Monthly Archives: March 2012

John 13:1-11 – Loved Like the Disciples Are Loved

With the advent of John 13, we have entered into the final section of John’s Gospel.
• Scholars view John 12:44-50 and John 13:1-3 as a summary of Jesus’ ministry in the first and a “summation of themes of John’s gospel” in the latter.
• The last 8 chapters of John focus on just 3 days of Jesus’ life.
• It seems fitting that the Passion events begin with such a summary.

With respect to our text today, the “summation of themes” of vs. 1-3 is (Beasley-Murray):
• “Jesus’ knowledge of ‘the hour’” – His Purpose
• “His love for his own” – Not come to Judge (this time)
• “The Father’s placing all things into his hands” – Father’s Jesus
• “The fact that he had come from God and was going to God” – Identity as Ruler/Creator/Co-Regent
• “The devil’s opposition to God’s work in Christ, particularly through Judas Iscariot” – The Battle

As is usually the case, we can go many directions with our text.
• I want to explore how Jesus “loved his own”.
• And in particular, if we are the object of this same love of Jesus even though we aren’t physically with Jesus.
• We are headed to a discussion of Jesus’ love as “Spoken Service” and the “Enacted Word”.

1) JESUS LOVED HIS OWN

John 13:1–4a (ESV) — 1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper.

One is struck by the affection displayed in verse 1.
• John is reflecting on His own experience of Jesus’ love having been His disciple.
• He could say with certainty that Jesus “loved his own” and that “he loved them to the end”.
• He had a tangible, physical and personal experience with Jesus’ love.
• D.A. Carson says that the love John is referencing here is a love that John experienced as a believer.
    o The object of Jesus love here is to “the newly forming people of God, the disciples of the Messiah, the nascent church, the community of the elect” – D.A. Carson.
• In other words, this love is only for the believer not the lost world.

How did Jesus love them?
• John and the disciples walked and talked with Jesus – fellowship.
• Jesus called them out of the world and darkness into the Kingdom and light – salvation.
• Jesus revealed for them the words and knowledge of God the Father that they might understand – teaching.
• And as we will soon discuss, Jesus also loved them by – serving.
• These are just to name a few.

One can’t help but notice that many of the ways Jesus loved them were linked to Jesus’ physical presence.
• To state the obvious, Jesus is not walking beside us; He has ascended to the throne.
• And contrary to a popular hymn, Jesus is not even living “within my heart” – the Holy Spirit is, of course.
Yet, are there any ways we experience the same love Jesus showed the disciples?
• The answer to the question, which is found in our text in two instances, is a resounding YES!

(1) The first way He loves us just like the disciples is by using His Words to point us to spiritual truths.
• I want to call this “Diving Deeper” love – “DD”.
• We see this in our text today in verses 8-10.
• Jesus is talking about salvation and Peter is thinking literal.

(2) The second way He loves us just like the disciples is by using His Words (spoken service) and Actions (enacted words) to serve us.
• I want to call this “Dispensing Grace” love – “DG”.
• We see this in our text today in verse 4b and following.
• Jesus humiliates Himself to dispense grace.
    o Kenneth Bailey often refers to this as “costly grace”.

2) “DIVING DEEPER” AND “DISPENSING GRACE” KINDS OF LOVE

John 13:4b–11 (ESV) — 4b He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

“Diving Deeper” Love:
We will deal with the “DD” love first.
• We have noticed often that what the disciples thought was a literal/physical point was meant by Jesus to be a spiritual point.
• In other words, Jesus was pointing them to something deeper – something beyond their subjective personal experience.

Our text today is a case in point.
• Jesus speaks of “wash you” and “share with me” and “the one who has bathed” and Peter thinks literal.
• Jesus is referring to salvation, grace and the Gospel and Peter thinks he must need a bath.
• Jesus, using His words, is trying to point the disciples to the grand truth behind his coming death and resurrection.
• The disciples, apparently, are thinking why Jesus is humiliating Himself like this – “Lord, do you wash my feet?
• Jesus wants them to understand the cleanliness that really matters not personal hygiene.
• This love of Jesus that seeks to point them in this direction using His words is exactly what we experience when we are confronted with Jesus’ Words.

Other Examples of “Diving Deeper” Love:
John 4:31–34 (ESV) — 31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
• Here, Jesus loved the disciples and us by telling us (His Word) that there was a food more important than the food one could physically consume with Him.
• This food was the will of the Father for Jesus’ life which He ate by being obedient to it.
• Neither the disciples nor we can physically see “the will” of the Father.
• But for Jesus it was more important that eating real food.
• We can know this just as the disciples – and to know this is to be loved.

