Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode 107 · 4 months ago

The Call of the Cross


The Call of the Cross

John 12:27-50

Dax Bryant - Preaching

(Please note that approximately 10 minutes of the sermon is missing due to a computer crash during the sermon. It occurs at the 24:18 mark, you won't notice it but the context and flow are off a bit there.)

John Chapter Twelve. Coming to the end of John Twelve this morning. It's been a bit of a sprint. Probably we've taken some big chunks of scripture along the way. Um, IT'S ABOUT THIRTY SERMONS WE'VE had in the first half of John's Gospel, just to set your expectations accordingly. Uh, it will be about twice that number of sermons through the next five chapters once we get into the upper room. So we'll be slowing down significantly when we reached John Chapter Thirteen the week after next. But as we pick up the story here in John Twelve, if you recall last time, we looked at what we know as the triumphal entry, when Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, writing on a donkey, to the praise and adoration of the pilgrims who were in the city for the past over. But, as the crowds began to discover, Jesus is presenting himself as a new kind of King, a king who is going to powerfully reign through humble service, a king who will provide life through his death and, what's more, as we saw last week, a king who calls all to follow him in a glorious imitation of his death, in dying to their own selves. And now, as as chapter twelve comes to a close for us this morning, we're going to take an even closer look at what it means that the hour has come for the son of man to be glorified. Remember, we saw Jesus say that last week in Verse Twenty Three. The Hour has come for the son of man to be glorified because before any of Jesus's disciples can can follow him, can imitate him in the way that he has prescribed for them and into self, he must first die and then be glorified. He must first answer the call of the Cross. And our big idea this morning is pretty simple. It's it's just that Jesus's answer to the call of the cross glorifies God and establishes his eternal purposes for mankind. Accomplishes, rather accomplishes his eternal purposes for mankind, the call of the Cross. When Jesus answers that call, it glorifies God and accomplishes his purposes for mankind, whether in salvation or in judgment, as we will see. So as we unpack that statement, we're going to let three words kind of guide our way through this passage. Implications, explanation, summation. We're going to see, first of all, several implications of the call of the Cross. We'll see the implications for Jesus, we'll see the implications for his original audience, will see the implications for the world. Then we'll look at an explanation, an explanation for why people reject the call of the cross, and then, finally, we'll hear a summation of Jesus's entire ministry that centers on this call of the Cross. So, first of all, the call of the cross comes with several implications, implications including, first of all, an implication for Jesus's own soul. He says in verse now, is my soul troubled? troubled. It's the same word that he used back in chapter eleven when Lazarus was in the tomb. Remember this, Chapter Eleven, verse Thirty Three. It described Jesus's troubled reaction to the people who were...

