Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on October 16, 2016
Open your Bibles to John 12:27-36. Before we examine our text for this morning let us review briefly. Last week we unpacked the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry. This event came at the end of Jesus three year ministry, and right on the heels of the resurrection of Lazarus.
At this moment in time, Jesus popularity was through the roof. As Jesus rode into town on a donkey, his group would have numbered the hundreds or thousands, but we are told the Jerusalem came out to meet him. As I said last week, no one knows the exact number, but it is estimated that Jerusalem would have had about 3 million people in it during the Passover celebration. So just picture Time Square on New Year’s Eve, and this will give you an understanding of why the Pharisees say John 12:19 said, “Look the world has gone after him.”
As we saw last week, however, the masses were not looking for a Savior, they were looking for a stronger Herod. They were looking to “Make Israel Great Again.” This throng of people, waiving their nationalistic palm branches wanted a revolution, not salvation. They wanted this Prophet from Nazareth who displayed Moses like signs to stand up to Caesar and say “Let my people go.” And if Caesar wouldn't listen, to bring judgment upon Rome similar to the plagues of Egypt. Obviously, Jesus had something else in mind, and he rode into Jerusalem on a humble donkey, not a war horse. All of that took place on Sunday. Hence why we have what is called Palm Sunday.
In the other Gospel’s they focus more on what happens between the Triumphal Entry and the upper room. John does not. So let me fill in some gaps. In Matthew we are told that right after the Triumphal Entry Jesus goes straight to the Temple and cleanses it by flipping tables and driving out the money-changers. Not exactly what they anticipated the Messiah to do. He then curses a fig tree, which is symbolic for the nation of Israel. He gets into an argument with the Pharisees and declares that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from them and given to others. He tells the people to pay their taxes to Caesar. He proclaims seven woes against the Scribes and Pharisees, not the Romans. And He predicts the utter destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. To use a political phrase, this is the Biblical version of the “October surprise” that caused the masses to turn their cries from “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”, to “crucify him. Crucify Him”
So with all of this in mind, let us now turn our attention to what John desires us to focus on. Let us read our text, pray, and see what God has to tell us this morning.
John 12:27-36 - “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. 28Father, glorify your name. ”Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34So 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?” 35So 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. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
Let us begin by talking about the phrase “this hour”. Verse 27 says, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’?”
This is not the first time that Jesus has used the idea of “this hour.” Some of you who have joined us on Wednesday night at our Acts 242 study are already familiar with this. Jesus used “this hour” back in John 2:4 while speaking to his mother. He uses something like it in John 4:21,23 while speaking with the women at the well, saying “the hour is coming.” Then again in John 5:25 when Jesus says “an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice.” Then again in John 7:30 it says, “So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.” Then again in John 8:20, “These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.” Then we saw last week Jesus say it himself in John 12:23, “And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
John has been priming us all along for “this hour.” So what is “this hour.” The answer is found in verse 32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.” “This hour “is a reference to his crucifixion.
Once you know that “this hour” is a reference to his crucifixion you start to recognize that it is not just the Gospel of John that has been priming us for this moment, but it the entire Bible. Genesis 3:15, “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The bruising of the seed of Eve's heel is a reference to the crucifixion. Next we see the shedding of blood in the Garden to cover the sins of Adam and Eve. The sacrificial offering of a lamb by Abel. The sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham that was circumvented by a ram caught in the thicket, a substitute. The Passover lamb at the Egyptian exodus. The sacrifices at the temple. All of these events are a foreshadow of “this hour.”
Then of course all of the prophecies such as Psalm 22:16, “they have pierced my hands and feet--17I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; 18they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” Then there is Isaiah 53:5, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” And Zechariah 12:10, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” All of redemptive history has been leading up to “this hour”. These prophecies point to “this hour.” But we can go even farther than that.
Ephesians 1:4, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. ..7In him we have redemption through his blood,” Then we see in Revelation 13:8 we are told about how the world will worship a world leader at the end times except, “everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”
This hour of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was set in place long before the first stone of the foundation of the World. This hour is the greatest hour ever to exist on this planet.
So why is “this hour” such a great hour? What is the purpose of this hour? In our text Jesus gives us three reasons: 1) Judgment of the world, 2) Casting out the ruler of the world, and 3) drawing people to Christ.
1) Judgment of the World
Verse 31 Jesus says, “Now is the judgment of this world.” How is the death of Christ on the cross, a judgment of the world? Let us answer that question by asking another question? How many people wanted to kill Jesus during his life? Herod. His hometown. The high priest. The Sanhedrin. The pharisees. Eventually there are nearly 3 million Jews crying out “crucify him, crucify him.”