John 6:60–63 (ESV) — 60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying [feed on my flesh and drink my blood]; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
• Again Jesus loved the disciples and us by using a shocking word picture (His Word) to point to a deep spiritual truth.
• Jesus’ Word is “spirit and life”.
    o How much does His Word weigh?
    o What color is it?
    o Does it have a texture?
• Exactly, the thing that has such power as to give “spirit and life” can’t be literally seen by us or the disciples.
• The disciples, like us, could not actually see the Father (source of Jesus’ words) or Holy Spirit (keeper of His words) standing behind the ministry of Jesus Christ.
• Yet it was this fact, this life giving fact, which was of such utmost importance.
    o This is why, for both us and the disciples, “the flesh is no help at all”.
    o It is the born again heart that “feeds” on Jesus’ flesh and “drinks” his blood.
    o Not a bunch of guys sitting around a camp fire passing around a sampler platter.

We even have examples in the way Jesus spoke to others in John, such as the following:
• John 4:13–15 (ESV) — 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
• John 7:35–36 (ESV) — 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”

In every case, as significant as the physical world was to Jesus and the disciples’ relationship (and even that of His enemies), Jesus never settled for that.
• He sought to plunge them deeper into the truth of His word.
• And it is here that we have a connection with the disciples.
• We can experience the depth of Jesus’ word every bit as powerfully as the disciples.
• The “unseen” and spiritual are as real, important, and an expression of Jesus’ love as anything physical.
• And this is “Diving Deeper Love”.

“Dispensing Grace” Love:
This type of love which is found in Jesus’ words (spoken service) and actions (enacted word) is rooted in Jesus’ profound humility.
• So before we look at how we are on the receiving end of this “DG” just like the disciples, we need to see its roots.

“DG” love’s humble roots:
In our text today, we are told Jesus “laid aside his outer garments”, tied a towel around his waist, “began to wash the disciples’ feet”, and wiped their feet with the towel.
• It is important to know that foot washing was reserved for “Gentile slaves and for wives and children” – Beasley-Murray.
• Jesus is supposed to be the King not a Gentile slave.
• Moreover, Jesus’ act of removing clothing and tying a towel around his waist is an action in this context that would clearly identify Him with the actions of a slave.
    o In fact, the Midrash commentary on O.T. occurrences of this behavior says it was done so that people would know the person was a slave – Beasely-Murray.
• As well, we must take note that Jesus also washed the feet of the one of whom He spoke when He said, “Not all of you are clean” – Judas.
    o In other words, Jesus took the place of a slave and washed the feet of His enemy – Satan/Judas.

The entire picture presented to us is one showing that “Jesus’ humility had no boundaries” – Kostenberger.
• From the disciples’ perspective, seeing the Messiah stoop to this behavior would have been as disappointing for them as seeing Jesus come into Jerusalem on a donkey.
• Peter’s response towards Jesus action reveals an “inner revulsion” that the teacher “would stoop to wash his feet” – Kostenberger.

It is from this foundation of humility that Jesus, in His Words (spoken service) and Service (enacted word), loves us and the disciples by dispensing grace.
• That this grace flows from Jesus’ willingness to lower and humiliate Himself is why Kenneth Bailey calls it “costly grace”.
• We may not personally witness the humiliation and later exaltation in person.
• But, as we will see, we do have full access to this grace, just like the disciples.

“Dispensing Grace” Love Experienced:
First, we need to understand that Jesus’ humbling act of foot washing didn’t cleanse the disciples.
• Firstly, we know this because it didn’t cleanse Judas.
    o He was still unclean.
    o Jesus said, “you are clean, but not everyone of you”.
• Secondly, we know this because in John 15:3, Jesus says, “you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you”.
    o What was the word He spoke?
    o It was the word in our text today, “you are clean”.

So what was the point of Jesus foot washing if it didn’t cleanse?
• This is crucial because it will show us how we experience Jesus’ “Dispensing Grace” love just like the disciples.

