The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said,This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.John 12:29-33
Jesus had no illusions about what was coming, and undoubtedly he was encouraged to hear the Father's voice confirming that he was on the right course. This voice had first been heard at the baptism of Jesus and again at the transfiguration. And now, for the third time, as he faced the ordeal of the cross the voice of the Father affirms his pleasure at the faithfulness of his beloved Son who was willing to endure what lay before him. God declares that from this ordeal will come further glory to his name.
Jesus explains by listing three things which that glory will consist of: First,
Now is the judgment of this world. In the cross men will be able to see what is wrong with the philosophy of the world, what is evil in what sounds so right and necessary. Here the world's phony values are exposed. Here is revealed a standard by which the self-indulgence of the world may be measured, that destructive philosophy that cries out on every side today,
Live for yourself, for yourself alone... But Jesus says that such life must be put to death:
If any one serves me, let him deny himself; and take up his cross, daily, and follow me, (Luke 9:23). You cannot be a Christian and continue to live on the basis that your life belongs to yourself. That is the life of the world. All of that is judged in the cross.
Second, Jesus declares,
Now shall the ruler of this world be cast out. Because we are continually victims of the deceptions of Satan we do not realize how total is his control of the human race. All men blindly follow demonic delusions that Satan sends into the world. We find ourselves manipulated by Satanic values and have no idea of how helpless we are to change, apart from Christ. The devil is the prince, the ruler, of this world, the Scriptures declare. He is in control of human society. But the great word of the gospel is that when we believe in Jesus and follow him, we are freed from the power of Satan, transferred into the Kingdom of the Son of God's love. For the first time we can do something permanent about the habits that destroy us, hurting us and others, wrecking our plans and sabotaging our highest hopes and dreams. In the cross the power of the devil over the human race was broken and deliverance to individuals was made possible.
Finally, Jesus says,
I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. You may have heard that text used to mean that if a preacher exalts Christ, everybody will be attracted to him. I wish it did express that. As I have preached Christ, I have found that some were attracted to him, but not everybody. No, that is not what these words mean. John tells us what they mean when he adds,
He said this to show by what death he was to die. These words of Jesus are clearly a reference to the cross: By means of the cross he would draw all people to himself. He probably means all kinds of men—rich or poor, black, white, yellow and red, children and adults, no matter what social standing or background, no matter how deeply one had fallen into sin—all kinds are drawn to the cross and can be delivered and saved. What a wonderful word of hope, and how true it has proved to be. All kinds of people have come, and have found deliverance through the cross of Christ!
Lord Jesus, through the cross you judged the world, cast out Satan and draw all kinds of people to yourself. Help me to walk in the victory you have won.
What are three essential ways in which Jesus' death on the cross brings glory to His name? His disciples are compelled by His sacrificial love to no longer live for ourselves but for Him. He died that we may live; are we honoring Him by steadfastly renouncing our self-indulgence?