by Mike Ratliff
νῦν κρίσις ἐστὶν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, νῦν ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω· κἀγὼ ἐὰν ὑψωθῶ ἐκ τῆς γῆς, πάντας ἑλκύσω πρὸς ἐμαυτόν. τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν σημαίνων ποίῳ θανάτῳ ἤμελλεν ἀποθνῄσκειν. (John 12:31-33 NA27)
“Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.” And in this saying, He was signifying by what kind of death He was about to die. (a personal translation of John 12:31-33 from the NA27 Greek text)
We are in that six-day period leading up to our Lord’s last Passover feast. Of course, we know that He was also crucified just prior to the Sabbath of this week so in these last few days our Lord is done with the confrontational stands against the Jewish religious leaders. Now, He is preparing His disciples for what is coming. They still do not get it. Remember, we look at our Lord’s words of His sovereignty, His deity, and joyful submission to the authority to the Father who, in turn, joyfully gives Him all authority throughout creation because of His obedience. Yes, we see this, but remember, He had not yet gone to the Cross nor had He been resurrected. What is so puzzling to those of us who take God’s good doctrines to heart and defend His Gospel with our all is why there are so many wolves in sheep’s clothing in our time with their huge churches running amuck in the visible church causing, seemingly, much damage. What we must never forget my brethren is that our Lord has all this under control. We must stay the course in our obedience and submission to the Lordship of Christ in all things. Those who are in our Lord’s sheepfold are in no danger of being snatched away. Those falling away into apostasy were never in His sheepfold to begin with.
Τῇ ἐπαύριον ὁ ὄχλος πολὺς ὁ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν ἑορτήν, ἀκούσαντες ὅτι ἔρχεται ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα ἔλαβον τὰ βαΐα τῶν φοινίκων καὶ ἐξῆλθον εἰς ὑπάντησιν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐκραύγαζον· ὡσαννά· εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου, [καὶ] ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ. εὑρὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὀνάριον ἐκάθισεν ἐπ᾽ αὐτό, καθώς ἐστιν γεγραμμένον· μὴ φοβοῦ, θυγάτηρ Σιών· ἰδοὺ ὁ βασιλεύς σου ἔρχεται, καθήμενος ἐπὶ πῶλον ὄνου. ταῦτα οὐκ ἔγνωσαν αὐτοῦ οἱ μαθηταὶ τὸ πρῶτον, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτε ἐδοξάσθη Ἰησοῦς τότε ἐμνήσθησαν ὅτι ταῦτα ἦν ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ γεγραμμένα καὶ ταῦτα ἐποίησαν αὐτῷ. ἐμαρτύρει οὖν ὁ ὄχλος ὁ ὢν μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ ὅτε τὸν Λάζαρον ἐφώνησεν ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου καὶ ἤγειρεν αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν. διὰ τοῦτο [καὶ] ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ὁ ὄχλος, ὅτι ἤκουσαν τοῦτο αὐτὸν πεποιηκέναι τὸ σημεῖον. οἱ οὖν Φαρισαῖοι εἶπαν πρὸς ἑαυτούς· θεωρεῖτε ὅτι οὐκ ὠφελεῖτε οὐδέν· ἴδε ὁ κόσμος ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ ἀπῆλθεν. (John 12:12-19 NA27)
The next day, the great crowd, the one having come to the feast, having heard that Jesus had come to Jerusalem, took Palm tree branches and went out to meet Him and were crying out, “Hosanna, blessed is the one coming in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat on it just as it was written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified then they remembered that these things hand been written with respect to Him and these things they did to Him. Therefore, the crowd that witnessed the calling of Lazarus when he was raised from the dead and called out of the tomb continued to bear witness. Therefore, the Pharisees said among themselves, “See, you are gaining nothing, the world has gone after Him.” (a personal translation of John 12:12-19 from the NA27 Greek text)
As we have seen in every one of our studies in this series, our Lord’s ministry fulfilled prophecy after prophecy written in the Old Testament concerning the coming of the Messiah yet those who should have known that He was who He claimed to be totally missed it. Also, our Lord also had plenty of disciples who were not true, as we shall see when He is arrested. We saw that earlier after He fed the multitudes then when they continued seeking the miraculous food and healing, He gave them hard preaching and most of them no longer followed Him. That is the nature of the Gospel. That is the nature of the judgment that has now come upon the world as our Lord has come, been rejected, killed, and was resurrected and ascended. Those who believe the Gospel He gave are His, but that is only a small number of sheep in His sheepfold. Most people who call themselves “Christians” follow a different “Jesus” not the one we have been studying.