I need to quote Beasley-Murray at length:
• “The two applications of the statement [our text and John 15:3] are complementary; they illustrate a fundamental assumption of the Gospel that the “word” and the “service” of Jesus are inseparable; the revelation that he brings from God is through word and deed—through incarnation, sign, death, and resurrection as exegeted by the Lord and by the Spirit he sends. Self-evidently, the word spoken and enacted must be received and believed if its effect is to be for life in the kingdom of God and not for loss of the kingdom (cf. 3:16–21). So it comes about that while all the disciples are “washed” by Jesus, not all are “clean,” for among them stands the betrayer, who has rejected the word both spoken and enacted by Jesus” – Beasley-Murray.
• In other words, Jesus’ service (foot washing, incarnation, death, resurrection, etc.) is the “enacted Word” of God.
• Jesus’ Word “you are clean” is the “spoken service” of God.
• This is great news for us!

So, again, how we do encounter the “DG” love of God just like the disciples?
• Because, Jesus’ Word to us is His “spoken service” to us.
• As believers, we are the direct object of the love of God via His Word as “spoken service” to us.
• Therefore, we (believers) partake in the fruits of His “word” and “service” just like the disciples.
• Its consequence and power are the same for us as for the disciples.
• We benefit from this dispensing of grace just as the disciples in that we are justified by faith; we are cleansed by Jesus’ word and service.
• And we didn’t need to personally experience Jesus’ “enacted Word” (foot washing, e.g.) to be so declared.
    o Yet, mysteriously, there is a way we do experience Jesus’ “enacted Word”.

The obvious questions are:
Where do we encounter Jesus’ “spoken service” – His Word?
Where do we encounter Jesus’ “enacted Word” – His Service?
• Michael Horton puts the answer plainly, “God’s mission is to serve us through the marks of preaching and sacrament…”
• In other words, the preaching/teaching of Scripture is where we, like the disciples, encounter Jesus’ “spoken service” and the sacraments are where we encounter Jesus’ “enacted Word”.
    o The sacraments are baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
    o These are a “means of grace” – Dispensing Grace.
• “God serves us through his means of grace, creating faith and repentance that yield the fruit of the Spirit so that God can then serve our neighbors through our various callings in the world” – Michael Horton.

Awesome implication of this:
• This is the complete opposite of how most of us currently treat Church.
• We too often think of it as an obligation we have to serve.
• We think participating in the sacraments (enacted Word) is something we are doing to show God something.
• We think coming to Church and Sunday School (spoken service) is something we are doing for God.
    o We have a very low view of the sacraments and Church!
    o This is why we are hindering the receiving of Jesus’ love as “DG”.
• But this misses the mark entirely.
• Theologically, we can’t “do” for God.
• “God does not need your good works; your neighbor does” – Michael Horton.
• “Gifts do not go up to God but come down from the God who does not need anything and cannot be given anything that would obligate a return (Acts 17:24-25; Rom. 11:35-36)” – Michael Horton.

Church, where the “marks of preaching and sacrament” (dispensing grace) are administered, is where we are to go to primarily be served by Jesus and thus loved by Jesus!
• Church is not primarily doing; it is primarily receiving.
• It is something we go to so that we might receive the grace Jesus is dispensing though preaching/teaching (spoken Service) and the sacraments (enacted Word).

It is at Church that we are to be “re-salinized” and “re-lit” to be salt and light to our neighbor – Michael Horton.
• And in this context, worship is, along with an expression of our gratitude, a receiving of grace from Jesus through the words we sing.
• In other words, even worship is where Jesus dispenses and we receive grace – how Jesus loves us.

Using our text today, Michael Horton puts it this way:
• “Even before we come to worship God, we are first of all served by God as he distributes his gifts that provoke our praise and joy. Here [our text] Christ wraps the towel around his waist and washes our feet. Like Peter, we may bristle at this strange role reversal, but Jesus said that he “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). Of course Christ’s service to us evokes our praise and makes us fruitful in good works, but the means of grace come before the means of service” – Michael Horton.

Jesus’ servicing and grace dispensing is not just for us, by the way.
• We are told to love our neighbor.
• This loving our neighbor is an expression of our gratitude for Jesus, the Gospel and His service to us.
• “God is served by Christ’s perfect satisfaction, we are served by his gospel, and our neighbor is served by our witness, love, and diligence in our vocations” – Michael Horton.

And bringing it back to how we experience Jesus’ “DG” love like the disciples:
• “Not only once upon a time, on a hill far away, but each week the Son of God comes to serve us. We may protest. We may think that it is we who need to serve God rather than vice versa. Nevertheless, Jesus tells us as he told Peter that this is actually an insult, a form of pride. We are the ones who need to be bathed, clothed, and fed, not God” – Michael Horton.