...weeping over Lazarus, as if they had no hope. It's it's a word that means distressed, anguished, agitated. It refers to a Horse's nostrils flaring. Does it? Does it seem odd to you that Jesus's soul is troubled? After all, isn't Jesus God? Didn't he create all things and he upholds all things by the word of his power? Didn't we see him in this gospel turn water into wine, heal the lame, heal the sick, heal the blind, raise the dead? What could possibly trouble the son of God? What could cause him so much distress in the depths of his soul? Well, yes, Jesus is God. Jesus is also fully truly human, and the context here makes clear that what was troubling Jesus was the fast approaching hour of his death. That's that's what we just read last at the at the end of this section last week and versus twenty three through just before we get here, he's speaking of his death. So what was it about his death that troubled him? Was it the thought of the imminent physical suffering of the crucifixion that troubled Jesus? The beatings, the mockings, the scourgings, the pain? Not primarily. Throughout history, many others have suffered the same painful death, or even worse. It wasn't the prospect of the physical anguish that troubled him so much. Of course, it was the anticipation of bearing the sin of the world and enduring separation from God, the father, the the impending reality that was about to land on him of He who knew no sin was made sin. That's what's about to happen. And and Jesus is contemplating what all of this means, what all of this will cost for him to identify with sinners and to suffer the holy wrath of the father against sin. And so he says. Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Have have you been there before, when God's unfolding providence seems so dark that that you don't even know what to do next, or even what to say next. You you don't have the words. What shall I say? Jesus says in anguish. This is a a glimpse into the inner turmoil happening in Jesus's heart as he faced the call of the cross. Now, he didn't flinch from the Cross, he certainly did not thin in this in any way, but he was troubled by what he faced. He was distressed, disturbed, and I actually find some comfort and encouragement in that, don't you? Because it means that the path that Jesus calls us to follow him on is not one, in his humanity, that he found easy to walk himself. It reminds us that we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with us in our weaknesses. We get a glimpse into the very heart of Christ here with this implication for his troubled soul, not only as he faces the unspeakable horror of the cross, but but also... what he says next in response to that coming horror. Now it's interesting. I think most translations put Jesus's next words into the form of a question. You understand that the punctuation marks in your Bible are not a matter of translation, they're a matter of interpretation. Jesus says next, Father, save me from this hour. That's a possible interpretation, but I wonder, is Jesus saying? I don't know what to say, so here's a hypothetical question that I'll offer up. It seems more likely to me that as he as he agonizes over what to say, as as words failed to escape fail to come to him, he then lands upon this as a prayerful request. In other words, you could read it like this. And what shall I say? And he thinks for a moment. This is what I will say. Father saved me from this hour. I think interpreting it in that way lines up more closely with the anguish of his soul that we see in the garden of Geth Simone, which happens later when he says, when he prays, let this Cup Pass from me, save me from this hour. But as soon as he says it, the answer to his prayer becomes clear. His prayer saved me from this hour is immediately followed by a renewed, resolute obedience, which is evident in the very next word. But he can no sooner pray to be saved from this hour than he must face his unswerving commitment to carry out the father's will, just like what happened against Simony, where he said, let this Cup Pass for me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will. This is why Jesus is so troubled, I think, because on the one hand he has the horror of the realities of the cross quickly approaching and on the other hand he has his a passion to fully obey God the father and everything that he tells him to do, and those two things are colliding and coming to a head, so he says. But for this purpose, I have come to this hour. What purpose is that verse? Father, glorify your name. This is the ultimate purpose for the death of Jesus Christ, that the name of God would be glorified. We need to listen to and learn from the prayer that springs out of the troubled soul of Jesus in his time of deepest anguish. Father, glorify your name. Is that how you pray when times are tough? God, glorify your name, not get me out of this as quickly as possible. Glorify your name. And guess what? Here God answers Jesus's prayer quite literally, still in verse. Then a voice came from heaven. I have glorified it and I will glorify it again. Did you know that God the father speaks audibly in the New Testament just three times? Once at Jesus's baptism, when...