Ἦσαν δὲ Ἕλληνές τινες ἐκ τῶν ἀναβαινόντων ἵνα προσκυνήσωσιν ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ· οὗτοι οὖν προσῆλθον Φιλίππῳ τῷ ἀπὸ Βηθσαϊδὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἠρώτων αὐτὸν λέγοντες· κύριε, θέλομεν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἰδεῖν. ἔρχεται ὁ Φίλιππος καὶ λέγει τῷ Ἀνδρέᾳ, ἔρχεται Ἀνδρέας καὶ Φίλιππος καὶ λέγουσιν τῷ Ἰησοῦ. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἀποκρίνεται αὐτοῖς λέγων· ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ ὁ κόκκος τοῦ σίτου πεσὼν εἰς τὴν γῆν ἀποθάνῃ, αὐτὸς μόνος μένει· ἐὰν δὲ ἀποθάνῃ, πολὺν καρπὸν φέρει. ὁ φιλῶν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἀπολλύει αὐτήν, καὶ ὁ μισῶν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τούτῳ εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον φυλάξει αὐτήν. ἐὰν ἐμοί τις διακονῇ, ἐμοὶ ἀκολουθείτω, καὶ ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ ἐκεῖ καὶ ὁ διάκονος ὁ ἐμὸς ἔσται· ἐάν τις ἐμοὶ διακονῇ τιμήσει αὐτὸν ὁ πατήρ. (John 12:20-26 NA27)
Now there were some Greeks among the ones going up that they might worship at the Feast. They approached Philip from Behsaida of Galilee and asked Him saying, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” Philip came and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip told Jesus and Jesus answered them saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen I say to you, unless a gain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit. The one who loves his live loses it and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let Him follow Me and where I am there My servant will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” (a personal translation of John 12:20-26 from the NA27 Greek text)
The focus on the vast majority of what makes up the visible church in our time is structured around attracting people by conforming to the post-modern culture. That means they would not in any way say or teach anything that could be construed by anyone as being “offensive.” Why? That could harm someone’s self-esteem. What does Jesus say? Those He draws to Himself are those who view the ways of the world as nothing in light of what they have in Christ. They see themselves as His slaves because He is their Lord. They serve Him and the Father “honors” them. Jesus said it very clearly my brethren. He also spoke in this passage by what means He would bring this about, which was via His death on the Cross. This is also a reference to how each of us who are His must die to self, take up our own crosses and follow Him and thereby bear much fruit because it is Him working in us, not us doing it.
