Summary: God gives Jesus to rescue his people from the judgment due sin.
The cross is the crux (the central point) of the Christian faith. At the cross sinners find hope and help; from the cross the hands and side of the Savior bleed; by the cross that God cries out, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 45.22).
The first man, Adam, was disobedient, leading to death; the God-man, the second Adam was “obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross” (Philippians 2.8). At the cross God was glorified, sin subdued, Satan defeated, death destroyed. At the cross, God’s love shines as the noon-day sun, God’s holiness burns beyond a shadow of doubt, God’s power brings his goals to fruition in the face of opposition from the kings of the earth and the prince of hell. At the cross, God’s wisdom is thought foolish, but proven to be wisdom which foolish men cannot stomach. At the cross God insists on being both just and justifier, the righteous judge of sin and the merciful father of salvation. No wonder the great Apostle, Paul, summarized his life with phrases like: “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Galatians 6.14).
We are finishing today the twelfth chapter, concluding part one of John’s Life of the Christ. John summarizes his complete work in this way: “These signs are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20.31). The signs to which he refers are eight. Seven appear in chapters 1-12, part one: “The Book of Signs.” The final sign, the resurrection, waits the end of the second part, volume two.
As every good author does, John ends volume one with a summary and a preview. In our text today we will be reminded of key truths from the first part, Jesus’ public ministry: his teaching on light and darkness, his call to faith in him as the Messiah, his obedience to the Father in all things. We also have a preview for the remainder of the John’s gospel: “The Book of Glory: the story of the Passion of the Christ.” We are focusing on the preview—why Jesus’ life ends at the cross. [Read John 12.27-50. Pray.]
In his book, No Wonder They Call Him The Savior, Max Lucado tells the sad story of Judith Bucknell. She lived in Coconut Grove, a stylish area of Miami where many lonely people pretended to be happy. On June 9th she was murdered, homicide number 106 that year. We remember Judith because she kept a diary.
She was not on drugs or welfare. She never went to jail. She was not a prostitute, but she offered her love to many men. She was certainly not a social outcast. She was respectable. She jogged, hosted parties, wore designer clothes, and had an apartment overlooking the bay. She worried about the same things women her age worry about: getting old, getting fat, getting married, getting by. She was a successful secretary, but unsuccessful in life. She wrote: “I see people together and I’m so jealous I want to throw up. What about me! What about me!”