...he says this is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased? Anybody know? The second time at the transfiguration, or he says something very similar. This is my beloved son. Listened to him and the third time is right here. I have glorified it, his name, meaning I have glorified my name in the life and Ministry of Jesus and I will glorify it again in the death and exaltation of Jesus. This is a direct response to the prayer of Jesus's troubled soul. God, the father, who has been glorifying his name throughout the Ministry of Jesus, will continue to glorify his name at the approaching climactic hour of Jesus's death. And so we have to ask how will Jesus's death on the Cross glorify God's name? And we'll be able to answer that question when we when we start considering the implications of the Cross on the world. We've looked at the implications of the Cross on Jesus's soul. We'll look at it those implications for the world. But before we get there, just just notice the crowd's response to the voice from heaven that is answering Jesus's Prayer Verse Twenty Nine. The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered God's voice is often likened to thunder in the Old Testament, so that's understandable. Others said an angel has spoken to him. Some people recognize that this was not just noise, natural noise, but some kind of verbal speech, though, though they couldn't make out what was said and they wrongly attributed it to the voice of an angel. But all of that raises an interesting question, I think. If God's voice from heaven here is in response to Jesus his prayer, but only Jesus understands God's voice in this instance, everyone else is confused. How can he then say, in verse thirty, this voice has come for your Sake, not mine? How does this voice from heaven benefit the crowd more than it does Jesus, if it's in response to him and if he's the only one who can understand it? Well, first of all, it doesn't mean that there was no benefit for Jesus in this whatsoever, even though the outcome of Jesus's troubled soul had had already been resolved, I think, as evidenced by his request for the father to glorify his name. Surely hearing the father's voice would be of some comfort and encouragement to him. But but even if the crowd, the bystanders, couldn't understand or grasp the message of the voice in this moment, the fact that it's recorded here in Verse of Chapter Twelve of John's Gospel would be an enormous benefit for disciples on the other side of the cross, including us. But even immediately, those disciples trying to make sense of what just happened in the aftermath of Jesus's death on the cross, they could reflect later on this and on what Jesus had told them, that the voice said, and that would help sharpen the focus of the cross, so they could see the glory that was mixed in with the shame, helping them to understand the cross looking back with this explanation, not as a moment of defeat but as a moment of glorious victory. And even if the crowd couldn't understand the voice, those with ears to hear at least recognize that something supernatural had occurred, which... an even greater sense of urgency and expectation to what Jesus says next as he explains the implications of this. So let's let's just pause here and kind of recap where we're at so that we're all keeping track, kind of going back into last week, Chapter Twelve, verse twenty, when the Gentiles show up in Jerusalem, Jesus recognizes that his hour has come. The reality of what the Cross is going to mean for him personally causes him to be deeply troubled, deeply distressed, and yet almost simultaneously he is freshly resolved in his primary concern to obey and glorify God even in this dark hour. And so Jesus utters a simple prayer along those lines, and he receives an audible response from the Father in heaven, a response that only he can understand. And yet, despite that, it still serves as a supernatural affirmation of the significance of these events that began to escalate really when those gentiles came seeking Jesus. But what does all of this mean? I want you to listen now as Jesus unpacks some of the implications of the call of the Cross for the world. There's three of them. Here's the first one. It's in verse thirty one. Now is the judgment of this world. So if we're asking how will the death of Jesus Christ glorify the name of God because by his death, firstly, the world is judged, not just at the end of the age. Notice now is the judgment of this world. God's judgment begins with the first coming of Jesus, culminating in his death. As we've seen all throughout John's Gospel, the light of the world comes into the world and causes division almost every step of the way. But the death of Jesus on the Cross reveals an ultimate division, ultimate judgment. The world thought it was passing judgment on Jesus when they nailed him to the cross, but in reality the murder of Jesus on the Cross was bringing judgment upon the people, because the rejection of the son is the rejection of God himself. Those who persist in their unbelief this world are judged in the death of Jesus. And yet at the same time Jesus's death is also, as he said last week, like a seed that bears much fruit in saving many. And so the name of God is glorified in the death of Jesus. Not only is God's holiness is vindicated against sinners in judgment, but also, as his son bears the sin of those sinners who trust in him. The first implication for the world is that the world is judged in the death of Jesus. Here's a second implication of the Cross for the world, still in verse thirty one. Now will the ruler of this world be cast out? That's, of course, a reference to Satan. In what sense was Satan cast out at the death of Jesus? Because, if we're honest, it sure seems like Satan is pretty active in the world today. Even at first glance, the Cross itself appears to be Satan's triumph, but it is in fact his defeat, isn't it?...

Because, as we'll see even more when we get into John Thirteen and John Fourteen, Satan was actively working in these last few hours to undermine Jesus's faith and obedience to his father, and if he had succeeded, salvation itself would be compromised. But despite initial appearances, in the death of Jesus on the Cross, Satan's attempts to do this were not successful. Jesus did not waver in his faith, he did not waver in his obedience to God, he did not sin. He entrusted himself fully to the father all the way through the end and so Jesus's death on the Cross becomes Satan's decisive defeat. The fangs have been removed. How will the death of Jesus Christ glorify God's name? Because sin has been forgiven and therefore Satan has no claim on those who trust in Jesus. We have passed from death to life. Jesus's blood has overcome sin and death and the plans of the enemy. Even at the very moment where it appeared that Satan would win, God's name was glorified in the death of his own son, which secured Satan's defeat. The world is judged, the ruler of this world is cast out. Third Implication of the Cross for the world is in verse thirty two, and I, when I am lifted up from the Earth, will draw all people to myself. What's he talking about? What does he mean? John tells us he said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So this, this same event, Jesus's death on the Cross is still in view here. Lifted up refers to the cross, the manner of his death. Lifted up. So again, how will lifting Jesus up on the cross glorify God's name? Answer because it will draw all people to himself. That word draw is used back in chapter six, verse forty four, the bread of life discourse, which reads no one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him. That drawing is certain, that that drawing is effectual. In in John Six, it's the father who is drawing individuals whom the son preserves and will raise up on the last day. Here in John Twelve, it is the son who draws all people to himself. Well, in what sense, of course, we have to ask right and in what sense? Well, Jesus's death draw all people? Is this saying that all people will be saved? Well, Jesus's death is certainly more than sufficient to save all people because of the incomparable worth and value of his sacrifice. But just let the context answer that question for you. Verse Thirty One says now is the judgment of this world. A little earlier in verse he said whoever loves his life loses it. Whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. All people, quite clearly from the context, cannot refer to all people without exception, or else everyone would be saved something. In the...