Why? Why when God comes to earth and lives among us, people want to kill him? The answer is in John 3:19, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”
The death of Christ is Exhibit A of how wretched this world is. The worlds collective action of killing Christ is not judgment on Jesus as much as it is judgment on the world. And we should be clear, every culture throughout time would have done the same. If you don't believe me, just look at human history. The followers of Christ have always been persecuted, and will always be persecuted. Why? Because we are the Body of Christ on display for future generations. So the death of Christ is the ultimate verdict against the depravity of man.
2) Casting out the ruler of the World
The second purpose Jesus describes is is also found in verse 31, “now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” First who is Jesus referring to? Who is the ruler of this world? This is a common description of Satan. In fact, Jesus will use it two more times in the next couple of days. John 14:30 and then again in John 16:11. You also see allusions to this title in Matthew 4:8, Luke 4:6, Ephesians 2:2, and Ephesians 6:12.
So in what way is Satan the ruler of this world. Isn't God the ruler of this world? Yes, but Satan is also a ruler of this world in different sense. And I think it can best be understood in verse that we have looked at before, 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Satan, after his rebellion and fall from Heaven was given authority to deceive man. His first prey was Adam and Eve. As we all know he was successful in this attempt and he plunged humanity into spiritual darkness and has been deceiving the nations ever sense. This spiritual darkness has led to every person being born a sinner and therefore sinning. As Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:26 unbelievers have been caught in “the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
This is the spiritual condition of every person on the planet who do not believe in CChrist a prisoner of Satan and a slave to sin. Even our righteous deeds are polluted rags wreaking of the sulfur of Hell. So what can save us from this body of death? The death of Christ.
I mourn for the people in this world who believe that they can deliver themselves from the demons in their life, such as adultery, drugs, alcoholism, greed, you name it. They believe they have the ability to break free from Satan's grasp. This is ludicrous. Satan is perhaps the strongest being ever to be created. He had the audacity to take on Jesus, one-on-one in the wilderness, and you think you have the power to break free of his trap? Not a chance. There is only one way to free yourself, and it is the blood of Jesus Christ.
Turn with me to Revelation 12:7 and lets see what it says about overcoming the power of Satan. “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.12Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them!”
The dragon, Satan, the great accuser. How was he defeated? One way. “they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” The only way to defeat Satan and break free of his chains is by the blood of the Lamb.
Why is this? Just quickly, two reasons. First, it is only the blood of Jesus that can pay the penalty for your sin. Notice, Satan is the accuser. What are his accusations? That we are sinners deserving of Hell. And he is right, but the blood of Jesus pays the penalty that we owe. Nothing else can pay it. When the bill of our sin has been paid by the blood of Christ, the mouth of Satan is shut. Because the scales of God's justice have been balanced.
Second, the blood of Jesus is a ransom payment. Jesus effectively comes and purchases his Bride from the clutches of Satan by laying down his life. When this payment is applied to us through faith, we are no longer slaves to sin but slaves to righteousness. We are no longer in the domain of darkness we are in the Kingdom of the Beloved Son. This is the power of the cross, it defeats the power of Satan and any claim that he has on us. We are now in possession of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
3) Drawing people to Christ
The third purpose of the cross is found in verse 32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” The cross is not only the means by which we are saved, but it is also the mechanism that brings us to salvation What do I mean by that?
As I stated earlier, the death of Christ is like no other moment in history. It is the climax of history. Why? Because at the cross we see the brilliance of the glory of God. At the cross we see the justice of God and the love of God in the death of the Son of God. This event is the collision of two infinitely bright stars. The brilliance of this collision is breathtaking.
And for million upon millions upon millions of people throughout time and across the world this light draws them like a moth to a flame. This is the power of the Gospel. This is why Paul says this 1 Corinthians 2:1 - “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
The way to bring people to the cross so as to believe in him who hung on the cross is to proclaim the cross. This is the only way in which people will be saved. Too often we think that if we are a good person, people will believe in Jesus. Or that if they clean up their act they will believe in Jesus. Or if our music at Church is edgy and relevant that they will believe in Jesus. Or if our radio stations are positive and uplifting, people will believe in Jesus. Or if we smile real big and tell them that their best life is now, they will believe in Jesus. These are the lies of Satan.
The only way to draw people to Christ is to talk about the blood stained cross of Christ. For in the brutality of the crucifixion, we see the brilliance of God's grace. And for those have been given eyes to see it is irresistible.
So let us feel the weight and the power of this hour of the death of Christ and let us rejoice in it and proclaim it!