Summary: Seperating those who truly follow Jesus from those who merely look like they follow Christ.
Series: Journey to the Cross
Text: John 12:23-36
Title: “So You Want To Follow Jesus”
• At this point in time many were still following Christ (triumphal entry), but they failed to grasp what Jesus meant by “go after” Him.
• Still today there are many who call themselves Christians who truly do not understand what it means to follow Christ; some even within our own churches do not fully embrace all that it is to follow the Savior.
I. True Followers Die So They Can Grow (23-25)
• Up until this point when others tried to force their will upon Him Jesus replied that it wasn’t His time yet.
o John 2:4, when His mother Mary told Him about the shortage of wine at the wedding feast, “My hour has not yet come.”
o John 7:6, 8, when His brothers wanted Him to go to Jerusalem for the Passover, “My time is not yet here;” “My time has not yet fully come.”
o John 8:20, when He taught in the temple and the rulers wanted to lay hands on Him, “no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.”
• Now Jesus stands before the crowd and says My hour has come.
o The time had come for Jesus to be glorified, but not in the way that they understood.
o The crowds were thinking about an earthly kingdom that included only the children of Israel that would overthrow the Roman Empire.
o However Jesus was coming to establish a Heavenly Kingdom that included all people that would overthrow Satan’s empire.
• This Kingdom would be established by a death and not a military victory.
• Jesus starts with an agricultural analogy they all understood, when you want to grow something you take a dead seed, bury it in the ground, and then it comes forth out of the ground and brings new life.
o In order for anyone to enter into the Kingdom of God, we must too go through the same process.
Romans 6:4-8 -- 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
o Also as believers we are called upon to produce fruit for the Kingdom.
o That often means we must die to ourselves, our own ambitions, our own desires, our own agendas and surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:20 -- 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
II. True Followers Must Submit To God’s Will (26-28a)
Vs. 26 Serving and Following
• “If anyone serves Me,”
o Serve – present tense which means the act of serving will not cease, we serve Christ our entire life.
• “let him follow Me.”
o Follow – has the idea of being a disciple, also in the present tense, Jesus is saying let him keep on following Me.
o That means we should never stop learning from our Teacher, we must never become unteachable.
• “and where I am, there My servant will be also.”
o We see the promise of Christ’s presence.
o However this promise is not conditional on our serving or our following, but it is His presence that empowers us to serve and follow Him.
o It is the serving and following that is the evidence of our faith.
• Jesus’ sole priority was to carry out the Father’s will and to glorify God.
• “Now My soul is troubled.”
o Jesus was not just stoic and unemotional about the punishment, the suffering, and the crucifixion He was about to endure.
o It weighed heavily upon Him and was becoming overwhelming.
o Garden of Gethsemane
• But what was Jesus going to say, “Save Me from this hour because I don’t feel like it?”
• Jesus is teaching us that if we want to serve and follow Him then we must do what is right even when we don’t feel like it.
o We make so many excuses, I don’t have time, it makes me uncomfortable, I might be laughed at or ridiculed.