John 12: 27-36a

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose, I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

Understanding And Applying the Text

Earlier Jesus exhibited extraordinary courage. Now Jesus says His soul is troubled. And He asks the Father to save Him from what is about to happen. Christ knew the end. He knew of his resurrection and glorification. He knew death was an event it was not a permanent condition. Two sentences ago He told His disciples to hate their life in this world. “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (v25)

We often emphasize the deity of Christ and ignore or underemphasize Christ’s humanity. Christ was divine. But Christ humanity is as important. Christ is human is every way but without sin. He was human in body, mind, and emotions. He experienced the human feelings. Christ appeased God’s wrath and the curse. He could not have done so without taking up our guilt.

As a result, the death Christ experienced was horrible. To give satisfaction for us our sin, Christ needed to feel the dreadful judgment of God. This was not a game. This was not some sort of amusement. Christ endured the severest torment on our account. Here we start to see how much it cost Christ.

So often we do not recognize the price Christ paid. We tend to only remember His divinity. We tend to think it was nothing to Him. He knew the end from the beginning. So, it was not a big deal. But we ignore the humanity of Christ. We trivialize the suffer leading up to the cross.

Christ told His disciples that they must hate their life in this world to have eternal life. But notice He does not forbid their anxiety.

We see here a five-step evolution in Christ prayer. First, there is the complaint. The complaint originates from extreme sorrow. Second, Christ feels He needs a deliverance. His fear overwhelms Him. Third, He goes to the Father for intervention. Fourth, He recognizes the request for intervention is inconsistent with His call. Fifth He finds satisfaction alone in glorifying God.

The human feelings in Christ were strong. But they were free from sin. The reason His feelings were not sinful. Christ’s obedience regulated His fear. We are to restrain our fears when they are counter to God’s will.

When Jesus says, “Father, glorify Your name.” He states He prefers God glorification over everything else. This includes His own life. This is what we are to desire as well. We are to seek God’s glory over everything else including our own lives. This is what a sanctified life looks like. We do not desire God by trying harder to desire Him. Unlike Christ we are sinful. Desiring God is contrary to our nature. God gives us the desire to glorify Him. We should pray for this every hour of every day that God changes our nature.

God spoke. Everyone heard it. But some only heard thunder. God spoke but they did not understand it. They heard a noise. We are like them. We heard the word of God preached. Some hear the word of God. But most only hear thunder.

God spoke not for Christ’s sake but for ours. Christ came clothed in flesh for our benefit. So, all the blessings He received from the Father were for our benefit.

When Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of the world,” what did he mean? Some understand this to mean a reformation. Others understand it to mean condemnation. I believe the first understanding is more accurate. It fits with Christ’s mission. Also, the Hebrew word for judgment means a well-ordered state. So Christ is resetting things back into the order God intended.

Jesus goes on to say, “now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” When God cast Satan out He brings the world back from rebellion. He places it under His merciful government.

But Satan continues to battle God. So what does this mean? Satan’ being cast out is not a one-time event. It is not limited to a time in history. This describes the effect of Christ’s death. This casting out is a continual occurrence.

Christ broke out chains of sin. We are no longer slaves. Yet we live as if we are still slaves. Satin tries to claim us. And we act as if he is our master. But Satan no longer has power over us. Our sins are our own. We sin because we want to sin.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a comedian named Flip Wilson played a character named, Geraldine. Geraldine’s catchphrase was “The devil made me do it.” Geraldine was wrong. The devil does not make us do it. We do it because sin is our nature.

What did Christ mean, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” We know through simple observation all men are not drawn to Christ. Many reject Him. I would agree with John Calvin who understood this as hyperbolic. Christ used the term “all” because the church comes from all over the earth. It includes both Jew and Gentile. “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16)

The crowd’s response to Jesus saying he was going to die was confusion. “Hey, wait a minute. The Messiah is not supposed to die. Who are you talking about?”

This needs to serve as a warning to us. We need to understand what the scriptures say and what they do not say. The Law does describe a perpetual reign of the Messiah. And it describes a sacrificial Messiah, one who dies.

We must not try and limit God’s revelation to our understanding. They had no concept of a risen Messiah. When we limit God to our thinking we hear what we want to hear.

The crowd believed the only way the Messiah could reign forever was if he never dies. They imposed their understanding on God. In doing so they ignored the parts of the scriptures that stated the Messiah would die.

WE must be careful not to fall into the same trap. This is most common in the Calvinist versus Arminian debate. How can God be sovereign and man have free will? Then we impose our understanding. We ignore what God says we because it does not fit our beliefs. Rather than letting the scripture mold us, we mold the scripture. Rather than throwing verses back and forth, let scripture interprets scripture.

Christ charges the crowd with closing their eyes to the light. At the same time, he threatens them with the removing the light. By the light, Christ is not referring to His physical presence. He is referring to the Gospel.

God may remove the good news from unbelievers. But God promises the Sun rises on His children and never goes down. (Malachi 4:2)

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