John 12:37-43 – Unbelief as Glory to God

Today’s text deals with a subject that is offensive – God’s desire to harden hearts.
• And though it is a topic that has been known to cause division in Christian circles, it is something that cannot be ignored and must be taught.

John sees fit to end Jesus’ public ministry with it and so we must give it the attention it deserves.
• We must allow God to perform surgery on our hearts with the scalpel of His word, as Hebrews teaches so clearly, no matter how painful or uncomfortable it might be.

1) JESUS, UNBELIEF AND ITS EXPLANATION

John 12:37 (ESV) — 37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him,

They Still Didn’t Believe:
Throughout His ministry, Jesus had confronted scholars, the rich, the poor, prostitutes, tax collectors, fishermen, fathers and mothers.
• He had articulated with great skill and care the nature of His identity and His relationship to the Father.
• And as our text makes clear, He had also performed “so many signs before them”.
• Yet, in spite of all this, His ministry was still confronted with unbelief.
• This fact becomes all the more perplexing on the eve of His atoning work on the cross.
• “Some explanation must be given for such large-scale, catastrophic unbelief” – Carson.

Explanation of Unbelief:
In the course of our study of John’s Gospel, we have encountered a number of detailed explanations for this unbelief.
• In John 3, Jesus spoke of the need to be born again (a reference to Ezekiel 36).
    o John 3:3 (ESV) — 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
• In John 6, Jesus said those that come to Him are those that are called and drawn to Him by the Father.
    o John 6:37 (ESV) — 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
    o John 6:44 (ESV) — 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
• In John 10, Jesus said His sheep come to Him because they know His voice.
    o John 10:4 (ESV) — 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
• And in our text today we encounter yet another such explanation.

Why didn’t they believe?
• John 12:38a (ESV) — 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled
• What this means is that the unbelief that attended Jesus’ ministry was not arbitrary.
• There was purpose in it.
    o Unbelief was part of God’s purpose!

The “so” in our text is designed in the Greek to unambiguously draw our attention to the reason for this unbelief.
• The Greek word literally means “a marker to explain something” – DBL.
• John regards this marker, Isaiah’s words, as so crucial to explaining the Jews unbelief that he highlights it again in verse 39.
    o “Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said…

In our text today, the markers John points us to are Isaiah 53:1 and Isaiah 6:10.
• John 12:38–40 (ESV) — 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”

The Isaiah 53 text is the Suffering Servant prophecy.
• The Isaiah 6 text is Isaiah’s confession, salvation and call to serve God as prophet.
• A call that would be full of rejection and unbelief.
• So much so that Isaiah makes the following plea:
    o Isaiah 63:17 (ESV) — 17 O LORD, why do you make us wander from your ways and harden our heart, so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage.

How do these verses explain the “catastrophic” unbelief that followed Jesus’ ministry?
Why would John point us to them as markers?
• The answers are to be found in Prophecy and Precedent.
• The Prophecy and Precedent of Isaiah are the markers.

Prophecy:
• In Isaiah 53:1, John wants us to see that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy as ordained by God.
• Jesus’ rejection is not a surprise.
• His crucifixion is not plan B.
• Jesus was to be rejected by man and exalted by God on the cross because God desired it to be so.
• Importantly, this means the unbelief in John is not an argument against the validity of Jesus’ claims.
• Quite the contrary, Jesus’ rejection is further evidence of His relationship to the Father as fulfillment of prophecy.

D.A. Carson puts it like this:
• “Surely (it was argued) we may call into question the messianic claims of one so thoroughly rejected by the Jewish people by whom and for whom the prophetic Scriptures were written! The Christian answer, as clearly articulated in Paul (esp. Rom. 9–11) as here, is that this unbelief was not only foreseen by Scripture but on that very account necessitated by Scripture” – D.A. Carson.
What did Paul say?
    o Paul said God has “broken off” some of the Jewish branches so that Gentiles might be “grafted in”.
    o Paul said in Romans 9:18 that God “hardens whomever he wills”.

So how does this answer the question of why such catastrophic unbelief?
• Because Jesus is the “despised and rejected” suffering servant prophesied by Isaiah and the hard hearted cannot believe in such a Messiah.

