ONLY THE SACRIFICIAL DEATH OF THE SON OF MAN CAN PRODUCE LIFE FOR ALL MEN WHO BELIEVE
(:20-23) INTRODUCTION: THE HOUR HAS COME FOR THE GLORIFYING OF THE SON OF MAN
Death of Messiah = major problem for Jews; outside the realm of their expectation
Access to Messiah = major problem for Gentiles; how can they worship on an equal footing with the Jews?
A. (:20-21) Gentiles Desire Equal Access to Jesus
“Now there were certain Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; these therefore came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’”
They approached the disciple with the Greek name that they thought could gain them the most favorable access.
B. (:22-23) The Hour Has Come for Universal Access
“Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came, and they told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’”
But before Jesus would rush out and entertain the entreaty of these Greeks, He had to first go to the cross and die for sins.
I. (:24-26) SACRIFICIAL DEATH IS THE NECESSARY PATHWAY TO LIFE
A. (:24) Harvest Law Parable – Seed Must Die in Order to Bear Fruit
(Dying = Pathway to Multiplication)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
B. (:25) Application to Salvation – Gaining Eternal Life
(Losing = Pathway to Gaining)
“He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.”
Stedman: Any part of your life which is like the life the world lives you must learn to hate. What is the life the world lives? Well, it is basically self-centered, is it not? Listen to the philosophies echoed in the words of those around you, or even your own thinking. How often do you hear the echo of this philosophy, “Me for me! Number One first. What’s in it for me. Take care of yourself, because nobody else will.” That is the life the world lives. Now, says Jesus, you must learn to hate that life. Learn to recognize that any part of your life lived on those terms is a life that will wreck you, leave you lonely, abandoned, derelict, unsatisfied and unfulfilled.
C. (:26) Application to Discipleship – Gaining the Approval of the Father
(Serving = Pathway to Glory)
“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”
Ryle: One object of our Lord in saying these words was evidently to prevent His disciples looking for good things in this life, if they followed Him. They must give up their Jewish ideas about temporal rewards and honors in Messiah’s service. They must understand that His kingdom was entirely spiritual, and that if they were His disciples they must be content to lose much in this life, in order to gain the glory of the life to come. So far from promising them temporal rewards, He would have them distinctly know that they must give up much and sacrifice much if they wanted to be saved.
The other object our Lord had in view in saying these words was to teach all Christians in every age, that like Him they must make up their minds to sacrifice much, and to die to the world, in the hope of a harvest of glory in a world to come. Through death we must seek life. Eternal life must be the great end, a Christian looks to. To attain it he must be willing to give up everything.
II. (:27-33) SACRIFICIAL DEATH IS THE CROWNING PURPOSE OF THE SON OF MAN
Examine the various implications of Christ’s great work of Atonement; of Redemption:
A. (:27) Tension Implications — Purpose Driven Death (cf. Rick Warren’s excellent book: Purpose Driven Life)
“Now my soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour.’”
B. (:28-30) Glorifying Implications
1. Goal: Redemption Glorifies the Father
“Father, glorify Thy name.”
2. Corollary: Redemption Completes the Vindication of the Son
“There came therefore a voice out of heaven: ‘I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, ‘An angel has spoken to Him.’ Jesus answered and said, ‘This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.’”
C. (:31) Judgment Implications
1. Upon the World System
“Now judgment is upon this world;”
2. Upon Satan himself
“now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.”
D. (:32) Scope Implications — Limited but Universal Atonement
“’And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself’.”
E. (:33) Explanation of Figure of Speech (“Lifting Up”)
“But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.”
III. (:34-36A) SACRIFICIAL DEATH MUST BE RESPONDED TO IN FAITH WHILE THERE IS STILL OPPORTUNITY
A. (:34) Confusion Regarding the Identification of the Son of Man
“The multitude therefore answered Him, ‘We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?’”
B. (:35-36a) Urgency of Responding in Faith
“Jesus therefore said to them, ‘For a little while longer the light is among you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons of light.’”
Hendriksen: The closing admonition is very touching and beautiful: While you have the light (Christ in your midst, as the source of truth and salvation), believe – exercise saving faith, by God’s sovereign grace; — in the light, in order that you may become sons of light, i.e., lights (a Semitism; cf. Matt. 5:14), having the light of Christ not only round about you, but within your hearts and minds (cf. Eph. 5:8; I Thess. 5:5).
(:36b) CONCLUSION: TENSION BETWEEN REVEALING AND HIDING
“These things Jesus spoke, and He departed and hid Himself from them.”
Deffinbaugh: Having said this, Jesus hid Himself from them. This is a most unexpected statement. Jesus had entered Jerusalem in the most “public” way possible—His “triumphal entry.” Each day Jesus came to the temple, where He performed miracles and taught. (And, from the other Gospels, we know that Jesus also debated with the scribes and Pharisees and religious leaders.) Now, after Jesus has spoken of His imminent death as His “glory,” and the Father in heaven has “seconded” His words, the crowd is not so sure they want a suffering Savior. Jesus reminds them that He is the “light,” and that they had better heed His teaching as the truth. To reject it would be to walk in darkness. There is nothing more to say. They have a choice to make, and Jesus goes into seclusion, so that they can decide. As I read these words, there is a strong sense of finality, of closure, here. Except for the last words of our Lord, recorded in the closing verses of John chapter 12, Jesus has said all there is to say. Israel must now decide whether to believe the teaching of the Pharisees, or the teaching of Jesus. They must put their faith in a suffering Savior or in a would-be military messiah.