Empty Cross Ministries
John Chapter 12
Jesus Predicts His Crucifixion and Glorification
John 12:20-21 “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:” “The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.”
Most likely Gentile proselytes to Judaism who had come up for the Passover and who, in their desire to see Jesus, stood in direct antithesis to the attitude of the national leaders who desired to kill Him. At the very moment when the Jewish authorities plotted virulently to kill Him, Gentiles began to desire His attention.
It appears the news was widespread about Jesus raising Lazarus from the grave, and these Greeks had come to see this man who performed such great miracles. Jesus came first to the Jew, but the Gentiles who believed on Him would not be denied.
Philip has a Greek name and perhaps some of his people were Greek. These people would not be able to worship other than in the outer court, so that is possibly where they ran on to Philip. The Lord Jesus made many trips into Jerusalem these six days before Passover. It would not have been difficult to locate Him.
The cry of every soul who ever sought salvation is “We would see Jesus”. I love the song that says “Wherever Jesus is, will be heaven to me”.
John 12:22 “Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.”
Philip seems to be a very shy person. He tells Andrew, so he will have some support when he goes to tell Jesus.
John 12:23 “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.”
Hour refers to the time of Jesus’ death, resurrection and exaltation (verse 27; 13:1; 17:1). Up to this point, Jesus’ hour had always been future.
In this, Jesus is telling the disciples and those in hearing range, that the time has come when Jesus will be glorified to all mankind, and in so doing glorifies the Father. Jesus is saying, everyone can see me, because I will be lifted up on the cross for all to see.
John 12:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
As the sown kernel dies to bring forth a rich harvest, so also the death of the Son of God will result in the salvation of many.
We see here, that Jesus is speaking again in parables, so that just curiosity seekers would not understand what He is saying. Jesus is explaining that when you bury a grain of wheat, it does not stay dead, but life wins out over death. This grain of wheat will live again in the wheat it produces, but there will be much more than the one grain that is planted.
Here we see Jesus telling them that when His body goes to the ground and rises again, His followers will be multiplied greatly. Verily, verily means there is no room for doubt (It is so).
John 12:25 “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”
We see here that those who love this world and the things of this world are worldly and will have no eternal life in heaven to look forward to. To love the world is to be an enemy of God.
We Christians, on the other hand, are living in the world, but we are not of the world. We are not caught up in things this world can bring us. We are not doing worldly things. Our home is in heaven. Our heart and mind is stayed upon heavenly things. We are like Abraham who lived in tents looking for a city whose maker was God.
We Christians are looking forward to the day when the trumpet shall blow in the sky, and we shall be caught up into the heavens to be with our Lord Jesus Christ. If we love the world, we are worldly. If we love heaven, we are heavenly.
John 12:26 “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.”
Not only is the principle of death applicable to Jesus (see verse 24), but it is also applicable to His followers. They too, as His disciples, may have to lose their life in service and witness for Him (see Matthew 10:37-39; 16:24-25).
You see if we serve Jesus, we will walk in His footsteps. We will do the things that He would do, if He were here. To play follow the leader, you must do everything the leader does. This is the way it is, if we are to serve Jesus. We must do it His way and not ours.
If we call ourselves Christians, we should be Christ-like. You cannot live worldly lives and still be a Christian. A Christian is a believer in and a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 12:27 “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.”
“Now is my soul troubled”: The term used here is strong and signifies horror, anxiety and agitation. Jesus’ contemplation of taking on the wrath of God for the sins of the world caused revulsion in the sinless Savior (2 Cor. 5:21).
We will later see at Gethsemane, Jesus praying. He will say my Spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. The flesh of Jesus was as mankind, but the Spirit within was God the Word. Here above, Jesus is saying, my flesh is not looking forward to the suffering.
This is the reason Jesus came to this earth; to crucify the flesh, so that our spirit might live. Sin in the flesh was nailed to the cross to pay the price for you and me. We too, must put our flesh under subjection to the Spirit of God.
Flesh and blood does not inherit the kingdom of God. Our spirit body inherits heaven, if we believe in and follow Jesus Christ our Lord.
John 12:28 “Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
This request embodied the principle that Jesus lived by and would die by (see 7:18; 8:29 and 50). The Father answered the Son in an audible voice. This is only one of 3 instances during Jesus’ ministry when this took place (Matthew 3:17; His baptism, and 17:5 His transfiguration).
Jesus, even here, has totally submitted to the will of the Father. Those who are in tune with God hear His voice and understand.
John 12:29 “The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.”
As I said above, some have ears that cannot hear. Many people throughout the Bible have said it thundered when God spoke. His words must fall on ears willing to hear and understand, before His message can be received.
