John 12 (3)
- Read John 12:12-36
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way
And so one of the songs, for which Frank Sinatra is best known. The end is near, And so I face the final curtain. . . let the record show, I did it my way.
What a sad commentary on one’s life, to leave behind nothing more than that, a statement that you did it your way. How very different from the way we see Jesus responding in this passage, as He sees His final days approaching.
Oh, yes, He knows His time is short. Again and again through the pages of the Bible Jesus tells folks that His time has not yet come, it’s not the right time.
In John 2:4, Mary, the mother of Jesus, comes to Him at the wedding feast telling Him that they have run out of wine. Jesus answers her, ““What has this concern of yours to do with me, woman?” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.”
In John 7:8, Jesus’ brothers want Him to go up to the feast and show Himself. Jesus answers, “Go up to the feast on your own. I am not going up to this feast, because My time has not yet come.”
In John 7:30, the religious leaders try to seize Jesus, and the Bible tells us in John 7:30, “but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.”
In Matthew 26, Jesus tells His disciples to go into the city and to make preparations for the Passover because, “My time is near.”
But now, having experienced the worship of many people in the city of Jerusalem, and after now having some Greeks coming to see Him; not because they want Him to heal a child, and not because they want something from him, but just because they want to spend time with him, Jesus says in verse 23, “The hour has come.”
The hour has come. Jesus knows that His death is imminent. His death is close. And so how does Jesus respond to this realization? Does He tremble in fear? No. Does He pound His chest and say, “I did it My way?” No! Does He start naming off a list of His accomplishments? No. Does He tell the disciples to erect a building with His name on it so no one would forget? No.
1. He mentions the goal of His life. - verse 28
My goal is God’s glory. If your goal in life is to give glory to God, to bring God glory, you cannot fail. Several years ago, they interviewed a quarterback just after winning his second super bowl. The interviewer asked the quarterback what he thought about winning his second super bowl. The quarterback answered, “I thought it would mean more.”
What a sad commentary on life. To reach the end, to look around at the jobs you’ve had, the things you’ve seen, the things you’ve accumulated, and the things you’ve accomplished and feel that it should mean more.
We spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and filling our homes with things. We spend the second half of our lives trying to give away those things that once meant so much to us.
King Solomon did this and he recorded his quest in the book of Ecclesiastes. In the beginning of his book he writes, “Absolute futility,” says the Teacher.
“Absolute futility. Everything is futile.”
What does a person gain for all his efforts
that he labors at under the sun?
A generation goes and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets;
panting, it hurries back to the place
where it rises.
Gusting to the south,
turning to the north,
turning, turning, goes the wind,
and the wind returns in its cycles.
All the streams flow to the sea,
yet the sea is never full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
All things[b] are wearisome,
more than anyone can say.
The eye is not satisfied by seeing
or the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Can one say about anything,
“Look, this is new”?
It has already existed in the ages before us.
There is no remembrance of those who[c] came before;
and of those who will come after
there will also be no remembrance
by those who follow them.
Oh, to reach the end of your days, to look around at all you has accomplished only to be able to say, “Absolute Futility.”
The writer of Ecclesiastes, after spending a lifetime looking for what was important, concludes his book by saying, “So remember the Creator in the days of your youth.”
Jesus never had to do that. Jesus never had to look back with regret. He looked at His life, and said, “Father, to you be the glory.”
At the end, realizing His time has come, Jesus mentions the goal of His life. Second, He points to the purpose of His death.
2. The purpose of His death - v24
What is the purpose of Jesus’ death? That His life may be given for many. That through His death, many come to know life.
Even having come to life and lived as a man, Jesus could have left, giving us a good example of how someone is supposed to live. He good have left us an example of a life lived for others. He could have settled for leaving us some good ideas, like the Golden Rule, and going the extra mile, and turning the other cheek, and praying for those who despitefully use you.
He could have just vanished. Enoch did. The Bible says of that Godly man, that He walks with God and then he was no more. It was like, “Beam me up Scotty” and he was out of here and in the presence of God.
He could have come and lived an accomplished all of the things He did and then flew out of here on a fiery chariot like Elijah did. But that would have defeated His purpose in coming in the first place.
Just as death came into the world through 1 man, so life comes into the world through 1 man, the man Christ Jesus.
> Romans 5:11 “ . . . we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Jesus came to die, that so through Him many would receive life.
Some believe you can be good enough to be saved, but that is impossible. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” And you can never be good enough to undo the sin in your life.
My dog has been coming down here and being with me while I’ve been working here a lot lately, to the irritation of some, and I’m sorry. Well, Montana, being a male dog, has hosed down a lot of stuff around here. He’s peed on a lot of bushes and trees. He’s peed on some stuff down in the swamp that I was just about to work on. Irritates the fire out of me.
Now, let’s say you had a bottle of water sitting on the ground while you were down working on lights with me, and that Montana came by and peed on your bottle of water. Are you going to drink it? No, because it’s got pee in it. Let me ask you, how much water would I have to add to your bottle before you’d want to drink it? You never would, would you? No, because it would still be water with pee in it, just diluted a little bit.
