This is the sermon for Wednesday, August 26th, 2009.

JOHN PART 56

Lifted up

John 12:20-36.

John 12:20-36 TNIV – 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 Those who love their life will lose it, while those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 262728 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. 3233 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. Those who walk in the dark do not know where they are going. 36 Put your trust 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. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “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. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

INTRODUCTION

This next narrative that we are studying tonight takes place right after the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem.  Jesus knows that His time in short, less than a week.  Now He will be preparing the people for His crucifixion.  But, again as it has happened so many times throughout the ministry of Jesus Christ, there will be confusion amongst the people.  Let’s begin.

Some Gentiles want to visit with Jesus.

John 12:20-22 TNIV – 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.

Now the first thing we see in this narrative is some Greeks come for an audience with Jesus.  They may or may not be Greeks by natural birth.  The term “Greeks” was used to describe the whole Greek speaking world, not necessarily just Greeks.  This much we can be pretty sure of though – they are not Jews, but Gentiles.

They are what were known as “God-fearers.”  They were called this term because while they may not have been circumcised as the Jews were, they did worship and honor the God of the Jews.  So they were there in Jerusalem for the Passover feasts.

They approach Philip requesting some time with Jesus.  More than likely they approached Philip because Philip’s name is not of Jewish origin, but Greek.  Philip may have had two names, one Jew and one Greek.  It was common for Jews who were born into less of the Jewish culture to be given a Greek name.

One example would be Paul was born a Roman citizen, and He had two names:  Saul, because he was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin; and Paul because of the fact that he also had Roman citizenry.

These Gentiles probably wanted to have a private meeting with Jesus because they had heard of all the sayings and miracles He had performed, and quite possibly they may have been present during Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  Philip goes to Andrew with the request, and Philip and Andrew both approach Jesus.

Jesus gives out the invitation to serve Him.

John 12:23-26 TNIV – 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 Those who love their life will lose it, while those who hate 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.

In verse 23 Jesus states that the time has come for Him to be glorified.  He is referring I believe to His death, burial, and resurrection.  The time for Him offering up His life as a sacrifice for sin is quickly approaching.

In verse 24 Jesus gives what I would call a short parable concerning His death.  He, the kernel must die; so that many seeds, the chosen, might be produced and live.

In verses 25-26 we see the call to serve and follow of Him.  Jesus isn’t looking for public professions; He is looking for those that are willing to serve Him – those willing to take up their cross and follow Him.

Mark 8:34 TNIV – Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Jesus is troubled by what He will soon be facing.

John 12:27-28a TNIV – 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!”

Jesus knows the torture He will soon be going through and all the weight of sin that He will be sacrificed for.  It is very troubling for Him.  And yet, though troubled, He willingly is obedient to the plan of the Father and refuses to give in but will face the torture and the cross in order to glorify the Father’s Name!

The audible approval of the Father.

John 12:28b-29 TNIV – 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.

This is the third time in Christ’s earthly ministry, that the Father’s voice came spoken audibly out of heaven.  The two other times were at Christ’s baptism, and His transfiguration.  The Father was giving His audible, divine approval not only of the life and ministry of Jesus, but I believe His upcoming death for sin.  Jesus had His Father’s approval and the Father would receive glory through Christ sacrificial act.

I believe everyone heard the voice of God thundering from heaven that day.  And many who heard it thought it was just that – thunder.  I wander if those who just thought it thundered, could not deny the significance of the sound anyway, it was right when Christ said, “Father, glorify your name!”

The time for judgment and victory.

John 12:30-36 TNIV – 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. Those who walk in the dark do not know where they are going. 36 Put your trust 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.

In verse 30 Jesus states that this voice was for them, not Him.  You see, He knew who He was, and what God’s will and plan was for Him, there was no question about that.  This voice was for those around, and still some who heard it confused the voice with thunder.

In verse 31 Jesus is basically saying that through His sacrifice sin and the enemy of our souls, Satan will be judged.

In verses 32-33 we see what Jesus means when He used the expression, “lifted up.” He is referring to the cross. Through His sacrifice for sin on the cross, many would be drawn to salvation.

Colossians 2:13-15 TNIV – 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

CONCLUSION

The cross may be offensive to some, but to those who have been redeemed by its power, it is a reason for us to celebrate and rejoice.

God made us alive while were dead in our transgression through Christ Jesus.  He has forgiven us of all our sins and cancelled the dept of sin which stood against us, declaring us guilty.  And He has completely disarmed the power of Satan of His claim and authority over us, and made him a public spectacle by triumphing over him at the cross.

Let us be ever thankful for what God has done for us.

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