once because I bought you.” Jesus created us, and he purchased us by his death on the cross, and now we can be twice his. How wonderful is the love of Jesus!

37-40
Now, not only does Isaiah speak of the Suffering Servant but of those who see Jesus but remained completely blind despite all that He had done. They decided against Jesus and so, it would seem, they were confirmed in that decision and were blinded by God. Similar, it would seem, to Pharaoh for he hardened his heart and then God hardened his heart. They decided and now there was no room left for them to change their minds.
42-43
But despite saying all that there were some who realised who Jesus was however they, as clearly indicated here, were cowards. What a judgement! They loved the praise of men more than God’s. As time goes on in our nation’s life we will find that holding the name of Jesus fast will mean that we will be ridiculed more and more and perhaps worse than that. Will we prefer to have peace with those people rather than say what is right? If we are not willing to speak of Jesus now then are we likely to if there is pressure to keep quiet? The fact is that to be saved means that we have to be willing to acknowledge Jesus in public:
Romans 10:9 NKJV
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
There is no such thing as a private faith in Jesus. Either it is public and you have faith or it is private and you have no faith.
What shall we say to all these things?
There appears to be a number of choices before us even of us who claim to be Christians. The enormous debt we owe to Jesus who is both our creator and saviour who not only suffered physical torture but spiritual affliction and wrath of God against Him who became our sin. The concepts may be hard to grasp but the fact is He did all these things out of a pure love for us.
If we are not Christians can we remain blind to this astounding, wondrous love for He came for us and if we look to Him He will save us. If we have put our trust in Jesus, have looked to Him then we can no longer keep it to ourselves, to be kept behind closed doors but we are to tell out loud without fear or shame of the love He has for us and the love that is also available to those whom we tell. Let us get right with God confessing our sin to Him and then confess Jesus to those we come into contact with this week.

Benediction

Romans 11:33 NKJV
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
Romans 11:36 NKJV
36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Bibliography

Hughes, R. K. (1999). John: that you may believe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
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