Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Text: John 12:20-36
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.27 “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. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So 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?” 35 So 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. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
The believing Greeks who witnessed Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem gazed in wonder and requested a private audience with Jesus, wanting to ascertain their standing in this new kingdom soon to be ushered in. Would all be welcomed? Would everyone have a seat at the table? They passed their request along through the disciples, prompting Jesus to reveal the true and paradoxical nature of both His Kingship and His kingdom. The King had come to conquer, but His victory would look like defeat. The kingdom would be unlike any the world had ever known.
John uses the term “hour” throughout his gospel, repeatedly saying that Jesus’ hour has not yet come. Now, however, the hour was here. There are many historically who have claimed the title “Christian” who have tried to reduce Christianity to only following the moral teachings and sage sayings of Jesus. Things like “love your neighbor” or “judge not lest you be judged.” Certainly, Jesus’ teaching was indeed powerful and profound, but John here is practically screaming off the page…THIS HOUR was what it is all about. Yes, Jesus taught. Yes, Jesus healed. But the whole of His life, the whole of human history – which is not at all a hyperbolic statement – revolved around this hour, this time, this moment: the Son of Man lifted up and glorified, to draw all people to himself. This was the hour for which He came, and yet it was an hour that would be filled with an anxiety, a dread, and a pain beyond description as Jesus took upon Himself the “judgement of this world.”
Just as it was outside the tomb of His friend Lazarus, Jesus’ soul was again troubled. What lay before him was the hour that had been planned from the beginning, the hour that would at last bring freedom from the bondage of sin which had wrapped its cruel tendrils deep into the fiber of every aspect of creation. This had been the design of the Father and the Son from the beginning; it was always Plan A and there was no Plan B. It was the purpose for which He came, there was no other way. Staring both physical death and divine judgment in the face, Jesus did not cry out for reprieve or rescue, but rather offered a simple request: “Father, glorify your name.”
Jesus answered the Greeks with the most wonderful words that they, and the rest of world, could have possibly hoped for: “I, when I am lifted up will draw all people to myself.” Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free, young and old, strong and weak — all people will be drawn to Jesus. The hour has now come for us today. Jesus cautioned that “the light is among you for a little while.” Has there ever been a time in life where you could honestly say that you do not know what tomorrow may hold? Around the globe, uncertainty and anxiety and fear abound. Plans are being cancelled, lives are being upended, our collective lives are open and bare before us. Where do we turn for hope and comfort in the midst of the storm? Who or what can offer anything more than temporary respite from the tumult of life?
Jesus says, “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” The best news that our status in the kingdom is not based on any work or merit of our own, yet it comes with all of the benefits we could ever dream of: the status of sonship. Jesus offers the greatest exchange, He takes our judgement upon Himself, while we receive His reward. All that is required of us, as Jesus says, is to believe. May we know and believe today, in this very hour, that the hour which demanded so great a cost of Jesus, could bring for us so great a treasure.
Prayer for Today:
Jesus, how easily we come before you, with so little thought for the demands of our sin that you so mercifully satisfied. Remind us today of the hour that you faced, the price that You paid on our behalf. We ask that in this hour You would continue to do what You have always done, draw all people to Yourself, that the world may know that the true King has come and there is a place in the Kingdom for all who believe. We ask this in the name of our Forever King. Amen.