John 12:20-32 (NIV) 20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, 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 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his 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. 27 “Now my heart 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!” 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. 32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
What we can we know from this passage when Jesus speaks?
- When Jesus speaks, the weight of the cross is made known.
Look at verse 23 again: 23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be GLORIFIED. Skip to verse 27 27 “Now my heart 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!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have GLORIFIED it, and will GLORIFY it again.”
What do we make of the fact that Jesus will be glorified and that the name of God will be glorified? First of all, notice Jesus didn’t say that the time has come for the Son of Man to be crucified. He said that the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified, and yet we understand what is just ahead for Jesus. The cross is coming. Somehow the glory of God is tied to the crucifixion. The glory of God is connected to the cross.
When Jesus speaks about the Son of Man being glorified, the weight of God’s glory takes on new meaning. Jesus and God both speak in this passage in John 12 and what they are both saying is that if you want to see Jesus, if you want to see God in all of His glory, look at the cross. If you want to see the full expression of the righteousness of God, look at the cross. If you want to see the weight, the heftiness of the love of God, look at the cross. If you want to see the magnitude of the mercy of God, look at the cross. If you want to see the absolute display of the holiness of God, look at the cross. If you are interested in gazing at the power of God, look at the cross.
Golgotha was THE place where the glory of God was never more radiant. The righteousness, the holiness, the love, the mercy, and the the power of God make up the glory of God, friends. I have never heard anyone else put it that way. It is just what God told me, and there, when Jesus looked disgusting, when He was marred beyond recognition and repulsive…there we behold the glory of God! Isn’t that stunning? It’s quite a paradox! It’s surprising! It’s totally unconventional and is almost beyond our earthly comprehension, but here it is, the glory of God on display on Calvary’s hill.
We are told in Hebrews 1:3 that Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
And where was He most radiant? Where were His words the most powerful? It was no doubt, the cross. The cross is the culmination of every preceding holy action, every issued pronouncement of forgiveness, every extension of mercy, every word of compassion. Never were more powerful words spoken than the words Jesus spoke on the cross. With His words, Jesus forgave the thief who was crucified next to Him. With His words, Jesus forgave those who had tormented Him. With His words, Jesus pronounced, “It is finished” and atonement for sin was complete.
Oh, when Jesus said, “Father, glorify Your name,” He was saying, “Let’s put the glory of God on display for everyone to see it!” Part of the glory of God is the perfect way God met His own requirements. God takes sin seriously. Sin demands a price. Sin violates God’s law. Someone had to pay. God couldn’t be glorious if He didn’t uphold His own standard. He couldn’t be glorious if He dismissed justice and tossed it aside trivial. How could He ignore His own law? Here’s the truth, if God didn’t judge evil, He would be unjust.
So what did He do? He threw His full weight of support for us, people He loves beyond comprehension, He threw His full weight, all of His glory, onto a cruel cross so that judgment would be rendered on Him and yet we could go free. That, my friends, is the glory of God! Isn’t that awesome?
The second thing I would suggest to you from this John 12 text is that:
2. When Jesus speaks, the way of the cross is made known.
What I mean by that is that Jesus tells all who want to be His followers they must come by way of the cross. He says, “John 12:24-26 24 I tell you the truth, 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 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his 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.
Some people want to just SEE Jesus, to see what He can do for them, to see what He’s all about. Some people never move past seeing. The cross invites us to move from seeing to following. Jesus tells us the way to follow Him is to die. Jesus willingly laid down His life. He was like a seed going into the ground which produced something much greater than the seed could have produced had it not been buried. Jesus says He can do the same with our lives if we will lay them down. In a sense, we can be buried with Christ, and be raised to produce greater things than we ever could if we refuse to bury our own wills. Seeing Jesus won’t produce anything, but following Him will produce a supernatural harvest.
When we have a decision to make about who we are going to serve and we choose to serve God over self, we have gone the way of the cross. When we have a decision to make about serving others or preserving our own comfort, and we choose serving others, we have gone the way of the cross. When we forgive those who do us wrong, we have gone the way of the cross. The way of the cross comes with the sacrifice of our wills, our wishes and our wants.
Jesus said, “If you want to experience the power of production in your life, if you want to see what can be harvested when you choose to die to self, follow Me to the cross.”
Just as a seed has to be buried in order to fulfill its potential, so too, we must die with Christ.
Verse 27 tells us Jesus had two options. He could pray, “Save me” or He could pray, “Use me.” Jesus prayed the latter. When Jesus prayed, “Father, glorify your name,” He was praying, “Father, plant me, bury me so that a harvest of righteousness can be reaped.” He prayed not to save Himself, but to be used of God.
Well finally, this passage tells us:
When Jesus speaks,
3. The works of the cross are made known.
When Jesus went to the cross He went to work do two things. Look at verses 31 and 32: “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
There are two monumental works listed here. First Jesus says, I’m going to deal with the devil.” What Satan had to use against us was our sin. The guilt and condemnation and shame that come to us and tie us up and keep us bound, that which kept us separated from the power and the presence and the favor of God, it was all done away with at the cross. Jesus triumphed on the cross. Satan no longer has any legal claim to a Child of God. Hallelujah!
Not only did Jesus go to work to deal with the devil on the cross, but secondly He also went to draw humanity to Himself. Who wouldn’t be drawn to a Savior who leads by serving, who loves without condition, who forgives to the uttermost? The cross is the reminder that God loves the entire world. The most beautiful thing about the cross is the salvation that was purchased for all who will make their way there.
That’s it. When Jesus speaks,
When Jesus speaks, the weight of the cross is made known.
When Jesus speaks, the way of the cross is made known.
When Jesus speaks, the works of the cross are made known.
Are you listening, and have you been transformed by the weight, the way, and the works of the cross?