Precedent:
• In Isaiah 6, John wants us to see that God works in history in a scandalous and shocking way.
• He not only saves and restores, but God desires to bring about unbelief by the hardening hearts.
• Isaiah 6 reveals that, “Not only did the people not believe, they could not believe…” – Beasley-Murray.
• This, again, is why Isaiah pleaded with God to not harden hearts.
• And, as we just saw, why Paul would teach us that God “hardens whomever he wills”.

So how does this answer the question of such catastrophic unbelief?
• The unbelief exists because God desires to harden hearts.
• John points to Isaiah to tell us that God has done it and is still doing it, even during Jesus ministry.
• This is why these men and women could witness the signs, wonders and testimony of Jesus and yet reject Him.

Why would God do this?
Doesn’t he desire to save everyone?

2) PURPOSE OF UNBELIEF

This idea that God would purposely harden hearts which resulted in unbelief is incredibly hard to understand and digest.
• As we stated earlier, this explanation for unbelief seems scandalous and offensive.
But why would God do this?
What possible purpose could He have?
    o And there is purpose.
    o Proverbs 16:4, “The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble”.
• I think we will find the purpose just as scandalous.

First, we need to establish that God’s Word further confirms elsewhere what have seen taught by John, Isaiah and Paul.
• Isaiah 29:9–10 (ESV) — 9 Astonish yourselves and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink! 10 For the LORD has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers).
• Isaiah 44:18 (ESV) — 18 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.
• Jeremiah 15:1 (ESV) — 1 Then the LORD said to me, “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go!
• Deuteronomy 29:3–4 (ESV) — 3 the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. 4 But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.

We see in these verses confirmation of John’s claim.
• Unbelief is not outside of God’s sovereignty.
• God desires to harden hearts which leads to unbelief.
But what about purpose?

Leave it to Isaiah to shed light on this question.
• Isaiah 42:18–25 (ESV) — 18 Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see! 19 Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the LORD? 20 He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear. 21 The LORD was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify his law and make it glorious. 22 But this is a people plundered and looted; they are all of them trapped in holes and hidden in prisons; they have become plunder with none to rescue, spoil with none to say, “Restore!” 23 Who among you will give ear to this, will attend and listen for the time to come? 24 Who gave up Jacob to the looter, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned, in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law they would not obey? 25 So he poured on him the heat of his anger and the might of battle; it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand; it burned him up, but he did not take it to heart.

The purpose is clearly illustrated by Isaiah in this text.
• God hardens hearts “for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify his law and make it glorious”.
• And these three things happen when He passes judgment on their hard hearts and unbelief.
    o “So he poured on him the heat of his anger
    o “Send them out of my sight, and let them go!
• All persons bring glory to God whether in magnifying His law via unbelief and judgment or magnifying His grace via belief and salvation.

Jonathan Edwards expands on this purpose as follows:
• (1) “Unfruitful persons are of use in their destruction for the glory of God’s justice.”
• (2) “Unfruitful persons in their destruction are of use for God to glorify his majesty upon them.”
• (3) “The destruction of the unfruitful is of use, to give the saints a greater sense of their happiness, and of God’s grace to them.”
• “God made all men that they might be useful; and if they will not be useful in their conduct and actions, how just is it that God should make them useful in their sufferings! God made all men for his own glory; and if they, contrary to the revealed will of God, refuse to glorify him actively and willingly, how just is it that God should glorify himself upon them in what he doth with them! It hath been shown, that there is no other way wherein this can be done, but by their destruction. Surely, therefore, it must be just and righteous that God should destroy them” – Jonathan Edwards.

What this means is that God is just as glorified in the destruction of the unbeliever as He is in the salvation of the believer.
• Frankly, this is scary to me.
• This squashes my pride.
Why am I born again?
    o It was certainly nothing in me.
• God saw it in his purposes to save me.
• He owed me nothing and I deserved judgment for my unbelief.
• God had every right to harden my heart and do so to His glory.

An important point:
• Whatever the nature of God’s activity in hardening the hearts of unbelievers, we must never lose sight of the fact that we are personally accountable for our guilt.
• John 9:39–41 (ESV) — 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.
• John 2:24–25 (ESV) — 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

3) THE GOSPEL IN ISAIAH

John 12:41–43 (ESV) — 41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. 42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

There are two things that are unclear in these verses:
Did John mean that Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory in Isaiah 6?
And were the Pharisees that “did not confess it” actually saved or was their faith spurious?
• D.A. Carson suggests the answers to these questions are “yes”.

