Summary: The 39th sermon in a series on the Gospel of John. In this sermon we'll be looking at why Jesus soul was troubled as He spoke of His upcoming crucifixion.
Why He was Troubled (John Part 39)
Text: John 12:27-28
A little over 80 years ago now, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, a man named Neville Chamberlain returned to England after visiting with Adolph Hitler. Germany had been massing their armies since the early 1930’s and had violated the Treaty of Versailles by rebuilding their Luftwaffe (air force). In March of 1936 Germany seized the Rhineland, and when confronted about this by France and England, Hitler said, he simply wished to create a stable and strong Germany and would stop his aggression. Then; in March of 1938 Germany took Austria, and both the American President FDR and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sent letters to Hitler, urging peace. Hitler said he was for peace and that he would advance no further. Then in September of 1938 Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement along with France, Germany and Italy. The agreement allowed Germany to annex part of Czechoslovakia in exchange for peace. Chamberlain returned to England with a worthless piece of paper and said, “I believe it is peace for our time.” Winston Churchill immediately challenged Chamberlain’s appeasement policy by saying, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.” A year later World War II erupted.
And the lesson, that apparently NO ONE ever seems to learn is that you cannot appease evil. Whether that evil is Adolph Hitler, or Communism, or terrorism, or the homosexual agenda. You give them an inch and they’ll take a mile, all the while complaining that they are oppressed, and saying “We just want what’s ours, and what’s right”. But at the same time, this idea, or concept of appeasement is a Biblical theme… not in the sense of political history, or in the sense of stopping an evil dictator from attacking neighboring countries, or in the sense of stopping an evil and wicked ideology from spreading, but in the sense of satisfying the wrath of God so that it doesn’t come upon all of humanity. And that’s what we’re going to be looking at this morning.
Let’s go ahead and open our Bibles to John 12:27-28 (READ).
Now remember, Jesus has just been told that there were some Greeks who were interested in meeting Him and learning more about Him, and He just said, “the hour has come”, meaning it was getting near time for Him to be crucified, and to die for man’s sin. And then the very next thing He says here in our text is that His soul is troubled. Now why was Jesus soul troubled? It’s not because He’s going to die. Jesus already knew that He was going to die for our sin. But He also knew that He was going to be raised up again after death. John 10:17-18 makes that clear. No… His soul is troubled because of what’s going to take place on the cross.
Before I get into that, let me ask you a question: What does the term salvation mean?
If you go to the Bible you’ll actually find the word “salvation” used in about 70 different ways. That’s why people get messed up sometimes, because they’re using it the same way every time, but the Bible doesn’t use the word the same way every single time. Think about it with me for a second… if someone is rescued from defeat in battle, he has experienced salvation. If someone is healed of a life threatening illness, he experiences salvation from sickness and death. If people suffering from severe drought and starvation are given food, they experience salvation. And this isn’t some weird concept that the word is used in different ways. We do the same thing. We save money. A fighter can be “saved by the bell”, that doesn’t mean he’s been forgiven of all his sin, and given eternal life. So when we come across that word, “saved”, or the term “salvation” it’s helpful to us to ask, “Saved from what?” Saved from being uncomfortable? Saved from being poor? Saved from unhappiness? What do we mean when we urge people everywhere to be saved? What does the Bible mean when it says Jesus is our Savior? What does He save us from?
Well… the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians. Let’s go ahead and turn there.
1 Thessalonians 1:2 – 10 (READ). Did you catch what Paul says in verse 10? He says, “Jesus who delivers us (or saves us) from THE WRATH TO COME.”
Ultimately; Jesus died to save us from the wrath of God that we deserved, due to our sin.
Traditionally; theologians have called this substitutionary atonement.
But what does that mean exactly? Well… to put it simply, it means that Jesus takes our place on the cross. He is our substitute. And as our substitute, the wrath of God against our sin is poured out upon Him, as He hangs on the cross. He takes the punishment we deserved. And let me just tell ya’… this is the story of the Bible. This is what the whole Bible is pointing to. It starts way back in Genesis chapter 3… you remember that right? God had said that on the day that Adam ate from the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die. In other words, there will be a punishment for your lawless deed and sin against God. And God’s Word is true. The instant Adam ate the fruit, he died spiritually, and was placed under the curse of God. Now… Adam and Eve could have been put to death physically as well. God would’ve been just in doing that. But instead, an animal died in their place, and God used the skin of that animal to cover their sin and nakedness. In other words, that animal died as a substitute… but it was just an animal, and it was unable to totally pay for their sin, and so eventually, Adam and Eve both physically died. Then if you fast forward to Genesis 22, we see that God has said to Abraham, “Abraham, you are to take your one and only son, Isaac and offer him up as a sacrifice.” And Abraham was going to obey, he had the knife raised above Isaacs head, when God stopped him, and provided a substitute, a ram that was caught in a nearby thicket. So, Isaac lived because God had provided a substitute for him.