Summary: Throughout the history of the world, man has misunderstood the Messiah. There are four misunderstandings in particular that we are going to look at.
Throughout the history of the world, man has misunderstood the Messiah. There are four misunderstandings in particular that we are going to look at this evening in John 12: 20-36.
READ 20-22. You might remember from last time that Jesus had just been hailed as the coming King and Messiah by thousands of people. One of the last statements we looked at was made by the Pharisees in verse 19 where they said, “The whole world has gone after him.”
You see, there were some Greeks representing the world that even sought Jesus. Some of the Greek pilgrims who can come to attend the Passover Feast wished to see this Jesus who was being proclaimed King. In John’s mind, as he wrote this book, these Greeks represented the Gentile world, all the God-fearing people of the world who would see Jesus.
READ 23-26. Here we see the first misunderstanding and that is the Messiah’s glory. The Greeks had just see Jesus glorified as Messiah by thousands. It was as if the world were going after Him. They wanted to b part of the movement, so they requested an interview with Him.
What Jesus did was try to correct the misunderstood idea of the Messiah held by the world. He wanted to prepare both the Greeks and those standing around for His death. He wanted to teach that the way to glory is not through triumph and praise, not through domination and subjection. The way to glory is through death to self and through service to God and man. Jesus does this by doing two things.
1. Jesus said that His hour had come. The Son of Man was now to be glorified. His hour referred to His death as the next verse states and this whole passage shows.
Jesus revealed His death by using the picture of a grain of wheat. He said that He would now be glorified, but His glory wasn’t going to be an earthly glory. His glory was to be the glory of the cross. It was to be by death that He would gain the allegiance of men and be exalted as King.
God would exalt Him as King because He had done exactly what God wished: He died for the sins of the world. The picture of wheat can be simply stated—before the glory—before the fruit of seeds can be borne—death is a necessity. Jesus must die before He can be enthroned as King.
So the glory of Christ is the glory of the cross. It’s the cross that stirs God to exalt His Son above every name that is named. It’s the cross that stirs men to offer themselves as living sacrifices to God’s Son (in appreciation for saving them.)
2. The second thing Jesus said was that man’s hour had now come. Man must do the same as He did. In other words, man must lose his life to gain eternal life. What did Jesus mean by this unusual statement? He meant that the person who abandons this life and world, who sacrifices and gives all that he is and has for Christ, will save his life.
But the person who keeps his life and what he has and seeks more and more of this life, will lose his life completely and eternally. The person who neglects Christ, who ignores Christ, we rejects Christ will lose his life eternally. So the call of Christ is just what He says—a life of denial that takes up the cross and flows in His steps.
But there’s more that man must do. Man must serve and follow Jesus. The person who does is assured of Jesus’ presence. That person is assured of the Father’s honor. God will honor any person who honors His Son.
READ 27-30. Here we see the second misunderstanding and that is the Messiah’s cause or purpose.
1. Jesus was experiencing a troubled heart.
2. The reason His heart was so troubled was that He was about to face the great cause for which He had come into the world. His hour was at hand, staring Him in the face; the terrible sufferings were now beginning.
His supreme purpose was to face the hour God had set for Him: He was to die. He had come to die, and to die was the supreme cause of His life. Note His obedience. Imagine the terrible sufferings of the hour. Should He pray, “Father save me from this hour?” Really, He couldn’t because He had come to die. He must obey God.
3. Jesus prayed for the glory of God. He prayed for the Father to glorify His own name. And that’s significant. It shows a complete selflessness on the part of Jesus. It shows that the primary concern of Jesus was to complete his purpose and cause on earth, which was to glorify God by doing exactly what God wanted. How was God glorified? By Jesus’ obedience. His Word was carried out and obeyed.