John 12:27-36

Henry Mahan

(Vs. 27) "Now is my soul troubled." The Scriptures say, "He made His soul an offering for sin" (Isa. 53:10). Our Lord was in a human body, and His human soul was troubled at the judgment for sin and the wrath of God that was about to fall upon Him for the sins of His people, which He bore. This agony and conflict was fully experienced and expressed in the garden (Luke 22:42-44). "What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour"? This question was posed in order to declare and confirm again His purpose in coming to earth and His eternal will to redeem a people. Shall I put forth a petition to My Father to deliver Me from the suffering, shame, and judgment of the cross? Certainly not! For this cause He came to the earth; for this cause He came to this hour; it was fixed in the covenant of grace; and Christ, as our surety, agreed to it. He will lay down His life willingly; and rather than seek to avoid the cross, He will put forth the following petition, "Father, glorify Thy name!"

(Vs. 28) "Father, glorify Thy name." Glorify Thy attributes in Me and the work of redemption I have undertaken according to Thy will. In purposing to save a people from Adam's fallen race, in giving the beloved Son to be made of a woman and made under the law, in bruising Him on the tree, the eternal God glorifies the perfections of His nature. His love, His mercy, His truth, His justice and righteousness, and His power and wisdom are all manifested and glorified (Rom. 3:23-26; Rom. 1:16-17; Psalm 85:10). Again the voice came from heaven (as at His baptism and transfiguration) saying, "I have both glorified it" in the incarnation of the Son, in the Son's ministry and perfect obedience, and "I will glorify it again," by supporting the Son in death, by raising Him from the dead and exalting Him at My right hand, and in calling out a people for His glory (Phil. 2:6-11).

(Vs. 29) Just as in the case of Paul's experience on the road to Damascus, those who were with Him, though hearing a sound, failed to hear the distinct words (Acts 9:7; Acts 22:9). Many of the people who stood near Christ when the Father spoke said, "It thundered." Others, however, were willing to admit that they heard a voice and said, "An angel spoke to Him."

(Vs. 30) Our Lord said to the people that stood by and were disputing over what they had just heard from heaven (whether thunder, the voice of Cod, or the voice of an angel), "This voice came not for My sake only, but for your sakes." Not only extraordinary miracles and been performed before their eyes, such as blind men seeing and dead men brought to life, but with their ears they had heard the voice of God speaking to Him. Yet natural men do not see, hear, nor understand the grace of God nor the person and work of Christ (John 5:40-44; I Cor. 2:9-10; Matt. 13:13-16).

(Vs. 31) Our Lord says, "NOW is the judgment of this world" (Acts 17:30-31). The Jewish nation, having the law, the prophets, and the types, nevertheless rejected their Messiah and are brought under judgment and their place removed. The world knew Him not and, consenting to His death, have this sin laid upon all unbelievers (John 3:36). The sins of all believers of all generations are judged and paid for by Christ (Rom. 8:1, 33-34), and the prince of this world (Satan) is cast down. Satan had a dominion over mankind by the fall of Adam, keeping the greater part of the world in idolatry and darkness (Eph. 2:2-3). He is not by any right the prince of this world, but by God's permission he exercises his evil power and boasts himself to be a king (Luke 4:6-7). His doom, destruction, and defeat are now accomplished (Gen. 3:15). Men and women of all nations, tongues, and tribes are redeemed in Christ.

(Vs. 32-33) Our Lord is revealing that He would be "lifted up from the earth" on a cross, "as Moses lifted up the brazen serpent." His death would be public, violent, and expressive of His mediation between God and men, being lifted up between heaven and earth (I Tim. 2:5-6). By means, of His crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation the Lord Jesus redeems, justifies, and calls to Himself all of God's elect from every age and nation. He redeems them to God by His blood and draws them to Himself by His Spirit and Word. Our Lord is not the Saviour of the Jews only, but the Saviour of the world (John 10:16; John 1:29; I John 2:2).

(Vs. 34) The people referred to prophecies in the Old Testament which said that the Christ is a Priest forever (Psalm 110:4), Christ is King over an everlasting kingdom which shall not be destroyed (Dan. 7:14), and, as the son of David, He would reign upon David's throne. They could not reconcile these things with Christ's talk of rejection, shame, and death. The reason was they were talking of and looking for an earthly kingdom with a Jewish king. They knew nothing of the Messiah's spiritual work of redemption nor of His eternal kingdom in the new heaven and upon a new earth. They had no understanding of their priesthood, tabernacle, or sacrifices. They knew nothing of the character of God nor their own sinfulness (John 8:19, 41-44). They asked, "Who is this son of man you say must be lifted up?" The true Messiah will live and reign, so who is this son of man that you say must die? The term "son of man" occurs at least eighty times in the gospels.

(Vs. 35-36) Christ is the light; the gospel He preached is the light; the revelation of His Divine person and work is the light. "Yet a little while the light is with you." Soon He would be gone back to the Father, judicial blindness would come upon Israel, and physical death would soon come to them all. Walk in the light of revelation, receive the Word preached, believe the Messiah, and seek the Lord in truth, that you may be children of God. Days of grace, light, and the preaching of Christ come to many in this world who ought to take advantage of this blessing. The darkness of old age, senility, gospel-hardening, false religion, and false refuges leave a man only to stumble about in confusion. Our Lord then departed from them and did hide Himself, leaving them to their thoughts. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.