Glorified - John 12:20-43 Sermon

Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, April 16, 2023 with No comments

 GLORIFIED John 12:20-43 Sermon 

He spoke, and galaxies whirled into place, stars burned the heavens, and planets began orbiting their suns—words of awesome, unlimited, unleashing power. He spoke again, and the waters and lands were filled with plants and creatures, running, swimming, growing, and multiplying—words of animating, breathing, pulsing life. Again he spoke, and man and woman were formed, thinking, speaking, and loving—words of personal and creative glory. Eternal, infinite, unlimited—he was, is, and always will be the Maker and Lord of all that exists. And then he came in the flesh to a tiny spot in the universe called planet Earth—the mighty Creator becoming part of his creation, limited by time and space and susceptible to age, sickness, and death. Propelled by love, he came to rescue and save, offering forgiveness and life. He is the Word: he is Jesus Christ. It is this truth that the apostle John presents in this book. John’s Gospel is not a life of Christ; it is a powerful argument for the incarnation, a conclusive demonstration that Jesus was, and is, the very heaven-sent Son of God and the only source of eternal life.

 AUTHOR John the Apostle, son of Zebedee and Salome, and younger brother of James.

Bruce B. Barton, John, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), viii–ix.

So we see that this chapter starts with John describing how Jesus went to Bethany. He had just raised Lazarus from the dead in chapter 11, and people were flocking to Bethany to see Lazarus. At this point, the Pharisees actually plot to kill Lazarus because people are flocking to Jesus because of this miracle. Isn’t that sad? They were so absorbed with themselves that the Pharisees cared less about people’s lives that Jesus touched. Then Mary, the sister of Lazarus, pours out her perfume and washes Jesus’ feet with her hair. Judas is horrified at this, and this is where he goes out and plots to have Jesus killed. Then Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, and the people place palm branches on the ground and shout Hosanna! Glory to God in the highest. This was near the time of Passover, and some Greeks came to the feast. 

Greeks Seek Jesus 20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip *came and *told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came and *told Jesus. 23 And Jesus *answered them, saying, “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 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. 

Some Greeks request to see Jesus. Jesus says in order for something to truly bear fruit it has to die. Jesus says that we can’t love this life, else we will lose it. If we hate our lives in this world, we will gain eternity. Jesus said all those who follow him would be with Jesus where he goes, and will be honored by the Father. 

There is so much going on in this passage.  Jesus says that we must die before we can bear fruit. We must die to ourselves. This is another way of saying we should live crucified lifestyles. A crucified life is a life in which Christ will be glorified.

We live crucified lives by keeping our eyes on the one who was crucified. Jesus encourages us to follow Him, but in this world with so many distractions, we must remember that we cannot do this in our own strength. We must rely on the power of God in order to live in a way that serves our neighbor.  To live in a way in which Christ, is glorified.

Now, Jesus is getting closer and closer to the cross. Once those Greeks came who wanted to see Jesus, that was a signal to Jesus that His time had come to be the Lamb of God, the Atoning Sacrifice for the sins of the world. 

Jesus Foretells His Death 27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31 “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. 

Jesus says his soul is troubled because his death is near. He doesn’t run from it, but embraces it and says he came to this hour for this purpose; to die for our sins. He prays to the Father to glorify his name. The Father responds audibly. Then Jesus says that now judgment is upon this world, and this world’s ruler will be cast out. Then Jesus says if he is lifted up, he will draw all men to Himself, to indicate he would die by crucifixion. 

I couldn’t help but think of another section of John in which Jesus refers to Moses and the Bronze Serpent: Numbers 21:9

So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

The people were acting up and fiery serpents were sent to attack them. But when Moses lifted up the Bronze Serpent, and people gazed at it, they were healed. This idea is still in the Blue Cross Blue Shield logo today.  Jesus says in another section of the Gospel of John, chapter 3 verse 14, that just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that God could be glorified in His death. This is the entire point of this message, God glorified through Christ, and Christ glorified through our lives.   

Glorify is one of those biblical terms we often use without understanding its true meaning. The Greek root word is doxa, which refers to brightness, beauty, and even fame. One helpful way to think of the word is to substitute the word spotlight. Jesus was consciously giving God, the Father, permission to spotlight himself through what would happen to Christ, God’s Son. The Father responded by affirming that he had already spotlighted his name in Jesus and would continue to do so. When faced with a difficult task or decision, we can turn our thoughts back to why we are on this earth—to glorify God. Our life can spotlight God’s beauty and spread his fame. We can pray that God will guide us and work through us to glorify his name.

That is why Jesus came. To spotlight God’s beauty and love, and to spread His fame. That is why we are here also as Christians. To spotlight God’s beauty and love, and to make His name famous throughout the earth. To know Christ and make Him known. God is glorified in this. 

Bruce B. Barton, John, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), 258.

     Now, we see Christ constantly having confrontations with people. For as many people that followed Jesus, we also had people who did nothing but challenge him. Verse 34 highlights this. 

34 The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.” 41 These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. 42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

  • The Christ is supposed to remain forever 

  • Jesus says walk in the Light, become Sons of Light while you have the light. 

  • The people still didn’t believe, even after all the miracles. 

  • The people were more interested in man’s approval than God’s approval. 

The people became confused when Jesus said he would die by crucifixion. They remembered prophecies where the Messiah would rule forever. So they figured that Jesus could not be the Son of Man, aka the Messiah, because he was going to die. But there were prophecies about a Messianic figure who would die for the sins of all mankind.  The book of Isaiah has all these “suffering servant songs” which depict someone giving his life for sins. Here’s a bit of Isaiah 53: 

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?

And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.


Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.


Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.


Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

This was written 700 years before Jesus was born.  And yet, look at what it says. When his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days. He poured out his soul to death, and was numbered among the transgressors. Yet he bore the sin of many (past tense), and makes intercession for the transgressors (present tense). 

What an incredible and powerful description of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Some groups of Jews believe that Isaiah 53 is talking about the nation of Israel as a whole taking on the sins of the world. But we know that this passage is referring to Jesus. He who took on our sins, transgressions and iniquities. By his stripes we are healed.  You know, a lot is said about physical healing in many churches. But what about emotional and mental healing? What about freeing us from guilt and shame over our sins? This world will bring suffering. But Christ promises that in His Father’s house there are many mansions. He is preparing a place for us, and will bring us to himself. I struggle with many invisible scars, wounds and conditions. But his grace is sufficient. No one knows what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was. But He prayed and Christ did not take it away. Instead, Jesus said his grace was enough for Paul. Where we are currently in our lives, is his grace enough? I believe it is. And I believe God is glorified in our weaknesses. Amen. 

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Jn 12:20–43.