Whatever the answers, John’s reference to Isaiah 6 is important to explore.
• What we have in Isaiah is the Gospel.
• And if Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory and saw Jesus as King, we have Isaiah seeing and acknowledging the very things that Jesus testified to throughout John’s Gospel – what we called the Father’s Jesus.
• Let’s see how the Gospel is so clearly presented in Isaiah 6.

Isaiah had eyes to see the glory of the Lord (possibly Jesus) and behold His kingship (His exaltation).
• Isaiah 6:1–4 (ESV) — 1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.

And having eyes to see and ears to hear the glory of the Lord, Isaiah responded as one always does, not as one who “loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God”.
• Isaiah 6:5 (ESV) — 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

And with the confession and repentance of Isaiah’s understanding heart, God forgave Isaiah.
• Isaiah 6:6–7 (ESV) — 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

And Isaiah, having a firm grasp on his own wickedness and being awesomely grateful for his salvation, responded with the self-denial that seeks after the “glory that comes from God”.
• Isaiah 6:8 (ESV) — 8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Clearly, we have the Gospel in the Old Testament as we should expect.
• For all of Scripture is a playing out of God’s intention to make provision for the restoration of Israel and the believer through Jesus Christ.

Conclusion:
And why would John highlight this just before Jesus was about to die on the cross?
• Because Jesus embodies both the magnification and glorification of both God’s law and God’s grace.
• In Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection the victory over death and sin in vindication of the law is completed.
    o God’s holiness and judgment are perfectly wrought.
• In Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection the procurement of salvation by God’s grace is completed.
    o God’s forgiveness and justification by faith are perfectly applied.
• “It is finished.”

Believers, those who have hearts of understanding; those who have been given eyes to see and ears to hear; those who have been born again; those who have been called, drawn and given by the Father to Jesus; have much to be grateful for!
• A life lived in gratitude is a life lived in self-denial; a life that says “Here am I, send me”.
How grateful are we for what God has done for us?
• The answer is found in how we live our lives – “woe is me” or “no, not me”.

John 12:27-33 – Proclamation and Battle

Last week, we saw how Jesus turned the focus from His Kingship of the Kingdom of God to it citizens.
• He “Kingdom Called” us to live in “Kingdom Submission” to His reign.
• This submission was to take the form of a life lived in self-denial.
• A pursuit of “zoe” life instead of “psyche” life.
• In living this life, we would be honored by the Father.

This week Jesus brings us back to His role in the fulfillment of the Father’s call on His life.
• Among other things, John gives us some insight into the Proclamation and the Battle we talked about a couple of weeks ago.
• We are going to spend our time on these two themes.

1) DIVINE PROCLAMATION

John 12:27–30 (ESV) — 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.

Jesus’ Prayer:
Jesus expresses the anguish he feels over his coming death.
• It is an awesome confluence of His humanity and divinity.
• The book of Hebrews describes it as follows:
    o Hebrews 5:7 (ESV) — 7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
• He asks the Father if He should seek salvation from the cross.
• D.A. Carson suggests this is a prayer which “is entirely analogous to Gethsemane’s ‘Take this cup from me’ – D.A. Carson.
• Yet Jesus acknowledges his commitment to a life (zoe) of self-denial and obedience, “But for this purpose I have come to this hour”.
    o A purpose that would glorify the Father – “Father, glorify your name”.
• Many believe this text from Ezekiel speaks of this moment.
    o Ezekiel 36:22 (ESV) — 22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name [to glorify His name], which you have profaned among the nations to which you came.
• A simple admission of a profound truth – all of Israel’s call and history were designed to lead to this moment.

The Father’s Answer:
If Jesus’ words were a prayer, then the voice that “came from heaven” was His answer.
• The voice from heaven was in full agreement with the purpose of the hour and the glory it would bring.
• But, as Jesus said, there was more to the voice than this.
• Jesus said in verse 30, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine”.
    o BTW – Some heard only thunder – perhaps they did not have ears to hear.

How was the voice for their sake?
• One reason has to do with the proclamation by the Father about Jesus.

The Father’s Proclamation:
We spoke a couple weeks ago about the expectations Jews had about their Messiah.
• We saw that there would be two moments in His life, one of which was a moment of proclamation.
• Typically, a proclamation (kerysso) is an “official announcement” or “public declaration” – BDAG.