...context and in the rest of the Bible is clearly wrong. I think the key is to remember what what triggers all of these statements in the first place. It's the arrival of the gentiles seeking Jesus, and in that context all people, and at the same time humans who reject God are judged for their unbelief. Whether or not we can understand that doesn't make it less true. The fact is, if God is not sovereign in these matters, then what is the point in asking him to save others? But since he is sovereign in salvation, we do have cause for hope. More to the point here, specifically to this context, God's hardening on the people in Isaiah's Day especially serves as a righteous condom nation UN guilty people who are simply doing what they have chosen to do. That's true not only the people in Isaiah's Day, it's true of the people in Jesus's Day, it's true of the people in our day. Continue in unbelief and God will judge you. With lasting unbelief. Continue Hardening your heart and God will judge you by hardening your heart and and beyond that, the the unbelief of the people, especially in Isaiah's Day is something that God orchestrated, he planned, he used to ultimately bring about his redemptive purposes at the Cross. The the unbelief of the people didn't catch God off guard. In fact, without their unbelief, the story of the Bible Shifts and the path to the cross becomes murkier. No Cross, no salvation. So John Connects the rejection of Jesus with the prophecies in Isaiah, Isaiah fifty three, Isaiah six, and then he adds something very interesting in verse forty one. Did you catch this? Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Who is the him? And if you work your way back up the verses right the nearest referent to him is in fact Jesus. In other words, what John Seems to be saying is that when Isaiah had that vision of God in the temple, with with the Saraphim and the burning coals, remember that Isaiah saw and spoke of the glory of Jesus, of the Sun. That's remarkable, right. That's enough for you to go chew on right there for the rest of the day. But but even more than that, it also means in this context that it is Jesus who blinded eyes and hardened hearts. How did he do that? Well, I think, simply by fulfilling Isaiah fifty three, by coming as a lowly servant with no form of Majesty or beauty, ensuring he would be despised and rejected by men, even as he faithfully proclaimed the glory of God, just like the ministry that God gave to Isaiah, in a foreshadowing of what would happen to Jesus. In other words, Jesus came as the Messiah that his people did not want to see, declaring a message that they did not want to hear, knowing the whole time what the consequence would be. And so the people were blinded and hardened in their unbelief that God had already planned and at the same time they were freely choosing to do the proof of this... not just an Isaiah's day notice verse forty two. Nevertheless, many, even of the authorities, believed in him. Well, that sounds good, next word, but for fear of the Pharisees, they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue, for they love the glory that comes from Man More than the glory that comes from God. That's not good. This. This sounds like the same kind of inadequate, superficial faith that we've already encountered a few times in John's Gospel, even especially the part about being thrown out of the synagogue. Remember the response of the blind man's parents back in John Chapter Nine. That was their concern. Earlier in John's Gospel, Chapter Five, Verse Forty Four, Jesus had said to the Pharisees, how can you believe when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes only from God? Same thing here. They love the glory that comes from Man More than the glory that comes from God. These were people who were willing to believe some truths about Jesus from a distance, but not at the risk of any personal loss. And the root of their unbelief was this love of the glory of Man, a concern for position and reputation that that outweighs concern for obediently following God. That's a dangerous trap that we can easily fall into. Just think about the place you work, the people you interact with, your family members, what they might think a love of the glory of Man More than the glory of God. So in this critical turning point of John's gossip, we've seen implications of the call of the Cross. We've just looked at an explanation of why people reject the call of the Cross and finally here we get a summation of all of Jesus's ministry that points to this call of the Cross. This is the final charge that he delivers before he turns from his public ministry to focus on ministering to the twelve. Verse Forty Four and Jesus cried out and said whoever believes in me believes not in me but in Him who sent me, and whoever sees me sees him who sent me. This is very familiar. Jesus has claimed all along that he is one with the father, that the father has sent him to carry out his will. He simply reiterates that here. It's a good summary of his ministry and he states there clearly that faith in him equates faith in God. In fact, faith in God must be mediated through Jesus, who is the supreme revelation of God, or else it is not true faith at all. Verse Forty Six, another common theme throughout John's Gospel. Jesus says, I have come into the world as light so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. We've seen this before, right. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. I am the light of the world, while you have the light, believe in the light that you may become sons of light. Jesus is re emphasizing those key teachings from his public ministry, which now draws to a close with an urgent call to obedience alongside the threat of Judgment. See it in verse. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do...