This is the reason so many people read the Bible and cannot understand what it is saying. They are reading it technically, and are not letting the Spirit speak to them and teach them what it is saying.
John 12:30 “Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.”
You see, Jesus already knew that His Father would be glorified in this, and that many who would not believe Jesus was the Christ (Messiah), before the crucifixion would follow Him after He rises from the grave (as His half-brother James does).
Jesus tells the people, this voice is to encourage you, not me.
John 12:31 “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”
A reference to Satan (see 14:30). Although the cross might have appeared to signal Satan’s victory over God, in reality, it marked Satan’s defeat.
You see the judgment of the world and its system under Satan will be defeated on the cross. Satan is all for killing Jesus, because he does not realize that what he feels will be victory over Jesus, will actually be his greatest defeat.
Without the shedding of blood, there is no life. Jesus must shed His blood for all who believe in His name to go free. Jesus was to pay the price for all of us. Our indebtedness will be marked paid in full.
John 12:32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
This refers to His crucifixion.
John 12:33 “This he said, signifying what death he should die.”
I see, in this lifting up of Jesus, two things. He was lifted up from the earth on the cross. As terrible as the punishment of crucifixion was, it is where Jesus won victory over Satan. The blood of Jesus was not spilled; it was freely given. Everyone who comes to God must come by the way of the cross.
Had there not been a cross, there would not be salvation. The way of the cross leads to everlasting life. The curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn from the top to the bottom while Jesus was on the cross. This opened the way for all believers to the most holy place.
Jesus is the door we must go through, but we are allowed in because He opened the way. We can also, see in this that just as the tomb did not hold Jesus, neither will the grave hold us. We will rise from the grave just as Jesus rose, if we have put our trust in Him.
John 12:34 “The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?”
The term “Law” was used broadly enough to include not only the five books of Moses but also the whole of the Old Testament (see Romans 10:4). Perhaps they had in mind (Isaiah 9:7), which promised that Messiah’s kingdom would last forever, or (Ezekiel 37:25), where God promised that the final David would be Israel’s prince forever (see also Psalms 89:35-37).
Here, we see people who think of all of life being in this frail body. They expect Messiah to live on the earth forever. Life does not consist of the things of this earth. Our life on earth is but a vapor, because this body we are housed in now is not eternal.
The Spirit within the body is eternal. He will never die, just change place of habitation. Jesus the Christ is eternal. Messiah is eternal. These people were not thinking of heaven. They were thinking of Jerusalem. They had missed the meaning behind the Scripture.
John 12:35 “Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.”
There is a large group of people who have joined the disciples by this time. Jesus tells them, one more time, that He is the Light of the world. He is telling them to believe in Him, while He is here. After He leaves, it will be harder to believe.
When Jesus is gone, it will be much harder to come to Him, because the enemy will try to stop you from believing. Even in our day, false doctrines are flying around everywhere. Few really know the Truth.
John 12:36 “While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.”
A final invitation from Jesus was recorded by John to focus on his theme of believing in the Messiah and Son of God (see 20:30-31).
Jesus here, is making one more appeal to them. They need to receive the true Light of Christ. There is a day of salvation. Jesus is telling them to believe Him now, while they can. Shortly after Jesus’ return to heaven, it will become very hard to be a follower of Christ.
Many like Peter, will give their life for their belief. Light is from God, darkness is of the devil. Just like in the dark ages, few came to Christ.
John Chapter 12 Continued Questions
1. Who, besides the Jews, came to worship at the Feast?
2. Who did they come to, so they might see Jesus?
3. The disciple that they had spoken to came to what other disciple?
4. What did these Greeks say that all true believers say?
5. Why did Philip go to Andrew before he went to Jesus?
6. What hour did Jesus say had come?
7. What must a cornel of wheat do to bring forth fruit?
8. We are told, if we love life we shall ___________ ____________.
9. What must we hate to inherit eternal life?
10. Jesus said, if any man serve me ______ _____ __________ ____.
11. Who will the Father honor?
12. Why does Jesus not ask the Father to stop this horrible death of His body?
13. When did the voice of God come from heaven?
14. What did most of the people think the sound was?
15. Some others said it was what?
16. For what purpose had God spoken?
17. Who will be cast out?
18. What would Jesus do, if He be lifted up?
19. What did this signify?
20. What had these people heard out of the law about Christ?
21. Who is this _____ of ______ they ask?
22. What did Jesus call Himself in verse 35?
23. Those who walk in darkness, do not know what?
24. What did Jesus tell them to believe in verse 36?
25. Where did Jesus go when He left them?