Today: [John 12 Part 2:] Jesus speaks from His Deeper Self: In part 2 of John 12 Jesus prepares Himself for the suffering of the Cross. The people are praising Him but they are also questioning Him as well. The tide is turning. Those who cried “Hosanna” will soon join the mob at Pilate’s pavement calling for His death.
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[Jhn 12: 20-50 KJV]
20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour. 27 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. 28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, [saying], I have both glorified [it], and will glorify [it] again. 29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard [it], said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. 30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. 31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 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. 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? 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. 37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: 38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with [their] eyes, nor understand with [their] heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. 42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess [him], lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. 44 Jesus cried and said, 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. 49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
In part 1 of chapter 12, we see Jesus entering Jerusalem with great adulation and praise from the people. As He rode on a young ass the people came and laid palm fronds at His feet and exalted Him with Hosannas and hailing Him as the Messiah. The rulers and chief priests are frustrated that all their efforts to denounce Jesus have failed. In their eyes, all the world was going after Jesus no matter what they did to disparage and reject Him.
At this time a number of Greeks visiting Jerusalem for the Passover approached Philip asking to see Jesus. These were not Gentiles but rather Hellenized Jews that were somewhat looked down on by traditionalists in the Jewish religion because for the most part they spoke and read Greek but very little Hebrew. This schism among the Jews needs to be made note of because it makes its appearance even in the early church. In the book of Acts when distribution is made to the widowed believers a complaint is recorded that the Grecian widows were being neglected whereas Hebrew speaking widows were being taken well care of. To solve this problem seven deacons were appointed over this distribution and that was the end of the matter. What is important to note is that every one of the seven deacons was Jews with Hellenized or Greek versions of their names. Up to the point that the deacons were appointed the leadership of the Jerusalem church included only the 12 disciples and the family members of Jesus such as Jesus’ half brother James who was martyred by Herod. What this tells us is that in the very rudimentary beginnings of the church it was dominated by the family members of Jesus and by traditionalist Hebrew values through the 12 disciples. The appointment of seven Hellenized Jews over the financial matters of the followers of the way opened the door to the eventual acceptance of converts who were Gentiles by birth and the spread of Christianity throughout the world. For this reason and with this in mind we have a deeper understanding of what Jesus meant in v. 23 that seeing these Greek speakers were seeking Jesus, He saw it as the arrival of the hour in which He should be glorified through His death, burial and resurrection.
Although it would seem a good thing for Jesus to be experiencing such acceptance and approval in Jerusalem at this time, Jesus enigmatically makes the statement in v. 24 “except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abides alone, but if it dies it brings for much fruit…” We understand that Jesus is speaking of His suffering on Calvary but what does it mean to us?
In verse 26 Jesus states that if we are to serve Jesus and follow Him there must be a relinquishing of self-interest and the things of the world if we are to attain eternal life. This is contrary to the emphasis placed on the gospels today. Rather than teaching the centrality of Christ, the gospel emphasis today presents Jesus more as an enhancement to a life well lived rather than the focus of a radical shift away from life as we have known it after coming to Christ. These verses let us know that Jesus is not just our savior but also our Lord and that means our lives are not our own. The reward, however, is that if we serve Jesus and if we relinquish our own pursuits and desires that the Father will honor us and bless us accordingly.
In v. 27 Jesus states that His soul is troubled and He is at a loss for words. What has brought this on? His unqualified approval among the Jews and acceptance by the Hellenized Jews from Greece who have asked to see Him. It would seem that everything is going well but for Jesus it only presages the suffering of the Cross. Notice that in v. 27 Jesus speaks of His soul in the third person. This gives us some deep insight into the character of Christ. When we are troubled we say “I am upset, I am troubled…” speaking from a soul centered identity. When Jesus is troubled however He speaks from His deeper self about His soul in much the same way we speak of or experience our physical body. When we stub our toe we don’t say “I stubbed myself…” because we understand and experience our physical body apart from our deeper self or our soul. Jesus experienced His soul man in just the same way. He has said that He and the Father are one and the dwelling place of the Father by the Holy Spirit is not in our mind, will or emotions but in our deeper self, our human spirit that is His temple. This more than nuance. It is a bench mark of spiritual maturity. Remember Jesus in His great intercessory prayer in John 17 prayed that we would be one with the Father as He and the Father are one. He is praying then that our sense of self would not be anchored in our soul (mind, will, emotions) but in our spirit man where Christ lives in our heart by faith. Then and only then have we put on Christ and been clothed upon inwardly by that presence that is the Father on the inside of us.
