Summary: The globalisation of the Gospel

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John 12:20-36

When Jesus made His last entry into Jerusalem prior to His crucifixion He was met, we are told, by an excited crowd waving palm branches and shouting “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13). John makes the sober comment that the people had gathered because they had heard of the raising of Lazarus (John 12:18). The Pharisees made the cryptic observation that the whole world had gone after Him (John 12:19)!

(John 12:20-22): As if to typify this, some serious minded Greek worshippers expressed a desire to have a conversation with Jesus. They approached Philip, who came from Galilee of the Gentiles, and he and Andrew made the approach to the Lord on their behalf. It is good, when two are agreed upon the earth (Matthew 18:19), to make our petitions known to Him (1 John 5:15).

(John 12:23-24): Jesus recognised in this Gentile interest that His hour had at last come, and spoke of His glorification via death. So far His ministry had been limited (with a few exceptions) to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24): but His death would globalise His message (John 11:49-52); and His resurrection would empower the church for the Great Commission. The fruit of the death of the Lord is our salvation.

(John 12:25-26): When we partake of the fruits of His resurrection, we are enabled, like the remnant of the house of Judah, to “take root downward, and bear fruit upward” (Isaiah 37:31). Jesus uses the hyperbole of “hating” our lives in this world in contrast to our love of Him in order to attain eternal life (Matthew 16:24-25). Following Jesus in the path of sacrificial service (Philippians 2:5-11) brings us honour from the Father.

(John 12:27-30): Jesus uttered a prayer, its intensity not unlike His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42-44). As the Cross loomed ever larger on the horizon Jesus became agitated and troubled, but His delight was still to do the Lord’s will (Psalm 40:7-11). On account of His obedience, Jesus’ prayer was answered for all to hear (Hebrews 5:7-9).

(John 12:31-33): The Cross of Jesus is a place of judgement where the sinfulness of man reaches its most malicious, and where sin itself is defeated in the Righteous One who knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). Let Satan do his utmost, it is here that he will seal his own defeat. The Cross is the focal point of history, and the terminus of time: it exalts the Messiah (John 19:19), connects earth and heaven, and is the meeting place of nations.

(John 12:34): Yet the nations find it difficult to accept the message of a crucified Saviour (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). Neither do they find it easy to believe in His resurrection, or ascension.

(John 12:35-36): Just as Jesus had but a short while remaining in this phase of his ministry, so our lives are marked by their brevity. Jesus’ claim remains, that He is the light of the world (John 8:12). Will we walk, and continue to walk, in that light?

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