When Jesus is Lifted Up

Reading Time: 8 Minutes

Glorify your name.

John 12.27-30 – “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say — ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that 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 standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”

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

One of the ways we know the Bible is an authentic representation of what took place in Jesus’ day is the way it treats its heroes. The heroes of ancient writings were more like Hollywood action stars. The Bible’s heroes are very real and quite believable.

Why does the Bible say that Peter denied Jesus three times and that a woman, Mary Magdalene, was the first to witness the resurrected Jesus? Because that is the way it happened. Why does the Bible say that Jesus was deeply troubled as he contemplated the cross? Because that was exactly how he felt.

Some early church heresies tried to deny Jesus’ genuine feelings. They falsely taught that Jesus really didn’t suffer. Rather, he only appeared to suffer. They were heresies, because they were completely wrong about Jesus.

Jesus genuinely suffered internal turmoil over the prospect of dying for the sins of the entire human race. Despite the pain, Jesus said, “Father, glorify your name” (verse 28).

What does it mean to glorify the Father’s name?

A person’s name is equivalent to that person’s character. We have the saying, “She has a good name.” That means the person in mind has a good character, is reputable or something similar.

When God’s character is revealed, his “name” is glorified. As we think through what we have read in John’s Gospel, let’s see what Jesus revealed God’s character to be like.

(1) Who is God? He is One who is truly present in our lives to help us in need.

Multiple times we have noticed that he knows what we need as he is present in our lives. He met the woman at the well, the paralytic by the pool, the woman caught in adultery, the man born blind, and the family of Lazarus. In each instance he demonstrated love and gave the person exactly what was needed. This is the exact nature of God.

(2) Who is God? He gives us free will, but works to help us trust him.

He comes where he is welcomed and does not force himself on people who refuse to believe. Jesus went to great lengths to convince an unbelieving crowd to place their faith in him. Many of them rejected his message out of their agenda that was full of self-will. Jesus did not fail all of these people. In the book of Acts we find large numbers of people in Jerusalem trusting their lives to Jesus. I believe Jesus’ arguments with the religious leaders eventually paid off.

(3) Who is God? God is love (1 John 4.8).

Every act of Jesus was an act of love. As we travel along with Jesus during his last week before the crucifixion, we will increasingly see his love in action. Of course, the ultimate act of love was to be “lifted up” so he could “draw all people to himself” (John 12.32).

Put yourself in the story.

One spiritual exercise that I engage in is to put myself into a Bible story. The Gospel of John is perfect this kind of experience. Take the example of the paralyzed man by the well (John 5). Get a mental picture of the pool with its smells and commotion. Imagine how your family has brought you here day-after-day for years, hoping for some help. You are desperate and hopeless.

Jesus comes by and looks you in the eye. Nobody has done that for you. They all look away, but this man pays close attention to you. Then, he asks you if you want to get well. Feeling hopeless, you tell him nothing will work.

(Note, at this point we can identify with this man and share with Jesus something that is very difficult in our lives.)

Jesus tells you to do the very thing that you feel is impossible to accomplish. For a split second your will agrees with his will. Something happens! You feel life coming to your paralyzed legs. You find the strength to get to your feet, to take up the pallet you have been lying on, and to walk.

As we take the various encounters of Jesus with people in John’s Gospel and turn them into our encounters with the living Lord, we will find a greater appreciation for God’s magnificent character and love for us. Please try it out.

Some said “it thundered.”

The Father spoke and confirmed Jesus’ place in his plan. The Father spoke for the benefit of the people who were willing to follow his Son, Jesus. Others, found a way to explain what had happened before their eyes by saying it thundered.

God always gives us two options when he is at work. One option is to trust him and follow him. God is a gentleman and won’t kick down the door to our heart, and he gives us the freedom to explain away his work and to live apart from him.

Jesus draws all people to him.

John 12.31-36 “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

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

35 Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”

Judgment of the world and of Satan

In what way was the world judged? If Jesus’ death on the cross is God’s solution for the problems of humankind, then we have serious problems. We may feel that we are pretty good people. The cross says, “Not!” We are sinners who are in need of a Savior.

In what way is the devil driven out? One day the devil will be completely destroyed. On the cross, Jesus worked so that the devil no longer has unlimited rule over the world. Think of the many people you know who have been conquered by the love of Jesus. The devil once controlled them, but no longer.

Jesus was lifted up on the cross (verse 32) and has drawn vast multitudes into friendship with him. He has become our best friend, our Lord, and our Savior.

Your Turn

Jesus said, “Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you” (Verse 35).

What a fantastic way to end our thoughts on one of the most important passages in John. Let’s obey Jesus and walk with him by following his direction.

Today’s Prayer

Dear Jesus, you are absolutely amazing. We praise you for all you did and are doing to show us the Father’s love. Yes, Jesus. We will walk with you today.

4 Comments

  1. “They were heresies, because they were completely wrong about Jesus.” What a spectacular definition of heresy. All rises or falls in it’s relation to Jesus. Yesterday I was reading in The Great Divorce by CS Lewis and it has this comment about all our desires/loves: “There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.”

    When we see Jesus, we are changed:
    1st John 3:2 “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This: “God always gives us two options when he is at work. One option is to trust him and follow him. God is a gentleman and won’t kick down the door to our heart, and he gives us the freedom to explain away his work and to live apart from him.

    May I never be tempted to “explain away His work” – I want to always, ALWAYS, give glory to Him where glory belongs. And just as important, may I never assign Him choices that I knowingly made on my own. Sometimes, I hear “God told me to….” but the “to” goes against everything in Scripture. That’s not God – that’s US trying to justify our sins.

    Yes, Lord, I wish to walk with You today – every day. Following your clear path.

    Liked by 1 person

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