...not judge him, for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge. The word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. We've seen this kind of thing before too, that that Jesus did not come the first time for the express purpose of bringing condemnation. However, as we've looked at the same message that proclaims life and forgiveness to the believer also pronounces wrath and condemnation upon the unbeliever. Now is the judgment of the world. Remember and notice here, on the last day, it will be the word of Jesus that will be the judge, which means if you've heard the message of the Gospel and have rejected it, the same message that brings salvation to others will condemn you in your unbelief on the last day. And the reason why Jesus's words are so final, the reason why that threat of judgment hangs heavy, is because the words of Jesus are the very words of God himself. Verse Forty Nine, for I have not spoken on my own authority, but the father who sent me has himself given me a commandment what to say and what to speak that applies to everything that Jesus says, including, most immediately in this context, the command to believe in him. It's a command that comes from God. The implication here is that the Gospel is not an invitation that you can consider and then politely accept or decline. Rather, the Gospel is a command of God. To obey or disobey. The command here, verse fifty and I know that his command is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the father has told me this. This little summation of Jesus's ministry leads to its centers on the Cross. God's command, which stands behind Jesus's words, leads to eternal life for all those who believe in him, and it leads to eternal condemnation for all who do not. How appropriate it is to close with such an emphasis on the words of Jesus, because he himself is the word of God made flesh, who will perfectly obey God's commands and bring eternal life as he goes to the cross as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. How do we know that? Because we have his words, because we have his words in the word. This is how we know the living word. It's through the witness of the written word. This, this whole passage and Jesus's whole ministry, points to the Cross. We saw the implications of the call of the Cross for Jesus, for the world, for his original audience. We saw a theological explanation for why people reject the call of the Cross and we heard a summation of Jesus's ministry that centers on the Cross, resulting in eternal life through the cross. The Cross, the Cross, the cross. Why is there such an emphasis on the cross? Because Jesus's answer to the call of the cross glorifies God and it accomplishes his eternal purposes for mankind. This is why we don't just preach this is why we don't just preach Jesus. This is why we preach Jesus Christ and him crucified, for the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but... those who believe we're being saved, it is the power of God. The Cross symbolizes all that Jesus Christ accomplished for us and his redeeming work. And so we seeing of the cross, we survey the wondrous cross, we cherish the power of the Cross, we stand beneath the cross, we plead with Jesus to keep us near the cross. We boldly proclaim the cross, because the cross is where the purchase price for our spiritual freedom was paid in full. It is the place where reconciliation was made between two seemingly irreconcilable parties, God and man, because hanging between the two of them was a mediator with outstretched arms who, by his death brought us together. Jesus's answer to the call of the cross glorifies God's name and it accomplishes his eternal purposes for mankind. So let me ask you. Have you knelt before the Christ of the Cross? Do you understand why Jesus answering the call of the Cross was necessary? Do you understand what it accomplished, and do you understand the command that it now places on you? If you never have before, will you respond, just even right where you're at, to this crucified savior who now lives again, the one who answered the call of the Cross, who died in the place of sinners, who satisfied God's wrath, who glorified God's name and who now lives and intercedes for the people who belong to him? Will you respond by renouncing your sin and yourself and placing all of your trust in Jesus Christ? May The power of the cross be a wondrous attraction for you, now and always. What the Puritan prayer from the Valley of vision serve as our prayer here? Bow with me, please, my father, enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips, supply words that proclaim love lusters at calvary. There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on THY son, made a transgressor a curse and sin. For me, they're the sword of THY justice. Smote the man, thy fellow. They're thy infinite attributes were magnified and infinite atonement was made. Their infinite punishment was due and infinite punishment was endured. Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy, cast off, that I might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy, that I might be welcomed as a friend, surrender to hell's worst that I might attain Heaven's best, stripped, that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed. A thirst that I might drink, tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory, entered darkness that I might have eternal light. My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes, groaned that I might have endless song, endured all pain that I might have unfading health. Bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory diadem bowed his head that I might uplift mine. Experienced reproach that I might receive welcome. Closed his eyes and death that I might gaze on unclouded. Brightness expired, that I might forever live. Oh...

...father, who spared not thine only son, that thou might sparest me all this transfer thy love, designed and accomplished, help me to adore thee by lips and life. Oh, that my every breath might be ecstatic, praise my every step, buoyant with delight as I see my enemies crushed, Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed, sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood. Hell's gates closed, Heaven's Portal Open. Go Forth, Oh conquering God, and show me the cross mighty to subdue comfort and safe Y.

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