Interestingly, in the Roman Empire at Jesus’ time, such proclamations were made when a new Caesar assumed power.
• In fact, during Jesus’ life, Caesar Augustus died and was replaced by Caesar Tiberius.
• This event would have been “proclaimed” throughout Palestine.
• Such a proclamation would have declared that Tiberius, like Augustus, was the divine “son of god” (i.e., son of Julius Caesar).
• And a “proclamation” in a “trouble spot” like Palestine would have been made with heralds accompanied by soldiers as a show of force and continuity – N.T. Wright.
• This event is something Jesus probably witnessed Himself.

But why was there a Jewish expectation of proclamation for their Messiah?
• The expectation was fueled by Israel’s history and prophecy.
• Throughout Israel’s existence, its prophets, priests and kings were “proclaimed” as chosen by God.
• These proclamations often took the form of a public anointing and sometimes included God’s specific instruction.

Prophet Anointed:
• 1 Kings 19:16 (ESV) — 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you [Elijah] shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.
• Here, Elijah is told by God to anoint the next King and Prophet.

Priests Anointed:
• Exodus 29:7 (ESV) — 7 [God Speaking] You shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him [Aaron].
• Exodus 28:41 (ESV) — 41 [God Speaking] And you shall put them on Aaron your brother, and on his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests.

Later, we are told that though Moses anointed them, it was really God that anointed them.
• Leviticus 7:36 (ESV) — 36 The LORD commanded this to be given them by the people of Israel, from the day that he anointed them. It is a perpetual due throughout their generations.”

Kings Anointed:
• 2 Chronicles 23:11 (ESV) — 11 Then they brought out the king’s son [in public] and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony. And they proclaimed him king, and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and they said, “Long live the king.”
• 1 Samuel 16:13 (ESV) — 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him [David] in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

There was also the expectation of proclamation taught in the prophecies pertaining to Israel’s Messiah and King.

Prophetic and Exilic Expectation of Proclamation:
• Isaiah 12:4 (ESV) — 4 And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.
• Isaiah 48:20 (ESV) — 20 Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it out to the end of the earth; say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
• Isaiah 61:1 (ESV) — 1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
• Jeremiah 23:5–6 (ESV) — 5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’
• And in these prophetic texts about Israel’s coming king, “YHWH’s anointing of the king denotes the exclusive, intimate relationship between the God of Israel and the king whom he has appointed and given the power to reign in his name” – AYBD.

Finally, we have in the Gospels, the proclamation of Jesus.
• And as in the prophetic texts, these too denote the “intimate relationship between the God of Israel and the king whom he has appointed”, King Jesus.

Jesus Proclaimed:
• In our text today, we see an example of the Father’s proclamation of Jesus.
• The Father proclaimed in a loud voice “that came from heaven” that Jesus’ “purpose” (death, burial and resurrection) will glorify the Father’s name.
• D.A. Carson calls this a “supernatural attestation”.

And this was not the first time that Jesus was proclaimed.
• John 1:29 (ESV) — 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
• Mark 1:9–11 (ESV) — 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
• Mark 9:7 (ESV) — 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

But we aren’t done yet.
• Because just as Jesus did unusual things like forgive sins and redefine the law, He also proclaimed his own Kingship.
• “Jesus was going about declaring, after the manner of someone issuing a public proclamation, that Israel’s God was at last becoming king. ‘The time is fulfilled!’ he said. ‘God’s kingdom is arriving! Turn back, and believe the good news!’ (Mark 1:15). ‘If it’s by God’s finger that I cast out demons,’ he declared, ‘then God’s kingdom has come upon you’ (Luke 11:20) – N.T. Wright.

“Think for a minute about what that means. As soon as the initial announcement had been made…it would have been tantamount to treason…” – N.T. Wright.
• Herod Antipas (the one who beheaded John the Baptist), the Chief Priests and the Roman authorities all would have had something to say as the proclamations of Jesus’ Kingship spread.
• It was not a mistake that Jesus was crucified as the “King of the Jews”.

Everything about Jesus incarnation, life and mission was anointed, consecrated, testified to, and proclaimed by God the Father.
• And those who had eyes to see and ears to hear could rejoice in this.
• We can rejoice in this.
• Yet, as we will see in a couple of weeks, many still did not believe (which was a fulfillment of prophecy).

So we have seen how Jesus was Proclaimed.
• Now we will take a look at His Battle.

2) THE BATTLE

John 12:31–33 (ESV) — 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 [Jews and Gentiles] to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

Jesus speaks here of being “lifted up” and casting out the “ruler of this world”.

