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As we head towards Easter we are going to move through a series titled “The Centrality of the Cross.”

Today is part 6 When Death Brings Life.

Text

John 12:32-33 (ESV)

32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 

33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

Scripture Reading

John 12:20-36 (ESV)

Some Greeks Seek Jesus

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 

21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 

22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 

23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 

25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 

26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him.

The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up

27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 

28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 

29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 

30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 

31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 

32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 

33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 

34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 

35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 

36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

The Unbelief of the People

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.

Prayer

Father, we thank you for being our heavenly Father and for showing your love and care for us in so many ways.

Lord we repent for the discretions of your church body around the world, and pray that they come back to your Word.

On this day Father as we enter into what was the final week of our Lord’s earthly life, we are especially aware of your love in the incomparable gift of your Son.

Bless us as we bring all we have to you Lord, our finances, our families, our decisions, and most of all our lives, as an expression of our love for you, who first loved us.

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

We come today, in our emphasis on the centrality of the cross, to the last week of Jesus’ life.

It is Monday, the day after He rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey.

The pilgrims excitement about Jesus’ presence in Jerusalem was running high.

They had greeted Him on Sunday with palm branches, a practise that had first been used when the Jews celebrated the deliverance of the temple and Jerusalem from the Syrians.

Thought he years the palm branch had come to be used on coins and in the temple feasts as a reminder of that great victory led by the Maccabeans.

So when they waved the palm branches before Jesus, tit was a symbolic way of encouraging Him to conquer the Romans.

They wanted Him to be a military saviour.

They cried “Hosanna!” Which meant “save us now!” Or “Deliver us now!”

But Jesus came not riding a warriors stallion, but on a donkey, to symbolise His mission as a man of peace.

  1. A strange request.

A. Let’s consider a strange request coming not from a band of Jesus’ own people, but from a group of Greeks. 

These were most likely Gentile proselytes who had come as pilgrims to worship in the temple during passover.

Remember John 12:20-21 (ESV)

Some Greeks Seek Jesus

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 

21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

We aren’t certain what prompted the Greeks to seek out Jesus, but it is entirely possible that they had been standing in the court of the Gentiles when, with fiery indignation, Jesus had cleared the court of money changers.

And even though these greeks were proselytes and had embraced the jewish faith, they were not blind to the bigotry and prejudice of the Jews towards the gentiles.

So it is possible that they were inwardly amused, as well as outwardly amazed, at what Jesus did!

B. Whatever the Greeks’ immediate reason for seeking out Jesus, something about Him created a hunger within their hearts, driving them to find Him and talk with Him.

They sought out Philip and said, Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”

Obviously flustered by the situation, Philip left the Greeks alone until he could speak to someone else.

He found Andrew, who suggested that they take the matter to Jesus at once.

2. An amazing revelation.

  1. Not only do we encounter a strange request by the Greeks, but we are faced with an amazing revelation that Jesus gave His disciples.

John wrote in John 12:23 (ESV)

23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

Jesus mast have been deeply moved by this request from the Greeks.

He saw in their coming the beginning of an innumerable host of Gentiles who would believe in Him.

But before they could believe in Jesus with a true understanding of His ministry, the crucifixion and resurrection had to take place. 

So Jesus did not receive the Greeks at that time.

For He was yet a Christ “in the flesh” who had come first to His own people as King of the Jews.

In this role, He was not fully ready to be received by the Gentiles, although certain Gentiles, like the Syro-Phoenician woman and the Roman centurion and others, had received Him.

But before He turned to the Gentiles as a people, the loneliness and rejection of His own people had to occur.

He had to be lifted up on the cross and accepted as a sacrifice for sin and not just as “a son of David”

B. Jesus told Andrew and Philip, “the hour has come”

By the He meant that the time was at hand when His mission would be infinitely expanded.

I just a few days he would die on a cross and be resurrected on the third day, providing once and for all redemption from sin for anyone who believes in Him.

Jesus continued by illustrating what He meant by this statement “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”

Remember the Greeks wanted to “see” Jesus.

They wanted to be introduced to Him, to understand Him, to discover His mission.

But Jesus implied that they could not “see” Him or comprehend His mission, not yet!

Why?

Jesus knew that at this point these Greeks would only see Him as a miracle worker, an appealing teacher, and a potential military leader.

They were unable to see Him in His role as Saviour of the world.

C. Note the figure of speech Jesus used, John 12:24 (ESV)

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

A kernel of wheat is a small husk covering a small piece of grain.

A scientist could tell you everything that is inside that small kernel of wheat.

But while you look at the grain, you cannot see what is inside!

Andrew and Philip could have said, “But Lord, we see you! There you stand among us! We agree with Peter, we believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

But just as no one can see what is inside a tiny grain of wheat, so they could not see Jesus in the fullest sense of the word.

So what do we do with this grain?

We put it in the ground, and it dies, disintegrates.

But that is not the end of it!

Something else happens.

We stand aside, and in a short time a tiny blade appears, then the stalk, the head, and finally a full piece of grain.

D. Jesus’ message was that no one could fully see Him until He died.

The power and efficacy of His life would not be released until He experienced death.

Jesus’ life was perfect and sinless, but no one is saved by Jesus’ life.

He performed many miracles in His daily ministry, but there was no saving power in His ministry.

It was simply a demonstration and proof of His deity.

It was His death that provided salvation.

The group of Greeks could not see Jesus yet, but if they waited awhile , they could see Him in a way that they could never have seen Him before!

3. A positive requirement.

  1. Jesus said that one cannot find eternal life until first there is a death, His death on the cross.

And following the same theme, He applied the principal to those who would follow Him in, John 12:25-26 (ESV)

25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 

26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him.

Here is a matter of spiritual priorities.

Many Christians are completely earthbound, and their main concern is with this life, its things, what it offers.

A good question to ask someone is are they walking with Christ or who they are in Christ, instead of are they Christian.

There is a huge difference in the two

B. Then Jesus drove His illustration even closer to home.

He said in, John 12:26 (ESV)

26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him.

Where was Jesus going?

He was going to the cross.

But where beyond that?

He would be resurrected to glory and triumph!

The grain of wheat would fall into the ground and die.

And through that death, life would spring fourth and a harvest would result.

C. So what was Jesus saying to us?

First He was telling us that true life is released only after a death takes place.

While the grain of wheat was preserved in safety and security, it was unfruitful.

When it was planted in the ground, it bore fruit.

It was by the death of martyrs that the church grew in ancient times.

As the old saying puts it, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

Because they died, the church became the living church.

Second, Jesus is saying that only by giving away our lives do we retain life.

When Joan of Arc knew that her enemies were strong and her time was short, she prayed to God, “Lord, I shall only last a year, use me as you can.”

And finally, Jesus is telling us that only by service comes greatness.

At another time, Jesus said in Luke 9:48 (ESV)

48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

Conclusion.

True life is not realised until you identify with God through Jesus Christ.

Then you learn that life is found in giving yourself away so that Christ may be the top priority.

Hear Him say to you, “whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.”

Until next time

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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