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Encountering Jesus: The Division of the Cross

As we’re continuing through John’s gospel, we come to a watershed moment for those listening to and following Jesus. We see that while, initially it appears that everyone is in close proximity, our response to the gospel leads us to radically different destinations. We see that: the mission of God has always been for Jesus to go to the cross: bringing victory and life for those who believe, but judgment and death for those who do not believe

1. Jesus’ Mission of Death for Life: v.20-26

The account begins with Greeks who want to meet Jesus. His response speaks to the hour coming for the Son of Man to be glorified. Jesus speaks of His death and clearly articulates that in His death we are going to find life. But, He then tells the disciples that we are to die to ourselves in order to find life in Jesus. It seems counterintuitive, but it is in losing our life that we find life in Jesus. I would ask you to consider, are you loving a life that you’re going to lose very soon, or are you willingly laying aside a temporal life in order to gain an eternal one? This is what Jesus is posing to His followers and we must seriously consider.

We talked about specific ways that we lose our life in order to gain life. I wanted to list them below for you to be able to reference:

  • I choose Jesus over reputation
  • I choose Jesus over comfort
  • I choose Jesus over the passing pleasure of sin
  • I choose Jesus over self-sufficiency

2. The Glory of a Crucified Jesus: v.27-36

Jesus speaks candidly about His troubled soul and the demands of what is in front of Him. But His ultimate desire is that God is glorified. While He is wrestling through what is required of Him, His conclusion is that God would be glorified. Oh that we would be able to embrace a similar posture! That we could say as Jesus expresses here, that we would desire that God would be glorified in us, even if that requires our demise. Jesus is committed to God’s glory being revealed, and it will require His life. Loved one, are you committed to God’s glory being revealed, even if it requires loss for you? 

3. The Danger of Lingering Unbelief: v.37-43

In response to what Jesus has said, we see the incredibly tragic response of the people. This is so devastatingly clear in verse 37. They had seen the signs, but they still didn’t believe. There is a danger of persisting in unbelief. We see the people are persistent in their unbelief. John, then references a couple of verses from Isaiah to help us see the biblical precedent of this unbelief. It wasn’t simply that they missed Jesus, they had been rejecting God’s messengers for generations! Even God Himself is rejected by the people. Finally, we see how social pressure pushes the people toward unbelief in verses 42 and 43. Instead of proclaiming Jesus, they are silent because they don’t want to lose their status and they prefer the glory that comes from man. Loved one, let me be clear that the Bible says nothing about silent and secret disciples. The followers of Jesus are meant to be people that proclaim and make known the excellencies of Jesus! God help us that we would not be dissuaded from making Jesus known, but instead would graciously yet boldly proclaim a living Savior to a dying world.

4. The Final Witness of Jesus: v.44-50

The account ends with Jesus once more coming back and crying out for the people to believe. Jesus makes clear that there will be a judgment that will come to those that do not believe. There are radically different destinations that await those that embrace Jesus versus those that reject Jesus.

Given that, let me ask you: Are you living a life that you will lose or are you willing to lose this life, to gain the life that Jesus makes available to us? You can die and end up living, or you can attempt to live only to die. The gospel brings about a definitive direction in which we will go. Where are you going?

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