We dealt with the “lifted up from the earth” language in John 8.
• We learned that this phrase referred both to the cross and to sitting on the throne at the right hand of God
• The OT references in view here are:
    o Psalm 110:1 (ESV) — 1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
    o Isaiah 52:13 (ESV) — 13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.
• Both of these, the cross and throne, were seen as an exaltation of Jesus Christ
• In John’s Gospel, “the exaltation of the Servant of which this verse speaks [Isaiah 52:13] is the whole sequence of humiliation, suffering, death and vindication beyond death which [Isaiah] 53 describes” – Richard Bauckham.
• So to be “lifted up” is both:
  1) Exalted and on the Throne – King, Ruler and Creator
  2) Lifted up and on the Cross – Servant and Savior
• For more info on the Christ’s exaltation and “lifted up” refer back to the lesson from John 8:12-20 – Location, Location, Location.

The casting out of “the ruler of this world” speaks to the Battle we spoke of a couple of weeks ago.
• Just as we mentioned the expectation of proclamation, there was also an expectation of a Battle that God’s King would fight and win.

Jesus’ Battle – Clash of the Kingdoms:
The Battle Jesus waged was not directly against the Romans, or the corrupt priestly leadership.
• It was against the power that had dominion over this world and those walking in the dark.
• This certainly included the Roman Empire and much of the Jewish leadership, but was not limited to them.
• Jesus’ Battle was against satan.
• John put it like this in 1 John.
• 1 John 3:8 (ESV) — 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

N.T. Wright calls this battle the “Clash of the Kingdoms”.
• And throughout the Gospels, this Battle took numerous forms.
• One remarkable example is from Matthew.
• In Matthew 12, Jesus cast out a demon from a blind and mute man.
• The crowds were amazed and even wondered, “Can this be the Son of David?” (Matt 12:23).
• The Pharisees took this as a chance to discredit Jesus.
• They explained Jesus’ power over the demonic and his ability to cast out demons as being derived from satan.

Jesus response gives a clear indication that the Battle against satan is under way.
• He states that His power over demons means that the Kingdom of God is here, now!
    o Matthew 12:28 (ESV) — 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
• And then, oft overlooked, but profoundly, Jesus makes the following remarkable statement.
    o Matthew 12:29 (ESV) — 29 Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.
• In other words, Jesus has this power because under God’s direction and authority he has come into satan’s kingdom and as bound him up.
• The Battle has begun and Jesus is in control.
• Jesus has bound up and restrained satan and is plundering satan’s house – Jesus the Plunderer.

When did Jesus’ Battle begin?

The Battle, the Clash of the Kingdoms, seemed to begin at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
• And interestingly, it was precipitated by the will of God.
    o Mark 1:12–13 (ESV) — 12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
• Satan tried to establish Jesus as King on his terms.
    o Matthew 4:8 (ESV) — 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
• Jesus, however, chose the way of the Father which would take Him to the cross – the “zoe” life way.
• Satan’s ultimate fate was sealed as a result.
• In fact, in Luke, Jesus says the following – Luke 10:18 (ESV) — 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

In our text today, we have Jesus acknowledging that, as N.T. Wright puts it, the Clash of the Kingdoms, the Battle, reached its climax with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
• John 12:31–33 (ESV) — 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.
• The Passion events are the incarnation’s final battle.
• The coming death of Jesus will be the death blow to satan’s kingdom.
• Satan will be defeated and his eternal judgment is a done deal.
    o Revelation 20:10 (ESV) — 10 …the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

N.T. Wright sums up the judgment and defeat of the “ruler of this world” this way:
• “Jesus…takes to be the true vocation of Israel’s king: to fight and win the key battle, the battle that will set his people free and establish God’s sovereign and saving rule, through his own suffering and death” – N.T. Wright.

Kostenberger puts it like this:
• “Paradoxically, at the cross the world and its ruler are judged, while Jesus is glorified and salvation is procured for all”.

Lesson for Us:
• So we have seen how Jesus fulfilled the Jews’ prophetic expectations of a divine proclamation and a battle.
• And as we suggested last week this story is part of the Gospel; it is the Good News!
• Soon enough, we will see how Jesus restored and cleansed the Temple and the exact nature of His ultimate victory in the battle against Satan.
• Noting these things should do at least two things for us.
    o 1) Make us thankful that we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a born again heart with which to recognize and embrace what Jesus did.
    o 2) And cause us to wonder why so many Jews didn’t.
• This question we will deal with in a couple of weeks.