Now, the Bible says that your righteousness is like filthy rags to God. And there is no amount of good works you can do, that can do away with that.
I think sometimes, that the primary reason we don’t love Jesus more, is because on the whole most of us think that we’re pretty good, and God just has to clean us up a little bit.
My friend, the Bible says that the best we do is like filthy rags in the eyes of God. It’s just pee water, and You can’t work enough, give enough, serve enough, attend enough, to change your sin into anything more than pee water in the eyes of God.
But Jesus, came and died so that you and I can have a clean glass to present to God.
> 2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
After mentioning the goal of His life, and the purpose of His death, mentions of the means of His death.
3. The means of His death - v32
Jesus says, “If I be lifted up.” That was a common expression used in the days of the Roman Empire, to describe crucifixion. It was the lifting up of a person on a cross.
This was a fulfillment of prophecy.
28 prophecies were fulfilled on the day Jesus was crucified. In the Garden of Eden, God said the Serpent would bruise the seed of the woman and that the son would crush the serpent’s head. That was fulfilled at Jesus’ crucifixion.
He was sold for 30 pieces of silver. He was counted among thieves. His clothes were gambled for. He did not defend himself at the trial. He was betrayed by a friend. His disciples abandoned Him. He was scurged and mocked. His body was disfigured by His beatings. Lying witnesses rose against Him. On and on the fulfilled prophecies go.
People wonder why I believe the Bible. One of the reasons I believe the Bible is because of the many prophecies that have been fulfilled. Born in Bethlehem, called out of Egypt. Called a Nazerine, on and on.
Someone one figured out the odds of just 13 of the prophecies about Jesus being fulfilled and the odds were greater than 1 to the 64th power, to 1. There is a greater chance of all the monkeys in Africa running over a single typewriter and typing out every book in the English language without mistake, than there is of just 13 of the prophecies about Jesus being fulfilled.
Oh, but one of them, that His hands and feet would be pierced, was prophesied centuries before the Romans even invented crucifixion.
Jesus said, “If I be lifted up.” He’s pointing to the mean of His death. But also the result of His death.
If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto Myself.
We as a church must never forget Who and what it is that we are called to lift up. Our goal is to point others to Jesus. Not to ourselves. Not to our church. Not to our denomination or our country. Our goal if to lift up, to exalt Jesus.
Years ago a man visited a church in DC, known to be frequented by the sitting president. The man asked the minister if the president would be attending the following Sunday. The pastor answered, “I’m not sure if the president will be here, but I’m pretty sure the Lord will be.”
If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself.
You want to mitigate, and diminish racism, and prejudice, and economic strife in our country, you make much about Jesus, for He will draw all men unto Him.
4. The faithful’s response to His death - vvs 25-26
> 1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.
Hating one’s own life is an expression that means giving preference to one thing over another. In this context it means preferring Christ over one’s family, possessions, goals, plans, desires - even one’s own life.
I am afraid that many of people in church this day look at Jesus and Christianity as something to add on to their lives. It’s like health insurance, or auto insurance, or working out at the gym. It just helps everything else work better and makes sure your covered.
If I am a Christian, perhaps that will help my family, and it may. Perhaps it will help me with my job, and it may. But, Christianity is not something we add to life to try to make what we’;re already doing, better. Christianity to be central in a true believer’s life. Turn with me to Luke 14.
- Read Luke 14:26-33
> Luke 9:23-24 Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after[a] me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily,[b] and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it.
Being a faithful follower of Jesus implies affection, you love Him more than anything and anyone else. But it also means direction.
> 1 John 2:6 The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked.
We love Him and we follow Him.
Being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ is costly. He must take priority in your life. But, to those who trust and walk with Him, Jesus makes 2 tremendous promises.
1) We will be with Jesus - v26
We will be with Jesus. That is nothing less than a promise of eternal heaven. In John 14:3 Jesus told His disciples , “If I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
I don’t know exactly where heaven is, and I don’t know what all is there, but I know Jesus will be there.
- Doctor telling a patient his days are limited. Dog scratching at door. All he knows if that his mater is in here.
2) The Father will honor Him - v 26
The one who serves Jesus will be honored by the Father. All human honors pale into insignificance compared to the eternal honor God will bestow on those who love and serve His Son.
> 2 Timothy 2:10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
Those who are saved and serve shall obtain with that eternal glory.
Though the world may hate those who serve Jesus Christ, God’s promise still holds true.
> 1 Samuel 2:30 “Therefore, this is the declaration of the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘I did say that your family and your forefather’s family would walk before me forever. But now,’ this is the Lord’s declaration, ‘no longer! For those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disgraced.
So now, the choice is your’s. Which path will you take? What song shall you sing?
Will you make it your goal to live for God’s glory, or will you sing like one without hope, “I did it my way?”