Νῦν ἡ ψυχή μου τετάρακται, καὶ τί εἴπω; πάτερ, σῶσόν με ἐκ τῆς ὥρας ταύτης; ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο ἦλθον εἰς τὴν ὥραν ταύτην. πάτερ, δόξασόν σου τὸ ὄνομα. ἦλθεν οὖν φωνὴ ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ· καὶ ἐδόξασα καὶ πάλιν δοξάσω. ὁ οὖν ὄχλος ὁ ἑστὼς καὶ ἀκούσας ἔλεγεν βροντὴν γεγονέναι, ἄλλοι ἔλεγον· ἄγγελος αὐτῷ λελάληκεν. ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν· οὐ δι᾽ ἐμὲ ἡ φωνὴ αὕτη γέγονεν ἀλλὰ δι᾽ ὑμᾶς. νῦν κρίσις ἐστὶν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, νῦν ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω· κἀγὼ ἐὰν ὑψωθῶ ἐκ τῆς γῆς, πάντας ἑλκύσω πρὸς ἐμαυτόν. τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν σημαίνων ποίῳ θανάτῳ ἤμελλεν ἀποθνῄσκειν. Ἀπεκρίθη οὖν αὐτῷ ὁ ὄχλος· ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν ἐκ τοῦ νόμου ὅτι ὁ χριστὸς μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, καὶ πῶς λέγεις σὺ ὅτι δεῖ ὑψωθῆναι τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἔτι μικρὸν χρόνον τὸ φῶς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐστιν. περιπατεῖτε ὡς τὸ φῶς ἔχετε, ἵνα μὴ σκοτία ὑμᾶς καταλάβῃ· καὶ ὁ περιπατῶν ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ οὐκ οἶδεν ποῦ ὑπάγει. ὡς τὸ φῶς ἔχετε, πιστεύετε εἰς τὸ φῶς, ἵνα υἱοὶ φωτὸς γένησθε. ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἀπελθὼν ἐκρύβη ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν. (John 12:27-36 NA27)
“Now is my Soul troubled and what may I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But because of this I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Therefore, a voice came out of Heaven, “Both I glorified it and I will glorify it again!” Therefore the crowd, those having stood and having heard, were saying, “Thunder has happened!” Others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him!” Jesus answered and said, “Not because of Me has this voice come, but because of you. Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.” And in this saying, He was signifying by what kind of death He was about to die. Then the crowd answered Him, “We heard from the Law that the Christ remains into the age, and how do you say that it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up?” Therefore, Jesus said to them, “Yet a little time the light is among you. Walk while you have the light lest darkness overtakes you and the one walking in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, walk in the light that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke , and having gone away, He was hidden from them. (a personal translation of John 12:27-36 from the NA27 Greek text)
Back in the late 1990’s after I had been a believer for quite some time, I had an older believer (an older lady) tell me one Easter Sunday, that she thought that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was one of the greatest tragedies of all time. I think my answer stunned her and shook her theology. I responded that Jesus laid down His life for His people voluntarily and without that sacrifice, there would be no atonement for Christians. Jesus said that the judgment that came into the world that would end with the ruler of this world being cast out would be accomplished with His being lifted up (crucified). In v32, the words “all men” translates the adjective πάντας, which is the accusative, plural of πᾶς or pas. Context determines its meaning. It can mean “all” or “every” but in this context it obviously has to be interpreted as “all kinds of.” The accusative form is “possessive” referring to “people.” Therefore, who is Jesus referring to here that will be drawn to Him? It is both Jews and Gentiles (John 10:16; 11:52; 12:2-21) and then we must look at John 6:44 and understand that it is only through the Cross that the Father draws people to Salvation. Notice also our Lord’s reference to Him being the light of men and that once He is gone that those who have not believed will be back in darkness, however, those who do believe will be sons of light. Nothing has changed. When we are obedient in sharing the Gospel and being obedient Christians in this world reflecting this light into the darkness, uses that to draw people to the Son. There is no other way. Notice the end of v36, the people are still in unbelief.
Τοσαῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ σημεῖα πεποιηκότος ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν οὐκ ἐπίστευον εἰς αὐτόν, ἵνα ὁ λόγος Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου πληρωθῇ ὃν εἶπεν· κύριε, τίς ἐπίστευσεν τῇ ἀκοῇ ἡμῶν; καὶ ὁ βραχίων κυρίου τίνι ἀπεκαλύφθη; διὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἠδύναντο πιστεύειν, ὅτι πάλιν εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας· τετύφλωκεν αὐτῶν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς καὶ ἐπώρωσεν αὐτῶν τὴν καρδίαν, ἵνα μὴ ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ νοήσωσιν τῇ καρδίᾳ καὶ στραφῶσιν, καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς. ταῦτα εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας ὅτι εἶδεν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐλάλησεν περὶ αὐτοῦ. ὅμως μέντοι καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἀρχόντων πολλοὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτόν, ἀλλὰ διὰ τοὺς Φαρισαίους οὐχ ὡμολόγουν ἵνα μὴ ἀποσυνάγωγοι γένωνται· ἠγάπησαν γὰρ τὴν δόξαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων μᾶλλον ἤπερ τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ. (John 12:37-43 NA27)
Though He had done so many signs before them, they were not believing in Him that the word of Isaiah the Prophet may be fulfilled which said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.” Isaiah said these things because he saw the glory of Him and spoke about Him. Nevertheless, many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees, they were not confessing Him lest they should become put away from the Synagogue for they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God. (a personal translation of John 12:37-43 from the NA27 Greek text)
My brethren, God is Sovereign. His glory is paramount. He is infinite. We are finite. It is impossible for us to try to understand what God has not given us the detail to understand. Therefore, let us be content with knowing that God is good and always right. Notice the pressure within the Jewish religious groups against Jesus. This continued even into the Church age and aren’t we seeing it in our day as God is again separating unto Himself those willing to stand firm and not compromise not following most of the visible church into apostasy?
Ἰησοῦς δὲ ἔκραξεν καὶ εἶπεν· ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ οὐ πιστεύει εἰς ἐμὲ ἀλλὰ εἰς τὸν πέμψαντά με, καὶ ὁ θεωρῶν ἐμὲ θεωρεῖ τὸν πέμψαντά με. ἐγὼ φῶς εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἐλήλυθα, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ μὴ μείνῃ. καὶ ἐάν τίς μου ἀκούσῃ τῶν ῥημάτων καὶ μὴ φυλάξῃ, ἐγὼ οὐ κρίνω αὐτόν· οὐ γὰρ ἦλθον ἵνα κρίνω τὸν κόσμον, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα σώσω τὸν κόσμον. ὁ ἀθετῶν ἐμὲ καὶ μὴ λαμβάνων τὰ ῥήματά μου ἔχει τὸν κρίνοντα αὐτόν· ὁ λόγος ὃν ἐλάλησα ἐκεῖνος κρινεῖ αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ. ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐξ ἐμαυτοῦ οὐκ ἐλάλησα, ἀλλ᾽ ὁ πέμψας με πατὴρ αὐτός μοι ἐντολὴν δέδωκεν τί εἴπω καὶ τί λαλήσω. καὶ οἶδα ὅτι ἡ ἐντολὴ αὐτοῦ ζωὴ αἰώνιός ἐστιν. ἃ οὖν ἐγὼ λαλῶ, καθὼς εἴρηκέν μοι ὁ πατήρ, οὕτως λαλῶ. (John 12:44-50 NA27)
But Jesus cried out and said, “The one believing in Me does not believe in Me, but in the one having sent Me. And the one seeing Me sees the one having sent Me. I have come as a light into the world that everyone believing in me may not remain in the darkness, and if any hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him for I did not come that I may judge the world, but that I may save the world. The one setting me aside and not receiving my words has a judge; My words will judge him on that last day. I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has given men a commandment; what I may say and what I may speak. And I know His commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak as the Father has told me.” (a personal translation of John 12:44-50 from the NA27 Greek text)
Jesus’ first coming was not about Him judging anyone, but when He returns things will be different. We are still in the Church age. No matter what some heretics say, people can still come to Christ and be saved. There are still some good Bible teachers and pastors out there. However, be very careful because there are plenty of others who are all about religiosity and getting people to join with them into “religion” instead of believing in and knowing Jesus and serving Him with others who are also of His sheepfold.
Soli Deo Gloria!