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John 12:27-36

May 11, 2014



The overall purpose of John is to encourage us to believe that Jesus is the Son of
God and the Christ; the promise is that those who believe this will live. The
immediate context of chapter twelve is Jesus preparing His disciples for His death
and resurrection. The Greeks have come signaling the final hour, and He tells His
disciples that He must die to bear much fruit and that they must follow Him. Now
He says,

Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this
hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

Hes troubled over His pending death, but He knows this is His whole purpose in
coming. If its possible He wants this cup to pass, but He wants even more for the
will of the Father to be done (Mt. 26:39):

28
Father, glorify thy name.

It seems like a strange thing to say here, but consider from other verses how the
Father is glorified:

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples
(Jn. 15:8).

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the
hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
2
As thou hast
given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou
hast given him.
3
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true
God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
4
I have glorified thee on the earth: I
have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5
And now, O Father, glorify
thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world
was (Jn. 17:1-5).

Jesus hasnt yet died, but He says He finished the work He was sent to do. Its not
that theres nothing left to be done, but His primary goal (as the image of God) is to
reveal the Father to the children of God. This glorifies the Father and Jesus
accomplished it.

Look at one more:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things
in earth, and things under the earth;
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And that every tongue should confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11).

The death of Christ merely precedes the fruit which follows; Christs resurrection
(and ours) glorifies the Father.

Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and
will glorify it again.

I can only find two other places during Christs earthly ministry where the Father
speaks from heaven: Christs baptism (the start of His public ministry) and at His
transfiguration (when He revealed Himself in glorified form). The significance of
those two occasions is evident, but this time seems a little insignificant. Why would
the Father choose to speak from heaven now?

When was He glorified, and when will He be again? The answer is revealed in the
following verses:

29
The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered:
others said, An angel spake to him.

Taking verse 37 into account, we know that these people didnt believe Jesus. Its
interesting that some of the people heard something they thought was just an
occurrence of nature and others thought it was something spiritual, but neither
one recognized the voice of the Father.

30
Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your
sakes.

If they dont believe then why is it for their sakes? In the Greek it actually says
something more like, Not because of me, but because of you. The reason is
revealed in the next verse:

31
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be
cast out.

They dont believe; compare this with verse 48. The reason the Father spoke from
heaven is to glorify Himself as the Judge of these unbelievers. His voice that day is
a testimony and evidence against them. It is against the hardness of their hearts.

Understanding it this way is important because it helps keep verses 39-41 in
context and it stays within the greater context of the chapter and the rest of the
book. Hes going to die because of their evil judgment against Him, but He will
live anyway because of the testimony of the Father. These judges will soon
become defendants and theyll be found guilty and condemned, but no one will be
able to save them:

32
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33
This he
said, signifying what death he should die.

Now, the tendency in our time is to put the emphasis on the second half of verse
32, but John doesnt do that. Its not an argument about whether He will draw all
men universally or whether He will draw only the elect. Just the context of the
passage (especially verse 40) automatically eliminates the Universalist
interpretation.
1


The focus is on the first half of verse 32: lifted up from the earth. He says this to
show what kind of death Hell die. Its interesting because the Greek word for
show comes from the same word used to describe His signs and miracles.
2
So, in
other words, Hes showing that He not only knows about His upcoming death, but
He knows how it will happen and goes willingly in order to glorify the Father. He
knows He will die at the judgment of these people who will soon shout Crucify
but He doesnt flee or take action against them. Its been preordained that He
should die this way and at their hands in order that He may draw all to Himself.

34
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ
abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up?
who is this Son of man?

They know the term son of Man from Daniel, but they understand that Hes
supposed to live forever. When Jesus talks about dying they think theyve caught
Him in a trap and they challenge Him.

35
Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk
while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in
darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
36
While ye have light, believe in the
light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and
departed, and did hide himself from them.

This almost seems to go against the rest of the passage; its like Hes trying to give
false hope to those whose eyes have been blinded and whose hearts have been

1
The actual Greek says, If I am lifted up from the earth, all will draw to myself, so theres no reason even in the
original language to misinterpret this.
2
http://biblehub.com/greek/4591.htm
hardened, but think about whats going on. They quote Scripture to Him and He
responds this way. Remember that Gods word is a lamp unto our feet and a light
unto our path (Ps. 119:05). They think they know something about spiritual truth,
but they reject Christ who says, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me
shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (Jn. 8:12).

And look at what He says to them in the following verses: He that believeth on
me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
45
And he that seeth me seeth
him that sent me.
46
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on
me should not abide in darkness.
47
And if any man hear my words, and believe
not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48
He
that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word
that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day (Jn. 12:44-48).

This isnt so much a statement of hope as it is one of fact and purpose. Those who
reject Christ have a certain expectation of judgment that ends in death. Those who
believe in Him will live eternally with Him.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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