When Jesus expresses His heaviness of heart – a voice speaks from the heaven’s saying “I have gloried and will glorify again…” Usually, when God speaks it is in the acoustics of your inner man. In this case, the Father speaks and it is audible even to those round about even though some shrugged it off saying it was just the pealing of distant thunder. Did Jesus need to have an outward voice speaking? No, in v. 30 He says this was only for those that stood by. What about you? Do you think you need to hear the audible voice of God? We make a big deal of this and see it as a profound religious experience but Jesus marginalizes something like this as unnecessary because the Father was in Him and they were in constant communion. What about you? Are you hung up on outward manifestations or are you satisfied with the inward communion of the Father on the inside of you?
Jesus speaks of His death the Jews question Him because from their perspective they do not see a suffering Messiah. This is the beginning of the blindness that would fall upon the Jewish people. All they could see what a political reformer who would deliver the nation of Israel from the Roman empire. What have they done? They have substituted spiritual reality for political expediency. In so doing they have set themselves up as a people in opposition to the very God they claim to serve. What about today? Is the church more political than spiritual? You see Christians and whole movements galvanized by the political but at the same time very tepid in prayer. They talk about their favorite politician but you hear their names often but the name of Jesus very infrequently. The church as we know it today has more in common with the generation that colluded in the death of Christ that we would be comfortable realizing.
To the Jews theological questions, Jesus simply says that the light that He is was waning and that they should walk in the light while they could. In a matter of just a few days, those who cried “Hosanna, Hosanna” will soon cry “Crucify Him, Crucify Him…” Why? Because He doesn’t implement the agenda that is so important to them in regard to ridding them of the Roman occupation. What about you? What if God doesn’t give the church the political advantages that it seeks? How would your walk with God be affected if all the flag waving and political ambitions of the church were stymied? Where would you focus your zeal? On the next political reformer or would you return to the place of prayer? In Jesus case even though many miracles were done in their midst (v. 37) many, many still did not believe in Him. This was in fulfillment of the words of Isaiah “who has believed our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed…” There was a blindness upon the people because of sin that would keep them from accepting Jesus for who He was and as a result, the nation that could have been healed and transformed will suffer its own destruction.
To make sure that no one got too carried away about Jesus the leaders of the synagogue put the word out that anyone consorting with Jesus would be kicked out. Have you ever been a part of a church that claimed to be on the cutting edge of what God was doing, but on the contrary resisted any move of God not originating from the platform, and even asked people to leave that didn’t fit their idea of where the church was going? This is the same attitude that the Pharisees were operating in that ultimately brought their destruction, why? Because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (v. 43). Jesus reacts against this turn of events declaring (v. 44) that any man who believed in Him believed also on the Father who sent Him. He warns in v. 48 that those who believe not and rejects His words will suffer judgment in spite of the work of Calvary to redeem and to save. We might think there is no way we would reject Jesus but we must be careful not to substitute the underpinnings of our religious culture as a substitute for who Jesus wants to be in our person.
In v. 49-50 Jesus declares that He is not speaking of Himself but only speaking the words that the Father commands. Likewise, as Jesus obeyed the Father and followed the Father’s voice we must likewise do so because the Father’s command is eternal life. Notice it doesn’t say that the Father’s fellowship is eternal life but the Father’s command. We are expected to live out our lives in yeildedness and submission to His discerned will. Failing that we place ourselves in jeopardy. Again we see that living for God is an all or nothing proposition. Jesus will not share the throne of our hearts with anything or anyone but if we love and follow Him in the footsteps of the Father great will be our reward.
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